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Copyright Š2013 Jack Eden The right of Jack Eden to be identified as the author of the Work has been asserted by him in accordance with the Copyright Act. First published in Sri Lanka in 2012. Second edition printed in Sri Lanka in 2013. Apart from any use permitted under the Sri Lanka Copyright Law, this publication, or any part of it, may only be reproduced, stored, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means, with prior permission in writing of Jack Eden. All details included in this publication are accurate at the time of print. All Photography, layout, artwork: Benjamin Balfour www.benjaminbalfour.com Page 4/5:

Dorrie McVeigh dorriemcveigh@gmail.com Page 49: Gavin Hellier / Alamy Page 64/65: Simon Williams www.simonwilliamsphotography.com Research: Hayley Fisher, Jules Dance Editor: Tom Francis Editor in Chief: Jack Eden

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Dear Friends It is with great pleasure that we welcome you to Sri Lanka and to Galle. We hope that your holiday here provides all that you seek and desire. We have combined our local knowledge and expertise with feedback from our friends and guests to produce this second edition of ‘Galle... and beyond’…part of The Sri Lanka City Guides . A free app version of the guide is available in the app store. Galle is a fast-developing destination that offers an eclectic choice of things to see and do, places to eat and gifts to buy. While we do not pretend to include everything, the following pages contain a selection of our favourites. We welcome feedback, so please send us your comments – and have a blissful holiday. Thank you for coming. Best regards The Sri Lanka City Guides

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Contents Galle 08 - 09 10 - 11 12 - 14 16 - 20 21 22 - 25 26 - 27 28 - 33 34 - 36 38 - 39

Galle Town Galle Fort Beaches Shopping - Galle Fort Shopping - Galle Town Eating Out – Galle Fort Eating Out – Galle Area Activities Spa & Fitness Nightlife

& Beyond 42 - 44 46 - 49 50 - 55 56 - 62 69

Surrounding Area Further Afield Festivals & Holidays Climate & Geography Documents

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Galle Town

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Galle is the capital of the Southern Province and is situated on the south-western tip of Sri Lanka approx 120km south of Colombo. It is Sri Lanka’s 4th largest city: the population stands at around 110,000 the majority of whom are of Sinhalese ethnicity. Prior to the arrival of the Portuguese in the 16th century when it became the main port on the island, Galle was already a hub of trade due to its favourable location on shipping routes and natural harbour. Indians, Greeks, Romans, Chinese and Arabs have been trading goods here for centuries. Today tourism, trade and fisheries are the major sources of income to the area. The harbour is busy with fishing boats, set against a background of naval vessels and cruise ships. From there the town sprawls northwards in a jumble of streets packed with local shops, pavement-sellers, roadside restaurants, temples, and the main fish, fruit and vegetable markets: it all combines to make an interesting place for a stroll especially the area around Main Street. The town is well-served by transport links, with regular train services to Colombo and Matara and bus services to a wide range of destinations. Massive improvement in the infrastructure linking Galle with Colombo via the Southern Expressway is having a knock-on effect on trade and business and the town is flourishing. As well as the harbour Galle is famous for its international cricket pitch – the scene where local hero Murali captured his 800th wicket on the last ball of his last over before retirement – and the Dutch Fort.

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Galle Fort

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Predominantly built in the mid to late 1600s, Galle Fort is one of South Asia’s best examples of a Dutch-built fortified city and is a harmonious hybrid of European and South Asian architectural styles. It was awarded UNESCO World Heritage status in 1988 and is the largest remaining fortress of its kind in Asia. Some historians believe Galle may be the Tarshish of biblical times where King Solomon obtained his gems and, as you’ll see, there is no shortage of gem shops to keep this fable alive. The Fort’s 36 hectares are packed with multifarious delights: its easy-going yet bustling atmosphere is due to the blend of commerce and culture. Whilst the opportunity to shop and eat increase every week, it retains an air of lives little-changed for centuries. Juliet Coombe offers a ‘Guided Walk’ which is informative and fun (see ‘Activities’). Prominent landmarks include the National Maritime Museum, St Mary’s Cathedral, the Reformed Dutch Church, the Mosque, the Amangalla Hotel, the library and the lighthouse. The Fort’s population is approximately half Buddhist and half Muslim so, when walking around, please be sensitive to local customs and allow common sense to prevail. The ramparts are a beautiful place for a dawn or sunset walk, (only rarely will you see anyone jogging and they tend to be tourists) and the regulars will be pleased to see you and exchange greetings. Be warned, however, that it can get crowded at weekends and public holidays. For detailed and up-to-date information about eating, staying and shopping in Galle Fort, read on through this guide, check out the website below or download the Sri Lanka Guide app. www.srilankacityguides.com

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Beaches

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Sri Lanka - and the south-west particularly - boasts a spectacular coastline with a multitude of gorgeous sandy stretches and beach resorts. Always take care: never leave your bags unattended, never go swimming after a long lunch and, if told not to swim because of the currents - don’t. The Fort Several small beaches, the main one being beneath the lighthouse, that are perfect for an early morning dip or snorkelling - if you don’t mind a few spectators! Insider’s tip: A pre-breakfast swim for those staying in villas within the Fort. Jungle Beach On the other side of the harbour from the Fort lies Jungle Beach. Take a tuktuk to the Peace Pagoda on Rumassala Hill, then walk down the steep path or catch a boat from Unawatuna to find this hidden gem. A tiny tree-fringed beach with just one restaurant and calm, clear water awaits you! Insider’s tip: Snorkel and swim in (comparative) seclusion. Unawatuna Once lauded as being amongst the most beautiful bays in the world, it became famous for its sweeping bay overlooked by the dagoba on Rumassala Hill - well worth a visit if you enjoy a lively ambiance and bartering for some fun souvenirs. Insider’s tip: Head to Kingfisher... Location Fort Beach Jungle Beach Unawatuna Wijaya Hikkaduwa Ahangama Weligama Mirissa

Why Go? Morning dip Small, deserted Buzzing backpacker scene Lagoon, food, surfing Surfing, nightlife Surfing, seasonally wide Surf lessons Gorgeous bay 13

KM from Galle Fort 0km 6km 6.5km 8km 20km 20km 28km 34km


Wijaya A small but perfectly formed beach protected by a reef on one side with a surf break at the other: ideal for swimming, turtle-spotting, and surfing. The beach has one small beach bar which boasts a vivacious, welcoming atmosphere and great food. Wijaya Beach is the ‘local’ for expats living in the area. Insider’s tip: Oysters washed down with Dom Perignon. Ahangama Famous for its stilt fisherman, a beach scene at this seasonally wide, soft, sandy beach is emerging. Challenging surf break at one end. Insider’s tip: Head to the Kabalana Hotel and walk down the beach. Hikkaduwa Hikkaduwa’s wide, long beach has everything to offer except solitude: splendid surfing and kite-boarding; safe swimming and snorkelling; a coral sanctuary with turtles; souvenir shopping and sybaritic nightlife. Insider’s tip: See turtles up close at the Coral Sands Hotel (mornings). Weligama A huge turquoise bay with great surfing for all levels. The uninterrupted view is broken only by picturesque Taprobane Island: a 1920s mansion perched atop a small islet just off the coast. Surfing lessons and board hire can usually be arranged on the day but it is popular so go early to avoid disappointment. Insider’s tip: Sunrise waves are less crowded Mirissa A magnificent half-moon bay with a lovely sandy beach that is beginning to see unchecked development but is still deserving of a visit. Waves can be big and beach-dumpers, so it’s advisable not to turn your back. For the slightly more adventurous, travel from Galle by train: check times carefully and be aware that you will need to get a tuk-tuk to drive you the 10 minute journey from the station to the coast. Insider’s tip: A great day out.

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Shopping 16


In recent years shopping in Galle has expanded and improved, and there is now an eclectic mix of fashion, gift and local handicrafts to accompany the gems. Within Galle Fort: The retail offer within the Fort walls is constantly evolving. We have outlined a few - download the Sri Lanka City Guide app for the most up-to-date information. www.srilankacityguides.com Barefoot Corner of Church Street and Pedlar Street Perfect for some souvenir shopping, this is a dazzling treasure trove of handloom soft toys, hand¬made clothes and Ayurvedic potions and lotions. Barefoot is also well-regarded locally for its books and you’ll find an enticing selection of local authors and coffee table type. The Galle Fort shop is the smaller sister of the main Colombo store. Tel: +94 91 222 6299 / www.barefootceylon.com Exotic Roots 32 Church Street Showcasing a collection of acrylic paintings, hand designed ceramics and a selection of bright and bold jewellery and homeware designed by French artist Catherine Hillion. A great place to find original gifts. Tel: +94 91 224 5454 Ibrahim Jewellers 47 Church Street One of the ‘elders’ of the Fort gem scene, Saffa Ibrahim offers an impressive array of stones and can create bespoke designs on request. Tel: +94 91 2234 253 / ibrah@sltnet.lk JoJo 78 Pedlar Street A great collection of bespoke pieces and antique jewellery designed by Mangala. Tel: +94 91 2244 644 / mangalak23@hotmail.com 17


Mimimango 56 Lighthouse Street Develop a goddess complex as you enter the opulent world of designer Jo Eden’s Mimimango and discover dresses, skirts, tops, trousers, sarongs as well as Jo’s divine ‘Precious’ shawls and much more. Tel: +94 91 2242 702 / www.joedenmimimango.com The KK Collection 36 Church Street A collection of interior pieces and stylish homeware curated by Kahanda Kanda (see ‘Eating Out’) owner George Cooper. Tel: +94 (0) 91 4943 700 / www.kahandakanda.com Laksana 30 Hospital Street Another of the ‘seniors’ when it comes to jewellery in the Fort. If you are here for a few days or more, have a chat with Ameen Hussein and his team and have your designs custom-made. Tel: +94 77 790 0170 Olanda Antiques 51 Leyn Baan Street An Aladdin’s Cave of antiques, furniture and reproductions with some amazing pieces. Pop in and explore. Pedlar’s Inn Jewellers 92 Pedlar Street Situated in the middle of the Pedlar’s Inn Café, this jeweller provides a great selection of Sri Lankan stones and designs. Tel: +94 91 222 7199 / pedlarsjewellers@gmail.com Souk 58 58 Church Street This beautiful Fort shop opened in 2011 and stocks a handmade screenprinted collection which is designed and made in the Souk 58 workshop. Also on offer is a bespoke tailoring service, gift items and homeware. Tel: +94 91 222 2358 / www.souk58.com 18


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Casual Edge 7A Rampart Street, Tel: +94 91 720 0094, www.casual-edge.com A wide selection of gents’, ladies’ and kids’ clothing: tell the guys what you want and they’ll find it in seconds. The Church Street Gallery 35 Church Street, www.vintagepostersandpostcards.com A browser’s dream: charming and amusing vintage Ceylon and Bollywood posters and postcards. Hempel Gallery 6 Pedlar Street, Tel: +94 77 428 2067, www.hempelgalleries.com Gallery showcasing contemporary Sri Lankan art to the international community. Mansion House 23 Church Street, Tel: +94 77 306 5339 A large showroom for crafts and clothes from all over the subcontinent. The Museum 31-39 Leyn Baan Street, Tel: +94 91 223 4114 Take a free tour through this world of relics and artefacts from the British and Dutch eras. It also houses a great souvenir and jewellery shop. Orchid House 28A Hospital Street, www.orchid-house.net A selection of everything, chosen by Yameen Hussein. With so much on offer it is a challenge to leave Orchid House empty-handed. Pedlar’s Gallery 92 Pedlar St, Tel: +94 91 222 7199 Gallery showing photography and art by residents of Sri Lanka. Saskia Fernando Gallery 1 Magistrates Square, www.saskiafernandogallery.com Contemporary art and design by Sri Lankan artists. Shoba Display Gallery 67A Pedlar Street, www.shobafashion.org Tailor-made and ready-to-wear clothes, lace and beading. They also offer craft classes. Sithuvili Leyn Baan Street, Tel: +94 77 711 4229 Jam-packed with interesting wall art, carvings and more. 20


Outside the Fort: Along with the ‘must-visit’ fish market, it’s worth wandering down Main Street as a selection of beads and sarongs might reach out. Manjari Wackwella Road, Galle Dubbed the ‘Harvey Nics’ of Galle, this mischievous comparison should be taken with a bucket of salt. If kitsch is your thing, this plastic fantastic ‘department’ store should be on your list. Check out the top floor for an unbelievable array of fabrics. The Old Railway 42 Havelock Place, Galle Facing the Dutch canal, with a delicious café upstairs, this store is run by the hugely talented designer Catherine Rawson: arrange an appointment to have a dress made. A collection of clothing, jewellery and gifts are also handmade on the premises. www.theoldrailwayshop.com White Walk Boutique 324/A, Ganahena, Unawatuna This interiors shop sells Sri Lankan-made items by designer Sabreena Ahmed Joonoos. Handmade ceramics, clothes, furniture and covetable homeware. Tel: +94 77 703 0345 www.whitewalk.com

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Eating Out

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Sri Lanka has long been renowned for its spices. Traders from all over the world came here during the 15th and 16th centuries bringing their na¬tive cuisines, introducing a rich diversity of cooking styles and techniques to the island. Local cuisine consists mainly of rice served with a variety of vegetable and fish curries - if you get the opportunity you should sample a traditional Sri Lankan curry, and also the hoppers, rotis and short eats available from the many street vendors. The food is fresh and delicious, but be prepared for some fiery heat! If this is not for you, never fear: many other cuisines can be found within Galle, including Italian, British, Thai and Indian. Key US$ per head 2 courses + soft drink $ <10 $$ 11-20 $$$ 21-30 $$$$ 30-40+ Within Galle Fort: There is a diverse choice of eateries within the Fort walls and at the last count more than 60 restaurants and cafés, so we have only detailed a few. It is worth noting that the majority of cafés within the Fort do not have a liquor license, and Muslim owned businesses will usually be closed on Fridays between 1200 and 1330 for Prayers. Amangalla $$$$ Church Street, Galle Fort The majestic focal point within Galle Fort, this exclusive colonial hotel is a ‘must-visit’ during your trip. The Zaal, the Great Hall has an elegant ambiance with its high ceilings and chandeliers: the perfect place to while away an afternoon under the breeze of an antique fan and sip a cool drink. The menu consists of traditional Sri Lankan and European fare. Insider’s tip: Scones, cream and home-made jam for tea. Tel: +94 91 223 3388 / www.amanresorts.com/amangalla

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Fortaleza $$$ Lighthouse Street, Galle Fort Situated on the corner of Church Cross Street and Lighthouse Street in the heart of the Fort, this stylish restaurant is set around a historic courtyard and serves up an eclectic mix of dishes with Asian influences. Open for lunch and dinner and longer throughout the high seasons. Insider’s Tip: Home-made elderflower pressé Tel: +94 91 223 3415 reservations@fortaleza.lk The Fort Printers $$$ 36 Pedlar Street, Galle Fort A superlative choice for that restorative early-evening drink or a leisurely dinner, the Fort Printers is an elegant 18th century mansion restored with a classic feel in a colourful palette. Booking ahead is essential. Insider’s Tip: Enjoy a good selection of wines and unwind in the candlelit courtyard. Tel: +94 91 224 7977 www.thefortprinters.com Galle Fort Hotel $$$ 28 Church Street, Galle Fort A superb restaurant serving a wide selection of fusion cuisine in genteel surroundings, perfect for an infor¬mal lunch on the veranda. Book in advance: the restaurant does get very busy during the high seasons. Insider’s tip: Excellent club sandwich. Tel: +94 91 223 2870 www.galleforthotel.com Pedlar’s Inn Café $$ 92 Pedlar Street, Galle Fort A great spot for languid loafing and people watching! Sit down and relax with a cold drink and listen to jazz music over the background hustle and bustle from the street. Insider’s Tip: For those with a sweet tooth: chocolate brownie with ice cream from their own gelateria. Tel: +94 91 222 7199 www.pedlarsinn.com Wok on the Wild Side $$ Pedlar Street, Galle Fort An appetising array of noodles and stir-fries cooked in front of you in their open kitchen. This is a small, funky restaurant with canteen bench-style seating inside and tables on the street. Insider’s Tip: Spicy Pad Thai noodles washed down with a jug of fresh lime juice. 24


Allora $$ 47 Lighthouse Street, Tel: +94 91 222 2029 Well-executed Italian menu of pizza, pasta and salads. Crêpe-ology $$$ 53 Leyn Baan Street, Tel: +94 91 223 4777, www.crepe-ology.lk Set among the rooftops of the Fort, Crêpe-ology feels like a hidden gem despite its popularity. Choose from sweet and savoury crêpes with a dizzying range of fillings. Serendipity Arts Café $$ 100 Pedlar St, Tel: + 94 77 952 5602 Go for a leisurely breakfast or enjoy the works of art adorning the wall with a mango lassie. Olanda $$ 30 Leyn Baan Street, Tel: +94 91 223 4398 Tucked away in the marvellous Olanda antiques store room. La Clochette $$ 3 Parawa Street, Tel: +94 91 223 5193, www.laclochettebakery.com Brioche, baguettes, home made jams brownies... and a boutique. 25


Outside the Fort Cantaloupe Aqua $$$ Matara Road, Talpe (11km from Galle) Just past the 127km marker, this bou¬tique hotel offers up Coconut, its chic fusion restaurant serving a tempting selection of Thai influenced dishes alongside con¬temporary takes on Sri Lankan food. Visit Aqua, the cocktail and wine bar for a sunset drink before dinner. Insider’s Tip: In high season, book a table at one of CA’s buzzing Sunday brunch parties. Tel: +94 91 720 0500 www.cantaloupevillas.com Idle Teas $$ Yatagala Cookery School (5km from Galle) Situated in Yatagala, tucked in amongst the rice fields, this is the perfect venue for a family afternoon tea: book as a group with a set price per head (lunches can also be arranged). Also on offer is a ride in the local bullock cart to Yatagala temple. Insider’s Tip: Finish off an Idle Tours bicycle ride with afternoon tea (see ‘Activities’ for more information). Tel: +94 773 294 006 (Danielle) Kahanda Kanda $$$$ Angulugaha (12km from Galle) KK is an enchanting low-level ten-acre tea estate about 30 minutes inland from Galle. Not the place to take young children. Booking is essential. Insider’s Tip: Book an early morning cycle ride with Idle Tours (see Activities) and head up to KK for lunchtime. Let the guides take the bikes away while you enjoy a well-deserved leisurely afternoon. Tel: +94 91 228 6717 www.kahandakanda.com The Sun House $$$ Upper Dickson Road, Galle The Sun House offers a unique trip back in time to the languid lifestyle of the planters. Once the home of a Scottish spice merchant, this colonial house built in the 1860s is now a boutique hotel. It is well known for its fine dining, privacy and eclectic inte¬rior as well as the cocktails in Dick’s bar. Insider’s tip: Book the day before. Tel: +94 91 222 2624 www.thesunhouse.com 26


WB $$$ 127km marker, Matara Road, Talpe (10km from Galle) A stunning beach club: WB’s Italian owners have put to¬gether a truly authentic menu with all the best bits of Italian cuisine. Visit for sumptuous lunch, then spend the afternoon snoozing it off on one of their sun loungers. Booking is essential. Insider’s Tip: For those feeling naughty (and hungry), select the rich cheese and truffle oil gnocchi – heavenly. Stay on for sunset cocktails. Tel: +94 77 666 3137 www.whybeach.com Why House $$$ Mihiripenna, Talpe (9km from Galle) A boutique hotel within a three acre walled garden, Why House exudes a feeling of peace and tranquillity, yet is a mere ten minute walk from Wijaya Beach. Booking ahead is essential. Insider’s Tip: Go for Sunday lunch Tel: +94 777 650 439 www.whyhousesrilanka.com

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Activities

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Cookery School - Yatagala Learn how to cook a traditional Sri Lankan curry. Set amongst lush paddy fields you will find a coconut island filled with tropical plants where longtime resident Danielle Francis has recreated an authentic kitchen. Insider’s tip: A wonderful ‘girls’ day out’. Tel: +94 773 294 006 (Danielle) Guided Bike Tours - Idle Tours This is an absolute ‘must-do’. Depending on your level of fitness you can choose your route: ranging from a two-hour loop around the flat paddy fields, to an all-day trip up into the hills. You will be led by knowledgeable and passionate guides across verdant rice paddies, tea plantations and the jungle, spotting colourful wildlife along the way. Kingfishers, monkeys and monitors are some of the common sights. A couple of rest stops are planned en route to give you a chance to take it all in, with water and thambili provided. Insider’s tip: You can combine your bike trip with a lunch at Kahanda Kanda (see ‘Eating Out’) or, perhaps, tea and cake at the Yatagala Cookery School (see Idle Teas in ‘Eating Out’). Tel: +94 779 855 500 (Lakshman) / www.idletours.com River Canoeing - Idle Tours The slow-moving water carries you through a breath-takingly lush nature trail, abundant with birds and wildlife in the overhanging trees. For anyone underage (be¬low 12 years), unable or unwilling to paddle, Idle Tours offer a motor boat cruise, which can travel alongside the canoes. If you are passionate about bird watching, then dawn is the best time to head out, but trips can be arranged anytime between first light and dusk. Insider’s tip: It can get very hot between10.30am – 2pm. Tel: +94 778 034 703 (Jeff ) / www.idletours.com

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Tea Estate and Factory A captivating setting and a rewarding day out, the Handunugoda Estate is about 30 minutes from Galle by tuk-tuk. Take a guided tour around the plantation and watch demonstrations and the harvesting of white tea. Tasting is encouraged. Handunugoda is an eco-friendly estate that considers its impact on the environment and never uses pesticides or insecticides. Call ahead to book your visit or to arrange specialist tea-tasting days. Insider’s tip: A fascinating insight to tea and the country. www.virginwhitetea.com Temples Temples are found everywhere in Sri Lanka - from the humble to the spectacular. They are delightful places to visit, but remember to be respectful. Always cover shoulders and legs and remove your shoes before entering. They will be very crowd¬ed on Poya days (public holidays – see ‘Useful Local Info’). About 10 mins in a tuk-tuk from Galle, Yatagala Temple is a lovely one to visit: peaceful and calm, it is a 2,000-year-old rock temple surrounded by rice paddy fields and panoramic views. For uninterrupted views of Galle Fort and the Indian Ocean, visit the Japanese Peace Pagoda at Rumassala, an immense and tranquil temple which was built and is lived in by Japanese monks. Insider’s tip: The Peace Pagoda is close to Jungle beach (see ‘Beaches’) so you can reward the kids with a swim after the cultural bit. Sea Turtle Farm & Hatchery, Silver Green, Habaraduwa This small turtle farm opened a few years ago with the aim of improving conservation of sea turtles in the area, educating tourists and locals along the way. Turtle eggs collected from the coast are brought to the hatchery for incubation and eventual release into the sea. Insider’s tip: The focus has shifted on tourism but still worth a visit. Tel: +94 77 783 6115 www.seaturtlefarm.org Scuba Diving There are several dive centres in the Unawatuna area, but one of the best is the Unawatuna Dive Centre run by Sumith which offers advanced and begin¬ner PADI courses, day trips and night dives. Sumith also organises whale watching expeditions. Tel: +94 91 224 4693 www.unawatunadiving.com 30


Whale Watching The whale watching season is December to April and is an outstanding opportunity to see the blue whale and sperm whale alongside dolphins and sea turtles: a magical experience for all ages. There are a number of operators offering whale watching trips, below is a selection. Insider’s tip: Find out beforehand how many people will be on your boat and the likely duration of your trip. Take water, hats, sun screen and don’t have breakfast if you suffer from seasickness! The Diving Centre (Unawatuna) – run by Sumith Tel: +94 77 790 3430 www.whaleswatchingsafari.com Mirissa Water Sports (also offer snorkelling, sea fishing and bay cruises) They will arrange a private boat: Tel: +94 77 359 7731 www.mirissawatersports.com Raja and the Whales (based in Mirissa) Tel: +94 77 695 3452 (Rajesh) www.rajaandthewhales.com Surfing The south coast is well-endowed with surf breaks of every type, many of them visible from the road, and the season is from December-March. Never surf alone, always get some advice from the locals about the currents in the area. Many of the breaks are on a reef and can be narrow. Check the Magic Seaweed website for latest info on surfing conditions. www.magicseaweed.com Beginners: if you are new to surfing then we’d recommend Weligama due to its wide bay and smaller waves. Board hire and tuition can be arranged from one of the hotels on the beach. Intermediate: If it’s a surf atmosphere with some awesome waves you are after, then head to Hikkaduwa (20km north of Galle) where there are many breaks from which to choose. Midigama (20km south of Galle) has two breaks: Ram’s Right, and Lazy Left which is renowned for its long rides - ideal for the goofy surfer. Both have surf tutors and surf shops with board-hire. Expert: Kabalana Point in Ahangama (aka ‘The Rock’) is popular with seasoned surfers for its powerful break. If you are here between May and October and are willing to travel further afield then Arugam Bay on the east coast is said to be one of the best surfing beaches in the world. 31


Yala Safari Park Yala National Park is the most visited and, covering 979km2, the second largest national park in Sri Lanka and is located around 180km south-east of Galle. It was designated as a wild¬life sanctuary in 1900 and is renowned for its variety of spe¬cies, its elephants and it boasts one of the highest leopard den¬sities in the world. Further more it harbours 215 bird species including 6 indigenous to Sri Lanka. You can only enter the park at sunrise or sunset as it is too hot for animals (and humans!) during the day. Insider’s tip: Our recommendation would be to leave Galle early, arriving at the park for sunrise, and stopping in Tangalle for a late lunch on the way home. Galle Fort Maritime Museum Based inside a huge 40,000sq ft warehouse within the Fort, the museum houses exhibits of marine artefacts from Dutch ships. There are maps, naval craft, ropes and artillery guns alongside intriguing finds such as sailors’ shoes and beer mugs. Most of these finds come from shipwrecks off the southern coast, some of which are nearly 800 years old. Insider’s tip: Reward the kids (and yourselves) with tea at the Amangalla after your visit. Tel: +94 91 224 2261 www.museum.gov.lk 32


Cricket, Galle International Stadium If you have been in Sri Lanka longer than 5 minutes you already know that cricket is life and just outside the Fort the Galle Cricket Ground is famed as one of the most scenic in the world. International test matches are played here – check out www.cricschedule.com for fixtures – and tickets are available at the ground but if you cannot get one then join the crowd on the Fort’s ramparts. www.srilankacricket.lk Walking Tours Around The Fort These tailor-made walks will give you an unforgettable insight into the bestpreserved living colonial Fort in Asia. Learn the history, discover the flora and fauna, meet the residents and sample the food. Tel: +94 776 838 659 (Juliet) www. sriserendipity.com Wet Shave, Amangalla A man’s facial - you cannot come to South Asia and not have a wet shave! Located in the Amangalla Spa (see ‘Spa & Fitness’), it can be followed by a cold beer on the ancient veranda. Tel +94 11 203 5700 http://www.amanresorts.com 33


Spa & Fitness

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This tropical teardrop island effortlessly instils a wondrous sense of wellbeing and restfulness. Yoga, Ayurvedic medicine and therapies can restore your natural balance, benefiting both mind and body. The Amangalla Spa, Church Street, Galle Fort A beautifully appointed spa area, with a luxurious colonial feel. Each treatment includes time in The Baths, so make time to relax in the hydro, sauna and steam room pre / post your massage or Ayurvedic healing. Men can pop into the in-house barber shop for a traditional shave. A full menu of treatments can be emailed to you on request by phoning the hotel. Booking ahead is essential. Tel: +94 91 223 3388 / www.amanresorts.com Galle Fort Spa Located in an 18thC house within the fort and refurbished in an elegant minimalist style, a feeling of calm envelops you as you enter. Beautify yourself from head to toe or be pampered with one of the signature massages created by owners Natalie and Lucy. Both have trained in Europe and Asia and have over 20 years of experience. Tel: +94 77 725 2502 / www.gallefortspa.com The Galle Spa Located a few kilometres inland from Galle at a beautiful private home overlooking lush paddy fields, a day at this spa is a feast for all the senses. Check the website for the full menu of treatments. Tel: +94 77 111 2247 (Roz) / www.thegallespa.com The Lighthouse Hotel Gym and Spa, Lighthouse Dadella, Galle Has two large outdoor swimming pools, an air condiÂŹtioned gym, tennis court and a spa. You can purchase daily entrance passes at the hotel reception, but you will need to book ahead and pay extra for court hire and spa treatments. For more details call or visit their website. Tel: +94 91 222 3744 / www.jetwinghotels.com/jetwinglighthouse

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Spa Naturel at the Fortress The fortress offers Ayurvedic treatments and innovative packages including back pain treatment involving yoga and massage. Tel. +94 91 438 9400 www.fortressresortandspa.com Aerobic Workout A recent winner of â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Mr Southern Provinceâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;, Susantha runs his own gym and will come to your villa for a full aerobic workout. Tel: + 94 77 664 2271 Yoga Lara Baumann, creator of Quantum Yoga, conducts classes at the Galle Fort Spa. Check the website for latest information. Tel: +94 77 725 2502 (Bodi Spa) www.quantumyoga.com In-Villa Massage / Yoga During the high season (December - April) there are always visiting therapists who can come to your villa for a treatment. Check the folder at the back of this guide. In-Villa Mani-Pedi For manicures and pedicures using OPI products and polishes, call Sue - a qualified and highly recommended British therapist. Sue can come to you and carry out the treatments in the comfort of your villa. Tel: +94 77 930 5906 36


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Nightlife 38


Galle and its surrounding areas boast some sensational venues for a night out. As with going out in any country, please use common sense and leave valuables and large amounts of cash at home. Please remember that, while you are in tourist-friendly areas, you are in a different culture: skimpy clothing and inappropriate behaviour will attract unwanted at¬tention. We advise that you keep your driver with you for the entire evening to ensure an easy return journey. Unawatuna Bars & Clubs - 6.5km south of Galle Unawatuna bay is alive in the evenings with a selection of beach bars serving cheap and cheerful seafood and local beers. It has a very touristy feel as many of the beach bars are also guesthouses used by backpackers and groups on holiday. We recommend you visit the lovely Kingfisher beach bar for supper or a beer to start your evening and then head on to the busier and louder (!) bars further around the bay. The Diving Centre and Lucky Tuna bars both have music going on into the wee hours. Wijaya Beach – 8km south of Galle This peaceful beach is transformed into Party Central over Christmas and New Year, ask the boys behind the bar. Tel: +94 77 790 3431 (Mahendra) Cantaloupe Aqua, Matara Road, Habaraduwa, Talpe – 11km south of Galle The combination of the contemporary space of Cantaloupe Aqua with its energetic music and fusion cuisine creates an irresistible beach club ambience. During the high seasons Canta¬loupe Aqua hosts numerous sunset cocktails and parties. www.cantaloupevillas.com Vibration Club Hikkaduwa 20km north of Galle Friday is this ‘jungle-side’ open-air nightclub’s big night and the best time to visit. Listen to big beats on an even bigger sound system and look out for Janaka and his band on the drums. Vibration doesn’t kick off until around 11pm so plan a few drinks in one of the nearby beach bars first. Hikkaduwa is around 45 minutes in a tuk-tuk from Galle. 39


& BEYOND 40


Things to See in the Surrounding Area In addition to the old world charm of Galle and the Fort, it is worth exploring some of the fishing vil¬lages and small coastal resorts in the area. Hikkaduwa - Seenigama Temple – 22km north of Galle Fort Just north of Hikkaduwa, set on its own island 200m offshore and accessible only by boat lies this curious temple to the vengeful Hindu god Dewol Devi. Pilgrims seeking retribution for wrongs committed against them make offerings of chilli, garlic and pungent spices which are ground down on a special stone by the resident priest who chants incantations requesting justice. Insider’s tip: The six-day Seenigama Festival takes place in the month of Esala (see ‘Festivals & Holidays’). Ambalangoda - Devil Masks & Dancers – 32km north of Galle Fort Sitting north of Galle, this coastal town is famous for its traditional devil masks and devil dancers. Visit the Ariyapala Mask Museum to learn the history and cultural uses of the masks and watch artisans carving masks depicting ferocious cobra demons from dried balsa wood. The colourful puppets and dancers are bewitching to watch. Insider’s tip: Masks and mementos are cheaper to purchase in the market outside the museum. Tel: +94 91 225 8373 www.masksariyapalasl.com Matara Fort – 45km south-east of Galle Fort Matara was ruled by the Portuguese and Dutch in the 16th and 18th centuries respectively, their culture and architecture can be still seen in the area. The well-preserved fortress built by the Dutch is an ideal place from which to view the town. Insider’s tip: On the seaward side of the fort, set on its own island, is the Paravi Duwa temple. Dondra Lighthouse – 50km south-east of Galle Fort Built in 1889 and 160ft tall, the lighthouse at Dondra Head (the southernmost point in Sri Lanka) is the tallest in the country and one of the oldest. It still functions today and is operated by the Sri Lankan Ports Authority who give guided tours. Nearby is the blue-painted temple / shrine to Vishnu at Devinuwara, which draws devotees from around the country throughout the year, especially during the Esala Poya Period (month of July). Insider’s tip: Go on a clear day to make the most of the staggering views. 41


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Bentota Watersports – 55km north of Galle Fort Flanked by river and sea, Bentota is the watersports capital of Sri Lanka. The river estuary provides a calm surface for water skiing and wakeboarding while the sea is ideal for windsurfing, diving and fishing. Insider’s tip: The sea at Bentota is best from November to April. Tel: +94 77 794 1857 (Thusal) www.sunshinewatersports.net Talalla Yoga & Surfing Retreat – 60km south of Galle Fort Talalla Retreat offers world-class yoga teachers; therapeutic and indulgent spa treatments and surfing in a lush tropical setting. The beach is a mile of golden sand and 15 minutes away from the resort is a secret surf spot for advanced surfers with A-frame waves up to 8ft high, especially between April-September. Tel: +94 4122 59171 www.talallaretreat.com Dikwella - Hummanaya Blow Hole - 72km south-east of Galle Fort This natural wonder is caused by high tides and wind forcing pressurised water to spray upwards through a fissure in the rock, with spurts sometimes reaching 100ft. A visit to Hummanaya involves a climb up cliffs to a viewing plateau and provides panoramic views of the Indian Ocean. Insider’s tip: Go at high tide on a windy day. 43


Dikwella - Scuba Diving – 70km south-east of Galle Fort Known for its corals and marine life, Dikwella has a variety of dive sites including a shipwreck and some shallow coral gardens. The Dickwella resort offers PADI courses and dive trips. http://www.lolcleisure.com/dickwella/front/index.php Dikwella - Wewurukannala Temple – 70km south-east of Galle Fort This temple is dominated by a 160ft high statue of the seated Buddha built in the 18th C - the largest in Sri Lanka. The temple itself is marvellously kitch and surreal, with an image house containing further Buddha sculptures and a hall with models of demons and sinners depicting, in lurid detail, various sins and the punishments you could expect in Buddhist purgatory. Insider’s tip: Visit the Temple Elephant which is kept in a nearby clearing. Tangalle - Mulkirigala Rock Temples – 80km east of Galle Fort Known as the ‘mini-Sigiriya’, the rock at Mulkirigala rises 670ft from the surrounding terrain. Steep steps take you up to the dagoba (stupa) at the top via a complex of seven cave temples built on five terraces carved into the rock. The cave walls are covered in murals depicting stories from Buddhist texts and filled with statues of the Buddha. The views from the summit are unsurpassable. Insider’s tip: Arrive early to start your climb in the cool of the day. Tangalle - Goyambokka Beach – 85km south east of Galle Fort This tiny beach is a well-kept secret. Secluded, with limpid waters and surrounded by trees, it feels undiscovered. Have lunch at the Palm Paradise Cabanas restaurant (where you can also rent hammocks and beach umbrellas) or drinks from the shack on the beach. Insider’s tip: Even though there is a cabana resort it still feels undiscovered www.palmparadisecabanas.net

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SASKIA ADVERT

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Further Afield 46


Colombo – 120km north of Galle The Capital is fast becoming the Garden City with a glorious blend of old and new. As with all cities it is better visited on weekends when traffic is slight. If you are including a visit during your trip you will find a wide selection of shops, restaurants and hotels waiting for you. The old colonial Galle Face Hotel is a great place for a sunset cocktail. Ratnapura – 140km north-east of Galle The centre of Sri Lanka’s gem industry, Ratnapura produces an array of precious stones including Sapphires, Rubies, Topaz, Amethyst, Aquama¬rine and Garnet. Fascinating gem collections can be viewed at the National Museum in Ratnapura, along with a number of local privately-owned museums. Rubber and tea estates dot the scenic landscape. Pinnewala – 195km north-east of Galle The Pinnewala Elephant Orphanage is situated north-west of the town of Kegalle, halfway between Colombo and the ancient royal city of Kandy in the hills of central Sri Lanka. There are 80+ elephants under protection including babies born at the sanctuary. Visitors come to watch the elephants’ procession through the village to the river for their daily bath. Kandy – 230km north-east of Galle A former stronghold of the Sinhala kings, Kandy is described as the most picturesque city on the island. The focal point of the town is the golden roofed Dalada Maliga, where the Sacred Tooth Relic of Buddha is enshrined. One of the highlights of the city’s calendar is the Esala Perahera, when a replica of the tooth-casket is taken in procession for ten glittering nights in July/August by costumed dancers and drummers, accompanied by around 100 elephants. The Peradeniya Gardens is also well worth a visit, opening originally for an ancient Sri Lankan queen and now home to an impressive variety of trees, plants and flowers. Nuwara Eliya - 250km north-east of Galle Set in the heart of the tea country, this beautiful town is where the Brit¬ish succeeded in creating a ‘Little England’…or Scotland, with houses built in Georgian style and colourful flower gardens. Situated 1890m above sea level, the air is cool and fresh. Visit the nearby Horton Plains, Sri Lanka’s high¬est and most isolated plateau, home to many wild species of bird and mammal. 47


Dambulla – 260km north-east of Galle Like Sigiriya, Dambulla is a vast isolated rock mass - it was here King Valagam Bahu took refuge in the 1st century BC. He later turned the caves into a rock temple, some of the frescoes are over 2,000 years old: a highlight is a 14m Buddha carved out of the living rock. Aukana – 285km north-east of Galle (image on facing page) Dating back from 5th century AD, this imposing statue of Buddha has been carved from solid rock and stands an amazing 39 feet high. It is widely considered as one of the finest carvings of Buddha in South East Asia. Sigiriya – 285km north-east of Galle ‘The Lion Rock’, or Sigiriya as it is more commonly known, was built by the legendary King Kasyapa during his reign between 477-495AD. After passing through the remains of the ancient water gardens at the foot of the rock, your ascent to the summit will reveal the Mirror Wall – pos¬sessing 700 Sinhala verses written by visitors between the 5th and 13th centuries. The exquisite rock paintings of the ‘Cloud Damsels’ are an iconic image throughout the island. Anuradhapura – 320km north of Galle This was the ancient capital of Sri Lanka; founded in the 5th century BC it is situ¬ated 206 miles from Colombo. Several attractions are worth a visit, includ¬ing the Sacred Bo Tree and Jetavanaramaya dagoba. Mihintale, a large rock dot¬ted with shrines and dwellings and known as the Cradle of Buddhism is located nearby. Polonnaruwa – 330km north-east of Galle The Country’s medieval capital (11th-13th century AD) is situ¬ated 216 km from Colombo and slowly rose in importance following the decline of Anuradhapura. A sight not to be missed is the huge Parakrama Samudra, the largest of Sri Lanka’s manmade reservoirs, bigger than the Colombo harbour. Trincomalee – 380km north-east of Galle Situated on the north-east coast of the island, Trincomalee boasts a magnificent coastline and unspoilt beaches. Its popularity is increasing: ‘must-see’ places to visit include its natural harbour, Fort Fredrick and the enchanting Tirukoneswaram temple complex. 48


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Festivals & Holidays

Sri Lanka has the highest numbers of public holidays on the planet. The nation celebrates Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu and Christian festivals so, if you are here for two weeks or more, you will more than likely experience one of them. Most holidays will mean some kind of disruption to local services and amenities and you should be aware that no establishments are authorised to sell alcohol on Poya (full moon) days. Read on for an overview of Poya holidays and Sinhala New Year. Poya Days Even before the introduction of Buddhism in Sri Lanka in 247 BC, the ancient Asian ascetics made it a practice to cease worldly pursuits and engage in religious activities on full moon days. The Buddha adopted this practice and from this developed the preaching of the Buddhist texts and commentaries (bana) in monasÂŹteries and temples on full moon Poya days. 50


May - Vesak The Buddhist calendar begins with the month of Vesak and the most important Poya – the streets are filled with multicoloured lanterns and a festival atmosphere. On Vesak Day, Buddhists world over commemorate the triple anniversary of Sakyamuni Siddhartha Gautama: his birth, the attainment of Supreme Enlightenment at the age of thirty five and, after a successful ministry of forty five years, the attainment of Parinirvana. It was also on a Vesak full moon Poya Day, in the eighth year of his enlightenment, that The Buddha made his third and final visit to Sri Lanka. June - Poson Commemorates the introduction of Buddhism to Sri Lanka by Arahat Maha Mahinda (son of King Asoka of India) at Mihintale in the third cen¬tury B.C. Ven Mahinda established the Dispensation of The Buddha (Bud¬dhasasana) in Sri Lanka. July - Esala Commemorates the first sermon to the five ascetics and setting in motion the Wheel of the Dhamma (Dhammachakka) at Sarnath Benares, India. The essence of this sermon is the explanation of the Four Noble Truths. These are The Noble Truth of Suffering or Dissatisfaction or Conflicts (Dukkha); The Cause of Suffering; The Cessation of Suffering; The Path Leading to the Cessation of Suffering, and The Noble Eight-fold Path. August - Nikini During the month of August the conducting of the first Dhamma Sangay¬ana (Convocation) is commemorated. This was held three months after the passing away of The Buddha. Five hundred Arahat Theros participated in the convocation which was held over seven months in the cave at the foot of the Rajagahanuvara Vebhara Rock. September - Binara Commemorates The Buddha’s visit to heaven to preach to his mother and celestial multitude. Also the commencing of the Bhikkhuni (nuns) Order. Pajapati Gotami approached The Buddha and implored him to establish the Bhikkhuni Order.

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October - Vap The significant events commemorated during this month are: The conclu¬sion of The Buddha’s preaching of the Abhidhamma for three months to his mother in the Heavenly realm (Devaloka), and King Devanampiyatissa of Sri Lanka sending envoys to King Asoka requesting him to send his daughter Arahat Sanghamitta Theri to Sri Lanka, to establish the Bhikkhuni Sasana (Order of Nuns). November - Ill Celebrates the obtaining of Vivarana (the assurance of becoming a Buddha) by the Bodhisatta Maitriya and the commissioning of 60 disciples by The Buddha to disperse his teachings. Also the conclusion of the three month retreat (vassana). December – Unduvap Arrival of the Bo-tree sapling. This was brought to Sri Lanka from India by Buddhist Theri Sanghamitta, and it is this very tree that is venerated by Buddhists in Anuradhapura. It is also the oldest documented tree in the world. Sanghamitta Theri established the Bhikkhuni Sasana (the Order of Nuns). January - Duruthu In honour of Lord Buddha’s first visit to Sri Lanka. This visit too took place in the first year of The Buddha’s Supreme Enlightenment. February - Navam Celebrates the following events in Buddhist history: Entrance into the order of two leading disciples of The Buddha (Sariputta and Maha Mog¬galana), The Buddha proclaims for the first time a code of fundamental ethical precepts for the monks. The Buddha announces that within three months His Parinibbana (death) will take place. March - Medin Commemorates the visit of The Buddha to his home to preach to his father King Suddhodana and other relatives and show them the path to enlight¬enment and final deliverance. April - Bak Commemorates the second visit of The Buddha to Sri Lanka which took place in the fifth year of his Supreme Enlightenment. 52


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Sinhalese New Year Sinhalese New Year or Aluth Avurudu begins in the month of Bak in the Buddhist calendar (April according to the Gregorian calendar) at a time determined by astrological calculations. It marks the end of the harvest season and also coincides with one of two instances annually when the sun is directly above Sri Lanka. Unlike Western NYE celebrations, for the Sinhalese the ending of the old year and the beginning of the new year occur several hours apart from one another. This span of time is usually 12 hours and 48 minutes, which starts when the sun starts to cross the astrological boundary between the House of Pisces and House of Aries and ends when the crossing is complete. The halfway point is considered the dawn of the new year. This period is referred to as the Nonogathe (or the â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;neutral periodâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;). During this time Buddhists are encouraged to refrain from material pursuits, and engage solely in either religious activities or traditional games. Cultural rituals begin shortly after the beginning of the Sinhala New Year with the cleaning of the house and lighting of an oil lamp. All families as one carry out variety of rituals in exact timings which are determined by asÂŹtrological calculations - from lighting the fire or making the Kiribath (milk rice), to entering into the first business transaction and eating the first food. The approach of each auspicious time for the various rituals is heralded by the unmistakable sound of deafening firecrackers. The rituals vary slightly based on the locale although the core of the celebrations remains the same. Once they are complete, the partying begins as families mingle in the streets, homes are thrown open and children are let out to play. Snacks and sweetmeats are given to friends and neighbours.

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Climate & Geography

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Sri Lanka Lies between 6 - 10 of North Latitude and between 80 - 82 of East Longitude. It has a Maximum Length of 432 km (Devundara to Point Peduru) and Maximum Breadth 224 km (Colombo - Sangamank-anda). The Land Area is 65,525 Sq. km. The Area excluding the Inland Water 62,336 Sq. km. The hills appear in the centre of the island and stretch southwards. Sri Lanka has no marked seasons. An unusual feature is that the hot and humid lowlands and the salubrious hill country are separated by only a few hours drive. The south-west monsoon brings rain mainly from May to July to the western, southern and central regions of the island, while the north-east monsoon rains occur in the northern and eastern regions in December and January. Average mean temperature Coast 26.7ºC Hill Country 19.7ºC Lowlands 27.0ºC Colombo 27.0ºC Relative Humidity varies from 70% during the day to 90% at night. Galle Climate Situated in the south west, Galle features a tropical rainforest climate. The region has no true dry season, though it is noticeably drier through the months of January and February. Temperatures show little variation throughout the year. Aver¬age temperature stays around 27ºC

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Population According to the 2012 census, the population is approximately 20,300,000 with around 309 people per km2, making Sri Lanka the 55th most densely populated country in the world. Ethnic mix Sinhalese: Tamils: Moors: Other

74.88% 11.20% 9.20% 4.72% (incl. Burghers and Malays)

Religious mix Buddhist 70.20% Hindu 12.60% Islam 9.70% Christian 7.45% Other 2.04% Government Sri Lanka is a democratic republic, the oldest democracy in Asia. Its political system is a mixture of presidential and parliamentary with universal suffrage. Current president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, was elected to power on 17th November 2005. Prime Minister D. M. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Di Muâ&#x20AC;? Jayaratne was sworn in on 21st April 2010. 58


Useful Local Information Tourist Police â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Southern Range Emergency: +94 91 223 3333 Operations: +94 91 222 2222 Website: www.police.lk/index.php/tourist-police Hospitals Galle: Karapitiya Hospital, Hrimbura Cross Road, Karapitiya, Galle Emergency No.: +94 91 222 3341 General: +94 91 223 2267 This teaching hospital provides the widest range of facilities in the area, including an Emergency Treatment Unit. For an emergency head here. Galle: Hemas Hospital - 10 Wackwella Road, Galle Tel: +94 91 464 0640 A privately owned general hospital, it has a 24hr outpatient service that usually sees patients promptly. The labs also operate 24 hours a day. Colombo: Lanka Hospitals â&#x20AC;&#x201C; formerly The Apollo Hospital (24hrs emergency) Tel: 1566 (Emergency) or +94 11 553 0000 (General) Dentist Southern Hospital, Galle. Banks and cash machines Larger stores and hotels accept credit cards, but it is always a good idea to carry some cash for the smaller shops, bars and restaurants. There are reliable cash machines and banks in and around Galle and Galle Fort, and a new branch of HSBC has opened on the outskirts of the town. Telephone The international country code is +94. To call overseas from a mobile the access code is 00, followed by the country code and telephone number, dropping the zero at the beginning of the number

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Local SIM cards Local pay-as-you-go SIM cards can be purchased wherever you see the EZReload sign, Dialog have the widest cover. There is a Dialog phone shop on the Wackwella Road in Galle. You will need to bring your passport as ID. Top ups are also available from local shops. Transport: tuk-tuks, private vans, trains and buses You can arrange for tuk-tuk or van drivers to stay with you throughout the day or evening as you wish. When using tuk-tuks, always negotiate a price prior to setting off to avoid any confusion and carry small change as you may need to pay in exact money. The adventurous may choose to travel by bus or train, Galle and its surrounding areas have fairly extensive bus coverage, and the train can be great for day trips in any direction. Visit the Galle railway and bus stations for timetable information and to buy tickets. Tourist Information For government information on visitor attractions in Southern Province, please visit The Ruhunu Tourist Bureau website www.visit.sp.gov.lk Supermarkets Galle has two mid-sized supermarkets, both of which stock a variety of produce including imported foods and drinks. Keells Supermarket (in Galle town) has a good bakery and butcher and also has an in-store pharmacy. Seafair (on Galle Road towards Unawatuna), a family-run shop: very helpful and friendly, they stock a good selection of imported brands from the UK. Social Responsibility Many visitors have expressed a desire to contribute to the welfare of Sri Lankaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s disadvantaged, and the conservation of its flora and fauna. There are many reputable charities and projects operating in the area that would welcome your support and participation. Our recommendation is to support such charities rather than an individual ; you can find details on the Foreign Residents Association website www.frasrilanka.org

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Airline Operators Air India British Airways Cathay Pacific Airways Emirates KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Qantas Airways Qatar Airways Singapore Airlines SriLankan Airlines

+94 11 232 3136 +94 11 476 7767 +94 11 230 0295 +94 11 470 4040 +94 11 243 9747 +94 11 476 7767 +94 11 557 0000 +94 11 249 9690 +94 77 777 1979

Embassy/ Consulate phone numbers For a comprehensive listing please check www.embassy-finder.com Australia Belgium France Germany Holland India Ireland Italy New Zealand UK USA

+94 11 246 3200 +94 11 250 4351 +94 11 263 9400 +94 11 258 0431 +94 11 259 6914 +94 11 242 1605 / 232 7587 +94 11 258 7895 +94 11 258 8388 +94 11 255 6701 +94 11 539 0639 +94 11 249 8500 61


Language Sri Lanka is endowed with a diversity of ethnic groups, and various languages are spoken throughout the country. The two most widely used are Sinhala and Tamil and, while Sinhala and Tamil are languages from different sources, both share common characteristics and have influenced each other’s linguistic evolution. English is widely used and understood, especially in the tourist areas. We recommend you always have any instruction repeated back to you to ensure complete understanding. Sri Lankans can be known for saying ‘Yes, understand’ when they mean ‘No, haven’t a clue what you are talking about.’ Further, the famous Sri Lankan head waggle can lead to much confusion. Sri Lankans appreciate any effort that visitors make to speak their language. Sinhalese Phrases Good Morning Good Afternoon Good Night How are you? Thank you very much OK / I’m fine How much is this? Too expensive No, I do not want! No Yes Delicious

Suba Udayasanak Suba Sandiawak Suba Ratriyak Kohomada? Bohoma Stuti Hari hari Kiyada? Ganang Vadi Eppa! Ne Owu Rasai

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(Soo-bah oo-dah-sanak) (Soo-bah san-dare-wak) (Soo-bah rat-tree-yak) (Ko-ho-ma-dah) (Bo-hom-es-too-tee) (Harry-harry) (Kee-yah-dah) (Ga-nang Vadi) (Ep-pah) (Neh) (Oh-woo) (Rass-eye)


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The Sri Lanka City Guides | Galle & Beyond  

The must have guide for visitors coming to Sri Lanka. Combining years of experience and hours of research, The Sri Lanka City Guide gives yo...

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