There would not be many cricket aficionados that would not wish to see a game at Galle International Cricket Stadium; the colossal 16th Century Dutch Fort cricket's finest backdrop. Having seen every Australian Test Cricket Tour to Sri Lanka since 1999, seeing another Test Match at Galle cannot come fast enough. Perhaps spending another 8 nights on Unawatuna Beach is what makes Galle so appealing but we are more than happy to enjoy both, and invite you to do the same!
In 2014 the last of Unawatuna Beach finally washed away following the 2004 tsunami. Belgian beach-makers were summonsed and after 2 years a new reef and incredible 50m wide beach the length of the bay had been created. Along with this, so too was Calamander Beach Resort, our favourite place to stay when watching cricket in Galle. There is something special about enjoying a day's play and returning for a quick dip in the Indian Ocean before sitting at the resort bar with sand between your toes and an almost chilled Lion Lager in hand.
When flying to Sri Lanka for this unique Test Match the hotel will meet you at Colombo's Bandaranaike International Airport and whizz you to our stunning south coast resort. Sri Lanka's first freeway ensures you are now soothing your jet-lag in just 2 hours instead of 6 hours.
As with all our Cricket Tours, we host a dinner party the night before the Test. The difference here, firstly, dinner is included every night! Secondly, on Test Eve, we'll be barefoot on the beach with flame torches, barbeques, and live music to welcome everyone. Here is where you will receive your match tickets, shirts, and detail on how to reach the game, just 10 mins up the road.
Going the other way, Sri Lanka's south coast is easily accessible by train, rickshaw, bus, or taxi so we don't include any day trips. Over the years, many enjoy the sights at their leisure; delightful Mirissa Beach, the famous stilt fishermen at Weligama, a slow boat around Lake Koggala, a train to Matara and Dondra Head, the southern-most tip of Sri Lanka, or to the north, surfing at Hikkaduwa. If you want to visit the overrated Yala National Park, that we've visited before from Unawatuna, you are better flying Cinnamon Air to Tissa from Colombo. The drive from Unawatuna is a laborious 4+ hours each way, though a much faster return at night.
Without encouragement, you must visit Galle Fort and walk the vast grassy ramparts at sunset, which is many Sri Lankans' favourite 'must-do'. The oldest Dutch building in the Fort is the National Museum of Galle, with exhibits from Portuguese, Dutch and British occupations. Galle Fort continues to evolve with ongoing restoration & investment. Compared with 1999 when one walked the walls then walked home, you can now spend a day within the walls eating, drinking, learning, shopping, and admiring. Restaurants, cultural shops, museums, cafes, hotels, and bars are plentiful throughout this imposing 'rock'. Watching a session from atop Fort is also a favourite of everyone that comes to Galle for cricket.
A late afternoon favourite is to take a rickshaw to Koggala Beach. Walking left off the highway will bring you to the railway line on which you can walk through palm forests, past quaint housing, and on the bridge over the entrance to Lake Koggala. Then spend sunset on Koggala Beach, watching beach cricket, sipping a never-cold-enough Lion Lager if not a refreshing local favourite, 'arrack and soda'.
For a unique piece of history, Qantas flew modified Catalina seaplanes from 1943 - 1945 from Perth to Lake Koggala on what remains the world's longest (by time) non-stop flights between 27-33hours. The flights witnessed the famous double-sunrise and helped re-establish the Australia - England air link.
Leaving history and getting back to the cricket, in 2016, with 4 days between Tests, we arrived in Unawatuna the day before Test after 3 nights in the tea-country. We had 2 nights on the beach after the Test to make your 8-nights. As with our Colombo Tour and Kandy Tour, we must wait until we know where and when we are playing before confirming your 8 nights or if we are playing in Galle.
Until we know, your Galle Cricket Tour will include the 2 nights before the Test and one night after. If you are leaving us after Galle, we will get you back to Colombo by train. Depending on your flight time, it may be more convenient for you to grab a taxi to the airport at your expense. All in all, a smashing test is much wanted in Regal Galle.