Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Mount Lavinia, Sri Lanka

View inside the tuk tuk

Since arriving in Colombo, I have learnt to do alot of things alone- eat, sleep, watch tv, linger around, etc. And when my first weekend in Colombo came, I thought I will have to find my way around town alone... then I met a Belgian dude at the breakfast table on Saturday morning.

While I will not bore you guys with details on how the opening conversations went, it turns out Nicolas was in Colombo for the weekend and has been here some time back before the ceasefire and seems to know certain places like the back of his hand. The rest of the weekend was history but I got a one day tour guide in exchange for a bottle of coke and a couple of new friends found (which includes one film director-producer, an athlete and a radio presenter).

Mount Lavinia Hotel

Nicolas brought me to Mount Lavinia (I have to constantly tell everyone it is NOT a mountain), if you google 'places to visit in Colombo/ Sri Lanka', you will most likely find Mount Lavinia on the list of places to visit. Just about 15 mins of tuk tuk ride from Galle Road, the landmark of this seaside area is none other than the unmistakable white Mount Lavinia Hotel. Just like Malaysia and other Commonwealth countries, Sri Lanka, or Ceylon was formerly ruled by the British, hence it's not surprising that many buildings still exudes the colonial charm and architectural.

Mount Lavinia Hotel is a must visit

The hotel has its own seaside/ beach but I was warned against any swimming as the sea is pretty wild here, additionally, the beachside is steeper than the usual beaches and it's not exactly the Redang white sandy beaches type.

Mount Lavinia Hotel private beach

Though swimming is not encouraged, sunbathers are more than welcome. Since this is part of the private beach, Mount Lavinia charges a fee for non-hotel guests who would like to utilize their part of the beach. There is also a popular seafood restaurant here called 'Seafood Cove' which is recommended as one of the places to go for seafood!

The Terrace

After a visit to the beach, we headed to The Terrace for a drink, and to absorb all the fresh sea breeze, great view and enjoy the Saturday afternoon. The Terrace is a wonderful place to chill out, pool on the left and the sea just right in front of you! Cloudy blue skies thrown in for free if you're lucky too.

Lion Beer- doesn't that look like Lion King??

From my observation, the locals here predominantly love their Cokes. Here, Coke is still sold and served in the classic ol' skool glass bottles. For the foreigners, beer is always the first choice especially if it's cheaper than your own country! The 2 most popular local brews are Lion Beer and Three Coins. A big bottle like this usually cost about Rs. 400 -450 (less than RM15) in a hotel/ club/ high-end environment but I am sure it will cost only 3/4 of the price in convenience shops.

Hello- meet my new friend, Nicolas

The one day tour ended with a visit to the Colombo Swimming Club (CSC) located at Galle Road, one of the most happening streets in Colombo. The CSC also functions as a hotel and I was privileged enough to be taken on a tour to the rooms. I was told that they're as cheap as USD60/night but the rooms are fantastic especially if you love the wood furnitures from the colonial era and a simple view that overlooks the pool, railway tracks and the sea, I know my mom would love it!

Love that uniform!

At night, my colleagues brought me out to dinner and night spot visit. But that's another story for another day! Till then, I must say I'm loving it here and wish to paint a better picture of Sri Lanka to everyone back home reading this that though it's a road less traveled, it's certainly one that is WORTH traveling ;-)


* Updates on food (on my 3rd visit):

P.R.S. - Rs. 750 (RM21)
Crispy fried prawns dressed in creamy curry sauce

Mt. Lavinia Crab Cakes- Rs. 850 (RM23)
Spicy lump crab meat with watercress salad & chili mustard sauce

Pork Chop [350 - 400gm] - Rs. 1,700 (RM46)
Mexican spiced double pork chop, finished with chili & tomato salsa

Fried Garupa- Rs. 850 (RM23)
Whole fried garupa stuffed with coconut & avocado rice finished with sweet chili mojo

Whole Young Chicken- Rs. 950 (RM26)
Boneless roasted baby chicken marinated with balsamic, rosemary and garlic over truffle mashed potato & sauteed greens

Food was not too bad, not cheap definitely especially when factoring in another extra 25% worth of taxes, but dining ambiance more than makes up for it in my opinion.

Mount Lavinia Hotel
100, Hotel Road,
Mount Lavinia,
Sri Lanka.
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