Galle Face is the broad avenue, running along the seashore, which is Colombo’s main promenade. It is also a Colombo institution- a place you’ve got to visit; not because it offers great entertainment, has all the major sights or is even amazingly interesting; but just because it’s there- and everybody in Colombo turns up here every few days.
Galle Face stretches along the beach, a neatly-paved expanse which really comes alive at night. We went for a walk here one evening, and discovered a delightfully busy, bustling area. If you walk down Galle Face from Parliament House towards the Mt Lavinia Hotel, the sea will be on your right, with a narrow beach sloping down from the paved area. On your left will be a series of steps, broad and low, where canoodling couples snuggle. All along the way, you’ll find plenty of opportunity for people-watching. Entire families, grandparents and toddlers in tow, walk along in huge groups, stopping along the way to pitch another pebble into the waves which lap the shore or to buy a golden-skinned king coconut from the vendors who sit alongside.
A cool breeze blows in from the sea in the evening, helping somewhat to relieve the humid hotness of Colombo’s summer, and if you’re keen on seeing a really smashing sunset, head for the Galle Face Hotel- it’s one of Sri Lanka’s most delightfully colonial hotels, and offers a great view of the sun drowning itself in the Indian Ocean.