I recently had a weekend in Colombo and so decided that I should check the place out. One of the easiest ways to get around the place is by Tuk Tuk so what better way to explore than in a convertible Tuk Tuk, and that is where Tuk Tuk Safaris come in, they get great reviews online and the timing and price was right so I chose their Colombo Sunset Tuk Tuk Safari.
My guide for the day was Donald Duck, but I decided that he was more of a Duckman than a Donald, he liked the change of name as well 🙂
Duckman’s real name is Chathuranga and he is the real reason why you would want to book a Tuk Tuk Safari tour.
Colombo is a Friendly Place
One of the first things I noticed about Sri Lanka was how friendly the place is, the next was how they love to smile and like to have their picture taken.
The 350m (1,150 ft) tall Lotus Tower is still under construction, just the internals left to go I guess as it dominates the Colombo Skyline.
Most of the locals I have spoken to don’t like it because it was funded by Chinese money. It is a telecommunications tower that will also house a museum, an exhibition centre, retail complex, hotel and (I think) a rotating restaurant.
Sri Kaileswaram Temple Colombo
The first stop on my Tuk Tuk Safari was the Sri Kaileswaram Temple which is the oldest and largest Hindu Temple in Colombo.
The Streets of Colombo
Jami-Ul-Alfar Mosque or Red Masjid
Another landmark that we checked out was the Jami-Ul-Alfar Mosque or Red Mosque (Masjid) which was built in 1908 and 1909, it definitely stands out. Apparently there are few other Mosques in the world that have take their design cues from
Second stop was for a fresh mango drink, it was like a thick shake, very thick but tasty, not sure how I missed taking a photo of it. The mango shop is in the Fort district which is now more about restaurants than guarding anything.
The Colombo Lighthouse is also the Sri Lankan Navy’s HQ. It is now more a monument than a functioning Lighthouse, it is also where the 7 gun salute is fired on Sri Lankan Independence Day, each of the guns is numbered.
There is an interesting “rule” enforced at the Lighthouse, when you are on the observation deck level looking out to sea you are only allowed to take photos to the left and not to the right.
As the new port is being built in between the Lighthouse and the sea the light is no longer used to warn ships that they are near land, it would be a bit late if that was case.
The Gangaramaya Temple is one of the oldest Buddhist Temples in Sri Lanka. It was built by a monk called Hikkaduwe Sri Sumangala Nayaka Thera in the late 19th Century.
The day that I visited was the Full Moon which is a Buddhist Holiday each month in Sri Lanka, so the temple was full of worshipers, which added to the visit.
The Temple is full of donations from Buddhas to books to cars. An interesting eclectic collection.
Embillian Tea – Tea Triumph
When in Sri Lanka what must one do, go Tea Tasting of course. One of the stops is at a touristy Tea House. They give you a bit of an overview of the teas that the Embillian Tea produces, which is quite a number, and then you get to chose the ones you would like to try.
I went with only 4 teas, Spiced Tea, Ginger Tea, Extra Special Tea and Golden Tip Tea. My favorites were the Golden Tip and the Ginger Teas.
Sri Lankan Independence Memorial Hall
The Independence Memorial Hall was built to commemorate the independence of Sri Lanka from British Rule on 04 Feb 1948, and is located within the Cinnamon Gardens.
The location of the Hall was chosen as it was spot where the formal ceremony to mark the commencement of self-rule was held. It was designed to look like the Magul Maduwa (Celebration Hall) in Kandy where the Kandyan Convention was signed to end the Kingdom of Kandy, basically when the British took over the place in 1815.
The Hall and surrounding gardens look like a nice spot to spend an afternoon.
The Streets of Colombo
Colombo Sunset Tuk Tuk Safari
I enjoyed my Colombo Sunset Tuk Tuk Safari and would recommend it to anyone who was interested in a 4 hour tour around the streets of Colombo. As I really had a good time I booked Duckman and his Tuk Tuk for a custom full day tour for the following day, more about that is to follow.