Travel: Colombo

Friday, 4:30pm Check in to the historic Galle Face Hotel ( and unwind with afternoon tea on the terrace overlooking the Indian Ocean.

8pm Treat yourself to dinner at the Curry Leaf restaurant at the Hilton ( – an expensive but thorough introduction to Sri Lankan cuisine.

Saturday, 8:30am Take a seaside stroll along Galle Face Green while it's still cool enough.

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10am Wade out into the chaotic traffic of Galle Road, hail yourself a tuk-tuk (auto rickshaw) and make for the Pettah Market, where you can buy everything from spices to jewellery to musical instruments.

1pm Grab a colonial-style lunch at the Cricket Club Cafe (

2:30pm Visit Sri Lanka's National Museum ( and get a crash course on the island's colourful history.

4pm More shopping, this time at Barefoot in Kollupitiya ( Prepare to be stunned by the brightly coloured fabrics, lose yourself in the excellent little bookshop and then unwind with a cup of tea in the tranquil tropical garden.

7pm Get out your stylish clobber for an evening at The Mango Tree (, an elegant restaurant specialising in North Indian cuisine.

Sunday, 9am Visit the Seema Malaka Buddhist temple on Beira Lake, designed by celebrated architect, Geoffrey Bawa.

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1pm Lunch at Sands, the open-air poolside restaurant at the Beach Hotel in Negombo, near the airport (

2pm Take a quick dip in the Indian Ocean before boarding your flight.

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THE FACTS Sri Lankan Airlines offer return flights from London Heathrow to Colombo from 590 ( Double rooms at the Galle Face Hotel start at 38.

• This article was first published in The Scotsman on Saturday 09 January, 2010.