Colombo, Sri Lanka

May 5 and 6, 2023

I have a post from May 4 in Cochin, India but for some reason it is frozen on my iPad and will not load.  I am in contact with the “happiness engineers” at Word Press so I hope to save it but if not, I will have to compose it again.  So I am doing this one on the laptop and Cochin will have to come later.

We were in Sri Lanka in 2015 but not since then.  We are scheduled to be here for two days and decided to stay in Colombo because a lot of the attractions are a 2 hour drive to get to and we didn’t want to do that after so many full days of touring.

As we pulled into port, we could see that it was a very busy commercial port. And although our  material on the ship said you could not walk in the port, there was one entrance/exit that we could walk to.


We were advised before we boarded that we would need an immigration form that we could fill in online ($50 fee). So we did that and printed it out but NO ONE asked for it at all.  I wonder if all guests even did it.  The ship reimbursed us for the fee.

We found a taxi at the port and went to the One Galle Face Mall.  Our driver was Silva and he was eager to give me his phone number and encouraged us to call him the next day to have him take us on tour.

So today our mission was to shop for an Indian outfit – the type I have admired when others wear them.

We found a shop and I tried on many of the cotton tunics with pants.  None looked right, Norm thought they all looked like pajamas.  So we went to another store where I found a more formal outfit. 


We then went to another shop that caught Norm’s eye and it was a great experience. The two women had me as the only customer most of the time and quickly determined what I would like and would not like.  I could have bought half of the dresses in the store but I settled for 5! All were very reasonable in price.  As I wear them, I will post some pictures.

Of course, they are known for cashews here so we bought some of the sugar coated ones.  Yum!

We took a tuk tuk back to the ship and relaxed the rest of the day. At night, there was a deck party for Cinco de Mayo.  Norm opted out but I went, had a margarita and danced all night long.

On Saturday, we decided to just hire a tuk tuk for the day instead of calling Silva (although he had a nice air conditioned Toyota!)

We hired a driver named Chandrasivi but he said to call him Chandra.  The tuk tuk is a unique vehicle with one tire in the front and two in the back.  The driver sits in the front and the seat for passengers holds two comfortably and perhaps three in a squeeze.


We settled on a price for a one hour tour but we ended up going for more than 3 hours.  We visited two Buddhist temples and in our travels around town we saw all of the decorations for the Buddhist celebration taking place yesterday and today – the Vesak Full Moon Poya Day and day after Full Moon Poya Day. These are local holidays here and we weren’t sure what might be open. The mall yesterday was no problem.  Most stores were open and it was a very large and modern mall.  One of our fellow passengers tried to go to the jewelry exchange in the World Trade Center building, but that was closed.

Here are some pictures from the two temples.  The Gangaramaya temple is one of the most important temples in Colombo and is an eclectic mix of Sri Lankan, Thai, Indian and Chinese architecture.  It is a huge  complex with many statues of Buddha.  There is a relic that is said to be hair of the Buddha.  The attached museum has so many artifacts that you couldn’t even take it all in. 

IMG_7758~photoIMG_7756~photoIMG_7752~photoIMG_7748~photoIMG_7742~photoIMG_7738~photoIMG_7736~photoIMG_7728~photoIMG_7726~photoIMG_7712~photoIMG_7707~photoIMG_7734~photoThis one is said to be the footprint of the Buddha.

The other temple was constructed over the water and was quite simple and beautiful.


We visited the Independence Hall.  Norm stayed in the vehicle and was entertained by the monkey and the man with the cobras. In another spot a young woman and her father who approached him so she could practice her English.



We went to a gem gallery which had very beautiful stones and jewelry. We didn’t buy any but it was nice to look.  They mine sapphires, rubies and emeralds here but not diamonds.

Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon) is well known for tea and spices.  We went to a tea factory retail outlet where we tried several types of Sri Lankan tea that you can only buy here and we bought two kinds. The young man serving us and explaining all about the tea was both informative and handsome!


We stopped at a Hindu temple but we had already seen so many in India, we didn’t go inside.


This is the Lotus Tower.


We wanted to get back to the ship for the afternoon tea (which we usually never go to) but today it was a special Coronation tea with the big screen airing the Coronation.  We did make it back but not before the tuk tuk broke down and Chandra had to call a friend to bring another one so he could take us back to the ship.

Coronation tea pictures.


We had two very different but very nice days in Sri Lanka.  It was hot weather but there was a nice breeze in many places. We now have two days at sea and it will be a nice rest!

This entry was posted in Asia, Excursions, May, World Cruise #4. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Colombo, Sri Lanka

  1. Violet Archer says:

    Great informative blogs as usual. Thanks for sharing Pat.


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