Sri Lanka Travel Guide – Discover Galle’s Beaches and History


I visited Sri Lanka for the first time in February 2024 and absolutely fell in love with this beautiful country! From the fresh coconuts and beautiful beaches, to the historic forts and local tea – Sri Lanka offers so much to be explored!

Need to Know for Sri Lanka:

Currency: Sri Lankan Rupee (LKR) 

Check conversion here

Language: Sinhala, Tamil


CMB – Bandaranaike International Airport (Colombo)

Electrical Outlets: 230V supply voltage and 50Hz, Type G and D plugs

Planning Your Trip

Accommodation – We went more of the luxury route since we were visiting Sri Lanka for our honeymoon! The first place we stayed was Le Grand in Galle. This place was absolutely beautiful with an infinity pool, beach views (and some access), japanese inspired amenities, and great dining!

The second place we stayed was further up the coast in Ahungalla. We stayed on night at Ahu Bay and this was an amazing experience! This is a newer, beach house style resort with amazing private beach access, stunning rooms, and open concept dining and outstanding service.

Getting Around Sri Lanka: 

By Car: The best way to get around Sri Lanka is by car. We booked an airport pickup through and then ended up hiring that driver for the rest of the trip. We paid $50 a day for a driver to take us wherever we wanted to go!

By TukTuk: Another great way to get around for shorter distances is by Tuk Tuk. We called them through Uber to get a pre-negotiated rate. There are plenty on the street as well. I recommend making sure you have exact change since often the drivers will say “I don’t have change” at the end of the ride as a common scam.

Le Grand Galle Sri Lanka
Ahu Bay Sri Lanka
Ahu Bay Sri Lanka

Things to See and Do in Galle

Galle Fort: This Dutch fort is a massive fortification in Galle which was started by the Portuguese in 1588 and then expanded by the Dutch from 1649 onwards. You can walk around this fort for free with beautiful views of the ocean and the city. We even watched a cricket match going on below from the top of the fort. The fort actually surrounds a whole section of the city with stores, restaurants, roads, and more all inside the fortification. History-inclined people will also want to pop inside the Maritime Museum to learn more! 

Koggala Hatchery: We stopped in at the Koggala Hatchery and Sea Turtle Farm to learn about the native turtle species of Sri Lanka and see their rehabilitation and hatchery center. The cost was 1500 LKR per person (less than $5) to get a guided walk through of the types of turtles they have and the work they do. All the turtles you see there are kept due to injuries, commonly lost arms and legs because of fishing nets. We also had the chance to see turtles that had hatched that same day!

Galle Fort
koggala hatchery sri lanka
koggala turtle sanctuary

Spice and Herbal Garden: Our driver brought us to the Manju Spice and Herbal Garden which I would not necessarily recommend. Essentially we had a quick tour of the types of plants and herbs grown in the garden, some “free” spice tea, and then pressured to buy overpriced herbal products. It was interested to see all the plants and products, but it definitely gave tourist trap vibes.

Jungle & Unawatuna Beaches: We loved swimming in the clean and warm waters of the Sri Lanka beaches! We didn’t have a lot of time for beach activities, but there are plenty available to explore. We hung out on Jungle Beach where you can rent beach chairs or take a snorkeling tour. We were getting offered tours for about $30 a person including a boat ride, guide, and gear. I don’t know if this is a good price or not, but just a reference point! There is also great surfing in this area. Our local friend recommended Una Beach for surfing. 

manju spice garden
Jungle Beach Sri Lanka Galle
Jungle Beach Sri Lanka Galle

Handunugoda Tea Estate: This was a wonderful experience touring the tea estate, learning about the history and cultivation of tea in the region, and seeing the tea processing. The tour only costs $2 per person and lasts about 45 minutes. The guide walked us through the tea fields and the tea factory while providing a wealth of information. We also had the chance to try their oolong and taste as many teas as we wanted.


Tea Estate Galle Sri Lanka
Tea estate sri lanka
Tea estate galle sri lanka

Balapitiya Cinnamon: Our friend who grew up in Sri Lanka recommended this if you’re interested in Cinnamon. He told us there will be many, many signs up with folks offering cinnamon tours. ~$30 per person was the norm. Everyone offers roughly the same thing, which is a boat ride up the lagoon, stopping at an island where an old guy from the Salagama caste will show you how they do it, and then a boat ride back stopping at an open-water net where you can get your feet tickled by little cleaner fish. 

Stilt Fisherman: This is a traditional form of fishing practiced in Sri Lanka where the fisherman sit above the water on stilts. In the touristy areas, they will offer for tourists to also sit on the stilts, and they’ll charge you to take photos. 

River Safari: There are plenty of options to go on a river cruise or safari. There was one offered at the Manju spice garden as well as on Koggala Lake. 

Sri Lanka cinnamon
Market Galle Sri Lanka
Koggala Lake

Top Eats in Sri Lanka (Gluten Free Options):

The Bungalow Galle Fort We had a great lunch here at this cute indoor/outdoor cafe! They were able to help with gluten free options, and I got a fish curry and a lovely cappuccino. They also had other Sri Lankan dishes on the menu!
Ocean Bistro by Starbeans This was our favorite restaurant we tried in Galle! There's a nice view of the ocean from the balcony and I had an incredible shrimp curry. My husband had the best Kottu, chopped roti in meat curry, he has ever had (not GF)!
Salty Swamis This is a hippie surfer cafe we stopped at in between Galle and Ahungalla. The food here was more expensive and not Sri Lankan, but very good! They had nice coffees, and lots of good cafe food options. They even had GF bread for toasts and sandwiches. We tried the avocado toast and pesto sandwich, both were fantastic!
Ahu Bay This is the beach house resort we stayed at for the last night in Sri Lanka. The restaurant's dinner food was decent, but the view was phenomenal and they were very knowledgeable of gluten free. The breakfast was great! They made me gluten free muffins, eggs, fruits, and more!
King Coconut NOT a restaurant, but a must try when in Sri Lanka. These coconuts should be about 150-200 LKR for them to chop open and you can drink with a straw. We drank about 2 per day because they're so good!
Bungalow Galle Fort Fish Curry
Salty Swamis Sri Lanka
King coconut sri lanka

My Sri Lanka Essentials

*Disclaimer: I do earn a small commission if you purchase from any of these links*


post a comment