Days in Colombo

Sunday, 21 February 2010
Colombo, Sri Lanka

My arrival in Colombo was easy. I catched a bus to the city for Rs 40, and finally a Bajaj (motorised 3-wheeler) to the homestay where I had reserved a room, the Parisare, for Rs 150. The homestay is located in Cinnamon Gardens, an affluent residential district in Colombo, and is one of the best budget lodgings I have ever seen, especially for a capital city. The owner is a 76-year-old talkative lady, fluent in English. She showed me a book her (deceased) husband had written, about his memories about life on the tea plantations in Sri Lanka. I browsed the book (it was in English). Interesting.

Immediately after checking-in, I walked to the nearby Viharamahadevi Park, and from there to Galle Face Green, the beach front promenade. At this spot, I came upon the first shady characters: A guy approached me and wanted to direct me to a nearby elephant parade, by giving me a free ride in his buddy’s Bajaj. This smelled of bullshit and robbery attempt to me (it reminded me of an incident in Mumbai in 2001), so of course I refused and just walked away.

From Galle Face Green I walked to the Fort, a high-security area with many police checkpoints, complete with sandbags and in one case with a big machine gun pointing towards the crowd. Cool. I ate at a nearby vegetarian restaurant.

It was time to chill out with a beer, so I stumbled upon the bar behind the Sri Lanka Ex-Servicemen’s Institute, and had a Lion Lager. I met 3 friendly guys claiming to work in the navy, and I also tried some of the arrack they were drinking. I took a Bajaj home afterwards.

Next day was less eventful, but I had a great lunch at the homestay (some curry dishes etc.) I took a Bajaj to the Fort (Rs 150), and strolled around nearby Pettah, the oldest district in Colombo. Meal at a vegetarian restaurant. Not that I’m seeking out such restaurants, but they seem to be many around. I walked back to my homestay, and stopped by a simple bar about halfway, where I met 4 very friendly locals at my age. They even insisted to pay for my beer.

Tomorrow I will probably take the train to Galle or Hikkaduwa. The train leaves at 10:30.


My room at Parisare guest house.


The living room at Parisare guest house.

Police checkpoint, Colombo

Police checkpoint, Fort area. There’s a machine gun pointing the other way.

Bristol Street, Colombo

Bristol Street, sponsed by HSBC.

Sri Lanka Ex-Servicemen's Institute

Drinking beer and arrack at Sri Lanka Ex-Servicemen’s Institute.

4 responses

  1. frank comments:

    hi very useful can u gv me the details like tariff etc so i can approach them also contact details.

  2. Rune comments:

    Hi Frank!
    The address is: 97/1 Rosmead Place, Cinnamon Gardens, Colombo.
    Tel.: +94 11 269 4749.
    I paid 1100 LKR per night for the room (inkl. 10% “service charge”).

  3. Beat Schwager comments:

    Hi Rune,

    I have a lonely planet guide book and the Parisare guesthouse have got my attention right away. I wonder how I can book that guesthouse. Do they have a mail address or how can I reserve a room there. I suppose they only have 3 rooms so I better make a reservation in advance. I will arrive on 2nd May 2017
    I read some comments on the internet and they were not all positive. Since the owner is quite old I’m afraid that she might mishandle my reservation.

  4. Rune comments:

    Hi Beat Schwager,
    I think the only way is to call it, that’s what I did.
    But this was 7 years ago, maybe it even don’t exist anymore, I don’t know.

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