Sri Lanka

Looking for fun things to do and places to see in Bentota?

This article’s got you covered. Bentota is one of the most well-known tourist hot spots south of Colombo and offers plenty of activities and attractions.

1. Have a Splashing Time

Featuring a river, lagoon and beaches, Bentota is renowned for all activities aquatic.

Got a need for speed? Zip along the waves on a powerful jet ski or race across the water on a windsurfing board. Jet skiing sessions are usually offered in 15-minute sessions and can cost a few thousand rupees.

Looking for an activity that everyone can enjoy? Join friends and family on a banana boat ride. Shaped and coloured to resemble a giant banana, this type of float seats close to a dozen passengers. It’s towed along the water by a speedboat.

Alternatively, there are also smaller float-rides available such as a tube ride. A tube refers to a ring-shaped float which generally carries one person. Another is the sofa-shaped float which seats two to three people. Float-type rides are ideal for young children those who can’t swim or aren’t confident in the water.

Many Bentota hotels offer these watersports activities for guests to try out. However, it doesn’t mean that you’ve lucked out if you’ve chosen to stay at budget accommodation instead. Bentota also has many independent water sports operators. Two such examples are the Sunshine and La Luna watersports centres.

2. Meet the Turtles

Want to meet cute baby turtles? Drop by the Sea Turtle Protection Association on Galle Road in Bentota. There, you will get to observe baby turtles and as well as adult turtles belonging to various species.

It’s a great experience for wildlife lovers and quite an educational one, especially for children. If you’re lucky, you may also get to witness or take part in the safe release of baby hatchlings.

3. Visit the Brief Garden

Designed by the older brother of famed Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa, the Brief Garden is a popular tourist attraction in the region.

The garden sprawls out over 5 acres and includes many different themed sections. Creator Bevis Bawa installed features such as a Japanese water garden as well as a bell. The latter of which is situated at the garden’s entrance.

Bevis Bawa passed away in 1992, and the gardens, as well as his house, are maintained as a memorial and tourist attraction. Step inside his home to see vintage Dutch-style furnishings and many paintings.

To get to the Brief Garden, you can hire a car or tuk-tuk from Bentota. It’s around a 20-minute drive away.

4. Cruise along the River

Embark on a scenic cruise along Bentota River, which is the island’s third longest.

Pass by lush mangrove populations and keep your eye peeled for an abundance of birds and reptiles. Many tours include a stop at the Wanawasala Buddhist Temple, which about 8 centuries old.

5. Pay a Visit to Lunuganga

Visit the former estate of celebrated Sri Lankan architect, Geoffrey Bawa, and explore the intricately designed, Renaissance-style garden.

If you’ve been to the Brief Gardens, then you’re already familiar with his brother, Bevis Bawa’s work. While the brothers employed different styles in their works, they both had a penchant for sculpting beautiful outdoor terrain.

6. Witness Toddy Tapping in Action

Want to get a taste of an iconic local beverage?

Pay a visit to a coconut plantation and observe first-hand how toddy is tapped from the trees. Toddy tapping is quite a spectacle to watch for the uninitiated. Lean, wiry toddy tappers perform a tightrope act as they move from tree to tree.

Sweet toddy, and palm wine, which is a fermented, alcoholic version of the former, are both popular local beverages. They are commonly extracted and drunk, not just in Sri Lanka, but also in many South Asian and African countries.

7. Have a Sparkling Time

Sri Lanka has long been famed for its precious and semi-precious gems, such as the sapphire and moonstone.

If you are willing to make a mini excursion further south from Bentota, you can pay a visit to a moonstone mine. It’s located in Meetiyagoda about an hour’s drive away.

There, you will get to observe how the stone is quarried, and learn about its properties. Like what you see there? You buy some moonstones to take home. They are popular souvenir items in Sri Lanka.

8. Behold a Gigantic Buddha Statue

Ever been to Lantau Island in Hong Kong?

There’s a colossal 34-metre tall statue of a Buddha there, seated in the traditional meditative pose. If you want to see one that’s even bigger, though, drop by the Kande Viharaya temple. The seated Buddha statue here reaches close to 50 metres in height!

Technically, the temple is located in the town of Beruwela, which is a 10-minute or so drive from Bentota. However, due to its close proximity to the prominent beach town, it’s often known as the Bentota Kande Viharaya.

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