Galle Face: Evening Stroll Down the Indian Ocean Coast of Colombo

By Mark Wiens 4 Comments
Galle Face Green
Galle Face, Colombo, Sri Lanka

Galle Face, Colombo’s public gathering area located on the shores of the Indian Ocean, is what leisurely strolling is ALL about!

Just don’t arrive too early…

…the Sri Lankan sunshine is ferocious, and there’s little shade until the sun begins to die down.

Colombo, Sri Lanka
Playing Cricket at the Galle Face Green

Galle Face Green is where lots of youth play a few rounds of unorganized cricket, but the main attraction is kite flying.

Some people manage to fly their kites as far as their eyes can see, fueled by the continual breeze coming off the Indian Ocean.

Galle Face, Sri Lanka
Galle Face, Sri Lanka

If you don’t go to find snacks, snacks will come to you!

I wasn’t going to buy pineapple, until this this guy walked past with a smile on his face and I suddenly needed some pineapple.

Galle Face, Colombo, Sri Lanka
Galle Face, Colombo, Sri Lanka

The main attraction at Galle Face is the open space, the street food and the beautiful Indian Ocean scenery.

For being in the middle of downtown Colombo, it’s amazing how clean and pure the water remains. Many choose to take a swim or just play around in the waves.

Galle Face Green
Strolling Around Galle Face

When the sun begins to decline in Colombo, Galle Face comes alive!

People seem to come from nowhere, filling the walkway, and sprawling onto the beach.

Some choose to jog for exercise, others are there strictly for the food, some play sports, and others are really just chilling out and relaxing.

The soft orange sunlight and the reflection off the ocean really reminded me of the phenomenal evening market in Kota Kinabalu.

Sri Lankan Street Food
Galle Face Street Food

At about 5 pm, street food owners begin to wheel out their carts that are stuffed with delicious things to eat.

The selection ranges from grilled chicken, to greasy deep fried snacks, to pickled wood apple’s.

Nana Fast Food, Colombo, Sri Lanka
Nana Fast Food, Colombo, Sri Lanka

I went for the slow paced stroll, the salty mist off the Indian Ocean, and of course the lovely selection of Sri Lankan food available.

One of the more established restaurants that sets up on on the walkway at Galle Face is Nana Fast Food Toyna. There are two stalls with the same name, so nut sure which one is the original – but they both looked like they served similar food and both were equally busy with customers.

They have a good selection of Sri Lankan style street food dishes.

Meal at Nana Fast Food, Colombo, Sri Lanka
Meal at Nana Fast Food, Colombo, Sri Lanka

I ordered a glorious medley of Sri Lankan food which included a plate of kottu, Sri Lankan fried rice, fish curry, and a pile of wonderful paratha bread.

If you are interested, you can watch this meal in the Tour of Colombo Video!

Sunset in Colombo, Sri Lanka
Sunset in Colombo, Sri Lanka

As the sun’s light continued to diminish, more and more people arrived to the throbbing evening scene of Galle Face.

By this time, most people were just hanging out, chatting with their friends and dangling their feet off the edge of the wall facing the lapping waves.

The life, the food, and the Sri Lankan spirit, really made walking around Galle Face one of my favorite things to do in Colombo.

Store Vendor at Galle Face
Store Vendor at Galle Face

This man and his wife served me my first ever taste of wood apple – a wildly popular and tamarind like tasting fruit. It was pickled into some kind of chutney, and though it was a little on the salty side, it was pretty tasty!

Sri Lankan street food
Food Vendor at Galle Face

Unfortunately, after feasting at Nana Fast Food, I wasn’t at all hungry for anything else.

This man wasn’t really angry (as the photo suggests), but I just happen to catch him at an exact time when he was slightly frowning.

Sri Lankan Paratha
Sri Lankan Paratha

Could you resist a few roti paratha’s off a pile as beautiful as this?

Gall Face Information

When to go: Head over to the Gall Face Green in Colombo, Sri Lanka at about 5 pm and stay until around 8 pm.
What to do: stroll around, eat, fly a kite, drink milk tea
What to eat: Kottu (stir fried paratha), Isso Wade (shrimp fritters), mangoes, pickled woodapple

4 comments. I'd love to hear from you!

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  • BenGMorgan

    9 years ago

    Hey Mark,

    We went to Galle Face Green the other day. A really great spot to spend an hour or so in the evening and watch the amazing Colombo sunsets. However, we’d like to warn others of a scam run by the Toyna Nana’s closest to the Galle Face Hotel. We sat down looking to have some Kothu and were offered a beer. We at first thought ‘that’s odd that they can serve beer down there’, and we should have trusted our instincts. They stuffed around for about 10 minutes then came over with a small can of cheap beer encased in a bit of paper, we were then told not to take the paper off and to wait two minutes while some police or other officals walked past. It was totally dodgy and we should have just sent it back.

    We’re used to paying more in touristy spots, but we really should have asked how much the beer was, because when the bill came they were trying to charge us rs500! We kicked up a stink and they reduced it to rs400, but when you can grab an ice cold large beer from the awesome Castle Hotel down the road for rs350 this was still a rip off.

    So just a warning to others, don’t accept an offer of beer from these guys and go somewhere else for the ubiquitous kothu!

    • Mark Wiens

      9 years ago

      Hi Ben, good to hear you visited Gall Face. Thank you for the heads up about that. Glad you still enjoyed the area and the amazing sunset!

  • sully86

    12 years ago

    mark: MARKS travel motto, ” Mark doesn’t find the food, the food finds mark”