Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Experience Travel Blog

When thinking about historical sites in Sri Lanka Sigiriya, Polonnaruwa, Galle Fort and Tea Plantations may spring to mind. The Capital city of Colombo, more often than not, gets unjustly overlooked. Often represented at the commercial and shopping heart of Sri Lanka, Colombo in fact has a hidden treasure trove of historical gems ready to be discovered!

Colombo City Walks offer a chance to explore the bustling city on foot through the market districts of Pettah, old Dutch Fort streets and modern commercial hub, but most importantly it offers a chance to submerge yourself in the city’s exotic and tumultuous past.

Colombo City Walk’s founders Mark and Ruby will pick you up from your hotel where they will transport you to a previous era (by Jeep!) to when the Portuguese, Dutch and finally the British ruled the land. Starting out at city’s oldest church, the Wolvendaal church built in 1749, the walking tour winds its way through the old Dutch Fort streets of the Pettah district, today home to the thriving local market stalls. Down its small alley ways, and behind wooden doors, remain pockets of rich history not found on the usual tourist routes.

Old Dutch Museum Surrounded by offices

From Pettah guests are taken to the Grand Oriental Hotel which had its heyday in the British Colonial Period, and now offers spectacular views over Colombo’s expansive port. After passing many other interesting buildings, including a newly renovated Old Dutch Hospital (perfect for a quick beer and a rest!), the tour finishes up walking along the seafront at Galle Face Green where you can enjoy the local delicacies of spiced fruit and tapioca crisps.

Mark and Ruby’s infectious enthusiasm for the city and impressive knowledge of its past help to paint an incredibly detailed picture of the city’s by gone eras!  With their genuine love of Colombo it is hard not to be swept up in the histories and myths of the city. Their relaxed, informal and friendly nature also ensures that everyone has a good time!

The tour itself is flexible and relaxed, working to each group’s pace, though usually taking about three hours to complete (including a few well placed refreshment stops). The land is flat and easy to walk, though a good pair of shoes is recommended, as is a camera for the spectacular sights and buildings you will see! Walks start late afternoon when the temperature is cooling and continue till after sunset.

Walking to Galle Face Green on a very misty night

For history lovers like myself, or for people just keen to have bit of a nosy about the town this walking tour is incredibly interesting and a great way to explore the county’s capital. It’s a brilliant addition to any holiday in Sri Lanka with Experience Travel.

A fabulous write up on Colombo city walks

A lucky Visit to the presidential palace.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Fabulous feedback of our Hosts

Neat city tour, enthusiastic guide
Jan 13, 2016
deborah1212 (58 reviews)
Sydney, Australia
We can't fault our personable guide, Shenelle, who met us and enlightened us on things historic and cultural about Colombo. Unfazed by the amount of information she would have to impart over the next three hours, she took us systematically around the fort and port area. 
Left to our own devices, we would never have even touched the sides of seeing, hearing, smelling and feeling in this true melting pot of a city. 
Venturing even into Pettah, she helped put shape and meaning into what otherwise would have been a confusing jumble. 
I would highly recommend anyone starting (or ending) their trip to Colombo with this guided city tour. 

Fabulous feedback

We really loved this tour. We had a private tour with just the 2 of us on our last day in Sri Lanka. Our guide (DC), was welcoming, knowledgeable and took us through the fort and interesting historical sites without overloading us with information - he also had props and photos to show us how things have changed over time, with interesting anecdotes added in. The pace was steady but kept moving and interesting. We learned loads about Colombo that we would have otherwise missed if we'd decided to do something else. 
We particularly enjoyed learning about Colombo's varied history with an impartial and balanced perspective. 
DC was an excellent guide (fluent English), everything was well organised by Ruvi. Well worth the money.