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Local Culture Meet People, Explore Traditions

The glittering south coast of this emerald isle is indeed blessed with a fine blend of cultural insights which continue to attract holiday goers in their numbers. A delightful combination of history and natural beauty, this part of the country is a treasure trove of experiences for the keen and enthusiastic traveller. Begin at the historic port city of Galle and journey towards the fishing village of Weligama or the Dutch town of Matara, where stunning coastlines and friendly folk are always nearby. The perfect Sri Lanka excursion awaits.

International cricket plays a prominent role in the local tourism sector with the town of Galle playing host to a myriad of visitors throughout the year. Experience the zest and vigour of a cricket crazed nation while cheering on your favourite team. Also while here, make sure to sample a piece of pineapple before savouring a scrumptious lunch consisting of rice complemented by an array of spicy curries and colourful condiments after a lively match.

The Galle Literary Festival with its reading and poetry sessions is a cultural event that is looked upon with great zeal. The historical Galle Fort comes alive with throngs of people, bright lights and various vibrant performances during this time, much to the delight of visitors and locals alike.

Fishing is seen as the main means of living for many locals in these parts. Head down to the coast to catch the last few boats disappearing into the horizon or wait in anticipation as they return, bringing in their daily catch from where you may purchase only the freshest fish.

Stumble upon the ramparts of the iconic Dutch Fort before exploring the ancient architecture of the Dutch Reformed Church in Galle. Stroll through busy streets as you make your way to the lively markets selling local spices and the freshest of vegetables.

A good time to holiday in these parts would be during the traditional festivals which are celebrated by all races in the country. Join in the fun and fanfare as the locals indulge in traditional sweetmeats, extravagant meals and fascinating rituals during the Sinhala & Tamil New Year, Christmas, Vesak and Thai Pongal, some of the main festivals celebrated throughout the country.

For those interested in arts and crafts, none quite captures the senses like the wonderful Ambalangoda Mask Museum which provides access to a series of colourful devil masks. Mask making and puppetry being a main livelihood in the area, experience here firsthand the making of a mask as the delicate features of these vibrant souvenirs are deftly chiselled by the nimble fingers of a talented craftsman.

Some helpful hints during your stay:

  • The customary greeting of locals is ‘ayubowan’. The greeting translates into Sinhala as “I wish you a long life”
  • “Sthuthi” is thank you in Sinhala.
  • When visiting nearby temples or other religious places, make sure you are well covered and appropriately attired in white(no shorts and shoulders are to be covered)
  • Posing alongside or with one’s back against Buddha statues is strictly prohibited
  • Use plenty of sunscreen when going out in the sun. This will allow you to gain a nice tan while keeping all those harmful rays at bay
  • Always carry a bottle of water with you during your travels. This will keep you hydrated throughout your wanderings across town
  • A typical Sri Lankan meal is best enjoyed when eaten using hands. Use your right hand in such culinary excursions
  • You can purchase bottled mineral water from any supermarket. Consuming tap water is not advisable
  • Always carry a map of the area you are visiting. This will allow you a better understanding of the attraction as well as the surroundings