Travelling To and Around the Enchanting Galle Fort

A leisurely stroll around the fortified city of Galle can take no more than two hours or so but in order to fully appreciate its rich historical past and absorb its beauty one needs to allocate a whole day.

Most people who visit the Galle Fort enter through the main gate that was installed by the British in 1873 at the finest section of the fortified city known as the Sea Bastion. From this entrance one can see the wide expanse of what used to be the Esplanade but which is now known as Galle International Stadium. A more interesting entry point to the fort would be via the Old Gate. Outside this old gate hangs the British coat of arms while inside one can see the letters VOC which stands for Vereenigde Oost Indische Compagnie or the Dutch East India Company. From this gate one sees the Zwart Bastion or Black Fort which is the oldest of the fortifications and which is deemed to be the site of the original Portuguese citadel.

All throughout the Galle Fort are buildings and street signs from the Dutch period all bearing their Dutch names or direct translations. Within the granite walls of the fortified city one can come across places of worship, numerous museums, a clock tower, a lighthouse and over a hundred residences. Some clear evidence of Dutch influence until the present is the fact that there are no Buddhist temples within the fort until today but there is Groote Kerk, the local seat of the Dutch Reformed Church.

To get to Galle from the capital city of Colombo, the best means would be via train or bus. There are a number of CTB and private buses plying the coastal highway route. There are also several air-conditioned buses one can take for Rs60. These buses leave every 15 minutes and take 3 hours to go from Colombo to Galle. There are other buses that cost less but these are express commuter buses that tend to get overly crowded.

Should a train ride be the desired means of transportation from Colombo to Galle, then it would be good to know that there are actually 10 trains that leave Colombo Fort on a regular basis and which travel to Galle for 2.5 hours.

Of course one can also take a cab to the Galle Fort but this would be quite expensive at Rs3000 per one-way trip.