Colombo, Sri Lanka | How to spend one night only

Ministry of crab, Columbo
Ministry of crab, Columbo

Why Colombo

Having just one night in Colombo, Sri Lanka before continuing our travels throughout the country and spending Christmas and New Year on the beach meant that there was only one thing on our agenda and that was food. So here’s a little insight to probably one of the most interesting restaurants we’ve been to on our travels. But first let me share with you the journey from Colombo airport into the city centre.

How did we get to Sri Lanka

We travelled from Manchester, UK to Colombo on Emirates via Dubai.   The flight was good even though Emirates changed their aircraft spec the day before and for the first leg of our journey we didn’t have the seats we chose but that was minor, an adventure awaited. Check out flights Here

You’ve arrived in Colombo, now what

When we travel we like to make use of public transport as much as possible. The approx distance between Bandaranaike Airport and the city centre is approx 20 miles.  A variety of transport options are available to choose from costing anywhere between £0.50p and £25.00.

  • LOCAL BUS – approx £0.50p and depending on traffic 45 mins – 1 hr
  • EXPRESS BUS – approx £0.50p and a little quicker as it uses the expressway
  • PRIVATE TAXI – anything up to £25 and journey time approx 25 – 30 mins

Our story

We chose he local bus. We had intended on getting the Express bus which many travellers choose but we ended up piling on a local bus which was one of the best experiences ever.

It had Colombo Airport – Fort on it so since that’s where we were going we were confident that this would be the one we needed and we weren’t wrong. Right outside the terminal building, what could have been easier !

The bus was jam packed and we had to leave our bags at the front of the bus in a space next to the driver and find a seat. It was absolutely boiling with a few fans dotted around the ceiling trying their best to ventilate the bus. I was pretty lucky as the seat I’d chosen had the fastest fan above it and whilst I was grateful it still was incredibly warm.

The sights, sounds and smells on the bus were so incredible and as it was just getting dark there was a small glow from the lights down the centre of the bus when we were travelling and then the bright lights came on when we stopped. We were definitely the attraction of the day for these locals and many smiled and nodded and it was a beautiful introduction to a new country.

Once we’d arrived at the Fort train station. The most central stop to where we needed to be, we took a tuk-tuk to our hotel and dropped our bags.

Where did we stay in Colombo

We stayed at C1 Colombo Fort which was a hostel/hotel and pretty new however it was perfect for one night. Even more if we had the time as it was clean and comfortable and was in a great location.

Hotel Facilities
  • Good clean and comfortable room with en suite bathroom and a great shower
  • Breakfast was available but we left too early in the morning to sample that
  • The staff were great and really accommodating even when we asked for a wake up call at 3am and a Tuk-tuk at 4am to take us to the train station.   I think they thought we were slightly mad!

Would recommend this hotel and definitely stay there again.

Ministry of Crab Colombo
Ministry of Crab Colombo
Taphouse R n R Bar, Colombo
Taphouse R n R Bar, Colombo
Festive season Columbo

What did we do in Colombo

So only having only 1 night in Colombo, and arriving in the later afternoon, Chris had previously booked a table at a restaurant called Ministry of Crab as this was rated one of the top restaurants in Colombo and we wanted a celebratory meal to start our adventure but first we had a wander through the streets in the Hospital District and stopped at a couple of bars before we headed to the restaurant for our meal

The bars 

The bars we chose were Taphouse RnR, a typical pub type atmosphere and great beer and Gin. Secondly we ventured to The Dutch Pub and managed to grab a couple of high chairs outside and were serenaded by a band playing Christmas tunes. There were loads of people out and about and it was a lovely happy, vibrant atmosphere.

The Restaurant

The Ministry of Crab, oh boy did they know their crab. You ordered your crab by size and then selected how you wanted it cooked, there were several sauces to choose from and it all looked and smelled delicious.  The restaurant provided you with a bib and all the tools you needed to attack your crab. It was delicious. I had the curry sauce and Chris had the chilli sauce and both were outstanding. As our reservation was quite late in the evening they had run out of much of the smaller crabs so we were left with something a bit bigger than we would have normally chosen. It was excellent though and a fantastic first impression of Sri Lanka.

Our view

Colombo was really just a stopover point, the place our flight flew in to. Having said that there’s no point wasting the evening. We found some great restaurants and bars after all it was the first night of our trip. We would definitely recommend using public transport, it’s very cheap easy to use and a fun way of getting around. The bus from the airport was an adventure all on it’s own.

Booking resources for your trip


You can compare cheap flights on the Expedia platform or here on the Aviasales website.  Both will give you a good idea of how much its going to cost you to get to your chosen destination.


We have always tended to use having said that if your on a tight budget another good site to try as a comparison is Hostelworld, If your looking to compare different sites you can do that on Hotellook, we tend to look on here first to make sure we are getting the best deal.

Tours & Tickets

You can book your visits as you go at the entrance to your chosen attraction or site.  Or you could use the following links to book in advance or just to find out what your choices are in the area. GetYourGuide and Tiqets are our go to choices you could try Viator to see how they compare.

For a full list check out our resources page. Don’t forget always shop around to find the best deal for you. What works for us should be good for you but it’s always reassuring to check.

Some of the links on this page contain affiliate marketing links, which means we may get paid commission on sales of those products or services we write about. You will never be charged a fee for shopping through one of our affiliate links. You may even get a discounted rate and we will make a small commission. Our editorial content is not influenced by advertisers or affiliate partnerships.

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