Colombo is the economic hub of Sri Lanka, which is also the most populated city in Sri Lanka. Colombo offers many interesting places for its visitors such as temples, museums, galleries and colonial monuments. The visitors also can find scenic fishing villages, beautiful tea country, and dramatic ancient cities, all these can be perfects spots for Colombo breaks and they are just within 3 hours away.
Colombo is the economic hub of Sri Lanka, which considered as the economic hub of Sri Lanka. Apart from being an important part of Sri Lanka’s economy, Kandy is also an important tourist site with a large number of tourist places such as restaurants with delicious food, Museums, Zoo, ancient temples, parks and places with colonial heritage, these places can be very handy for short Colombo breaks. But if you wish to have much longer Colombo breaks there are many opportunities and you can make into beautiful corners.
Colombo is a city that never sleeps, it is busy, loud and polluted up to a certain degree like most other populated cities around the world. Hence I believe no one is like to stranded in a hectic city like Colombo, that I know for sure. For locals as well as foreigners, who wish to escape from the undulating routine life in Colombo and wish to explore a different pace of life, here are the guidelines to get away from the big apple within a short period of time.
Colombo breaks: By Motor-Bike
Slightly more than 30km from the southern border of Colombo is Kalutara, which is a popular gateway to Sri Lanka day trips, which can be easily reached by a motorbike on the A2 main road. Rush in the direction of the southern pole and you will come to pristine beaches of Kalutara namely Kalido beach. The Kalido beach encompasses many square kilometres of sand, which is one of the largest urban beaches in Sri Lanka.
In 2004, Devastating Tsunami hit the coastal neighbourhood and unleashed a legion of force, incurring heavy damage to the entire region. A large part of coastal belt washed-off and a large number of residential and commercial buildings were destroyed. But, today everything is back in place, most of the buildings destroyed, have been rebuilt and upgraded.
Recently the government embarked on a sand filling project to reclaims the shore that washed off over the last few years due to the rough sea. However, it was coming under heavy criticism as the project had not reaped the expected benefits so far, despite the very high cost.
Exploring black River
Black River, popularly known as “Kalu Ganga” end its 129 km journey, while kissing the Indian Ocean next to Kalido beach. Kalu Ganga is the 4th longest River in Sri Lanka, running westward from the holy peak of Sri Pada-most travellers, local as well as foreign do not experience the natural beauty of this beautiful River.
The River starts in the central mountain range and collects an impressive amount of water as it cut through on a long zig-zag way through the western and central province of Sri Lanka- rock-eating cataracts and steep-walled gorges perfect for the extreme adrenaline rushes of white-water rafting, kayaking, river boarding and more.
Despite the calm and solemn tail end of the River, the upper reaches are just as enrapturing, albeit often in a more languid way. Unbeknown to most, you do not have to travel far from Kalido beach for a complete change of pace.
Just a few kilometres upstream are serene riverside lodges that allow for the easy ogling of birds and big game, including lizard monitor, crocodiles, and monkeys; while the calmer waters bring the gentler pursuits of canoeing, drift rafting and river boating.
Colombo breaks: By Train
The beach city of Unawatuna, often get overlooked by giant colonial city of Galle, but this small beach locality is extremely travellers friendly, with a large extent of unspoiled beaches entangled with the extensive wild countryside.
It also posse’s colonial heritage and diverse restaurant scene and can be reached via a 2 hours train journey from Colombo. The train station is about 2 kilometres from the beach area. Take a walk from the station to the main road and turn to the southward as you reach the main road, Unawatuna beach is just 10-minute walk away from you.
Start your day in Unawatuna by having a fresh seafood platter in a nice, cosy beach restaurant. You might be wondering, why I’m asking you to order a seafood platter? Because seafood is the most delicious delicacy you can have here. It is very fresh and delicious. It is also a widely accepted fact that best seafood recipes are coming from southern Sri Lankan coastal cities like Unawatuna.
Sample on a platter of seafood
I personally prefer mixed seafood platter, which comprised of many different species of fish such as tuna fish, crabs, lobster, octopus, clams, squid and few other varieties of fish depending on the season. The different variety of fish prepared in different manner E.g. some fish is deep-fried, some are baked, while other portions of the fish can be cooked or barbequed.
Many dozens of seafood restaurants dotted along the Unawatuna beach, leaving plenty of room to find an uncrowded place to enjoy a perfectly delicious meal.
After lunch, walk off the slices around Unawatuna beach resort- popular as one of the finest beaches of Sri Lanka. The bay, which provides safe bathing spot, is the biggest draw in Unawatuna. The horseshoe-shaped bay has a wide sandy beach and the shallow sea area.
Unawatuna is surrounded by a large number of interesting places and activities. Diving, village tours and visiting ancient temples are some of the popular activities in Unawatuna. Unawatuna has many interesting Buddhist temples, thanks to the presence of a big Buddhist community in the area. About 90% of the people living in Unawatuna re believing in Buddhism.
Visit Wella Devalaya
Wella Devalaya is one of the oldest Buddhist temples in southern Sri Lanka, which is dedicated to God Devol. The god believed to be resided in Unawatuna Wella Devalaya as well as at Popular Seenigama Devalaya, which is further north of Unawatuna near Hikkaduwa. The new rice festival is the biggest annual event of Wella Devala, which takes place in the month of July, during which the temple is visited by thousands of pilgrims for a period of 1 week.
Japan peace pagoda
Visitors can traverse by foot from Unawatuna beach or just hop into a TUK TUK for an easy ride to reach Japanese peace pagoda. If you take a Tuk Tuk it takes around 10 minutes and if you walk it will take around 30 minutes.
Japanese peace pagoda is located on a secluded jungle hideout in Unawatuna. The view from the peace pagoda commands a beautiful view over the Indian Ocean on one side and on the other side, it is the lush tropical vegetation. The pagoda is located a few kilometres from the Main road and therefore visitors will have peaceful surrounding in order to carry out religious activities. Take a walk on the walkway that encircled the Pagoda, which allows you to have a splendid 360-degree view over the Bay and the jungle.
The peace pagoda sits on the Rumassala hill and it is built with the expenses of a Japanese monk. The stupa is an essential part of every Buddhist temple, which serves as a beacon of peace for people of all nationalities and creeds, and the clean, rounded design of the peace pagoda exemplifies this.
Unawatuna and Galle are two major beach holiday spots on southern Sri Lanka, which are surrounded by many other small and less popular beaches such as Jungle beach and Ahangama. Jungle beach is less popular as a beach holiday spot and therefore you do not see a horde of tourist here. However, this secluded beach is getting popular and becoming an important draw in Galle, perhaps it will not be as attractive as today in a few years’ time, and become other popular beaches, where the tourist lying on beach beds while rubbing their shoulder.
The jungle beach is to be found just next to Peace pagoda, a few minutes’ walks down the cliff take you to the jungle beach. Jungle beach is a safe place for a swim, not rough and just the right size.
Colombo breaks: By Car
Just 100 km west of Colombo, the scenery changes in front of your eyes, as you drive towards the interior of the island to reach Kitulgala. The scenery changes from soaring skyscrapers to wide open patches of forests, Rubber plantations and coconut plantations.
With lush green vegetation, high-rise mountains, rivers, waterfalls, rainforests and picture-perfect landscapes, it is no doubt that Kitulgala is best known as the adventure playground of Sri Lanka. Kitulgala is a sleepy and remote town located at the foothills of the central mountain range of Sri Lanka. The rugged terrain of Kitulgala accommodated a large number of places for adrenaline-pumping activities.
Large tract of rainforest, mountains, huge boulders, waterfalls, rivers and lakes lure a steady stream of adventure junkies -not to mention movie directors – Davi Lean’s Bridge on the River Quai, the 7 academic award-winning movies, which was filmed 1957 used the beautiful setting of Kitulgala as a natural backdrop.
Kitulgala believed to be one of the places, where there had been a settlement of stone age human, which is a spacious granite cave, during the stone age. According to the historian the stone age man lived in the cave had been using stone implements as well as a tool made of bones of the animal. The excavations at the Belilena is still taking place under the purview of the archaeological department. The archaeologists are determined to find more evidence of this advanced culture existed base din Kitulgala.
The living style of the modern people in Kitulgala is largely intact from their ancestors. They carry out their day to day activities much the same way as the ancestor did in the early days. Most people in Kitulgala depend on agriculture and they are relying on passed-down farming techniques, bullock cart, paddle boats, and large families to sustain their villages.
However, sharing the lifestyle of village folk not on the bucket list of travellers, instead, they opt to dedicate time on thrilling adventures like waterfalls abseiling, hiking, trekking, mountain climbing, mountain biking, whitewater rafting and kayaking.
Start your Kitulagala trip with a boat rafting in Kelaniya river, which is the most popular activity here. The water rafting in Kitulgala is categorized under class 4 and has below specifications pertaining. However, you are assisted by our experienced rater and he is always at the helm.
- Difficult rapids
- Narrow passages
- Turbulent water that requires precise manoeuvring and sends hearts racing
Kitulgala is home to many interesting activities and you can choose any number of them based on your interest and availability of time. Here are a few other interesting activities to choose from, It is recommended to make an advanced reservation to make sure that you do not miss your adrenaline pumping activities.
- Whitewater rafting
- Rainforest trekking
- Mountain biking
- Mountain climbing
- Waterfalls abseiling
- Bird watching
Colombo breaks: By air
Only a 1-hour flight from Colombo, upcountry mirrors Kandy as hill country capital as well as the cultural hub of Sri Lanka. Kandy is a cultural melting pot, which is home to many ethnic and religious groups. Kandy was the last kingdom of Sinhalese-Buddhist monarchy of Sri Lanka and still, Kandy is the stronghold of Sinhalese Buddhist with a majority of the population belong to Sinhalese.
Exploring the Royal botanical garden
Wander through the Royal botanical gardens of Peradeniya, which is one of the most attractive tourist places in Kandy with a vast number of Trees, Plants, creepers. Touring in the botanical garden is the perfect way of exploring Sri Lanka’s rich flora with peace of mind. The orchid house is an important part of the Royal botanical garden, which houses many hundreds of local as well as foreign orchid species.
Visit tooth relic temple
Tooth relic temple, by far which is the most important monuments in Kandy, is home to the left eyetooth of Buddha. Many thousands of Buddhists devotees flock into the sacred temple in view of taking part in merit-making activities. Wander through the 13th-century ancient building, featuring typical local architecture, the much of the ancient temple is built on wooden structures.
Visiting museums in Kandy
The International Buddhist museum is located on an ancient building is just behind the tooth relic temple and features the Buddhist heritage of many Asian nations like Thailand, China, India, Nepal. The archaeological museum in Kandy, which bit of less attractive compared to the International Buddhist museums, hoses many dozens of artefacts found in Kandy during the excavations in the past.
Wander the city through labyrinthine of roads and streets that connect markets, shopping centres, eateries, museums, lake and Kandyan arts and crafts, which has a large collection of traditional arts and crafts, jewellery, spices, tea and jewellery.
Kandy is a perfect spot to sample traditional Sri Lankan food. With many dozens of restaurants and eateries, it provides plenty of opportunities for visitors to sample on traditional menus. A little bit off the border of Kandy is the Bahirawakande or the Mountain of Bahirawa with the biggest seated Buddha in Kandy. The statue is built such a way that it is overlooking the Kandy city.
There are many other places within the border of Kandy to visit on your trip to Kandy, Below is the complete list of places available for your Colombo breaks.
- Tooth relic temple
- Royal botanical garden
- Kandy Lake
- Downtown Kandy
- Tea museum
- International Buddhist Museum
- Archeological Museum
- Kandy viewpoint
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