Sri Lanka is so jam-packed with alluring outdoorsy activities that visitors often high-tail it out of the capital a day or two after arriving, choosing instead to spend their vacation days lounging on a southern beach, whale-watching off the coast or leopard-spotting in a national park.
Yet Colombo is fast becoming a draw in itself. This city of 555,000 people has been on fast-forward since a 25-year civil war ended in 2009. Checkpoints have come down, trendy lounge bars have opened up, and the vibe is one of cautious optimism combined with an increasingly cosmopolitan outlook. Today, this colorful city on the Indian Ocean, with its laid-back island ambience, palm trees, decaying colonial buildings and smattering of modern office blocks, is the perfect place to get a sense of where Sri Lanka is going after so many tumultuous years.
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