This is a tender port. The tender dock is within walking distance of town.
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The ancient Muslim port of Galle, reputedly the biblical Tarshish, has been alternately occupied by Portuguese, Dutch and British troops since the 16th century. The European influences are clearly visible in the faded colonial architecture.
The Dutch style Old Town is enclosed behind the imposing Fort walls and is now a World Heritage site. The Dutch Museum has period rooms depicting life as a colony of the Dutch and the Martin Wickramsinghe Folk Art Museum has a remarkable collection of masks and carriages. Sri Lanka has had a strategic importance for the world's traders since the 18th century, culminating in the 19th and 20th century obsession with the tea plant so a visit to the Talgaswella Tea Estate is worthwhile.
One of the city’s most famous buildings is the beautiful Kalutara Temple. It’s easy to spot, with a white domed roof that’s topped by a pointed tip.
The best ways to explore Galle are on foot, or by tuk-tuk. You’ll be able to view the impressive temples.
Be wary of unauthorized local or foreign guides who offer you a walk round the Fort for a fee. Walking round the Fort is free. Local Authorities do not charge any fees.
Take a boat trip in the lagoon and Kogggala Lake to see many of the small islands, which are popular destinations for bird watching. To see bigger game, make an excursion to one of the many wild life reserves, nature parks and sanctuaries established throughout Sri Lanka that are extremely popular with tourists.
The most common mode of transport in Sri Lanka is via a three wheeled automobile appropriately referred to as a three-wheeler (Tri-Shaw). Also known as Tuk-Tuks from the noise of their motors. These operate in a manner similar to taxis, and is a highly cost-efficient way to get around.
It pays to compare your cruise line shore excursions here.
The nearby Unawatuna beaches are stunning. Approx 5 km away.
A short taxi ride from Galle, in the town of Habaraduwa, takes you to the Sea Turtle Farm and Hatchery. Staff at the hatchery collect the eggs that are laid along the coast, and would otherwise be at risk. The hatchlings are raised until they’re large enough to be released, allowing the whole process to start again.
You will find the best tourist shopping inside the Fort.
The currency is the Sri Lankan Rupee. The exchange rates are approximately 110Rs/ USD, or 170Rs/ EUR.
ATMs are located in many places (specially at bank branches) in the cities and suburbs, less so in the countryside.
Sinhala, Tamil and English are widely spoken throughout Sri Lanka, with the exception of remote villages where it might be Sinhala only or Tamil only.
Shopping hours Mon-Fri 0900-1730, Sat 0900-1300.
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