Posts tagged travel
Colombo shopping guide: PR Sri Lanka

It wasn’t so long ago that fashionable Sri Lankans would travel abroad to quench their thirst for well-designed, avant garde clothing. Foreign purchased clothing was synonymous with good taste and high style. I still remember being encouraged to buy clothes specifically for visiting Sri Lanka on holidays, like it was my duty to show the locals just how it was done. Although this cultural cringe is not unique to Sri Lanka, back then it was fostered by a devastating ethnic conflict which left little appetite for supporting the “frivolity” of fashion let alone design in Sri Lanka. But that all changed in 2013.

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Pettah produce markets: a feast for your senses

All my memories of the central Colombo district of Pettah over the years are pretty much the same – loud, brash, haphazard, gritty and at times claustrophobic and somewhat unnerving. Pettah is an old trading district created during Dutch colonial times outside of Colombo Fort (and literally named after that fact – “Pettah” is a corruption of a Tamil word “pettai” which means “a town outside the fort”). It also goes by the official district code of Colombo 11 and “pita kotuwa” if you’re talking in Sinhalese. It was the sort of place I remember …

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High tea at the Shangri-La Hotel, Colombo: a review

I had never given much thought to eating at 5-star hotels growing up in Australia. They (still) don’t really figure much on the Australian culinary landscape. But I’ve always found that 5-star hotel hopping in Colombo for the latest gastronomic fare is de rigueur for the Sri Lankan well-heeled (although Colombo’s young and hip are starting to change this but more on that later). So, as they say, when in Rome …

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Tropical modernism: Sri Lanka’s stamp on world architecture

In Sri Lanka’s current travel boom, boutique hotels are a dime a dozen. But it wasn’t always this way. I remember a time when we would travel for miles only to stay at “rest houses” approved by the Sri Lankan Tourist Board because there just wasn’t much else on offer. Of course, those rest houses were perfectly fine and functional but hardly inspiring with their faintly bureaucratic uniformity. So you can imagine my awe when …

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History of ceylon tea: Plain tales from the hills

I am kicking myself for forgetting something very important in my tale of Empire. Black versus green. No, no, it’s got nothing to do with rugby although that too was a British colonial export. I’m talking about an almost century-long shift from ...

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History of ceylon tea: A tale of empire

What’s the first word that pops into your head when you think of Ceylon? I’m betting that it’s tea. It’s not surprising really – it’s a common supermarket item. Behind that everyday product though is a swashbuckling tale of Ceylon’s role in the long history of tea ...

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