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Pristine sands backed by lush vegetation make Bentota one of the most idyllic - and refreshingly uncrowded - beach resorts in Sri Lanka. Sandwiched between Colombo and Galle on the southwest coast, it’s the perfect place to rest and rejuvenate at the end of your island adventure.
Although a series of luxury hotels haved popped up along the seafront to tempt tourists to the resort, the beaches remain relatively quiet throughout the year. There’s a noticeable lack of handicraft shops, restaurants and hawkers too, which only enhances the authentic appeal.
It goes without saying that holidays in Bentota centre around the postcard-worthy beach - a long, wide stretch of sand that extends north and becomes a picturesque peninsula known as Paradise Island. Sun-worshippers won’t struggle to find a sandy spot to flop down on, while the choppy waves of the Indian Ocean are a surfer’s dream.
Then there’s the serene waters of the Bentota Ganga and its sweeping lagoon. This is where you’ll find the main watersport action. From hair-raising banana boat rides to scenic canoe tours, there are plenty of opportunities to make a splash. The riverbanks of the Bentota Ganga are also the setting for the ancient and unexpected Galapota Temple, plus a rich variety of flora and fauna. If there was ever a place to release your inner travel photographer and start snapping, it’s here.
When it comes to food, Bentota certainly won’t disappoint. The town’s diverse dining scene ranges from high-end hotels to traditional local restaurants. And as you would expect from a Sri Lankan fishing town, seafood dominates the menus, but traditional curries and other regional dishes are readily available too.
So whether you’re looking for a hassle-free beach break or an adrenaline-fueled adventure, make sure to add Bentota to your Sri Lanka itinerary.
There’s no denying that the beach steals the show in Bentota. When you’re not relaxing on the powder-soft sands and topping up your tan, snorkelling and diving opportunities are plentiful. Take a brief boat trip out to sea to explore the colourful coral reefs and tropical fish with an unforgettable diving tour.
Aside from marine life, Bentota is home to an abundance of other spectacular species. Hop onboard a river cruise and keep your eyes peeled for creepy creatures such as snakes, monitor lizards and crocodiles lurking in the mangroves. The area is also well known for its turtle nesting beaches and hatcheries, offering a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see days-old hatchlings being released into the sea.
Throughout the year, the town remains pleasantly low-key. However, this all changes when the Bentota Beach Festival brings DJs, artists and party-goers to the shores for an evening of music, dancing and beach games. This epic event really is a must-see for anyone visiting Sri Lanka in March.
When you’ve had your fill of beach scenes, take the time to explore the tropical scenery. Our Authentic experience pack includes a visit to the Lunuganga Estate, a beautiful tribute to late resident Sir Geoffrey Bawa, one of Sri Lanka’s most renowned architects. Admire the impeccable gardens designed to be a tropical version of a European renaissance garden.
You can also visit the Brief Gardens in your free time, the former home of Sri Lankan landscape artist and architect, Bevis Bawa - brother of Geoffrey Bawa. Wander around the lush grounds, stumble across intriguing sculptures and artwork, and walk in the footsteps of A-listers such as Agatha Christie and Laurence Olivier who visited the gardens during their heyday.
Another highlight is Galapota Temple. Nestled on the southern banks of the Bentota Ganga, this 12-century site is believed to hold the tooth relic of the main disciple of the Buddha, Kasyapa. While the tooth is hidden within a stupa, you can see age-old carvings, striking murals and a 25-foot long statue of the sleeping Buddha.
If you’re looking to soak up some local culture, head to the bustling Bentota Bazaar in the heart of the town. Spend some time browsing the handmade trinkets and colorful Batik textiles, and practice your haggling skills to bag yourself a bargain to take home.
From watersports to wildlife, Bentota is jam-packed with fun activities and experiences. To find out more about this popular beach resort, why not have a read of our blogs?
Steeped in rich history, full to the brim with friendly locals and blanketed from head to toe in varying forms of verdure.
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