The most popular spot south of Colombo. Visit Benota !
Just 60 km south of Colombo and 50 km north of Galle lies Bentota, a superb seaside location for tourists. The pristine beaches, clear waters, diverse restaurants and exotic holiday resorts make this place very popular among foreign and local tourists.
Bentota is comparable to Unawatuna and Hikkaduwa for the quality of the amenities and the width of choice it offers to vacationers that arrive here in hundreds to spend a relaxing sojourn. The white sands, the ideal weather and water sports facilities add up to make the place a wonderful spot for a perfect holiday.
Tips to get to Bentota to move in and around
The best way to reach Bentota both by bus and train is to get to Aluthgama, just across the bridge. When it comes to lodging, there is a wide selection of hotels, guesthouses, beach clubs and luxury resorts to suit all budgets. However, it is better to reserve early if you plan to arrive here during the high season. Please note that hotel rates tend to climb steeply during the peak season.
The Galapatha Raja Maha Vihara in Bentota is not to be missed
This ancient temple, believed to have been constructed in the 12th century, is a wonderful example of Dravidian art. The inscriptions found at the entrance attest to the fact that King Parakramabahu erected this temple with the assistance of Dravidians. The beautiful temple also houses a lying Buddha in the shrine room surrounded by wall paintings. The annual festival is held here every August.
Beruwela, Aluthgama and Brief gardens are not far away from Bentota
Just north of Bentota lies Beruwela, a quiet town with a long stretch of beach and old colonial villas. The stretch of beach that lies between the lighthouse and the estuary is generally safe to swim due to the presence of a coral reef barrier. Quite a few luxury guesthouses and ayurveda resorts here offer excellent services to travellers.
Beruwela holds considerable historical prominence in Sri Lanka as it was home to the first Muslim community on the island in the 8th century. The Masjid-ul-Abrar, Sri Lanka’s oldest mosque, constructed by Muslim merchants on a rocky terrain, can be seen here. Beruwela also hosts the oldest all-girls Muslim school on the island. Today, a large Sri Lankan Muslim community lives here especially in the China Fort area.
If you are an early bird, check out the fishing harbour (around 6 am) to admire fishing boats being unloaded.
Situated between Beruwela and Bentota is Aluthgama, a small village offering better peace and authentic lodgings than at Bentota. If you are into water-sports, Aluthgama can be an ideal spot to relax and enjoy the numerous activities. The Kande Vihara Temple (see below) is on the outskirts of the village. Of equal interest is the Kalyanarama Maha Viharaya, a temple that has the tallest ancient marble Buddha statue in Sri Lanka. The big fair on Mondays on Mathugama Road, with a lot of street vendors and stalls selling vegetables and fruits, offers the traveller an authentic insight into rural life.
Kande Vihara Temple
About a kilometre from the Bentota Ganga estuary, between Beruwala and Aluthgama lies Kande Vihara Temple, one of the most popular and sacred places on the west coast. Built in 1973, the complex houses a Stupa, a Bo tree, a relic chamber, an image house and many shrines. A huge statue of the Buddha seated on a lotus flower welcomes visitors.
10 minutes by car or tuk-tuk is the gorgeous Brief House & Gardens designed by Bevis Bawa that makes another good family outing. Spreading over 2 hectares, there are a variety of styles from wonderful British-style lawns to exquisite Japanese Gardens and secret alcoves. The place has touching tales to charm young and old.
Just 4 km south of Bentota is Induruwa, a quiet fishing locality away from the bustle. If you are looking for serenity combined with authenticity, this is one place you should consider. The long sandy beach is ideal to relax and sunbathe.
Although Ahungalla was devastated by the 2004 tsunami, the town has regained its reputation as one of the most tranquil spots to spend quality time by the sea. This reputation is also justified by the sandy beach lined with a wide palm belt and the luxury hotel, Heritage Ahungalla, designed by notable Sri Lankan architect, Geoffrey Bawa.
The beach tops the list of spectacular natural beauties to admire in Bentota
Despite the string of resort hotels that line the Bentota beach, the sands here remains golden and the place tidy. Should you feel the need to get away from the crowd and the commotion, there is ample choice of other beaches all along the coast. Most of them, lined with coconut trees, are ideal spots to swim and sunbathe.
Sinharaja Reserve, near Bentota, is a place where one can admire bountiful Sri Lankan flora
The closest wildlife reserve from Bentota is the Sinharaja Reserve situated almost 120 km away (around three hours by car). The reserve is one of the last untouched rain forests in Sri Lanka, and is a UNESCO Heritage Site. The name Sinharaja translates to Lion King but there are no lions here. What you can find here are many endemic species of butterflies, birds, reptiles and amphibians as well as mammals such as civets, mongooses, deer and monkeys. There are medicinal herbs and other plants useful to man growing in the outskirts of the forest, where tribals are allowed to gather items for survival. If you wade in the water here, be aware that leeches are out there everywhere. The best time to visit Sinharaja is between December and April. For more information: www.sinharaja.4t.com
Tips for parents when on holiday in Bentota
Sea Turtle Conservation Research Project
Situated on Galle road in Bentota South, the Sea Turtle Conservation Research Project is one of the many projects in Sri Lanka created to protect sea turtles by raising awareness about their conservation and by maintaining a hatchery. Started in 1980, this is one of the oldest of the seven turtle hatcheries in Sri Lanka. Releasing a newly hatched turtles into the ocean could be quite an amazing experience for both young and old.
+94 77 715 2700
Interesting outings and activities in Bentota
Water sports in Bentota River
The Bentota River and lagoon offer an ideal place for a wide range of water activities. Banana rides are very popular with young kids while tube rides are a hit with adolescents and adults. If you have a penchant for thrills, you can opt for jet skiing. If you wish to enjoy the water in a quieter fashion, you can choose to rent a canoe for an hour or more.
If you have had enough of the sea (how can that be possible?), you can change the setting by taking a boat trip up the river and explore the Bentota Ganga's waterways. There are many different types of birds and reptiles to be seen. Your hotel will provide you with all necessary information but you may wish to compare prices and bargain a bit before choosing the company that suits your taste and pocket.