If you're a frequent traveler, you wouldn’t be surprised that the commercial hub of Sri Lanka which is Colombo, is one chaotic place, especially during work hours on weekdays. The locals don’t like having to crawl about in traffic jams, circling around buildings multiple times to find a parking space or having to take crowded buses and trains to get about. If you are on holiday, since you get to choose the times you step out, where you go and how you do so, knowing a few of the rules will help.
It’s All about Timing
Frankly speaking, if you plan your trip to Colombo when schools are closed for holidays there is a vast difference in the traffic as life is a lot less hectic and even at 08.00 am you might be able to get about without too much of a fuss. However, if you are not so fortunate and cannot coincide your trip at such a time, the best bet is to join the tail of the office traffic; which is around 09.45 am and plan to be back at your accommodation by 04.45 pm. The Colombo nightlife can be fascinating, especially on Fridays and Saturdays, but step out only around 08.00 pm so that you spend the minimum time en route.
Base Yourself Right
If you are in Colombo to shop, you may want to visit a bunch of the Colombo attractions such as the Gangaramaya Temple, the Independence Square, the Vihara Maha Devi Park the Pettah Floating Market and enjoy the many dining outlets in the heart of the city, base yourself at a location that gives you ample flexibility and ease in terms of getting about. When almost everything is within a 5 to 8 km radius, you should be comfortably poised to take on a gamut of activities everyday. on the other hand in case you want to be only around the outskirts of Colombo for a day or two as you plan to explore other parts of the country, choose a location that provides ease of access to your preferred destination.
The Mode for the Mood
Tuktuks are a convenient and efficient way of getting between two locations. With the introduction of meters, they are less likely to swindle but do insist that the meter is switched on when you get in to avoid a dispute at the end. A tuktuk is a semi open vehicle which runs on three wheels and it is a convenient mode of transport that suites any type of weather conditions. Local public transportation isn’t something everyone is proud about, though it does have its uses and can be quite welcoming at off peak times. Say you want to do a day trip to the Mount Lavinia beach, get in to a train that plies along the southern track around 10 am and you might even be the only person in the train carriage. If you return around 4 pm, the ride back shouldn’t be too bad either, but if you choose to stay there till nightfall, order a cab and get yourself dropped at your accommodation.