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Approaching from the South, the swell and fall of the waves seem replicated in the undulating golden coast of Galle, a historical heritage city in Sri Lanka. The Galle road extends to 110 kms down the south coast from Colombo, until it reaches Galle's Fortress. Its historical fort was originally built by the Portuguese and later modified by the Dutch in the 17th century. As visitors pass through the fort gates the architecture seems to transport to the Dutch Colonial era. Within the fort lives a community of Dutch, English, Germans and Portuguese and protected within the fort's walls are lush green and flora gardens and spectacular water features.
The narrow streets which were once lined with Dutch real estate are now charmed with boutique hotels with beautiful facades. Within the Fort lies a vibrant living city where period buildings are in use including The Governor's House, Law Courts, hospitals, the Clock Tower and The Lighthouse. At sunset the high rampart walls are occupied by local people pleasantly strolling along them. Galle's historical fort has been recognised by Unesco as a World Heritage Site and is truly a site not to be missed.
Galle is a city with lots to explore and the best way to get around is simply by 'Tuk Tuk' which translates to, 'on foot'. It is by far the easiest way to travel within Galle. If you are going further a field then the bus is a very cheap option. A principal attraction in Galle the Kalutara Temple that dates back to the 11th century and sits majestically on the south bank of the Kalu Ganga River. The temple is detailed with 74 murals portraying scenes from Buddhist accounts. Also popular is the Seenigama Temple which is situated on the sea coast and is around 1300 years old. At the Temple tourists like to make a donation and say a prayer for good luck.
Another attraction is The Peace Pagoda the view from which on a clear day is simply breathtaking. There are handcrafted and bespoke shops within Galle fort where visitors can buy high quality unique artifacts or simply peruse the many elegant boutiques, antique shops or sample the local restaurants. Taste buds are tempted with the delights that are available in Galle. A small selection: the Rampart Hotel which is on the south rampart of the fort which serves local and international meals, The Lighthouse Hotel offers an all you can eat buffet, Anura's restaurant serves pizzas, sandwiches and other snacks. Travelling out of Galle there are some idyllic beaches that at the very least deserve a paddle in. Negombo, 35 km North of Colombo, is set in a verdant grove of coconut palms and Beruwela Beach it marks the start of a stretch of beaches reaching 130 km in length. South of Colombo 64 km away lays Bentota Beach, a resort complex where a meeting of rivers and sea conjoin and entwine.
Galle has many hotels to choose from to suite all budgets. Inside the fort there is the lavish Amangalla hotel which is a restoration of the historic New Orient Hotel. The Lighthouse hotel has a beach front and offers excellent service. This hotel was designed by the internationally well-known Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa and is located 4 kms from Galle fort. The Tamarind Hotel is a rambling old manor which dates back to the 1800s. The Hotel preserves detail and style prevalent with its grand origins with beautiful verandas and courtyards. It is located on a three acre hill, with tropical gardens to explore.
Also on offer is The Rampart View Guest House, from which you can overlook the ramparts with the Indian Ocean beyond from the balconies. It also has a small roof garden. All the rooms have air-conditioning and the breakfast consists of an abundance of fresh fruit, bread, eggs and tea. Other accommodation includes The Fort Inn Guest House which is a family run guest house with its has four rooms. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are provided at your request. Free internet is available, the rooms have a bathroom and a shower and two rooms have air conditioning. There is a roof top room with ocean view. Khalid's Guest House is the longest run family guest in Galle Fort. It is an architecturally Dutch house design; all rooms have a bathroom with a shower. There are rooms available with balconies and ocean views.
The are many airline companies, including charter companies that reach Sri Lanka. From the UK the flights usually take around eleven hours to Colombo. From there visitors can then take a train or a bus to Galle, which is 116 km away; both travel along the beautiful coast line, so the lucky new arrivals can sit back, relax and enjoy the magnificent views.