May 23, 2012

According to Amanda: Ten Favorite Places in Colombo, Sri Lanka

Here's the first of my guest posts! This one will actually be a recurring feature called According to Amanda (if you didn't guess from the title!). I am so glad to have my friend Amanda be a part of this blog - I have known her since way back when in grade school and she is the sweetest! Amanda lives in Sri Lanka and will be updating us frequently on the world according to her!

Hey everyone!!!!

A couple of weeks ago, my beautiful friend Chrissy asked me to write about my life and travel experiences for her blog “Silk & Spice” and I jumped at the opportunity! I truly would be honored to be a part of this amazing and super spicy blog! 

I haven’t travelled much but boy oh boy have I been bitten by the travel bug…all I ever watch is the travel channel and while at work I only day dream of eating macaroons under the Eiffel tower in Paris.

But for my first post, I’m going to start right at home - in Colombo, Sri Lanka! 

ODEL Unlimited – From its humble beginnings in the trunk of a car to its rapid transformation into an exclusive shopping hub, ODEL is without a doubt Sri-Lanka’s biggest and most cosmopolitan department store. Ranging from designer perfumes to Belgian chocolates, Odel is definitely a must if you’re in Sri Lanka. The store carries global brand names like Ralph Lauren, Bulgari and Donna Karan as well as Sri Lankan brands like the fabulous beachwear brand Arugumbay! Shopping can be exhausting, so if you ever feel hungry there’s a cozy food court at the entrance and two amazing restaurants inside as well - Nihonbashi for all you sushi fans and Deli France, a cute little eatery which boasts some wonderful chocolate croissants. 

Burger’s King – Located in Slave Island’s busiest junction, this little gem serves up the most AMAZING burgers! Despite the name sounding very similar to the famous chain Burger King, this street shop has a story all its own. It is somewhat of a fold away shop – they literally set up to open at around 5:00 pm – don’t go before, you won’t find anything. It’s all very Platform Nine and Three Quarters (a la Harry Potter). The portions are huge and everything is served hot. Hygiene is good and prices are cheap. You can either choose to sit and pig out in the comfort of your car or you can sit on the sidewalk and enjoy the smells wafting your way from the kitchen! The staff are so friendly and you get your order in minutes…every order comes with a huge portion of French fries. The prawn burger is a must have - soooo yummilicious!!!!

Secondhand Books Maradana - Boasts a string of second hand bookshops, which are renowned for their vast collection of old and rare books at bargain prices. This place is every bookworm’s dream. You can find the classics like Jane Austen and Charles Dickens or you can bury your nose in chick-lit and science fiction – you name it, they've got it.

Kama – Colombo’s most exclusive night club! All you party loving, club hopping lads and lasses, this is the place to be on the weekends. The music will make you dance like there’s no tomorrow and if you get hungry from all that dancing, they serve the best chicken club sandwiches ever! The ideal time to get in is around 11:30 -12pm, the party goes on till 7 in the morning and the hangover is definitely worth it!! Kama is the place you wanna go to if you've had a bad day, the music and ambiance instantly puts you in a good mood!
Pettah – “A Bargainer’s Haven”. Your Colombo shopping experience isn’t complete without being thrust in to the hustle and bustle of Pettah which is famous for it's open air bazaars. With almost anything being available in the many narrow streets, you will have plenty of shops to choose from that will satisfy your retail needs. Shops are located in clusters, with specific types of items being sold in each cluster. Although driving through and parking maybe problematic, the entire stretch of shops are located within walking distance. Whatever you choose to purchase, be sure to polish your bargaining skills, which is important to fetch the best prices. Tips – carry a sling bag and wear flip flops, loose the jewelery (you want to avoid being a victim of pickpocketing) carry your ID/Passport securely and keep you money close to you at all times!!! Also beware, street vendors/hawkers might try to sell you items that are not genuine/fake. Follow these and you’ll come out alive!

Pilawoos – is the best place for good ol’ Sri Lankan street food and yes, the best place to prepare for an impending hangover. This is where you go for the legendary “Cheese Kothu” which is to die for! The delicious dish is made with Happy Cow cheese triangles (shame on you if you are Sri Lankan and don’t know about Happy Cow). Another must try on the menu is the Chocolate Rotti made with Nutella. Pilawoos is open till the wee hours, so party all you want and head on over! 

7 Degrees - This is the most insanely romantic bar in Colombo (located at Cinnamon Lakeside). Perfect for dates, you can chill to jazz music and sip on a Margarita while overlooking the bera lake which looks is a pretty sight at night. 7 degrees would be the place you wanna go to have a couple of amazing cocktails/mocktails to get the party started! Perfect for a relaxed evening. They always serve the most exquisite tapas in the world!

Paradise Road – The antique lover’s sanctuary, you truly feel like you walked into nirvana when you enter Paradise Road! The scents from the incense sticks are divine and oh so relaxing. If you want to make your home look like Bali or create a Zen atmosphere, Paradise Road is the place for you! From Egyptian cotton fabrics to beautiful china, they’ve got you covered. My favorite purchase is the scented candles. 

Majestic City – Colombo’s oldest shopping mall, this place is frequented by all kinds of little cliques, but very popular among the teens and tweens. Shops sell everything from movies to electronics and shoes. If you ever find yourself here, you must try Pepper’s Pizza.

Carnival – It is truly a carnival of colors and flavors in this little ice-cream parlor. This place is basically a household name. The ice-cream is beyond fabulous, very milky and creamy – if happiness was a flavor, it would be the flavors of Carnival ice-cream. My fave is Hawaiian Ice Cream Paradise which comes in a huge glass bowl - perfect for two!

Have you visited any of these places? What was your favorite thing about them?

Until next time,

(Chrissy Casinader also contributed to this post)


  1. Amanda, I love every single thing you have just mentioned about Colombo, and it makes me miss home more... Well done and keep it coming =)

  2. Amanda you are such a talented blogger, keep up the good work. Loved every single bit of it

  3. Great stuff! read it twice, read the cheese kottu paragraph 36 times

  4. Great start Amanda :D Amazingly written...enjoyed every bit of it :) Keep writing!! x