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Every city has its dodgy bars. Colombo has five of them concentrated in the old part of town, the Colombo Fort. Most cities also tend to have a walking tour expert, and the Sri Lankan capital’s very own is Mark Forbes from Colombo City Walks.
For seven years, Mark and his team have been embarking on walking tours around Colombo Fort with happy and surprised visitors from all over the world. To top it all off, Mark also created the Dodgy Bar Walk – here’s why you should try it when coming to Sri Lanka.
There is really no better way to get to know a city than to walk through its back streets and taste its unique flavors. The Colombo Fort is the old part of the city and there is plenty to see there, from colorful temples to old Dutch architecture. Colombo Fort and Pettah are the playground for the Colombo City Walks that take you through the local markets, in the alleyways and to the local tea rooms. The Dodgy Bar Walk is the night-time version of the Colombo City Walks experience and one you don’t want to miss. Watch Pettah and Colombo Fort come alive at night and join in with the quirkiness.
Five bars, five stories. Each hole in the wall has its own history and Mark is the best storyteller for the journey. Try the local arrack or loval beer in each dodgy bar, taste their special bar bites, get to know the barman, say cheers with your mates to a night well spent in Colombo! If you are traveling alone or with a friend, you can join in with a bigger group and get sloshed together!
What is Arrack you ask? Arrack is an alcoholic spirit made from fermented coconut flower sap. It is the liquor of choice in Sri Lanka and the locals absolutely love it. You can of course find the cheap and the posh kind, in the dodgy bars you will drink it like the locals do, on its own, with lime or served with ginger beer or coke.
Mark is a photographer, researcher, curator, wildlife enthusiast, wanderer and lover of old cars. Sri Lankan-born and lover of wonderful experiences in both his hometown and all around the world, Mark is not only your guide. In him you will also have a historian, a storyteller and a great companion. Like he says on his Facebook page, the Dodgy Bar Walk is guaranteed fun and the hangovers are optional but very probable.
If spending a couple days in Colombo, you should also visit other areas of the city and do some shopping for items you can only get in Sri Lanka. Visit the temples and take a walk along Galle Road and you’ll discover Colombo has more to offer than meets the eye. The Dodgy Bar Walk is just the beginning!