When we arrived to Galle it instantly reminded us of Georgetown in Malaysia – the colonial architecture built on a peninsula. We decided to sleep inside the fort, which was great in the evening – many nice restaurants and cafes are open and although it’s like a tourist bubble, it felt ok.
Our favorite way of exploring became renting a scooter. Prices are around 1200 rupees for 24 hours, but be careful while driving, because especially buses are ruthless.
Things to do in and around Galle:
- Walking tour
In Lonely Planet Sri Lanka you can find a lovely walking tour, which will take you to all the important buildings around town.
- Watching the sunset from the fort
Seeing the golden ball drowning into the ocean is a ritual known everywhere around the globe.
- Watching the sunrise from the lighthouse
Yes, we woke up for sunrise and it was magical with all the salty mist in the air.
- Turtle hatchery
I’m quite skeptical about these places. At first I wasn’t, but after seeing so many of them along the coast around Unawatuna and Koggala I became. Another thing which wasn’t quite right was the price for releasing baby turtles. Yes, if you want to release a baby turtle into the vast ocean, you have to pay 1500 rupees (shouldn’t they be released regardless if someone pays?). Entrance fee is 500 rupees.
- Unawatuna beach
We went to Unawatuna for a beach day but bumped into a huge hindu festival. We enjoyed the beach anyway – the bamboo cabanas gave us perfect shade (free, just drink or eat something), the water was nice and the Lion beer cold. It is maybe a good idea to base yourself in Unawatuna and do a daytrip to Galle – decide for yourself. 😉
- Japanese peace pagoda
A 20 minutes hike up from Unawatuna beach or a curvy motorbike ride from the main road and you’ll be at the shimmering white Japanese peace pagoda. The man taking care of the temple introduced me to the resident monk, which is very old and almost deaf. You can borrow a sarong if you’re not dressed properly. The views from up there are lovely and the sunset can be amazing.
- Koggala lake
A natural lake with many different islands is aprox. 35 min by car from Galle. They offer boat tours of the lake with stops at cinnamon island and a few other islands. We didn’t feel like doing a boat tour, but keep your eyes peeled for wildlife here. 😉
- Handunugoda tea estate
This tea estate is 45 minutes drive from Galle fort, but so worth a visit. This is the only tea estate where white tea is handpicked by women with scissors and gloves. The tour of the estate is free and you’ll even get a chocolate cake and tea during the tour. At the end you can sample all the teas they’ve got in the tea room and also buy some. We were impressed by the mixtures and flavors – from smoked tea, to vodka or brandy infused ones, to classic black and green teas and the most luxurious virgin white tea.
- Stilt fishermen
Next to the Fortress hotel you can find stilt fisherman. Yes, they are there for tourists, but you can take as many pictures as you can and from any angle you want and they charge only 500 rupees. For all the fun we had with them it wasn’t hard to give them the money and we saved time to search for the “real” ones.
I’m sure there are more things to do and discover around Galle that’s why go exploring, get lost and have fun.
Here’s our first VLOG from Sri Lanka, where you can see some things we did in this region. 🙂