HEAVEN FOR BEACH-LOVERS WITH A TWIST OF ADVENTURE
If you are fancied of sultry Sri Lanka that can furnish all – kids friendly resorts, to luxury boutique villas, SUPs to luxury yachts, a cocktail in a hammock at a stylish beach club – there is no other Sri Lanka tour package like Bentota tour.
Bentota is tucked away, 100 km south of Colombo and it is a popular one day trip place in Sri Lanka. Therefore it is an only hour drive to reach Bentota from Colombo via highway. If you plan Sri Lanka one day outing to Bentota, it is strongly recommended to use normal Galle-Colombo travel route, as it gives you the opportunity to visit many other interesting tourist places.
This Sri Lanka’s coastal belt, nicknamed as “Golden mile”, due to its wide, sandy, golden coloured beaches, is the most loved beach on the island. The beach is kissed by the warm waters of glistening Indian Ocean. Along with the beach small town and many hundreds of beach restaurants dotted along the beach and serves cracking delicious seafood
Few kilometre inland from the Beach is lush rain forests and wildlife reserves teamed with a large number of creatures. Those places are very suitable for Sri Lanka jungle trekking and wildlife tours.
However, most big cities such as Colombo are overdeveloped, but most beach resorts such as Bentota and south coast are largely saved from the crowd. They are some of the best places on the island to avoid the crowd – leaving those in the know to lap up the rest of the island’s many charms.
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT SRI LANKA SOUTHERN COAST?
IT IS WARM
As a destination expert from Sri Lanka hereby I offer my top tips on the best things to do and places to eat, sleep and drink this season.
In 1995, the government of Sri Lanka decided to open the Elephant transit camp, in order to avoid many shortcomings arises due to the Pinnawala elephant orphanage. The prime objective of the elephant transit camp is to rehabilitate the orphaned elephant calves and release those orphan elephants back into the jungle.
No visitors are able to do harmful ride here or witness soul-destroying circus tricks: instead, the orphan, sick, wounded elephants that have been rescued from the jungle spend their days happily around here.
Pinnawala elephant orphanage near Kandy is started in 1975, in order to save orphan, sick and wounded wild elephants. The elephant orphanage is a popular tourist attraction, where the visitors can see a large number of elephants. Elephant orphanage is useful in many ways, but one of the main shortcomings of the orphanage is that the elephants are not able to adapt to the jungle life again.
Therefore wildlife authorities decided to start the elephant transit camp, which saves the orphan elephant found in the jungle around the island and feed them and train them gradually to live in the jungle. Another function of the transit camp is to educate the visitors on the life of the wild elephant.
In both places, the visitors have zero- interaction with the animal. In order to allow the animals to live like in the jungle. Don’t try to feed animal and don not expect to do elephant riding here. Pack a pair of solid walking shoes, that you don’t mind getting wet and muddy. Apply plenty of sun cream and mosquito repellent cream.
INSIDER TIP | SRI LANKA BENTOTA TOUR
Only a few beaches on the west coast are manned by lifeguards. Few hotels have appointed few young energetic swimmers to help the swimmer, who find difficulties while swimming in the sea.
Drowning is not common in this part of the sea, however, do not go to the see if you see the red flag on the shore. West coast beaches are not suitable for swimming during the south-west monsoon, from April to October. You may find it that you are drawn to the interior of the sea during this period and the red flag shows up very often on the shore during this period, invariably means the sea is rough and dangerous to swim.
48 HOURS IN . . . SRI LANKA BENTOTA TOUR
DAY ONE OF BENTOTA TOUR
It is highly unlikely that you will avoid the perfect opportunity to embrace the Seawind, live next to the Ocean. A large number of beachfront resorts dotted along the Indian ocean along the west coast and you will open the door to the beach- after all, it is those gold-coloured sandy beaches and crystal clear water that most travellers come here for.
Early morning beach walk to explore the Bentota beach would be a perfect work up before the big breakfast at the hotel, you can do it any time of the year, though, November to April (high season) is the best time for it when the sea is calm.
Just before the sunrise is the perfect time to start with a dive to see the rich underworld world off the sea when there is nothing other than the incoming fishing boats. A large number of diving centres provides all-important gears for your dive or snorkel and you are safe in the hands of experienced Paddie certified diving instructors.
If it is monsoon season and sea is not calm, instead of a dive or snorkel opt for a boat trip in a glass-bottom boat off Hikkaduwa. It might take around 1 hour, it is easy to see the fascinating underwater world without jumping into the water.
There’s no need to eat yet, as you’re going to invest your valuable time in the afternoon and early evening to explore the riverine vegetation in the Madu River estuary. This aqua-adventure trip off southern Sri Lanka is an unforgettable experience for most travellers and it is one of the very popular activities among beach holiday lovers. The Madu River estuary is pretty well sheltered and water is calm and quiet all year round, meaning the boat tours are offered in the estuary throughout the year. The hotel pickup takes place at the most convenient time for the participants. Write to this email (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information.
The boat tour takes you through the mangrove bays and few stops along the way. One of the most important highlights of the boat trip is the stop at the Cinnamon island. This small island is full of native Cinnamon, where there is a small family, who produces cinnamon and sell them to the visitors.
Stop at the Kodduwa island is another important highlight of the 2 hours Madu river boat trip. The temple is one of the most historical temples in the area and attracts a large number of visitors. The temple lies in a solitary and provides a perfect spot to practice religious activities such as meditation.
If you need more information on the Madu River boat tour, please check my article on “Madu river boat trip“.
But it is not historical monuments, temples and spices you are coming here for, It is the picture-perfect scenery: Glassy blue water sheet, cathedral-like shady mangrove bays, swooping brahmin eagles, avian divers like the cormorants, kingfishers. There is a large concentration of water monitors along the river bank due to ample food. Some of the water monitors are big and grown up to around 1 meter, but no harm to human. There is an opportunity to see a saltwater crocodile in Madu estuary but chances are very narrow as they do not show up very often.
Bentota River is another popular place for a boat tour on the west coast. The boat trip on the Bentota river is also very interesting as the river cruise on Madu estuary. But, Bentota River tour seems to be more interesting to most travellers, compared to the boat trip at Madu estuary. Due to the fact that Bentota River has far bigger mangrove bays, and it offers better opportunities to see wild animals such as monkey, crocodile, snakes and monitors.
The boat trip makes for a bit exhausting afternoon, so take it easy in the evening and have a delicious, relaxing seafood meal overlooking the gorgeous sunset. The seafood beach restaurants offer a plethora of seafood dishes, meat and vegetable dishes. The menu features Sri Lankan food, European, Arabian and Asian foods.
If you happened to be in the beach resort on the weekend, You can visit the weekend market to eat fresh fruits and shop for cloth, bags, sandals and souvenir. Or, make a way to an Ayurveda healing centre and enjoy 1-hour full body massage with Sauna, which cost from US$ 8. Ayurveda massage is very popular among the ex-pats in the beach areas. Well trained Ayurveda therapists are tip-top on their task-there are only a few better ways of ending an interesting day than with Sri Lankan-style stretching and pummelling.
Ayurveda is a very popular subject in Sri Lanka and it already attracts a large number of foreign travellers. Even though medical tourism is not as developed as in India (Kerala), Sri Lanka also attracts a large number of travellers. A large number of Ayurveda resorts are sitting on the edge of the Indian Ocean and serve the health-conscious foreign travellers.
If you are wondering about the indigenous healing system known as “Ayurveda”, kindly check my article on “Ayurveda holiday in Sri Lanka“, It gives you a nice picture about Ayurved and Ayurved a holiday in Sri Lanka.
DAY TWO OF BENTOTA TOUR
MORNING TOUR TO GALLE
With its snow-white coloured, which properly match with the blue coloured ocean background, Dutch shophouses, old Dutch styled mansions, Churches and narrow cobbled streets, Dutch-built old town feels quite unlike anywhere else in Sri Lanka. The eclectic international history of Galle Fort is a place to find a wide range of souvenir, gems, jewellery, clothing, tea, and spices.
It is also one of the best places to spend time while sipping a glass of wine, beer, tea or coffee, and gazing at the sunset over the Indian Ocean. Galle is one of the best places in the south for wine and dine: Sri Lankan traditional rice& curry, freshly baked Roti, vegetable noodles, crispy hoppers, deep-fried lentil better known as “wade”, crunchy samosa… and much more.
It is a nice place to explore Sri Lankan food scene at your own pace- most vendors are able to communicate in English, hence the communication is not a barrier for your food tour. The local food is incredibly cheap in Galle, but don’t make a mistake and enter a tourist restaurant, which is always selling food at a higher.
Spend the morning exploring the beautiful constructions in the fort. There are thousands houses, mansions, museums, galleries, cafes, restaurants, hotels, holiday bungalows, dormitories and rest houses all are housed in dutch styles structures built by Dutch East Indian company in early 16s. Jump into a Seaview restaurant if you are tired of the walk and sip a cup of freshly brewed CEYLON tea an feast on fresh seafood plate, which very popular among the foreign travellers.
If you need a more comprehensive picture on Galle Fort please check my article, “Gall Dutch Fort“.
VISITING SEA TURTLE CONSERVATION CENTER
A large number of volunteers are working at Kosgoda sea turtle conservation centre, which located on the beach of Kosgoda. The main objective of the sea turtle conservation is to protect these endangered sea creatures. The sea turtle is reducing in a rapid number over the last few years and sea turtle conservation funded by NOG’s and visitors suppose helping the well-being of the creature. However, some of the conservation centres are commercialized and they are largely concentrated on the profit than their original objectives.
You will need to make a prior reservation in order to venture on the Yala safari, which is an interesting wildlife tour and loved by a large crowd. The safari tour is a private program, means transfers to safari, everything on a private vehicle with a dedicated tour guide. Yala national park is one of the best places to spot leopards. Along with leopard, the visitors can watch many other animals such as elephant, bear, jackal, dear, wild bore, crocodile, mungo and a large number of avian fauna species.
If you need more Yala national kindly check this article, “Yala national park“.
This calm and quiet beachside resort in Hikkaduwa offers jet-setter levels of luxury. This is a boutique resort with only a few rooms for discerning travellers. A fabulous swimming pool sweeps along the beachfront, The resort is only a few hundred meters away from the watersport centre, which offers a range of interesting watersport activities for travellers. Each luxury room offers eye-popping sea views and is so sensibly placed with the Seaview.
WHAT TO BUY ON BENTOTA TOUR.
Don’t leave Sri Lanka without buying some local produce – such as CEYLON white tea, virgin coconut oil, a pack of Cinnamon, a stone of blue sapphire or a wooden cut elephant figure. All are readily available at souvenir and gift shops found in the cities. The cost is just a fraction of what you would pay back home.
If you need more information about shopping in Sri Lanka please check this article, “Sri Lanka shopping“.
SRI LANKA ESALA CEREMONY
Kataragama temple is a multi-religious temple and popular among the Hindus and Buddhist. The temple is located near the Yala wildlife reserve. The Esala ceremony of Kataragama, which falls between July and August (depending on the lunar cycle), is one of the most electrifying religious events on the island. In this event, the Hindu devotees show their devotion to God with self-mutilation – including piercing their cheeks, tongs with swords, hanging metal hooks of vegetables from the flesh of their arms
Religious devotees ‘purify’ themselves with acts of self-mutilation – including piercing their cheeks with swords, hanging metal hooks of vegetables from the flesh of their arms, and puncturing their tongues with iron jooks. Fascinating stuff, but not for the faint-hearted.
Kataragama temple is very popular for its fire walking ceremony. The fire walking takes place immediately after the procession, in the main temple. The fire-walking area is prepared beforehand with the burning of wood. The devotees tread the red-hot embers floored after receiving the blessing of God.
Check my article on Katargama for more information about this pilgrimage site, “KATARAGAMA”.
WHEN TO GO . . .
Sri Lanka can be broadly categorized under 2 seasons – the dry season and wet season- with the temperature between 27-30C throughout the year.
BENTOTA TOUR IN THE HIGH SEASON
The high tourism season of Sri Lanka between late October and early April, when the monsoon wind leaves the south, west coast and settle over the east coast. This is the best period for salt water-based activities and Indian ocean settles to a lake-like calm.
Most international travellers opt to visit Sri Lanka during this period, invariably means this is the most expensive holiday season on the island. As the demand for accommodation, transport and sightseeing increases so is the rates. There are bargain hotels and quieter beaches are to be found on the shoulder-season from April to May, but please keep in mind that there can be more rainy days during this period.
BENTOTA TOUR IN THE LOW SEASON
The low season starts at the end of April and exists till the ends of October, during this time the west and sudden coast sea a large drop of tourist arrival due to the bad weather on the Bentota beach.
The sea is rough and not suitable for watersports, sea whips up making it dangerous to swim anywhere along the west coast. During this period more frequent rain resulted through the monsoon wind and there is a spike of temperature too. In some case, the temperature rises to around 34C, especially in the month of June and July.
Despite the rainy weather, the long low season isn’t a total write off. Some people find it is the best tie to travel to Sri Lanka and you can bag some interesting offers. Due to the low influx of travellers tourist sites, beaches and hotels are calmer and peaceful, and this could be the best time for a wellness break.
despite the rain, it is warm and you see the sun almost every morning. Usually, the shower starts late afternoon and evening. Perhaps you see a red flag on the shore but every hotel has a very spacious swimming pool.
Due to the plenty of water, the trees are starting to flower and produce fruits. There are birds, butterflies and flowers everywhere you look. Rainforest exploration, trekking, hiking, wildlife safari, river rafting, and kayaking through the jungle on the west coast is also a lot more fun at this time of year.
If you need more information on Sri Lanka weather pattern and how to find the best time to visit Sri Lanka, Please check my article under, “WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT SRI LANKA“.
IS MY BENTOTA TOUR SAFE?
Sri Lanka is a safe place to visit and it is ranked among the best islands to travel in the world according to the lonely planet. However, it is advised to be cautious if approached by strangers. There is a couple of scams that you need to aware of, including TUK TUK scam, taxi scam, who charge the unlawful amount of money for a ride unless you agreed upon the trip cost beforehand.
It is better to avoid the beach boys as much as possible as it gives you more troubles than benefits. They will sell you tours and excursions and taking you on unwanted shopping trips.
It is always better to hire a vehicle with a local driver to travel around the island. You will definitely find it a daunting task to drive in Sri Lanka if you are coming from a foreign country and you will ascertain it at the first minute you hit the road.
If you need more information on hiring a vehicle with a drive rin Sri Please check this article “Hiring a private driver-guide in Sri Lanka“.