“Ayowan” said a pretty lady clad with a peacock printed sari while we made our way out of the Sri Lankan Airlines at the Bandaranaike International Airport.
The alluring country of Sri Lanka which is famous for the homegrown Ceylon Tea offers lush greenery to golden sparkling beaches. Breathtaking scenery amidst the thriving green tea plantations with the combination of valleys, streams, cliffs and exotic wildlife, make it an irresistible place to give a miss.
To be honest, cringed at the thought of wasting time sitting at Colombo International Airport, we immediately headed to the visa desk, got a transit visa and were ready to explore the quaint town of Negombo, feeling the waft of Sri Lankan air and making the best of our layover.
If you too are stuck in transit at Sri Lanka then we are to your rescue to help you make the best use of your layover in the country. Soak in the culture and indulge in local cuisine even in the shortest span of time, six hours of Sri Lanka layover need not be such a burden.
Take a city Tour of “Little Rome”
Negombo which is the fourth largest city of Sri Lanka is a beautiful city dubbed as Sri Lanka’s Little Rome. The scenic landscape is extremely exuberant and is marked by coconut palms. Negombo is dotted with churches, Buddhist temples and Hindu temples (kovils), hire a bike and explore the winding roads of the quaint town tucked at the shores of Indian Ocean. The chilled out locals and laid back attitude is sure to mesmerize you.
Get into spiritual high visiting the famous Angurukaramulla Temple which is approximately 200 years old which has a 6m-long reclining Buddha is worth seeing or spend your time admiring the fading pink chamber of St Mary’s Church to stunning St. Sebastian’s Church which has some thunderous religious ceiling paintings covering the nave.
Indulge in Local Cuisine
Sample the local delicacies in one of the beach shacks of Negombo with the local Tiger Beer. Tantalize your taste buds with the delicious seafood. We had ordered Sri Lankan special rice, chicken curry, prawns with local beer. We paid a measly 800 bucks (in Sri Lankan Rupee) for a sumptuous meal for two.
Sip in home-grown famous Ceylon Tea
Sri Lanka is famous for both its tea estates and the produce. We remember being served Ceylon tea at the Landmark Hotel in London. Try experimenting with the different flavors of tea ranging from Mango to Vanilla.
Also, do not forget to pack some tea for home, it’s truly worth it 🙂
We grabbed a dozen of varieties of tea back home for friends and families.
Relax at Negombo Beach
Sri Lanka is blessed with stunning beaches and Negombo is one of them. You can relax at one of the beach shack or go for a speed boat ride. The beach is also famous for Kite surfing though we did not have time for that. But after a hearty meal, we went for a long walk and met some friendly locals at the beach. Don’t get surprised if you find Idli and Vada being sold at one of food carts on the beach.
Pick up artifacts and souvenirs back home
Souvenirs not only trigger sweet travel memories, they also make great decorative accents. Make the best use of your time and bring back travel memories to cherish from this beautiful country back home. Wooden artifacts and small trinkets are sold at various shops especially wooden figurines, wooden devil masks, silverwares, wooden wall hangings, brass lamps, pottery, jewelry box and the famous hand looms and batik items are quite popular.
How to get Sri Lanka Transit VISA
ETA has to be filled and submitted prior to your visit, once ETA is approved, you can quickly get the transit visa that will save you loads of time to explore nearby places.
The surreal country has more to offer which will leave you craving for more …