Bentota, Sri Lanka
Before the era of mass tourism and the consequent construction of the National Tourist Resort of Bentota, the first foreigners to stumble upon this charming spot, must have been Arab merchant sailors, who also discovered Beruwela in the 11th Century a little further north.
However it was the Portuguese who in the 17th Century, built a small fort at the mouth of the Bentota or Bentara Ganga. This wide river marked the southern extremity of Portuguese held territory in the island, as Dutch sails appeared on the horizon further south. The Dutch used the fort during their rule, as a resting place for stagecoaches plying between Colombo and Galle.
Later the British converted this simple halt into a rest house for travelers. Its idyllic location and tranquility made it a popular haven. By the 1970s, the rest house had become a hotel, opening the door to the commercial strip marking the resort today.
Table of Contents
- 1 Points of Interest in and around Bentota
- 2 Activities in and around Bentota
Points of Interest in and around Bentota
Aluthgama Weekly Fair
Every Monday, the streets in Bentota are scattered with vendors as they prepare themselves to sell the freshest local produce and other trivial products that will make your head spin. Wake up a tad early and take a walk through this highly energetic street which will make your day. You’ll find the juiciest fruits, the crunchiest vegetables. Indeed, a delightful event for photographers.
Visit Brief Gardens
Bevis Bawa who was the brother of the renowned architect Geoffrey Bawa created this exuberant garden around 1929 located in the coastal city of Bentota. He himself was a sculpture and a landscape architect. His house is well designed and maintained with tropical gardens and is an open museum to whomever who wishes to visit. The entire property is strewn with his assortment of sculptures, arts and photographs. A place to be – even if it’ll be a ‘brief’ visit!
Lunuganga Garden Tour
Geoffrey Bawa was an applauded Sri Lankan architect who passed away in 2003. He was one of Asia’s finest architects. Lunuganga was Bawa’s country home. Completed with designer ideas and amazing perspectives the home sits in the middle of enchanting atmosphere and glorious views. This package of stunning beauty is now managed by the Lunuganga Trust. You can enjoy the home’s features and blissfulness for a few nights as it is now run as a country hotel. Boat trips can also be organized to take you on a tranquil trip on the Deduwa Lake to witness the property from another angle. Inland tours and bird watching opportunities can also be arranged. Grab this chance to add that top-notch to your favourite holiday!
Visit Kothduwa temple
This is a Buddhist temple that is located on the island, known as the Kothduwa Raja Maha Viharaya. The island is within the Madu Ganga Estuary. Madu Ganga is an archipelago of fifteen different islands and includes a lagoon. It is believed that a Relic of Lord Buddha was once sheltered in the Kothduwa temple circa 340CE.
Activities in and around Bentota
Jet-skiing – Bentota River
Jet-skiing is a very popular water sport among travellers to Sri Lanka, giving jet-ski enthusiasts the thrill of skimming along the surface of the beautiful Indian Ocean that surrounds the island. Here too Resorts and Hotels in Bentota and the nearby towns offer jet-skiing packages as part of their recreational facilities. The rivers in the area are more suitable locations for beginners, while the more experienced can take on the turquoise blue waters of the sea.
Windsurfing – Bentota River
Sri Lanka is the perfect destination for water sports and windsurfing is one of the most popular. Choose from the many locations depending on your level of experience – the Bentota River is a good place for beginners, as are the many lakes around the island. For the more experienced and adventurous the ocean off Nilaveli beach will provide a host of thrills. During the period between November – April, the south-west coastal belt is ideal for windsurfing, whereas the conditions along the east coast are fine during the May – October period.
Surfing – Indian Ocean
Enjoy that typical tropical vacation you have been dreaming of on the sandy beaches of Sri Lanka. Bentota & Hikkaduwa is famous for its beach and corals and it is a primary tourist destination. You can surf, snorkel or just laze under the sun. This site is a prominent international destination among board-surfers and you can enjoy board-surfing with the local beach boys and other tourists.
Parasailing – Indian Ocean
Parasailing is a wonderful method by which you can survey the scenery of the ocean from above. Many tourists have discovered and enjoyed the fun and excitement of this sport which is available in many of Sri Lanka’s holiday destinations. Bentota is one such place, with its safe swimming conditions, along with the nearby town of Beruwela. The many resorts in these towns offer water sports packages that include parasailing. Negombo is another ideal location due to its wind conditions with the duration from November – April being the best time to indulge in this sport.
Madu Ganga River Safari
Fishing enthusiasts will be more than happy with the facilities available in this area for fresh water fishing, as this is one of the two most famous locations for this sport in the island. The waters of the Madu Ganga are teeming with a variety of fish such as Mackarel, Barramundi and Mangrove Jack, and advice on the best times and weather conditions for fishing can be obtained easily from fishing guides who will accompany you on your fishing excursion.
Mangrove Boat Ride
The Madu River Lagoon is popularly known as the Madu Ganga. The town of Balapitiya which lies about 80km from Colombo is the waters-meet for the Madu Ganga. It is located in southwest Sri Lanka. The ‘Amarapura Nikaya’ a Buddhist sect, held its first higher ordination ceremony balanced on a fleet of boats that were anchored, in 1803. The Madu Ganga wetland with its estuary and mangrove islets makes up a coastal wet-land-eco-system. It is home to about 303 species of plants and 248 species of vertebrate animals. It is considered one of the last expanses of immaculate mangrove forests in Sri Lanka.
The boat weaves through the dense mangrove forest and surrounding islets, and you can witness the varying species of Mangrove, about 10 of which are endemic to Sri Lanka.
On your way, you will also be treated to a view of a wide variety of flora and fauna, such as monitor lizards and a number of beautiful birds. The Mangrove Forest is a vital part of the eco-system, nourishing and sustaining the environment.
The island citizens of these islets produce peeled cinnamon and cinnamon oil and you are sure to have the opportunity to experience this indigenous production.