The Dutch first set foot in Galle Fort, and if I were them, I would stay for more than a hundred years as well. In most travel books and websites I have read before coming to Sri Lanka, most would say that there is no need to visit Galle as there is nothing much to do here. I’m glad I didn’t listen.
Galle is a great stop at either the start or the end of your journey to Sri Lanka. I didn’t stay long either, but I wish I could have stayed for at least two nights. I was there for 2 days and a night and I just find this place so charming. The narrow streets are within walking distance to most inns and B&B’s. There is just too much colour and contrast to this place that every nook and cranny is Instagrammable.
Illustration Credit: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/233272455674418764/
I am so glad I picked out the perfect place for my stay – Antic’s Guesthouse. It was awesome. The location is just perfect to head out to anywhere within Galle, it is within walking distance to the main streets dotted with quaint shops, museums, cafes and restaurants.
Budget-wise, you wouldn’t really call it a budget hotel as it costs about US90/night inclusive of an awesome Sri Lankan breakfast (or Continental for those weak of heart) – but it was totally worth it.
The room is huge, the bathroom spacious and clean. All of the walls, windows, the poster bed as well as the ceiling are hand-painted as the owner is a local artist (I heard from the neighbor) who currently resides in the UK.
The staff was really all very polite and helpful. They make sure they attend to everything you might need, you wouldn’t even have to ask! The receptionist has actually informed me that I was being ripped off by my tuk-tuk driver so I had to nicely ‘sack’ him. And this is how I found that overpriced tuk-tuk driver, read my previous post here.
You could walk the main streets of Galle Fort in half day, including visiting shops and maybe having a fruit juice or two along the way. There’s a good juice shop just opposite Antic’s Guesthouse owned by an old Sri Lankan man and he was chatty and nice. Some notable shops and restaurants to see:
- Barefoot – pricey but totally local and handpicked stuff
- The Fort Printers
- Good Market on weekends at Court Square
- Laksana Gems and Jewellry
- Galle Fort Hotel – for lunch and cocktails
- Stick No Bills Poster Gallery
There was this vintage poster and postcard shop named Stick No Bills Poster Gallery, which I saw along Church Street – and the prints and art are really awesome. If I wasn’t moving around Sri Lanka, I would have bought a poster or two for my bedroom.
As I was taking photos around the Lighthouse, I saw this ‘rasta’ looking local who suddenly jumped off the cliff. Turns out, he has been doing cliff diving since late 90s/ early 2000s, for profit or not – I am not sure, but it didn’t seem like he was asking money for it. It was pretty nerve-wracking watching him, but he’s just so crazy about it you would kinda understand why he is doing it.
In a nutshell, I would still recommend Galle as a first stop to get ‘acclimatized’ to Sri Lanka. You can skip Colombo all together but Galle is a must-see, it’s too pretty to pass out on.