Exploring Galle: What To Do In Galle, Sri Lanka

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Galle is a southern, coastal city of Sri Lanka, and one of the largest cities in the country. Built up by the Portuguese in the 16th century after they came to make it their trade port for the countries spices. It was later developed further, in the 17th century by the Dutch who added fortification, most famously the Galle Fort. 

As part of my Asian travels a few weeks ago, I stayed in Galle for 3 days. As well as being known for it’s beautiful beaches and excellent surfing, it also has plenty of cultural points of interest and sites of exploration. Keen to experience a little bit of all of the above, I headed out to see what Galle’s must must do's were.

Japanese Peace Pagoda, Galle

The Japanese Peace Pagoda

A Peace Pagoda is a Buddhist stupa which is a monument with the intention of bringing world peace to all races and religions. Most peace pagodas were built following the atrocities of world war 2, with dozens being built around the world. The one in Galle is one of two in Sri Lanka and was used as a symbol of hope following the 2004 tsunami. 

Japanese Peace Pagoda, Galle

The pagoda also offers spectacular views across the bay.

Japanese Peace Pagoda, Galle
Galle Fort

Galle Fort

Galle Fort was built in 1588 by the Portuguese as part of their trade route, before being fortified by the Dutch in the 17th century. Galle Fort is one of UNESCO's World Heritage Sites but actually is home to over 112,000 people.

Because of this, the fort is excellent for shopping for local goods, dinning and has some small luxury hotels, including the famous Gallery Fort Hotel.
Galle Fort Hotel
Galle Fort
Galle Fort

Because of the Dutch settlers, there are many Anglican style buildings and the church in the fort is Christian. As well as standing for hundreds of years since the Portuguese, Galle Fort also survived the 2004 tsunami.

Whale Watching in Galle

Whale Watching

If you are willing to get up at the crack of dawn, you can head out onto the (choppy) waters in search of whales. The coast of Galle is home to around 10 varieties of whale, although the most common seen is the blue whale.

The tours range from a couple of hours to a whole day which includes breakfast and lunch. Whilst whale sightings are common, it is usually glimpses of tails and tops of backs rather than spectacular Free Willie jumping style sights.

Also maybe take a sea sickness tablet or two depending on your stomach- the waters do get a little rough further out.

Whale Watching in Galle
Jungle Beach, Galle, Sri Lanka

Galle Jungle Beach

Jungle Beach is a "Secret" beach just a short drive away from the main town. I say secret like that as it was pretty busy, however, it was only locals there so its secret from the mass of tourists like other beaches in Sri Lanka. 

The beach gets its name from a steep winding path from the road, through the jungle. But what waits at the bottom is pretty awesome. Soft sandy beaches, and even a fully stocked beach bar serving (very strong) cocktails and the catch of the day.

The beach is actually on the way back from the Japanese Peace Pagoda- hence the full cover up attire- so kill two birds with one stone and make an afternoon of it. 

Jungle Beach, Galle, Sri Lanka
Jungle Beach, Galle, Sri Lanka

Roti in Galle Fort

Local Restaurants

Sri Lankan food is delicious if you didn't already know. From Roti to Hoppers, it has spice, sweet and everything in between.

I'm all about leaving the hotel complex and exploring the local restaurants. I'd say look up some reviews online first though as you'll want to check cleanliness ratings and definitely don't drink the tap water (or eat things like salad which could have been washed in tap water).

My personal recommendations are Galle Things Roti, a small cafe that has a set Roti menu. You pick your type of Roti, your filling and then your side of sambol.  Then there is The Shack Beach Cafe which is as you guest it, right on the beach and also doubles as a surf school. It doesn't serve traditional Sri Lankan food, but if you are looking for French toast or burgers in a hippie surfer vibe, it's definitely a winner.

The Shack Beach Cafe, Galle
The Shack Beach Cafe, Galle

Galle has some amazing offerings, and is rich in cultural heritage as well as opportunities to just relax and lazy on the beach. Whatever your preference, Galle, Sri Lanka has something for everyone.

Looking for somewhere to stay in Galle? Read my review of Amari Galle Hotel.

Amari Galle, Sri Lanka Review

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Amari Galle Hotel Beach

Sri Lanka. That little tear drop shaped country at the bottom of India. Often over shadowed by its humongous neighbor, it has however been growing quietly in popularity over the last few years. I first visited the country last year and spent time around Kandy and Ella, but this year I headed back to exploring the southern coastal town of Galle.

Sri Lanka Travel Vlog: Galle

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

The last couple of weeks have been just a little bit mad. 5 flights in 11 days kind of mad. As I work full tine, doing any sort of "traveling" is impossible. No 4 weeks trekking around Asia style trip. Instead I'm limited by annual leave and also a maximum of 2 weeks in one go. But that was never going to stop me was it?

I decided to do three counties in 11 days and yes whilst I only saw a tiny peice of each, least I still did. No excuses now. 

So the first part of my 11 day trip was to Sri Lanka, or more specifically the coastal town of Galle. 

I've got some lengthy blog posts coming up about my time there, and recommendations etc, but I wanted to show you my travel video of the trip as it gives you a great roundup of the place and what I got up to.... Oh and you can see what rain in a tropical country looks like! Wow it rains! 

So enjoy and stay tuned for my adventures soon!

Video review of the highlights of Galle, Sri Lanka

Video review of the highlights of Galle, Sri Lanka

Video review of the highlights of Galle, Sri Lanka

Video review of the highlights of Galle, Sri Lanka

Pennyhill Park, a Luxury Spa and Dinning Country Retreat

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Pennyhill Park Overnight Spa

It feels like I haven’t sat down and wrote for a long long time. In reality it’s only been a week or so, but I’m writing this whilst flying somewhere over Ukraine as I come back from a couple of weeks in Asia. I love traveling, but I’m going to love slowing down for a little while and getting back to writing. I’ll be posting my Asian adventures very soon, but in the mean time I want to tell you about a special place a little closer to home- Pennyhill Park

Pennyhill Park seems to be the “It” place to go right now for an escape out of London. Favoured amongst those looking for a countryside destination to zone out from the rush of everyday life, and try and bring some calm back into their lives. Pennyhill Park is a hotel but it’s known for it’s spa. Rated one of the best spa retreats in the country, I can tell you after visiting, it’s certainly gained that accolade for a reason.

Topshop Voucher Giveaway

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

I love blogging and the digital age we live in. I love how things are ever changing and moving forward. The blogging and social landscape is evolving all the time, and its all rather exciting. 2017 has been the year that I've been pushing Youtube and working on making video content for you my love readers (and now viewers!) This week I just hit 1000 subscribers which is really exciting. My first milestone!

And so to say thank you, I'm holding a little giveaway. 

Mei Ume at Four Seasons Ten Trinity Square

Monday, 4 September 2017

Mei Ume at Four Seasons Ten Trinity Square

I swear to you it must seem like I live with the Four Seasons brand at the moment, as I’m at their properties so much lately. Wouldn’t that be the dream eh? No, simply it’s just, as I’ve said many times before, I love the brand so much. They just have nailed luxury on a friendly and welcoming scale so well. 

So when earlier this year their new London hotel opened, Ten Trinity Square, I was really excited. I kept meaning to book in a visit but time just escaped me. Anyways, finally I found the time to head down to try their Chinese-Japanese restaurant, Mei Ume, as it’s been making waves in the restaurant scene at the moment and I’m not one to get left behind. 

Afternoon Tea At Four Seasons Park Lane

Friday, 1 September 2017

I'd had my birthday with my boyfriend over at the St James Hotel and Club, where I'd been pampered, and drank and ate till I collapsed in a heap. Well for my birthday with friends I was pretty much doing the same thing all over again. But this time with a little more classical Englishness- Afternoon Tea.

If you are a seasoned reader of Heroine In Heels, you'll know I adore the Four Seasons as a brand. I've been countless times to the one at Park Lane, as well as Hampshire and as of last night, the new for 2017 one at Trinity Square here in London. It's a brand I think that has perfected refined luxury with impeccable service, yet still maintains a relaxed and accessible nature to it. Many people criticise bloggers for hopping from one place to another and saying something is amazing only never to speak of it again. Well I'd like think I'd shown you that the Four Seasons is a brand I genuinely (not that other things on this log aren't genuine) love. Which is why I decided to head back and have their Afternoon Tea for my birthday.

I was due to meet Angie and Lauren, but sadly Lauren who works as a lawyer just couldn't escape the office in time (She works so damn hard) so it was just me and Angie. Well more champagne for us I guess.

The afternoon is currently called A Journey Through British Summertime although this is due to change very soon. It's created by Executive Pastry Chef, David Oliver and each component is based on a classic British event or idea.

Out came the cake stand in all it's shining glory. My first reaction though was "where's the scones?!" I nearly had a heart attack thinking there wasn't any! But fear not, they bring them out when the waiters notice you are done with the sandwiches so they are warm and fresh. They think if everything... even if I don't.

So the first order of the day is of course the sandwiches. I immediately dived into the smoked salmon with caper, tarragon and asparagus butter as I am a smoked salmon fiend. I think I said in my last post about me eating it everyday day for breakfast. Then of course in true Four Seasons style, simple sliced beef is no good, instead its the one and only Wagyu salt beef. Personally I love the classic Cheddar and pickle. There is just something so satisfying about a cheese and pickle sandwich.

The sandwiches were lovely and fresh, even at post 6pm, the were freshly made to order. Something that sounds pretty simple, but I've had my fair share of crispy, dry bread at some big name hotels. 

But then it was onto my favourite section of afternoon tea. Scones. Oh Lordy, scones are just the best thing ever. Layer up that cream and jam- and yes in that order- nice and thick and oh it's just so satisfying.

Then finally it was the cakes. Beautiful, intricate cakes made to reflect the very best of British summertime.

Funnily enough I guessed the green semi-sphere one right away- Goodwood. It was a peach and ginger mousse with red current coulis and crunchy pistachio which was my favourite. I love ginger in desserts and pistachios are my second favourite nut after pecans.

The most obvious one had to be the tennis ball of Wimbledon. A mixture of vanilla mousse and strawberry. Sweet and light, it was nice to see the vanilla actually coming through as you'll know, so many vanilla flavourings are... Lacking to say the least.

But the cutest award goes to the gorgeous picnic basket made from cherry and liquorice and choux pastry. I was just amazed at the detail! Angie was a little hesitant about liquorish but I knew it would be good. Liquorish the sugary candy isn't great. But really fresh liquorish is delicious. I have it with mint in my tea at night and it's the most calming, relaxing flavour. 

Then we had an apricot and lavender tart with orange blossom and yogurt cream which represented the Chelsea flower show. This was gorgeous and sweet. The tang of the strawberries against the soft lavender was such an elegant flavour. 

Afternoon tea is a long drawn out affair, and we certainly kept to that. I think I lost count of how many glasses of champagne we had (and not much tea to be honest) but as the sun set we decided to head out onto the terrace for a few more drinks. 

And unexpectedly they brought out a little happy birthday platter of macarons and Chocolate. Just one of the many reasons I love the brand, they do little personal touches that for me make it. 

So that's my 26th birthday wrapped up. Another year older, definitely not wiser. But next up is Angie's birthday in November. Where shall we go for hers?

Make sure you check out the afternoon tea at Four Seasons, I promise you, you won't regret it. 

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