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About Bentota ...  

About Bentota

Have you always dreamed of being marooned on a fantasy island with nothing but endless white sands, pristine tropical wilderness and azure skies? Then Bentota is the place to be. South of Colombo, Sri Lanka's capital city, Bentota, is one of the best coastal spots in the world. Charming fishing villages, a rustic countryside and an elegant line of world class resorts, much of Bentota's history is forgotten.

The local populace, however, treasures the rich heritage sites like the 12th centuryGalapata Vihara and the Wanawasa Raja Maha Viharaya Buddhist temples, and a number of monasteries that in a strange way strike a chord with the region's history. Sit back and enjoy the beauty of it all. Sinhalese and Buddhist gems are scattered all through the quaint corners in this emerald isle. So don't miss out on taking a day tour to simply wander away from the beach and into quieter corners. You never know what you may find. River cruises along Bentota River are mesmerising. It is hard to believe that in earlier days, this very river was infested with crocodiles and was famous for its oysters. The oysters and crocodiles are no more today, but its rich underwater reef life has managed to attract hordes of adventure lovers who simply can't get enough of the sea.

Wander around town and indulge in all that the coast has to offer; dine alfresco, and unwind with a sparkling glass of frothing toddy in warm earthen pots, tuck in fresh seafood delights straight off the grill, and waltz to the whistling winds in the evening as the sun sets. Bentota is sure to leave you intoxicated with life, love and longing.
Places to See

Head to the popular Bentota beach to soak in some sun and revel in the view of the aquamarine ocean. Flanked by the Indian Ocean and the gushing Bentota River and a sprinkling of plush resorts, Bentota beach is one of the most popular haunts on the Island. Bustling winds make for perfect weather for you to enjoy surfing, jet skiing and scuba diving. The Canoe Rock is an easy dive that is suited for divers of all ages, and preferred among those who visit here. South Reef is another rocky outcrop that makes for a fascinating underwater exploratory.

Bentota beach is beautifully divided into North beach and South beach. North beach is fairly quiet although it is frequented by a lot of tourists, while the attractive South beach glistens with resorts, white sands and swaying palms. The Wanawasa Raja Maha Viharaya, a Buddhist temple is an odd combination of colourful paintings and statues at the eastern end of the Island. The imitation of Adam's Peak is a sight to see here. The 12th century Galapata Vihara with its maze of tunnels, Buddhist statues and wonderful paintings, will leave you captivated. Legend has it that this temple was built by Parakramabahu the Great, who also built the medieval ancient capital city of Polonnaruwa. The historic Aluthgama Kande Vihara (also called the Bentota Kande Vihara) near the Induruwa Beach Resort in Bentota, attracts hundreds of devotees who seek peace and solace every year. The monastery houses the largest Buddha statue on the island. Soul-searchers will also love the Kalugala Aranyaya Monastery, which is close to the lush Sinharaja Natural Forest Reserve. You will love the silence as the gentle breeze embraces you with the sounds of the forest. Meditating near the stone carved Buddha statues in the monastery in the light of oil-lamps is an ethereal feeling.

Things to do...

Water sports are the most popular activities in Bentota. Bentota beach is ideal for everything ranging from jet skiing and wakeboarding to surfing and diving. Dive sites like the Canoe Rock and South Reef give an insight into the depths of Bentota's crystal blue waters. The Hundirangala dive site is an excellent spot for night dives. One of the curious activities here is paddling on a glass boat to view the corals beneath. Surfing is excellent along the East coast, near Trincomalee and Aragum Bay. Cruising along the Bentota River is another popular activity during the day. Baby crocodiles are a common sight along Bentota beach. You can carry one for a photograph, but the experience might not be as easy as it looks!

Naturalists will love Brief Gardens and a visit to the Yale National Park. The beautifulSinharaja Natural Forest Reserve is merely a short drive away. As one of the foremost rainforests in Asia, the reserve holds a wealth of exotic animal and bird species. There are various trekking trails within the forest region but beware of leeches. The turtle hatchery makes for an exciting visit. The Lunuganga is a fantastic garden retreat to relax.

Places to eat...

As is common anywhere in the beautiful tropics, food in Bentota is served fresh from the sea, warmed and mellowed by the breeze. String Hoppers are a local favourite, and something you must try when you check into any hotel along the beachfront.Wunderbaar is a popular haunt for those who love fresh seafood without any hassle; the fish baked in bamboo leaves is the prized item on the menu. The Diya Sisila is a lovely lakeside gem that serves marvellously fresh Sri Lankan food. Malli's Seafood Restaurant has a varied menu suited for international taste and is of excellent standard. Cool yourself the tropical way with a chilled glass of local Toddy or tender coconut water, straight from Sri Lanka's beautiful palm trees.

If you want to enjoy a romantic, candle-lit dinner with a loved one, let the ambience at Club Bentota seduce you. There is a wonderful view of the ocean all around. Those who want to dance the night away should head to Hotel Ceysands. The Tarshish Restaurant in the Hotel Serendib is the only place that serves kosher food in Sri Lanka.The Golden Grill, with its impeccably dressed waiters, makes for a great night out as well.

For an exceptional after-taste, try the durian fruit, which is considered a great delicacy here. Finish your meal with a steaming cup of Ceylonese tea.


Bentota has few shops along the beachfront and some in the villages. Handicrafts are usually the most sought-after items in Bentota. The Galle Road, Ambalangoda, is lined with the island's best antique dealers and you can find Dutch period furniture, porcelain and brass lamps here. Bargaining is the key to get good deals on anything you buy. TheAriyapala Mask Museum in Ambalangoda, which is owned by the famous mask carver family, the Wijesooriya preserves century-old carving and mask painting techniques. The mask collection here is decorative, and ridden with meanings. Dudley Silva has excellent Sri Lankan Batiks.

The Bentota Bazaar in the village is a good place to buy beach wear, souvenirs and curios.


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