Most Awesome things to do in Bentota
South of Colombo, in the Galle District of the Southern Province, lies one of Sri Lanka’s tourist gems. Around 65 kilometers away from the commercial capital sits Bentota, a haven for visitors looking for adventurous water activities and a relaxing time sipping the region’s famous palm wine (toddy).
Most of the must-see spots in the area are clustered either along its river or around the beach. Even the name of the city itself is based on the ancient belief that the river (tota) is ruled by a certain demon named Bem!
There’s nothing demonic about this, though. In contrast, it showcases some of Sri Lanka’s finest attractions. Let’s take a peek at what Bentota has to offer.
1.Bentota River Safari.
This is often one of the first tourist spots visitors check out, and for good reason. It was a wild adventure, and was a perfect match for other Sri Lankan attractions like the Elephant Freedom Project. Granted, I had already seen the Elephant Freedom Project, Yala, Wilpattu, and Minerriya National Park . Initially, I was hesitant to take another safari experience, especially since I came to Bentota mostly to try paramotoring. But it was windy on the day that I arrived, and I ended up lounging around at the beach. That’s when my tuktuk driver offered the safari.
Locals were originally offering the safari at a price of 4,000 rupees, or around 25 USD. I found it pretty expensive since I was alone. But my driver offered it for around 1,800 rupees or 11 USD. At first the cheap price made me think quality will be off, but I was wrong! It turned out to be a really good ride. The boat could normally fit around 6-8 people, so I had plenty of room to look around. The driver knew all the spots where the animals could be seen, and I saw kingfishers, monitor lizards, bats, birds, eagles, and more! There was some creepy factor involving quite a few crocodiles, and there were even babies sunning themselves on the branches. Of course the big mama was in the water, so even the Bentota River Safari had its share of thrills!
Thanks to my guide’s sharp eyes, we found all the animals famous in the area. Of course, his skill was such that we were able to stay a good distance away from them, too. We also entered this big lagoon with lots of mangroves — it was a really nice area! It was a lot like a place we went to during my Bintan Indonesia trip.
I really think the Bentota River Safari should be a major stop in your trip. Or, take time to do this any time you are in the vicinity. You’ll be lucky if you find my guide there — he says that he does charge around 4,000 rupees normally but during off seasons and for solo travellers like me, he makes an exception. Anyway, you should ask him yourself! Here’s his WhatsApp number. The tour takes around 2 hours, so it’s a good deal.
2.Visit the Bentota beach at sunset.
Bentota is a planned tourist development, and its beach is its best draw from October to April of any year. It’s definitely one of the cleanest and quietest beaches I’ve seen! It’s a very chill atmosphere, and you can really appreciate nature. In fact, there aren’t too much to do here except to relax. For some additional eye candy, wait for the magnificent sunsets! There’s a lot of space to go around, so you can enjoy some privacy, too.
3.Paramotoring with Sky Club.
I was told this was one of the best things to do in the area, unfortunately it wasn’t the season for it when I arrived. It’s perfect for adrenaline junkies as you take to the skies in a light aircraft, like what Jackie Chan used in Operation Condor!
4.Eat at Amal.
Located at Robolgoda, Amal Restaurant offers some really great and fresh seafood! They also have steak, chicken, and many other dishes on top of prawns and fish. If you have an urge to splurge on your meal, this is the perfect place.
5.Take a day trip to Galle
Galle, the capital of the province, is south of Bentota. It has a lot of tourist attractions like its Temple, Fort, and the beautiful architecture of the St. Aloysius College. A walking trip would be a perfect way to spend a lazy afternoon.
6.Try some water sports!
Water sports are the perfect way to while the time in a more adventurous way. There are the staple banana boat rides, wave surfing, windsurfing, jet skiing, and lots more! Then again, there’s the aforementioned Bentota River Safari.
Where to stay in Bentota
Once you’re at Bentota, check out Amal Beach Hotel for some of the best lodgings. It’s decidedly mid-range, but it’s perfect for all your needs. There’s in-room wifi, a restaurant, and parking. My room had a very exotic feel, with white walls and thin veil surrounding the bed! The furniture is dark wood, and everything is clean. It’s very much like those tropical rooms you see in the movies.
There is a guard in the area for security, and there are also those in the railway tracks leading to the beach. The food in the resto might be a bit upper-scale, but it’s really good and the location is top-notch. I literally just walk to the beach every day I was here.
Bentota is a great place to be if you’re out for a getaway. It’s just a little more than 2 hours from the International Airport, too, so what’s keeping you?