The Pedlar's Hostel in Galle is a great spot to pick if you're keen on taking the Fort for a weekend. It's within close proximity to everything worth seeing in the Fort, be it restaurants or shops. It's a short walk to the beach from here, too. Getting a reservation here is a no-go if you're thinking of holidaying when tourist season hits, because it's always full.
But thanks to a bit of luck- and poor vacation timing, I snagged myself a spot earlier this month. Did I like it? Let's see.
There's a massive bike hung up on the wall- a piece of decor I've seen in many places but will never understand. Why hang a bike on a wall? Seems to defeat the purpose of a bicycle, no? Oh, well.
The entrance/ground floor is actually a converted garage. The cobblestoned floor is still there, just painted over in white. Tables and chairs are placed all along the entrance and lead up to a comfy couch where you can sit and watch some TV in case you get bored of Galle.
At the back is the kitchen. It's a small space with a counter (breakfast is served here). They offer free access and unlimited DIY tea-making privileges. If you like, you could request to cook a meal if you have ingredients with you- but this might incur a small service charge methinks.
They offer up a bunch of different room packages and I chose the most basic one. Essentially a 4-bed dorm room (individual beds instead of the usual bunks), facilities like hot water, free Wi-Fi, breakfast, no time contraints (stay out all you want) and other such benefits.
This cost me a wonderful Rs. 1,730. Since they were off season, this is a really good deal, but it has its cons as well. I'll explain momentarily.
The rooms are extremely clean and well maintained. The bathroom is split into two individual sections (with separate entrances), so you have the shower on one side and the loo on the other. Facilities like toothbrushes, towels and whatnot you'll have to bring with you because they charge an extra dollar or two for basic amenities.
The balcony was advertised as having a constant breeze, lots of legroom, comfy couches and is built for quality R&R, but alas it was a mere mirage. Sure, it was a lovely space but it was raining in Galle that weekend (ofc it had to since I was visiting) and the cushions and seats were damp. I had to secretly flip the entire thing around to get comfy. They boast that the view overlooks the ocean but all it overlooked was a large tree.
I didn't complain though, it's not like I had to stay in here to experience what Galle was like.
The breakfast here is pretty mediocre. They really didn't put any thought into it. But it sufficed. Large slices of paan, margarine, DIY tea, and watermelon was laid out over the kitchen counter. Upon request, they'll make you an omelette at no charge, so I had a basic omelette with pepper and salt.
Staying at a hostel is a great way to socialise and meet new folks. I was by myself, so naturally I was a bit nervous because I'd never found myself imagining that I would one day be sleeping in the presence of four complete strangers. They turned out to be super cool, we exchanged instagram handles, hung out, went bar-hopping, and talked about stuff. Quite nice.
There was this uncle who was constantly present at the site who was nice, but in other areas their service was a bit…testing. Check-in time is at 2PM but they took their sweet time with checking me in. Annoying. Check-out is at 11AM, but they asked me not to delay a second more. NOT COOL. They also refused to let me in with my new friend (who happened to be staying there way past me), but they had no qualms about letting a guest sneak someone into the place in the dead of night the day before. WHY.
The old uncle was nice, though.
When in season, the Pedlar's Hostel can rack up a ridiculous fee. Not worth it, in my opinion. But if you're looking to gtfo to Galle any time off season, make sure you check for vacancies here. You'll be able to go anywhere in the Fort without much hassle, and hey- the place isn't the worst one out there.