Is Galle (Sri Lanka) even worth a visit?
My first visit to Galle was extremely short, or so I thought when I first planned my stay here for 2 days, somewhere in the middle of 2015. While I was planning my first solo Sri Lanka I wasn’t sure if two days would be enough or not. After all, there really aren’t tons of things to see and do when you search for bile on the internet. It is by no means like some of the most popular cities in the world like London, Sydney or Delhi. I could only find about 5-6 things that I thought I would like to do, but those would be over in a day. Leaving Galle on day 3 was literally like a waste of a day. But no, it actually turned out to be good. And I thought Galle was indeed worth a visit – only that you can’t now and then judge it against other popular cities in the world.
What is Galle about?
Galle is a quaint little town in Sri Lanka on the island’s southwest coast. When you step out of the train station, you don’t really feel the city like any other city does. But then as you walk on your own and explore at your own pace, you get the feeling that the Portuguese and Dutch are working hard to develop the city it is today. One of the most beautiful fortified cities. It is also remarkable to know that the Portuguese built all of the infrastructure, making this city one of the most important ports in Asia, and the Dutch made it a step ahead in fortification. With a modest area of around 17 km² and a total population of just under 100,000, it never really feels overcrowded.
So what did I do in my 2 days in Galle? More than a few nice things …
Places to visit in Galle
[During late afternoon & thereafter, these beautiful sunsets are a treat to watch]
Probably the most popular and touristic place in and around the city is the Galle Fort. This fortress – also known as the Dutch fortress – was built by the Portuguese around 1590 and then rebuilt by the Dutch. It is one of the finest examples of fortification. Galle Fort is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The fort has been very nicely maintained and polished, even after more than 400 years it is a great achievement for any country. I was here in the fort for about 2 hours. The fort not only protected the Portuguese and Dutch, but also saved many people from the 2004 tsunami. In fact, there are many other popular tourist things to see and do near the fort itself. Somewhere my 2 hours are also responsible for all other places nearby. But an early morning visit here is definitely a yes to my end.
Watch a cricket (test) match
The game of cricket corresponds to the religion on the Indian subcontinent. When I first visited Galle Fort and saw 360 degrees, I could see Galle International Cricket Stadium and it felt great. The first test match, built in 1998, took place here between Sri Lanka and New Zealand. It is considered to be one of the most picturesque cricket stadiums in the world and can seat 35,000 spectators. I found that amazing, especially since the whole city has around 99,000 inhabitants. That way, almost a third of the city can be accommodated to watch a great test match. Most of the time everyone supports the home team in Sri Lanka. Locals generally see the game from the fort (see the far left side of the fort’s photo).
Stilt fishing in Galle
Well I don’t expect you to spend a lot of time on this topic but it is well worth it to visit once and see the skills shown. This fishing technique is not found everywhere, although this type of fishing was reduced after the 2004 tsunami. Koggala, Ahangama and Midigama are some of the well-known places where this technique is used. Be here at sunset and enjoy the pleasure.
Whale and dolphin watching in Mirissa
Don’t think the above picture is what you are about to see. That does not happen. Can be once in a million occasions. But yes, dolphin and whale watching is still very popular in and around Mirissa – the southernmost part of Sri Lanka. Typically, the boat builders charge fees in the range of LKR 2,500 to 5,000, and the entire trip is completed within a maximum of 4 hours. Dolphins are pretty much everyone, but not whales. Whales are elusive and driven away by the 10 to 20 boats like yours that come to watch them. I could only see the back of the whales when they came out for some air. Families and children particularly enjoy this. Lots of Colombo locals come here on the weekends. I suggest you check the number of people traveling on your boat to avoid too many people on the boat.
Stroll the Bylanes of Galle
There is a lot of Portuguese and Dutch culture in anything and everything in this wonderful city. In fact, most of southern Sri Lanka itself has a colorful history when it comes to seeing the mix of Portuguese, Dutch and later British cultures as well as local people. The historic properties and buildings, the fort, the architecture and the construction of the Dutch bungalows and villas make for an enchanting scene straight out of the movie. Only that you have to have an appreciative eye. Strolling on these tracks is a unique experience.
Spend an evening under the lighthouse
This is Sri Lanka’s oldest lighthouse, built around the 1940s. It is operated by the Sri Lankan Port Authority. Very close to today’s lighthouse was a lighthouse that was built by the British in 1848. However, since it was destroyed by fire, this lighthouse took on its current shape. It seems that it was built in a very strategic place like that of an intersection to get views from all directions. One of the good tourist attractions in Galle considering that it falls under the fort premise. An evening under the lighthouse can be tried once.
Relax on the beaches of Unawatuna
Unawatuna is only about 5-6 km from Galle and is considered the only place with one of the best beaches in the world. During my visit here, I found many, many foreigners, especially Europeans, relaxing on and near the beaches of Unawatuna. It is said that Unawatuna’s beaches were considered to be one of the top twelve beaches in the world at one point in time, but the 2004 tsunami destroyed some spots. In addition, human intervention in building houses or hotels to do more business has also tainted the mangrove here. Even so, there may be many migratory birds and coral reefs here. Don’t forget to visit the Japanese Peace Pagoda, which is a short drive from Unawatuna.
In fact, that’s not all. There are some other important places to visit like the Dutch Reformed Church, the National Maritime Museum, the Dutch Market, the New Town etc. Despite so many attractions, I will continue to recommend that Galle is absolutely fine for 2 nights. On the 3rd morning you should go – unless you just want to lie around and relax, do nothing, and when you have plenty of time to spare.
Getting to Galle from and to Colombo
Regular buses and trains run between Colombo and all major Sri Lankan cities, including Galle. I have generally traveled regularly on trains, more than buses. So I decided to take the train to Galle and the trip wasn’t worrying at all. It was good. Even though I went to third grade by mistake, there wasn’t a crowd, I got a window seat, and life was good the whole way. It is advisable to check the timing of your bus or train in advance rather than opting to travel after the evening hours.
Accommodation in Galle
Since I was on budget and the fact that I always do solo trips at home and abroad on budget, I had opted for a cheap host family that consisted of only one bed and WiFi. It wasn’t air-conditioned (and I think it was a mistake from my end) but the overall experience of the stay was good. Read my Budget stay experience in bile.
[I am in RED. Ohh don’t look at me like that ! I had taken a break from my gym that time. You should see me now !]
So overall, Galle is a good place to visit. But if you schedule it between December and January, it will turn out to be a notch up and better!
Download this wonderfully TRAVEL GUIDE ON THE GALLE Here !
Cover photo: Flickr / Eleleleven
Note: We are not the author of this content. For the Authentic and complete version,
Check its Original Source