Bentota, situated on the southwest coast of the island halfway between Galle and Colombo, is known for its wide golden beach and the river estuary, both of which are ideal for water sports such as wakeboarding, and jet-skiing, doughnut-ing, and windsurfing. You can also take a boat ride up the river which is shrouded by mysterious mangroves that are home to an array of Sri Lanka’s wildlife.

For those of you who would like to try something different out on the water, why not consider a sailing trip on a catamaran? Head out to sea with an experienced crew and sail to an isolated lighthouse, trying snorkelling and paddle-boarding en route, and be back on the beach in time for lunch. A more relaxed experience is taking a boat ride to an estate which ends with a traditional Sri Lankan high tea featuring local sweets made from ingredients grown on the estate.

If water sports don’t take your fancy, there are several cultural sites nearby: explore the various temples around the area and discover the magic of Lunuganga, the country home, and gardens of the famous Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa. We have put together a Bawa Day with an experienced guide which will give you a real insight into the fascinating life of this revered man, which also includes a visit to Brief Gardens, the landscaped gardens designed by Bevis Bawa, Geoffrey’s brother.

The Best Things to Do in Bentota

01. Visit the Brief Garden

The Brief Garden was designed by Bevis Bawa, a well-known Sri Lankan artist who is also the brother of renowned architect Geoffrey Bawa. The Brief Garden is laid out over five acres, and includes a profusion of tropical trees, structures and sculptures!

02. Madu Ganga River Safari

Cruise through the mangroves and explore the islands that dot the river. The Madu Ganga River safari is a must-do for nature lovers. With over 111 bird species, the Madu River is not only a bird lovers’ paradise but also a wonderland for biologists and ecologists, with a rich condensation of wildlife and plant life thriving within these shady mangroves.

Captain’s Boat House provides comprehensive boat rides and tours along the river for you to explore the intense depths with local tour guides.

03. Kosgoda Turtle Conservation Project

Avoid the hatcheries and head for the Kosgoda Turtle Conservation Project. You can experience these majestic creatures in their natural habitat, and maybe even witness them laying eggs in the sand.

04. The Beach

Pristine golden beaches and stunning sea views are all yours. Bentota is one of the most beautiful beaches in Sri Lanka, an idyllic place to soak up the sun or swim in the waves.

05. Visit Kande Viharaya

A temple dating from the 1700s, the Kande Viharaya is a great place to gobble up some history while observing local life. A pioneering centre for Buddhist education in Sri Lanka, Kande Viharaya has a number of ancient sculptures, statues and colourful frescoes dating back to the Kandyan era (15th-19th century).