Laid out in 1857 by the British governor Sir Henry Ward, Galle Face Green is a park separating the hectic life of Colombo and the Indian Ocean. The green is the city’s largest open space and a popular spot during sunset, when hundreds of Sri Lankans come to fly kites, play cricket and eat ice cream.
We walked along the green one evening, just as the sun was tucking itself behind the clouds over the ocean. One of the great things about Sri Lanka’s being so close to the equator is that the sun rises and sets around the same time all year round. So regardless of when you’re visiting Colombo, make sure to head to Galle Face Green at around 6:30pm. If you get lucky, you’ll enjoy a spectacular sunset and marvel as the city turns a strange, deep shade of crimson.
At the end of the green is the historic Galle Face Hotel, a beautiful lodging which retains much of its colonial charm. The hotel’s best feature is its veranda, with chairs and tables facing out to sea. Unsurprisingly, it’s one of the city’s most popular spots for an evening drink. We sat down and, after sending the waiter to fetch a couple Three Coins lagers, felt as though we’d fallen back through time. So this is how the British lords of colonial Ceylon lived. Not bad. The breeze coming off the ocean was wonderful, the beers cold and delicious, the view unbeatable, the service spectacular, and the other patrons well-dressed and in pleasant moods. I doubt there’s a better way to cap off a busy day in Colombo.