Galle Fort Walks with Shanjei

Galle Fort Walks with Shanjei
Galle Fort Walks with Shanjei in Galle

The Galle Fort, a world heritage site, first built by the Portuguese in 1588, then fortified by the Dutch in the 17th century, is a treasure trove of history. Today, while most of its cobbled streets are lined with chic fashion boutiques, cafes and art galleries, much of the old fort’s storied history still lurks within its walls. And the best way to discover this past is by taking a walk with Shanjei.

This man is no ordinary tour guide, and it is not just his monumental beard that sets him apart. Shanjei was once an advertising executive until he decided to quit the swanky agency life to embark on a quest to ‘demystify’ the many secrets of the old Galle Fort. These days he would rather be called a storyteller.

With a deep understanding of the local community and an almost obsessive fascination with the fort’s history, Shanjei’s tours are as insightful as they are entertaining. He will tell you why certain parts of the only Buddhist monastery in the complex has European architecture, what the VOC logo of the Dutch East India Trading Company actually means and where to find an authentic Galle biryani.

Shanjei’s walks are also very kid-friendly, with educative treasure hunts, mask painting and other activities. Be it a family of five, a honeymoon couple or just a lone traveller, Shanjei has an itinerary that gives the very best of what the Galle Fort has to offer.

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