Buddha statues on elevated steps
Left: Gangaramaya temple Right: Buddha statues on elevated steps
VISIT ONE OF COLOMBO’S OLDEST BUDDHIST TEMPLES
Work off that hearty breakfast as you explore Gangaramaya temple, home to some stunning Buddhist architecture, antiques and the auspicious Bodhi tree, where devotees congregate to meditate, chant and hang prayer flags. Hand-painted scenes documenting highlights from Buddha’s life adorn the walls and ceiling of the adjoining monastery. Unlike most places of worship, this temple, established in 1885, also doubles up as a museum showcasing an eclectic array of fascinating relics and artefacts. Plus, check out the stunning courtyard where a collection of Buddha statues sit on elevated steps as they attempt to reach the sky.
Exquisite Italian architecture of the museum
National Museum of Colombo
Left: Exquisite Italian architecture of the museum Right: National Museum of Colombo
GET AN INTIMATE LOOK AT COLOMBO’S HERITAGE
Next, a visit to the National Museum of Colombo for an educational and enriching experience as you get a first-hand look at Sri Lanka’s rich cultural and architectural heritage. Constructed in 1877 by then British Governor Sir William Henry Gregory, the museum, featuring exquisite Italian architecture, is home to a plethora of precious artefacts. The two-storey building has several galleries for you to view intricate stone antiquities, paintings, ancient textiles, military weapons, and more. You can also watch recorded presentations of traditional Sri Lankan agricultural methods and customary rituals. Head to the gift shop on your way out to bring a piece of Colombo back with you
Left: Whale watching Right: Stilt fishing
DAY 2 ONWARDS
TAKE IT SLOW AND EASY
From stilt fishing to whale watching, there is plenty more to explore. Take a leisurely train ride from Colombo for a true Sri Lankan experience. Hop on the Kandy-bound train for a breathtaking view of tea plantations, and make a stop at Nuwara Eliya to visit the well-known Pedro Tea Factory. Or head to the beaches of Colombo for a spot of stilt fishing, perched on a crossbar with just a rod and some bait. This dying tradition has survived only as a tourist attraction. Have a photo taken and make a donation to help the friendly fishermen to keep this tradition alive. For nature enthusiasts, whale watching is an experience not to be missed. Join a tour and marvel at these gentle giants, and their friendly companions, the dolphins.