This article provides information on things to do in Galle on a budget, where to stay in Galle Fort, and how to get around Galle Fort.
Galle is the fifth largest city in Sri Lanka. At the center of the city is the old Dutch quarter, known as the Galle Fort, which is what most people come to visit. The main attractions within the Galle Fort are its architecture, paved streets and one-story buildings creating the perfect setting for peaceful and romantic getaways. Another great aspect of visiting Galle is the ability to find things to do on a budget!
How To Get from Kandy to Galle
Local buses – as we’ve previously seen in our Sri Lankan articles – are the cheapest way to travel in Sri Lanka. They are well indicated and not too packed. Buses will depart from Colombo bus station.
We got from Kandy to Galle with a layover in Colombo by train. Total ticket price for LKR 280 (USD $2) per person for 2nd class tickets – which was basic but clean and comfortable.
How to Get around the Galle Fort
The best way to explore the Galle Fort is by foot though you can easily take a tuk-tuk.
Where to Stay in Galle Fort: Galle Fort Hotels and Accommodations
Leybaan Villa (and Fish Spa) : we stayed there when the villa had just opened in 2013. For LKR 2,000 (USD $14) we had a basic double room with outside bath, towels and free WiFi. The hotel was very clean and quiet. There is a fish spa on a ground floor, which we did not experience.
Beach Haven – This is the hotel we initially wanted to go to. 4 other people who were on the train with us came to this hotel, which was already full. The manager of the Beach Haven referred us to Leybaan Villa. But if you plan early, for LKR 1,200 (USD $9) to 3,500 (USD $24) you will get a clean double room with private bath, WiFi, and air-conditioning in the more expensive room. The hotel is also well located within the Fort.
Rampart View – A family-run hostel. For USD $60, you will get an air-conditioned, double room with a balcony offering a great view of the ocean. The room is clean and there is free WiFi. Breakfast for two people included. Note: A pricier hotel as of 2015 but if you don’t want to book ahead of time, I would suggest to inquire about pricing directly on site. It could save you a lot of money.
Weltevreden – For USD $30, you will get a basic double room with view on the garden, private bath and free WiFi. Note: A pricier hotel as of 2015 but if you don’t want to book ahead of time, I would suggest to inquire about pricing directly on site. It could save you a lot of money.
What To Do in Galle – Galle Activities
Galle Fort is the perfect place for flaneurs. You don’t have to do anything except enjoying the colonial architecture and walking around the Fort. Oh, if you want to shop for jewelry, there are a lot of precious gems shops in Galle.
Galle Fort Lighthouse – a beautiful lighthouse of 26 meters high.
Galle Clocktower – good to spot during your walk around the Fort.
Meera Mosque – beautiful white mosque located inside the Fort.
If you want to get out of the Fort, Unawatuna Beach is a recommended location. There are also lots of hotels, restaurants and shops by Unawatuna beach. It is located about 5km from Galle Fort. You can take the local buses, which are cheap or hire a tuk tuk.
You can also venture outside of the Fort and explore the streets of Galle.
How To Get Away – From Galle to Colombo Airport
Galle was our last destination on our tour of Sri Lanka. From there, we had to go back to Colombo to reach the airport to go to our next country….Bangladesh! But, before reaching Bangladesh, we had to figure out how to get back to Colombo airport.
There are night buses from Galle to Colombo costing LKR 280 per person (USD $2). The buses drop you off at Colombo bus station. From Colombo bus station, there are vans going to Colombo airport for LKR 100 per person (USD $0.71) but the vans don’t leave until they’re full…if you’re accustomed to Asia travels, you know that “full” means “another-human-being-could-not-fit-in-this-van-full”.
Because it was nighttime, we had to wait quite a while – this should be taken into consideration if you intend to take the van to go to the airport. Luckily, we were not in a rush and they played a Bollywood movie in the van “Chennai Express” (which is why we later went to Chennai in India…more on that later.)
That was the end of our Sri Lankan adventure. What initially appeared to be a race to see everything ended as a refreshing cultural tour and our hearts were filled with beautiful memories. In 12 days, we fell in love with this country and its culture.
We left as happy and excited about Sri Lanka as the couple we met when we had arrived 12 days before.
Did you go to Galle? Did you go outside the Fort? Share your travel experience with us! We love to hear from you.
Happy Travels !!xx
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