Home > Uncategorized > What’s there to do in Colombo?

What’s there to do in Colombo?

It only struck me a couple of days ago but Sri Lankans have very little in the way of entertainment or leisure activities. For the kids, outside of sports and tuition classes, there is little to nothing in the way of entertainment. For the adults, we are left with nothing but bars and restaurants (no wonder Colombo society is getting progressively fatter).
In the nights when out with friends, invariably we find ourselves either at a bar or getting something to eat. In fact conversations of meeting up start with “shall we grab a drink”? Has it been ingrained into our minds that even as I write this I cannot think of any alternatives, which is quite sad.
A few years ago, there used to be an expat group who would play “ultimate frisbee” on the weekdays at the park. It grew in popularity, and then died a sudden and unexplained death. Many people put it down to the fact that the local parks are often closed off to the public for one reason or another.
Last year Independence Square was refurbished to include a jogging area and lights installed to encourage people to go for runs late at night when the traffic is less. It is becoming fairly popular, with more and more people choosing to come hang out there in the nights. The last time I went there, we ended up taking dinner and making a picnic of it.
Even Waters Edge has now been transformed into a nature trail, that offers walkers and photographers alike a new place to explore. Unfortunately this too has its limitations with areas being cordoned off for members only.
Perhaps, with all the coffee bars opening up somebody should bring a place that offers more for a person apart from food and drink. For anyone who has read this please reply with suggestions of what it exists or could be introduced to Colombo society to help make our lives just a little less mundane.

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  1. May 17, 2012 at 4:05 am

    There’s Big Ears at Music Matters every fortnight, the pub quiz, Annasi & Kadalagotu! Prokarting, frisbee is still doable, swan rides at the Bera etc.

    I think it’s up to people to take the initiative to do something than go for the easier f&b option. And also depends on interests. There is an obvious lacking though, but I dont see a lot being done to fix it. We need to show them that there is demand, or we need to start things up ourselves. At least that’s partly the initiative behind the poetry pilau.

    • May 17, 2012 at 4:27 am

      I think that is the issue, the options are lacking. And yes the people need to take the initiative

  2. May 17, 2012 at 5:19 am

    well,I don’t know my suggestions are of any worth but this is what I do….
    watching out for art exhibitions (most preferred barefoot)
    checking out cultural centers (most visited ANC )
    and having occasional walks with besties munching isso wade 😀

  3. yoyo
    May 17, 2012 at 7:46 am

    Yes, life outside work and the day to living is a no no in Colombo. If you live close to the Colombo city (col 5-7) you at least have some activity going on after say 6 or 7 pm and places to go. If you live in the surburbs, I mean just 10km or so away life is limited to what you could do at home and the TV. Everything closes by 7:30pm and only places selling food & drinks stay open till around 9:30 -10 pm, this is even so on weekends.

    We don’t have a social trend where people relax, even if you go to the beach for an example (which we have by nature, but rarely take use of as a country, very strangely compared to other countries, even in Asia) you will notice that it’s very few people who take time out to come & relax with Family & friends. This too is out of bounds after 6pm due to lack of basic facilities like lighting, clean pleaces to get simple food for local, toilets, security by police etc.etc., as a nation i feel we are entangled in unwanted, time consuming and many worthless activities, rather than joying life that is short and unpredictable.

    Due to the lack of places to go & things to do, eating junk and sadly over consumsion of alcohol has become the biggest passtime fo men, women & teens as well.

    Yes, your topic is ontime and I hope we could learn to relax and enjoy life a bit more so that places that cater to such activities would comeup soon and be a benefit to all

  4. jillinthebox90
    May 17, 2012 at 8:46 am

    Thank you for this post. Having come down SL after an year the only places my friends recommended were f&b related and some shopping locations. While there are the options of go-karting and movies, it is not affordable on a weekly basis. Perhaps we must start looking at entertainment options that are also more economical.
    I agree with Bingo’s suggestions in the above post. Perhaps more art exhibitions, cultural centres would be good. Also as you said, they should open up more parks in the area.
    I think Dutch Hospital is a nice set-up. Why not have an open library or something? If food should be included it could be done.
    One needs to also keep in my about the diversification of entertainment. Not everyone would enjoy jogging or art exhibitions.

  5. minskin
    May 17, 2012 at 3:12 pm

    I think there are a number of activities that do go on in and around Colombo, but these are often esoteric events that only bring together a tiny community of like-minded individuals. Word reaches out to just a very few. The Goethe Institut and The American Centre organize discussions on the visual and performing arts and film screenings all the time, but I wouldn’t even know they happen if I hadn’t subscribed to their e-mail newsletters. When they do happen, they start early evening which often makes it difficult for my friends and I to make it there in time after work. Everywhere in Colombo but the pubs and bars are dead by 8 p.m. So the only way I can involve myself in something I’m interested in? Talk about a new art film or photography project over a drink. Whattodo.

    • jillinthebox90
      May 18, 2012 at 4:07 am

      I agree. It would be great if these institutes could partner with What’s Up Colombo or like organisations and use social media marketing – predominantly via Twitter and Facebook – as means of getting their events across.

  6. May 17, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    Thanks for all the comments, I think what is basically the issue we’re faced with is that nothing in Colombo stays open late where people can go and do something apart from eat or drink. As minskin said, there is stuff going on but for a tiny community.
    Perhaps we need people to start coming up with new innovative ideas that can encourage a larger audience to be involved.

  7. Lotus
    May 20, 2012 at 9:52 am

    Yes, the lack of bombs going off randomly has really made life rather dull in Colombo, hasn’t it?

    • May 20, 2012 at 11:53 am

      Not sure if you are serious or not, but yours is a useless contribution to this conversation

  8. chinsen
    May 21, 2012 at 7:24 am

    I noticed rather recently that there is kayaking etc going on in Diyawanna Lake towards the Water’s Edge side. I’m not sure if that’s people with their own kayaks or if it’s actually a service being offered. Kayaking is kickass.

    Otherwise though, yes you have a valid point. It also comes down to a general narrow range of interests. Most people “can’t be bothered” doing or trying anything different. Partying, clubbing, eating, drinking. Perhaps a movie. Oh and of course, the political talk.

    Well there’s also cricket, but the majority there are seasonal fans, and team fans more than fans of the sport.

    That’s about it. I would blame it more on that than a lack of services on offer.

    Those with a broader range of interests are few and far between afaik.

  9. June 3, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    There are a few things around, if they interest you. There is a cycling group that travels to various places, there is a running group (Hash House Harriers and Harriets), there is an archery group. Just do a web search of things to do in Colombo.

  10. JY
    November 18, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    The urban lake behind the Cinnamon Grande would be a great cafe area if it were developed, but I’ve been told this culture would make no use of it. It would just be tourist place.

    • November 19, 2012 at 6:52 pm

      I think that every time I drive around there… it would be really really nice… at the moment there’s nothing but a few shacks and laundry lines. When (and I’m sure it will at some stage) it is developed, it will be really very nice.

      You do have a point though, I wonder if there will be enough demand for it.

      • November 20, 2012 at 8:59 am

        Having said that, the other day I went to Independence square in the evening and it was packed with people. I think a lot of people are craving that space outdoors to go enjoy the evening. Something that isn’t available right now. A walking path there I think would be used quite a bit.

      • November 20, 2012 at 9:34 am

        That has actually been done, and done nicely, with weird sculptures and all.. theres even a nice looking cafe on the navam mawatha side… Its always empty though, other than three wheel drivers who park nearby… It may be the crow crap everywhere or the high security zone…

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