Things to do in Galle
Whether you are in the northern towns of Galle district, the district capital Galle itself or in one of the other port cities along the coast, you will find convenient transportation links between any and all the cities. Hence, it will be all the more convenient for you to travel around and enjoy your journey. You can easily find tourist services online many of which will offer trips specifically to trips mentioned in the following paragraphs. So, let’s jump in. Let us first talk about the places and activities near the sea (for obvious reasons).
1. Whale Watching
One of the most exciting and sought-after things to do by most tourists who visit the coast is to sail over into the Indian Ocean and as if the mere sight of the smooth curling waters wasn’t enough, you would also get to watch HUGE whales jump and down from the waters. Take that for sight-seeing. I cannot speak for those who might have sea-sickness or aquaphobia, but for the rest of us, whale watching out in the open sea is a very, very awe-inspiring scene.
One such agency who is involved in taking a whale watching cruises out into the nearby Indian Ocean is ‘Summer Dew Tours’. However, no matter which particular agency you might choose, most offer very convenient travel itineraries, hotel pick and drop, a commensurate amount of duration and price for the trip, along with complimentary food or high-tea as well. The particular agency we have mentioned picks up customers from relevant places of residence in cities like Galle, Unawatuna or Imaduwa etc. and takes them to the Mirissa Harbour, whence they sail out in a very comfy big boat. Apart from the different species of whales to be seen: blue whale, killer, sperm etc., it is also probable that you might spot dolphins and turtles as well.
2. Galle Fort
Another popular visiting spot for outsiders (foreigners) is the Galle Fort of ancient times. Actually, it is not much of a huge fort with buildings and turrets you might expect. Some visitors have even said that it is only a Galle Fort ‘Wall’. However, surprisingly, hundreds of people have ranked it as a very beautiful place and a ‘must-see’. The real beauty supposedly is in the quaint little city behind the city, which reflects the long history of Dutch colonialism when Old Galle was a walled city. The Galle Fort has also been ranked as the best preserved European fort in Sri Lanka. However, in recent months, some regular visitors have pointed out the lack of cleanliness and maintenance in the Old Galle area behind the Galle Fort.
a: Galle Fort Lighthouse
Mention of the Galle Fort cannot go without the mention of the Galle Fort Lighthouse. The Galle Lighthouse is deemed Sri Lanka’s oldest light station and has also been giving the status of UNESCO’s World Heritage Site. Although fewer people seem to have visited the Lighthouse out of those who visit the Galle Fort, most of them have ranked it as a beautiful place to be, with many rendering it a nice ‘photo spot’. The lighthouse overlooks a small, shimmering beach, which adds all the more charm to the place. There are also various small shops and restaurants nearby which interest the cheerful tourist.
3. Beach Luxuries
Now let us talk of the beaches themselves before we move onto the places inland. Although any beach offers scenic beauty and a natural feel, the beaches near Galle haven’t received many favors from visitors.
a) Unawatuna Beach
One of the more favored beaches in Galle is the one the small town of Unawatuna. There are resorts nearby, palm trees line the beach, adding shade and ‘glamour’ to the narrow beach. The sandy area of the beach has been decreased due to the past history of tsunami destruction and reconstruction of hotels on the sand itself. However, it is still a highly frequented beach, with a little garbage lying in some parts and sunbeds, surfboards and rowing boats available along the shore.
b) Jungle Beach
Those who are more interested in fewer crowdy beaches and want to spend some quite peacetime at a beach would prefer the more modest and smaller beach, the Jungle Beach. Not far from the Unawatuna beach, the Jungle Beach offers less attractive but also less garbage and less noise. It is also convenient to reach and have a nice, cool swim there.
4. Meera Mosque
One never easily discerns it as a mosque at first sight, because of its Dutch architecture. The building appears to be more of a huge library or a cathedral with the white paint and turrets there. It has been described by many as an enchanting, beautiful masterpiece, one of many ancient Muslim buildings in Sri Lanka. We will not lead you into the history of this mosque, although many have said that it is a worthwhile and fascinating history (Do read up on it!).
5. Sea Turtle Hatchery Centre Mahamodara
Another one of the top-ranked tourist activities in Galle is this sea turtle hatchery. Here they preserve endangered turtle species, having 4 to 10 different turtle species, as they claim. Many find the tiny turtle babies cute and adorable. Everyone is welcomed to visit and say hi to the turtles.
6. He who muses goes to Museums
Now let us move on to the historical heritage places, which interest some if not all the tourists who visit exotic places. However, here again, we have seen mixed reviews expressed by past visitors to these museums. We mention the museums in order of popularity, with most popular first.
a. Martin Wickramasinghe Folk Museum Complex
Martin Wickramasinghe was a famous scholar and novelist, and apparently still is, judging from the reviews given by so many visitors to this folk museum complex. The fact that it is a folk museum perhaps itself offers a unique distinctive aspect to visitors and attracts them too. The Museum offers historical images and life history of both Martin W. and Sri Lankan life in general during that period, which is early to mid 19th century.
b. Maritime Archaeological Museum
Another museum is the Maritime Archaeological Museum which is an interesting museum housed in an ancient building. It is has received generally positive reviews and though some consider the tour price expensive, many consider it ‘worth a shot’ nonetheless. It is a little dark inside and has also been called disorganized. However, there must be some pretty amazing stuff inside there to cause people to visit such a ‘dark, disorganized’ place in spite of these drawbacks.
c. National Museum of Galle
Then there is the National Museum of Galle. Contrary to what the name and title might indicate, the museum has been termed as ‘basic, simple, nothing glamorous, yet interesting’. The interesting part is what caused us to mention this here since we would not want you to miss out anything interesting. So why not try it out yourself and see what becomes of it?
d. Historical Mansion Museum
More of a jewelry shop than a museum, as some have called it, this one is also small yet, again, has some interesting stuff as well. There is a questionable reputation about the guides and the jewelry shop inside though. Look out for that.
Do you think we left out an important place or thing in Galle? We encourage you to contribute by commenting and by exploring Galle yourself. Let us know about it then!