My arrival in Colombo, Sri Lanka began with a strange toilet activity. Airport cleaning service-man greeted me, “Indonesia?”, He pressed a flush button on my urinal and gave three sheets of tissue in front of bathroom sink and finally at the toilet door he asked me some money for eat. I didn’t have Sri Lankan Rupee (LKR) that morning because I hadn’t exchanged my USD to local money. I apologized and left him.
There wasn’t problem when passing the immigration counter because I have an e-Visa, a return ticket to exit from Sri Lanka and a dormitory reservation voucher.
I immediately exchanged my USD … I got a little problem. The money changer staff said that I must exchanged minimum USD 100/transaction. I didn’t gave up for asking one by one to all money changer, and finally I could exchange just USD 50 at the Sampath Bank’s money changer.
Left: Sampath Bank money changer at Bandaranaike International Airport.
Right: Sri Lanka Telecom’s Kiosk Mobitel
I was actually little crazy, that local money that I got from money changer would still remaining about USD 25 at the end of my adventure in Colombo. I exchanged the remaining LKR to USD at the money changer in downtown.
With LKR 8,830, my first spending was the 4 GB SimCard Mobitel from Sri Lanka Telecom for LKR 960.
After waiting almost 2 hours until bright morning, I decided to head to downtown. I left the arrival hall to catch the first airport bus. Coming out along the corridor, I was a little nervous in my loneliness, but I just said to myself “hi man, you have arrived … so if you want to do more, you must explore”.
My muttering was stopped when I faced an airport guard soldier and I asked to him where the airport bus shelter was. Actually, I already knew the answer, surely I have to turned left from the exit door and the bus was at the end of the corridor. Yes… True, He said like that. (I knew because I have been googling before came to Colombo, so I asked only for affirmations). So I walked to the left of exit door.
Yess, I was at the end of corridor….but, “where is the bus?”. There are lots of Toyota Hiace parked. Someone approached me. “Where are you going, sir” … I said I wanted to go to Galle Face Beach (My hostel is near there). In essence, he said there wasn’t airport bus here and he offered services for 6,000 Rupees to Galle Face with His Toyota Hiace. Well, surely I couldn’t afford to pay it. I said that I was a backpacker and didn’t have much money. I just asked him for helping me to showed where was the location of airport bus shelter … He was so kind and finally told me … actually, the bus was at the right of exit door.
Top left: Sign to airportbus shelter. Top right: Airport bus shelter
Bottom right: Airport bus ticket for LKR 150.
Lower Left: Situation of airport bus inside
I immediately got in bus. 15 minutes later the bus left the airport. My eyes couldn’t close because I was stunned by the view of Colombo’s morning street. Then the bus pushed onto highway, the morning sun warmly penetrated the bus windows, Keeping me from cold temperature of the bus. The medium-sized bus drove slowly and showing off the originality of Colombo … Ahhh, I couldn’t wait to get to downtown.
40 minutes later, the bus arrived at Colombo Central Bus Stand. I didn’t want to linger in this central terminal. If I was long here, it means that I would be surrounded by taxi and tuk-tuk drivers. Got information from Sri Lanka tourism site. As soon as I got off the bus, I immediately avoided their intention to gathering around me. I just said: “I’m sorry, I’m looking for bus no 100”. I crossed the arterial road in front of the terminal then turned right around 500 meters. And sure enough, I saw the bus. Running to catch it and hupp … I jumped through the back door
Left Top: City bus no. 100 to Galle Face. Top Right: Bus inside
Bottom Right: The closest bus stop from Hostel at Galle Face
Lower Left: Arterial road situation around Colombo Central Bus Stand
I began to feel strange, my southeast asia face was surrounded by their south asia face. Crammed standing into Colombo bus wasn’t different with Kopaja (name of Jakarta’s city bus). It only took 14 minutes to arrive at Galle Face and then walked 200 meters from the bus stop, I found my hostel.
Okay … I would bring you to see Colombo… let’s go!