Coupling In Colombo On A Budget

Going on a date in Colombo without breaking the bank

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Colombo is not couple friendly. Or well it isn't unless you have a fairbit of cash in hand. A lot of public/publicish spaces - Viharamaha Devi Park, Crescat mall actively discourage couples- the park has times when even mixed groups and married couples can't enter and the mall prevents couples from sitting on their benches! Places that are more couple friendly, restaurants (the higher order of restaurant, Sarasvathi lodge is not ideal for a date) and cafes charge you serious money to enjoy the privilege of their air conditioned privacy.

However if it's true love, or even if it isn't, don't let a little puritanism get in your way. Colombo is a great a city and like any great city it's got plenty of nooks and corners, promenades and beachfronts where you can take those long romantic walks or stare lovingly into each others eyes, without a thousands of eyes focused on you.

Five Alternative Locations

Lighthouse Colombo

 Galle Face Green

Ok so couples and the Galle Face Green... that isn't news. However for a slightly different take on the same sea-side stretch head to the old light house opposite the Light House Galley. Up a steep flight of steps, perched just above the sea there's a handsome European-style square built around a stately old light house.

Like any good Colombo square (think Independence) it features some awesome lion statuary and crucially offers not too crowded views over the ocean, the port and both the Colpetty and Fort Skylines. For a bit of hand holding and sweet nothing murmuring as the sun goes down - absolutely perfect. Cost: 0 Rupees or the price of a bus from whereever you are to Fort.

Recommended eating/drinking: On a budget head to the Colombo City Hotel (also great views) and grab a beer.

Town Hall From Park

Viharamahadevi Park

Well that's the other couples classic but it just isn't very couple friendly these days. However, there are plenty of equally good but less frequented alternatives in the vicinity We suggest the Museum entrance to this beautiful space is just Rs 25. On a weekday afternoon between 3pm and Closing time at 6 you're likely to have the place virtually to yourself. Nothing more romantic is possible - an enormous Italianate tropical mansion, filled with beautiful, ancient things.

Just roam the grounds, explore the empty courtyards, chat away under the enormous banyan trees.The 3000 years worth of exhibits inside should give you plenty to talk about.

Cost: Rs 25 Recommended eating and drinking: For a quick snack they have an inexpensive canteen, or head to Summer Garden, for a cheap beer and bites fix in a lovely setting.

Independence Square

Independence Square

Great, but bordering on overdone. For an alternative in the area head for the Planeterium's 2.30 show. I mean a date under the stars or with all the wonder of the cosmos around you (it's projected onto the domed ceiling so a 360 view) for Rs 25. Reclining chairs, low lights, a fairly empty space, and the stars... well just be careful you don't get too excited. There are children present, usually. After the show you can also wander the Colombo Campus' shaded grounds or spend some time in the Planetarium's own little garden.

Cost: Rs 25 Recommended eating and drinking: The university's cheap lunch packets are a classic, Walkers cafe nearby is another option.

  Marine Drive At Night

The Beach

Well what sort of Colombo romance is it without the seaside? If you haven't already taken a sunset stroll along the sands of Mt lavinia you're doing a terrible job of being a couple. Still even that classic can get a bit old so as an alternative consider the Dehiwala beach. A broad sweep of golden sand a blue sea and a sunset that turns the heavens shot pink- romance 101. Also there are some great places on this stretch where you can get to know one another. R and R off Marine Drive is amazing inexpensive(fried rice Rs 300) with tables just two feet from the waves.

Cost: The beach is free, sitting at R and R - Rs 300 (enough fried rice for two)

Diyawanna Oya

The Diyawanna Oya Walkway

This is Colombo's trending public space. Newly refurbished with miles of paved paths and landscaped gardens around the lush and calming Diyawanna Oyo (lake). A large body of water, fresh(er than Colombo) air, and lots of greenery a surefire romantic hit.

Novel as it is to have such an extensive open space this is already getting rather popular- for more complete romantic seclusion try the hidden Kingdom Of Kotte. The over grown remnants of the 14th century Kotte Kingdom now lost in the Sri Jayawardenepura suburbs. The Baddagana Wherakada Ruins in Etul Kotte are an amazingly peaceful bit of forgotten history just 30 mins from central Colombo. An acre of open space, two mini stupas(actually mausoleums), a view over the parliament lake and you.

Cost: Free.