On arrival in Sri Lanka, the majority of tourists head straight for the beaches or the hills and leave the capital, Colombo, out of their itinerary. This is a shame, because culturally diverse Colombo has much to offer. A city tour by trishaw can be an enjoyable experience. You can bargain for an all-day tour of the city for 1,500 rupees ($113). The shop Barefoot, on the Galle Road, offers beautiful hand-woven cotton garments and fabric-based goods and souvenirs, while Odel carries local and foreign branded clothes, shoes and handbags, jewellery, food, books and souvenirs. The menswear and womenswear sections offer top-quality linen and cotton items. If you are in search of jewellery, visit the National Gem and Jewellery Authority shops at the World Trade Centre in Fort. A visitor we met purchased five 24-carat gold items for just $5,000. Colombo offers a limited nightlife, with a few casinos, pubs and nightclubs, but Sri Lankans love to party, and the tourist who gets invited to one is guaranteed an evening of great warmth and hospitality.