Guns & Butter: Colombo Travel Guide


The Colmbo, Sri Lanka Travel Guide is part of the Trip Report: The $77,000 Trip Heard Round the World which covers 5 Continents, 13 Countries, and 17 Cities.

Find the nerdy planning here. Find the picture preview here.

Colombo, Sri Lanka just sounds like a cool place to visit. It is.

Here is the Travel Guide using the Guns & Butter methodology:

  • A trip is composed of two factors: Labor And Lazy
  • Anything on the line (Production Possibilities Frontier for my fellow economists) is an efficient use of your time depending on your tastes and preferences.
  • Anything inside the line is inefficient as should be avoided.
  • Anything outside is aspirational but may be impossible to do given the constraints of time and resources.
  • The opportunity cost (what is given up) for relaxing and being Lazy is gained by being adventurous in the form of Labor and vice versa.


Sri Lanka is a country rich with history, culture, and people. The capital of the teardrop island is Colombo, a crazy city that has been described by the author Cherry Briggs as follows: “If Bangkok is Asia’s city of sex and drugs, Calcultta the city of death and poetry, and Tokyo the technotropolis of innovation, then Colombo is their immature sibling, still trying to find and assert its identity.”

Colombo is a mishmash of all countries in the region. This eclectic, colorful mix is what makes Colombo worth visiting even if it is only for a couple of days before heading off to the beaches of Sri Lanka or an atoll in the Maldives.

Here’s a breakdown of how to organize the chaos:

Street Shopping 

Looking for a headache, head to the local market where everything is on sale. Fruits, bootleg Beats by Dre, and clothing all are sold in one jam packed area. I suggest doing this first thing in the morning while you still have energy to deal with the crowds and the bargaining.

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The grapes of wrath
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Beautiful bananas
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The colorful market trucks
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The old school bus
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Tailor market
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Dude mean muggin
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I bought one
IP rights
IP rights

The City

There’s lots to do and see all over the city from temples to snakes.

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The metered tuk tuk! He was honest but other friendly ones try to pull at your heartstrings so beware.
  • Beira Lake
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Beira Lake in the heart of the city
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Simamalaka shrine, on an island in Beira Lake
  • Gangaramaya Temple
The Temple
The Temple
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Gangaramaya Temple
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Poor elephant at Gangaramaya Temple
And this scary guy
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Said I could hold the snake and that it had no venom

Train to Mt. Lavinia 

Ask many people and they’ll say the best thing about Colombo is getting out of Colombo. It is that hectic. While you could take a taxi to the beach, I recommend taking the open air train. It moves slow enough that you feel safe but having no door between you and death makes it a somewhat dodgy experience.


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Somehow I paid for the ticket to Mr. Lavinia
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And followed the signs
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Next to Myanmar, Sri Lanka has the coolest trains
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All aboard!
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The caboose
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Away we go
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Hop on, hop off
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The tracks lead to the beach

The Beach 

You’ll notice the graph has the beach as the most restful activity in Colombo. That all depends on how much you feel like kicking back and relaxing or if you’d rather do push ups, pull ups, and dips on the makeshift gym at the beach.

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First I got sidetracked by a luxury hotel
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And crashed a local wedding
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The beach from the hotel
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The national beer (shown here poured by the waiter)
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Next to the beach gym is the bar.
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The friendly locals

Drinking & Eating 

The amount of energy you expend on drinking, eating, and exploring is up to you. It is also best told by me using photos:

  • Street Food 
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Street food curry
  • Traditional Food at Pagoda Tea Rooms 
Pagoda Team Room
Pagoda Team Room
The sweetest dessert
The sweetest dessert
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The famous Pagoda Tea Room
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The delicious rice curry
  • Famous Food at Ministry of Crab 
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Ministry of Crab: Make reservations!
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A bottle of white all to myself, yes please
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The chili crab
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The espresso
  • The Bar Next Door 

In order to get a table, patrons have to buy a vat of beer, so I did.

The vat
The vat
More friends
More friends

As you can see Colombo was an awesome time. Everything here was done in one day meaning I must return to so an do a lot more.

<==Back to Hilton Residence ColomboOnto British Airways Business to Maldives==>


    • Everything was cheap except for the Ministry of Crab which for a bottle of wine, a full dinner, and espresso was maybe $100? I don’t remember exactly (the prices are on the menu in the pic) but that wasn’t bad either.

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