Friday, September 22, 2017

Cruising Colombo in a Tuk-Tuk--9/18-9/22

Colombo is my last place to visit before returning to Thailand and then back to the USA.

I stayed at the Bunkyard Hostel for four nights at just $2000 Rupees—$13 per night including a full breakfast.  It is one of the cleanest and well managed hostels I have ever stayed at.  I found it on Hostelworld and read some of the reviews and was impressed by the comments and rating of 91.  After getting off the Colombo Fort Railway station, I caught a local bus # 138 which stopped close to the hostel.  The staff was friendly and knowledgeable and the place was immaculate and well designed.  

In the morning,I was pleasantly surprised that they served up a full breakfast of fruits, buffalo curd and honey, pancakes stuffed with sweet coconut flakes, and omelet to order.  They also served a Sri Lankan lunch—curries—for just 250 Rupees as well as real coffee and tea all day long.

They had a tuk-tuk tour for $15-20 USD of the major Colombo tourist sites which included a King Coconut beverage stop and a Sri Lanka lunch of Rice and vegetarian Curry.  It was delicious comprised of lotus root and pumpkin curry along with coconut and onion sambol, and and some Kim chee like vegetable mix, accented with crispy pampadam.

The tour of Colombo included visits in the Fort Colombo area of the the Lighthouse and beyond it the huge Chinese financed shipping harbor expansion.  

We passed several government buildings, including the President’s House, as well as some famous landmarks like the Oriental Hotel, Cargills—department store—, the Clock Tower, St Peters Church, etc.

We then made our way to the World Trade Center.

Across the street we saw the Dutch Hospital which had been transformed into an upscale shopping and eating mall.

We headed over to the Pettah shopping area that was jammed with storefront merchants, both retail and wholesale.

We stopped for a refreshing King Coconut beverage and then walked to the “floating market” which was really a food court with floating rafts opposite the various restaurants.  We stopped for some refreshments there as well.  I had a fuda concoction consisting of a dollop of vanilla ice cream in a rose water beverage—this time it was missing the red and green jellies I earlier had tasted. 

A Swedish couple and a Moroccan joined me for the Bunkyard Tuk-tuk tour.

In the same area we saw the red and white checkerboarded Jami-Ul-Afar Mosque with several Halal restaurants clustered around it.

There were also several Hindu shrines in this area as well.


We explored the Pettah shopping area including the Federation of Self Employees Market right by the Central Bus Station where I can get the 187 Airporter bus.  Nearby they also have lots of fruit and vegetable stalls as well as a covered market area.

It was then on visit Independence Square—from British rule—where I toured the museum under the Independence Square pavilion.  There they had all of the names of soldiers who had died in the cause of Independence along with the political and war history of Sri Lanka.

Following that we visited the Gangaramaya Buddhist Temple which is the most renowned Buddhist Temple in Colombo.  While there they were busy trimming the tree that was wrapped around the large white stupa. Throughout the complex I found thousands of relics and photos celebrating Buddhism.

We ended our tour by having lunch back at the Bunkyard as a part of the tour.

Most Sri Lankan people eat with their hands rather than utinsels as these Hostel workers are doing.

Co-ed Shower room

Hostel Manager/owner in the orange shirt.

Cost of Trip
The 23 day trip throughout Sri Lanka was $1,234 for a daily cost of $54 per day.  Food costs were $388 with a daily cost of $17 per day. Lodging costs were $410 with a daily cost of $18 per day. Travel and tour costs were $456 with $240 for the round trip air fair and much of the rest of the travel cost was for train travel.  The round trip air distance was 4,530 miles from Bangkok.  Train mileage was 1,360 miles and long distance bus mileage was 132 miles.

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