Why 2020 is the year to visit Colombo? Because Sri Lanka has been able to contain the novel coronavirus very successfully against the backdrop of most other countries that are heavily suffering from novel coronavirus. No COVID-19 patient was found in Colombo for more than 70 days as of 31st July 2020.
Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic tourism to Colombo as well as to most other cities across the world has dwindled in great amount since march 2020. According to experts, tourism will not be back to normal until 2021 and tourist visits to Colombo will remain low like most other cities in the world. However, with a very successful campaign against novel coronavirus, Sri Lanka emerges as one of the safest holiday destinations for 2020.
History of Colombo
According to the historical notes, the merchants from many countries such as China, India, Arab, and Egypt arrived at Colombo harbour in order to exchange their goods with the local traders and collect local merchandise such as ivory, gems and spices. Even though Colombo was an important port of call in the region over many thousands of years, the story of modern Colombo starts with the arrival of British colonial rulers in 1796.
Therefore, modern Colombo is considerably young in comparison to the 2000 years old Buddhist temples, stupas and lakes in the cultural triangle of Sri Lanka. However, Colombo has seen its own share of history in its lifetime, including occupation by the Portuguese, Dutch and British and the fight for freedom that changed the course of Sri Lanka.
Visit Colombo museum
History of Colombo and Sri Lanka – new and ancient – is on display at the Colombo national museum, which is the main museum of Sri Lanka dedicated to Sinhalese civilization. Located just about a kilometre from the city centre is visited by a large number of local travellers, which is one of the best places for locals to experience the rich historical past of their civilization. Colombo national museum is an important state institution that shares the treasures of Sinhalese civilization with travellers, therefore, a visit to Colombo is always combined with the museum.
The museum of Colombo has a fascinating collection of historical artefacts and most of them are very rare evidence of Sri Lanka’s culture. For locals, the museum of Colombo is an opportunity to introduce their rich historical past to the world. Beyond the museum of Colombo, the city offers a wide range of other important tourist places, fine dining experiences and recreation facilities, Sri Lankans are very eager to share why foreign travellers should visit the sprawling capital and why they love living there.
Why do people love Colombo?
Colombo is the home to more than 2 million people, which makes up around 10% of the total population on the island. Colombo has an energetic pulse, according to the residents of Colombo. The people of Colombo attribute the city’s energy to the multicultural society and the natural environment found here. Every single part of Colombo has its own vibe and culture where these facets shine.
Part of Colombo has a modern, upbeat, club side. The travellers get rural, lush green vegetation and wetland habitats just outside of the city centre. Travellers can feel the ancient vibe in some places in Colombo and some of these places are stranded in the busiest part of Colombo. One of the most fascinating things about Colombo is this fascinating blend of old and new within its borders, Colombo has managed to sustain all these different entities.
Colombo has a sizable Chinese community, and these Chinese ex-pats work on many development projects in Colombo. Shin Chuan, one of the Chinese ex-pats working for one of the biggest hotel projects in Colombo, opine that Colombo has a uniquely exciting buzz. “As you hit the road, you are greeted by many thousands of vehicles and TUK TUKs, weaving through each other like ants, but everyone is trying to keep the sound pollution at its lowest, therefore, honking is very rare.”
Visit Colombo: the food scene
The food scene is always an important part of Sri Lankan life, and so is in the city of Colombo. There has been a huge development in Colombo in the past and simultaneously there has been a renaissance in the food scene, with a glut of new restaurants.
The culinary culture of Colombo is spiced with the essence of many nations; therefore, the travellers are will on track to have a global taste as well as hearken back to Sri Lanka’s traditional roots. Usually, every foreign traveller tastes the traditional food varieties on their visit to Sri Lanka, at least the staple diet of Sri Lanka, rice ad curry. Rice and curry are the hearty national dish of Sri Lanka, which is served in a combination of rice with any number of items such as fish, vegetable, lentils, papadam, chicken, beef, salad, chutney, fried onion, chilli paste, grated coconut.
After the rice and curry next popular food item of the visitors to Sri Lanka is seafood. It is a common belief that Sri Lanka is one of the best places to sample delicious fresh seafood. Being an island Sri Lanka is surrounded by the Indian ocean, which is a great source of fish and a large number of seafood restaurants are dotted along the beach and most of them are concentrated in the beach resorts and cities such as Colombo, Bentota, Hikkaduwa, Unawatuna.
Near the southern border of Colombo is the wide sandy beach known as Mt. Lavinia beach, which is very popular among the local traveller for get-togethers. A dozen of restaurants line up along the beach and serve the foodie travellers everything from rice and curry to Sri Lankan street food. It is a perfect opportunity for travellers to enjoy delicious Sri Lankan as well as international dishes while enjoying the cool breeze of the Indian Ocean.
Galle faces the green of Colombo, which can be described as a street of culinary dreams. The vast plain alone the Colombo beach, Galle Face Green, near the port city offers a perfect opportunity to enjoy delicious Sri Lankan food variety such as Vade, fish bun, fish rolls, egg rolls and many fast food items.
What’s it like living in Colombo?
Colombo is the pulse of the Sri Lankan economy and hustle and bustle is an integral part of Colombo. The rapid development of this emerging metropolis has resulted in a large influx of people to the city from remote areas in search of jobs and other opportunities. Therefore, most part of Colombo is very crowded and can be a tedious task to move around, especially during rush hour.
Accessibility to transportation is easy and straightforward and offers many options like the train, buses, Taxi, Tuk Tuk etc. The cost of transportation is also very affordable compared to most other countries in the region. The monthly transportation cost is on average 210% cheaper than they are in Singapore, according to the price comparison site Expatistan.
While transportation is one of the cheapest on the island compared to the cost of most other cities in the region, food, housing, clothes and all other basic ingredients to live in Colombo are cheaper. According to Expatistan, you would need at least 1,301,465 ₨ (SGD $9,622) in Singapore to maintain the same standard of living that you can have with 492,000 ₨ in Colombo. Below is a comparison of the cost of living between Colombo and Singapore.
MS Clair Wolfgang, a German national who works as the resident manager for a leading German outbound tour operator, said: “It is best to adopt a laid-back attitude during your stay in Colombo, as things might not always go according to your plan.”
Things are a little bit different in Sri Lanka compared to most European countries, E.g. life in Sri Lanka is slow and lethargic, “Don’t go with the fixed mind, like a fixed schedule or particular structure of the organization, it could make you disappointed,” said Clair. “Colombo teaches you to just go with the flow and to savour the lessons learned along the way, said Clair.”
English is widely spoken in Sri Lanka; The language is deeply rooted in the society, which was introduced and by British administrators (1796 AD-1948 AD). During the British colonial era, English had been the official language on the island. Today English is one of the widely spoken languages on the island.
Speaking English is a distinct advantage for newcomers making it easy to navigate around Colombo. “in Colombo People are good at English, and you can easily communicate with them,” said Clair.
Living in Sri Lanka was a dangerous affair in the past from 1983 to 2009 due to the ethnic conflict. But the militant group that fought against the legitimate government was completely crushed in 2009, and since then the picture of Sri Lanka dramatically changed in the eyes of world travellers. There had been a tourism boom on the island since the end of the militant groups, which were based in the north and east.
Visit Colombo: the port city
The government of Sri Lanka is successfully implementing its plan to extract a part of the sea near the city, with the port city project which is also called Colombo International Financial City (CIFC). The port city will be the lifeline of Sri Lanka’s economy upon its completion within the next few years. The port city is the biggest development project in Sri Lanka so far and it was funded by the Chinese government.
In the first phase of the project, a portion of the sea is filled with sand, is already completed and an empty space with an extension of 269 hectares is already added to the Sri Lankan map. It is expected to see a boom in the construction industry within the coming decades based on the port city. The plan includes creating a well planned city with hotels, conference halls, prime residencies, recreation centres, parks, roads and greenery.
The future of Colombo and Sri Lanka as a whole seems to be bright with the newly elected ambitious leader. A large number of development projects are in the pipeline. The president of Sri Lanka has instructed the officials to expedite the ongoing development projects such as highways while state enterprises are instructed to eliminate corruption and turn them into profit-making ventures.
In the backdrop of most nations around the world suffering from novel coronavirus, Sri Lanka has been able to control the COVID-19 pandemic very successfully. The civilian life of Sri Lankan people turned back to normal after 3 months of lockdown from march 2020 to July 2020 and since then the life of Sri Lankan’s go about as usual without any hindrance.
Tourism is a very promising industry in Sri Lanka and with a very successful campaign against the pandemic, Sri Lanka is at the forefront as a safe destination for world travellers. Many travellers are already making inquiries about Sri Lanka trips for the coming months. The government of Sri Lanka had planned to open the airports and harbours for international travellers from 1st august 2020, but it was delayed as the repatriation program of Sri Lankan foreign workers is not completed yet. According to the information the reopening of the airport will be delayed until mid-august or the end of August.
As the lockdown restriction is slowly removed around the world, nearly half a million people that are working in Sri Lanka’s tourism industry are eagerly waiting to receive foreign travellers and start with their usual duties and help the travellers to get to know the cultural, historical, wildlife and many other aspects of Sri Lankan life.
Why visit Colombo with Seerendipity
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