Colombo Day And Night: An Interactive Photo-Story..

Colombo is a constantly evolving urban jungle that gets better or worse depending on your mood and the traffic situation, in which the latter is generally on the 'worse' side of the spectrum. It's loud, it's noisy, pulsating, and boisterous: from the honking, clanking traffic, the hustle and bustle of commuters and to trishaws and buses running neck to neck, our cantankerous city is the epitome of chaos.

However, it's a completely different story at night. Soon as the rush hour traffic's over and business dies down, the is eerily quiet and deserted. We've got a little photostory here, and the photos are interactive. Just slide the arrows left and right!

2nd Cross Street, Pettah

Here's a grainy photo of Kavindu working in the drizzle in the middle of the street.

Walking down Pettah by-lanes isn't for the weak of heart. It's almost what you can call a microcosm of industrial Colombo: everything you need can be found down its annals, be it camera equipment, stationary, yards of cloth, or cutlery and electronics. You also get cheap Chinese ripoffs of things lining the streets, so if you want phone chargers or fairy lights that would last you perhaps a couple of weeks, head here. It's loud and bustling and crazy — which is why it's extra eerie at night.

Independence Memorial Hall

That elevated, granite structure you pass in Independence Square is the memorial hall: built solely for the purpose of commemorating our independence from the British way back in 1948. From freedom from the Colonialists, the hall's main function now is to serve as a place for wedding shoots and pre-shoots, and the occasional presidential signing in. It also saw young people fight for their rights to hold hands in public — mostly because the security guards around the area forbade 'couples' from sitting or walking around.

Red Mosque, Pettah

Also known as the rathu palliya and the samman kottu palli, the Red Mosque is an iconic structure that shines line a candy cane among the humdrum gray and bill-board covered buildings that populate the streets in the neighbourhood. It's seven stories high, and there's usually a signboard in the lobby which tells you that you can secure a place in heaven by sponsoring construction / donating to the mosque.

Independence Square (opposite the building)

The square is full of people determined to be healthy in the evenings — it feels like you'd find most of Colombo's fitness freaks (and want-to-be-fit-freaks) there at any given evening. Including half of the YAMU office. This leafy avenue leads to The Canteen (formerly Walker's Cafe), which is one of the very few places in the neighbourhood where you can get food and drinks at a normal price that won't tear a hole in your bank balance. It's also surprisingly beautifully maintained.

Slave Island

Home to the now dead Castle Hotel and the ever-growing Burger's King and other street food especially if you're keen on Malay cuisine (kodal baabath, anyone?) Slave Island is peppered with dodge little eateries, Christian Guemy graffiti, and crumbly old buildings. One of our governments tried to give it a face-lift by painting this stretch in lovely pastel shades, and it looks pretty nice during sun-down.

Galle Face Roundabout

This was recently (recent as in an year or two ago) given a face lift, so we now have a few massive rock/ cement lions placed strategically at the Colombo end of the Galle Road. The high vantage point afforded by Kingsbury's rooftop bar is also one of the best places to get a view of the City and the sea from.

Beira Lake, Gangaramaya

Immensely popular during Vesak for the lights and lanterns, the Beira Lake and its surroundings still maintain a quiet sort of beauty even after that. The temple in the middle of the water is strung up with fairy lights and the water mirrors the city lights beyond.

Galle Face

A hotspot for a gathering of friends and family, the Galle Face Green used to be really nice and pretty but is now mostly arid and unappealing during the day. Come sundown, a bit of its old charms return as its flaws are hidden in a veil of darkness. Melancholia aside, it's actually a whole lot livelier towards sundown and night time.

Colombo Fort Clock Tower

Dating back all the way to 1829, this clock tower stands a stone's throw away from where the last king of Sri Lanka was imprisoned for a while before he was deported to India.

Fun Fact: It's also Kilometre Zero (or is almost km 0, which is the spot where you start measuring distances around the country).

Cargills Building, Fort

Formerly (and originally) the residence of a Dutch Military Commander, the Cargills department store was completed in 1906 and was then known as 'the finest of its kind in the East of Suez.' Having first began in Kandy in 1844, the candy-cane coloured building's roots made it the oldest department store in the country. It's also one of the more popular landmarks at Fort.

Port City View, Galle Face

Changing Colombo's landscape, literally. The port city is a gargantuan extension to Sri Lanka, making it seem a bit like a T-rex's arm jutting out of Colombo.

Arcade Independence Square

Once a lunatic asylum, then a series of other things ranging from a College House to the Auditor General's Department, this building now homes high end department stores and several fine dining restaurants. It's a popular destination for cliched wedding and pre-wedding shoots to boot.


That's about all we've got for our Day and Night series! We had a lot of fun (and a teensy bit of frustration) making this: from hopping almost all across Colombo within the same day, and pinning down literally the exact same location and angle to get the night photos despite the gloomy weather that prevailed throughout and threatened to ruin our lenses.

All hail Kavindu, our immensely talented in-house videographer for getting the perfect shots we've used in the interactive photos, and Indi for juxtaposing them for me. If you enjoyed this post, check out our old Colombo Then & Now piece as well!

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on whatsapp




Ceylon Curry Club – Sri Lankan Cuisine With a Twist

By Janani Vithanage Ceylon Curry Club, located in the Dutch Hospital Shopping Precinct, is a


The Delightful Indian Cuisine at Navaratna by Taj Samudra

Navaratna is an Indian Restaurant located in Taj Samudra Colombo. Taj Samudra is a 5-star


10 Places to Get Sushi in Colombo

By Janani Vithanage A Japanese dish most often presented as vinegared sticky rice, seafood or

Highlights Kamu Yamu Guide

An ideal dinner date spot in Colombo – Ward 7

By Shamrina Carim Are you struggling to decide where you could have a decent fancy


Reaching new heights at Virticle by Jetwing’s rooftop bar & restaurant

We were so excited to go to the highest rooftop bar & restaurant in Colombo

Highlights Kamu

Satisfy your Kottu cravings at KottuLabs

Located in Nawala down a little lane, Kottulabs is home to the widest and most

Highlights Kamu


Savor The Salt Of The Sea At Hilton Colombo

Fresh from the seafood markets to your table Colombo, Sri Lanka – 20th June 2022 – Partake


10 Types of Sri Lankans in Petrol Queues

By Janani Vithanage These days, spending time in the petrol queue is almost every Sri

Highlights Trending

Celebrating life with Perera & Sons

by Shamrina Carim Perera & Sons holds a privileged history of catering to the most

Highlights Trending

Before You Watch… Jurassic World Dominion

By Shamrina Carim The movie On a critic of honest opinions, Jurassic World Dominion is


Treats fit for a King at Ramada Colombo this Father’s Day!

Enjoy Father's Day special Grill, Lunch, Dinner, Deliveries, and Stays… This June 19th, we all


Celebrate Father’s Day with your Super Dad at Hilton Colombo!

Looking to express your gratitude for the superhero of your household this Father’s Day? Hilton


Yamu Guide.

10 Places to Get Sushi in Colombo

By Janani Vithanage A Japanese dish most often presented as vinegared sticky rice, seafood or

Highlights Kamu Yamu Guide

The ideal skin care routine with Bio Oil

By Shanali Fernando Feeling overwhelmed, confused, and/or frustrated by the multitude of competing messages about

Highlights Yamu Guide

5 common causes of Dry Skin

The general cause of itchy, dry skin might seem like a no-brainer: It's a lack

Highlights Yamu Guide

7 Places to Watch the SL Vs. AUS ODI Matches

By Janani Vithanage Sri Lankan cricket may ot have been on its best footing over

Highlights Yamu Guide

5 Cooking Tips from Knorr

By Janani Vithanage Being a mother in today’s world is no easy task. From waking

Highlights Yamu Guide

How Bio Oil reduces scars

By Shanali Fernando Still curious about this little pink bottle of magic and what it

Highlights Yamu Guide