Perfumed flower garlands, colonial roots, and lavish afternoon teas welcome you to the former garden city of Colombo. Sri Lanka’s easy breezy city is certainly intoxicating, with its cinnamon dusted air, steaming cups of delicate ceylon, and sassy seaside charm. A place of full sensory immersion, explore tangled streets to sidestep frantic tuk-tuks and gaze in awe at grand colonial buildings turned heritage hotels.
The Galle Fort is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with narrow lanes hemmed in by sun-scorched and sea-swept Portuguese facades, and reinforced by Dutch fortifications. Cute cafes usher you inside for sweet lassi, and the walls are made for a pleasantly laxidasical pace of walking. They're perhaps most impressive on stormy days, when you can watch bruised clouds tumble and roil across the sea from this perfect vantage point.
Back in the capital, stroll the ornate halls of the National Museum where gilded swords, studded masks, and rare artefacts from the ancient world and colonial times are gathered. Visit the Gangaramaya Temple, to walk among the orange-robed monks who glide between flora-strewn alters, or plunge into the chaos of Pettah - where market cries reach orchestral heights. An incredible gathering of carved Hindu gods decorate the colourful pyramid of the Captain’s Garden Kovil temple - the oldest Hindu temple in the city, which rises majestically from the surrounding railway tracks.
Forever the dish of the day, crab is a must in Colombo. Sit down, tuck in your bib and use your hands to crack, scoop and suck out the soft white meat – especially delicious when smothered in lashings of garlic and fiery chilli.