Though today Bentota, with its wide coastal stretch and large lagoon, is big on sea sports and other water-based activities, it used to be a place to rest on the way to Galapatha Temple, which legend claims is linked by a maze of subterranean tunnels with all other temples in the area. As well as a wide range of water-sports, including jet-skiing, sailing and even whale and dolphin watching, there are a variety of cultural sites to be explored around Bentota. Along with a selection of temples including Kande Vihare Temple, travelers can explore Sri Lanka’s architectural heritage by visiting Lunuganga, the country home and gardens of Geoffrey Bawa, or by vising Brief Gardens, a tranquil landscaped garden paradise designed by Brief Bawa, Geoffrey’s brother – sculpted over forty years, Brief boasts a Japanese garden, folly and several walled gardens, as well as a private museum of art inside the house. Make sure to visit the Turtle Hatchery Project on Bentota Beach as well, which does a wonderful job of helping to protect the five endangered marine turtle species which nest on Sri Lanka’s shores.
Experiences & Things to Do at Bentota
An Insider's Perspective of Bentota
Bentota used to be a place to rest on the way to the nearby medieval Galapatha Temple, which legend claims is linked by a maze of subterranean tunnels with all other temples in the area. Today this coastal town is a popular holiday destination for those seeking to do sea sports and other water-based activities: go jet-skiing, windsurfing, wakeboarding and canoeing on the Bentota Lagoon, or take a boat trip up the river and look out for wildlife hiding in the mangroves on either side. Bentota is a fantastic choice for families travelling with older children.
There are several hotels in Bentota that were designed by the revered Geoffrey Bawa, who has been named as ‘the father of Asian architecture’. The Villa Bentota and Club Villa – once both part of the same property – feature beautiful internal courtyard areas and long gardens which slope down to the sea. Travellers can also visit Lunuganga, Bawa’s country house and landscaped gardens, which lies a little way inland from the beach, and discover the details of Bawa’s past and his influence on Sri Lankan architecture.