Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1988, the Fort is the best preserved sea fort in South Asia. Started by the Portugese in 1588, construction was completed by the Dutch which captured Galle from the Portugese in 1640. The Dutch provided spacious housing, wide roads and all the necessary facilities whitin its walls including an sewage system that was ahead of his time.
While much of the sea level town Galle was destroyed by the 2004 Tsunami, the Fort withstood the full forse of the waves, and prevented more destruction in the town than there might have been otherwise.
Since we have our own tuktuk, transport is easy. We pinned our hotel, The Fort Printers, on maps.me and started driving from Colombo. The first part isn’t that much fun, but it is a real test for your tuktuk driving skills due to the traffic, when you leave this behind, and see the ocean on your right hand side, the trip gets nice. And next to that, it so much fun to drive around in our own tuktuk. People try to stop us because they think we are a taxi and start laughing when they notice there are two white people in the tuktuk. Good fun! Read our story on how to get your own tuktuk here.
Around Kosgada you will pass several turtle farms (we counted 7), one even has an albino turtle (cost for this farm is 1000 Rupee pp). Although turtle hatcheries are always a good thing, 7 farms in maybe not more then 3 kilometers feels a bit as a tourist trap.
We had lunch at a little restaurant besides the street for 900 Rupee before we started our remaining 45 kilometers to Galle where we arrived around 4 pm. You can drive into the fort with a tuktuk and there is no entrance fee. In total it took us around 5 hours to get from Colombo to Galle.
Inside the fort, you can get a cheap meal at the The Rocket Burger for about 600 Rupee, or go out fancy and eat at The Fort Printers. Another lovely place to go to, which is quite cheap for the food they serve, is Spoons. They only have 6 tables, you pay about 700 Rupee and the food is really good. We were surprised by it.
We went out for diner outside the fort and had an amazing night at Owl and The Pussycat. This hotel has a great restaurant, really nice setting, relaxed atmosphere and the food is more than good. It’s one of the first times we really went out for diner and we spoiled ourselves with a starter, main and desert! It was delicious! It’s money well spent!
We stayed inside the Dutch Fort, in an old colonial house. Really impressive. The name of the hotel is The Fort Printers and besides some small changes, they kept the building intact. They even still have the original doorkey which weighs about 3 kilos. A nice detail.
The rooms are really spacious, the beds so comfortable, there is a small swimming pool which is great after a hot day strolling around the Fort (It’s one of the only four hotels with a pool inside the fort), the breakfast is healthy and delicious and the people are really friendly. There is a kitchen you can use where you can get free water, coffee, tea and drinks all day for free. We loved the big table in the little courtyard outside our room where we could sit down, get some work done, drink our coffee and tea and enjoy the breeze that cooled down in the evenings.
They like to spoil their guests with little details such as the best smelling shower cremes, they knock at your door in the evening to ask if you need anything and if you are not there, they let down the mosquito net and turn on a small light so you don’t come back to a dark room.
** You can find them on booking.com
The Duch Fort is nice to visit for a day. You can walk around up on the walls of the Fort and enjoy the breeze coming from the ocean. It’s an impressive fort and walking around you start getting the feeling how life was during the 18th century. Leaving the walls, and walking through the streets is really nice. There are lots of shops where you can buy souvenirs, clothing and jewelry and the atmosphere is relaxed and has a mediterranean feeling. We just walked around a bit, saw the clocktower, went into the Dutch church (which they still use and where you can still go to service on Sunday), admired the lighthouse and enjoyed the sunset.
Just outside Galle, is a small stretch of sand where the fishermen pull in their net around sundown. They do this with a loud singing, screaming and smiling. This attracts lots of public and birds trying to snatch away the fish. It is really fun to watch and if you want, you are more than welcome to help pull in the net.