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Colombo

Sri Lanka’s Capital Colombo, a port city, with a rich colonial heritage, on the Western coast is a potpourri of races, religions and cultures. Colombo displays the best and worst the country has to offer. The city is a contrast itself, with mansions, lush gardens, fine dining options, shopping malls packed with expensive designer brands standing next to urban slums; diesel fumed congested roads and street markets.

The immaculately manicured greens of the Royal Colombo Golf Club have attracted golfers for 129 years, a slice of golfing history. Visitors welcome. Hop on board the exciting open deck double decker of the Colombo City Tour to witness the charm of Colombo.

The Colombo National Museum has some terrific examples of ancient paintings, sculptures and sketches dating back to the 4th century BC, while if it’s something contemporary you want, the city has a thriving arts scene, with many creative painters exhibiting in local galleries. The Gangarama Vihara is one of the most venerable temples in the country, decorated with wonderful brass work, stone carvings, and other Buddhist art. Also a place of learning, it houses a museum, complete with residential hall.

Mt Lavinia is one of Colombo’s more laidback suburbs filled with great seafood restaurants on the golden beach and is named after Lovinia, the gypsy dancing girl who had a secret romance with one of Sri Lanka’s governors.

One of Sri Lanka’s best kept secrets is the shopping opportunities in Colombo –sleek department stores and cool shopping malls are filled with designer clothing, shoes and handbags, plus handicrafts, home furnishings and more.