Colombo is the capital and Sri Lanka‘s largest city. Among other things, it has the country’s largest port and trading center. Initially we’d wanted to skip Colombo, but we were actually curious about this city which , by the way, haven’t read anything positive about. We had a few hours of spare time, so we decided to travel to Colombo anyway, prior to our flight to the Maldives. Below are three sights you can visit in a few hours in this capital city!
The Dutch Hospital in Colombo
As the name suggests, The Dutch Hospital used to be a hospital. It is one of the oldest buildings of Colombo Fort and dates from the Dutch colonial era. The Dutch built the hospital to care for the officers and other Dutch East India Company personnel. The building later also served as a police building. In 2011, it was converted into a shopping area. You will find nice boutiques and several restaurants here. A perfect location to take a look around and then enjoy a delicious lunch or dinner!
Jami Ul-Alfar Mosque
The Jami Ul-Alfar is a mosque located in the Pettah district and is one of the oldest mosques in Colombo. The mosque is striped in red/white, which makes it a remarkable sight! It was built in 1900 and is a popular tourist attraction. Anyone can visit the mosque and if you don’t have suitable clothing, you can borrow them. We didn’t have much time and only checked the mosque from the outside. That alone is definitely worth it!
The Pettah Market is also called the Manning Market and is a market in the Pettah district. Contrary to the rest of Sri Lanka, you’ll mainly see Muslims here.
If you visit Colombo as the last destination of your trip through Sri Lanka, like we did, you are in for quite a surprise. It is very crowded and that makes it the best place to get acquainted with the local life in Colombo! There were only a few other tourists walking around and you mainly meet locals. At least, this was the case when we visited the market in November.
At the Pettah market you can find everything! Clothing, shoes, food, electronics, DVD’s and much more. The market is very big and spreads through countless streets. Just wandering around is a special experience in and of itself. If you happen to visit Colombo, get in a tuktuk and get yourself to the Pettah Market!