If you ever choose to visit Srilanka, Galle is not to be missed. Here, in this post , I tell you why.
So,we started our day from Yala after a sumptuous breakfast and took the road along the south-west coast. A stretch of clear turquoise water accompanied us on one side throughout the journey. It was day 1 of Sinhaleese/Tamil New year and so we happened to catch sight of a few celebrations arranged in the seaside villages that we crossed. The markets were brimming with flowers, fruits and festivity. And the occasional shower kept the weather pleasant. We stopped then and there to get those scenic views and to sip some lemonade.
We reached Galle around lunch time and headed straight to the “Oak-Ray Anchorage” restaurant for a typical Srilankan lunch with rice and curries.A heavy downpour kept us in the restaurant for almost an hour and I spent some time in the souvenier boutique.
When the rainfall weakened a bit, we decided to take to explore the old town. We drove till the walled city, which has a main entry gate and decided to explore by walk.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
The Fort Gate
The first stop was the old fort gate that reflects the colonial style. I am somehow fascinated by history, forts and remnants of an era that I never lived through.
The Galle fort with an endless ocean view on three sides and the town with the famous cricket stadium on the other side is dominated by tourists and the teenagers spooning around in deserted corners. We spent some time walking up and down the width and breadth of the fort without disturbing their private moments.
Our next stop was the iconic light house,overlooking the bay.We walked along the walls of the rampart watching couples walking hand-in-hand, mothers running behind naughty kids, families taking pictures and the abundant display of affection in public. On a clear sky day, this place is perfect to sit and watch the sun set. But the towering grey clouds gave us a huge disappointment.
The Cobbled Streets Of The Fort Town
We walked down from the lighthouse walkway and crossed the Mosque with a white exterior . The mosque stands beautifully as an entrance to the cobbled streets of Galle. Anyone who had stalked the instagram pictures of Galle would have dreamt of walking through these quaint little streets of Galle. I was no exception to that!
Old fashioned houses converted to impeccably decorated boutique shops selling gems, clothes, books and souvenirs, restaurants, coffee shops with a display of the vintage cars and bikes, every inch of was a medley of the Srilankan, British and Dutch culture.
The instagrammer in me clicked a bunch of pictures ignoring the gloomy weather and struggling hard with the umbrella and making camera adjustments to get the lighting right.
The Dutch Reformed Church
We walked through the narrow lanes and up to the exit of the fort and we had to take shelter in one of the oldest churches of the fort town when the drizzle took the heavier side.The very colonial architecture with tinted glasses, floors with carved gravestones and high ceilings in the church exuded such medieval charm.
So here are the must -do things in Galle:
- Plan your visit during the second half of the day for 2 reasons. 1. to escape the heat and 2. to witness the sunset from the lighthouse point
- Walk along the ramparts of the lighthouse fortifications listening to the waves crashing on the rocky shores
- Visit the Clock Tower overlooking the Galle stadium ,which is a stunning mixture of architecture, archaeology and history
- Stroll on the cobbled streets of Galle where life buzzes after 10AM in the morning
- Visit the Dutch reformed church to immerse in its never fading beauty
- Always remember – eating and shopping in the old fort area is not going to be cheap
- Unawatuna has some surf schools for beginners to train them stand on the surf board
- Do whale watch at Mirissa . Pre-plan and pre-book your whale watching tours with Raja & the whale
Where we stayed
Galle has a lot of AirBnB options and pretty good home stays for budget travelers. There are equal number of sea facing fancy boutique stays for the luxurious treat. We stayed at the South Lake resort, a 4 star property that gave us a real bad experience.
Where we shopped souvenirs
The souvenir shop at the “Oak-Ray”restaurant was a decent place with not-so heavily priced tags. The shops inside the fort are way too expensive. But take my words, it is so difficult to refrain buying from those cute little shops.
Where We Ate
Oak-Ray Anchorage for a fairly good lunch. You have the regular pizzas and other chain of restaurants in the main town. We’d suggest the Indian-Hut for those who want to taste the flavors of India. This is located inside the Galle fort, facing the sea.But again,eating inside the fort is not cheap!
Getting Around Galle
Walk Walk Walk. That is the best way to explore the old fort town. So comfortable clothes and sturdy shoes.The new town of Galle can be explored by auto rickshaws and local buses.
Galle is a melting pot of cultures and religions, art and artists. A potpourri of churches, mosques, stupas , historical houses and old government buildings.I am glad this town is well preserved and buzzing with activities after the tragic Tsunami that took away thousands of people who lived in this town.
I felt we spent very little time in here and the occasional rain was not very favorable. Galle you beauty! I carried a piece of your charm back with me and I am not just done with you. See you soon!
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