How to Spend 3 Days in Bentota
Sri Lanka’s southwestern resort of Bentota beckons travelers with more than sandy beaches. There’s easily enough to keep you busy for three days, from boat rides on jungle rivers to game safaris, whale-spotting cruises, and tours to historical and scenic gems such as Kandy and Galle. Here’s a 3-day itinerary that lets you pack everything in.
Day 1: Get to Know Bentota
Bentota borders lush countryside and wildlife-abundant rivers, so start by communing with nature at the magical time of sunrise. Board a kayak and glide along the mangrove-flanked River Madu to see birds, monkeys, and other creatures as a guide offers insight and pointers. Alternatively, discover the art of Sri Lankan food on a morning cooking course. Visit an alfresco kitchen and learn to drum up local curries and other dishes to savor for lunch.
Sightseeing tours are also popular. Choices include village tours by tuk-tuk, car, and open-top VW Beetle—or rural bike rides—to see temples, rubber plantations, and a sea turtle conservation project on the beach. Otherwise, dive into Bentota Lagoon’s water sports. Sample four activities with equipment and instruction provided—taking off on a Jet Ski, tube, banana boat, and mangrove cruise. If you’re interested in angling, instead sign up for a lagoon fishing trip to catch species such as mangrove jack and snapper.
Day 2: Cities and Cultural Gems
Devote your second day to Sri Lanka’s colonial-era and cultural hot spots. Venture south to Galle to admire Portuguese- and Dutch-built Galle Fort—a walled enclave offering cobbled lanes, museums, mansions, and a lighthouse. Or head for Nuwara Eliya, a 19th-century hill town founded as a British summer retreat. Tours typically showcase its colonial-era bungalows, tea plantations, and the nearby Ramboda waterfalls. Another option is Kandy, a former royal capital in Sri Lanka’s hill country. Explore the Temple of the Tooth UNESCO World Heritage Site and other sights such as Peradeniya Botanical Gardens and tea plantations. Whichever you choose, going with a guide gives you the advantage of historical commentary, hassle-free sightseeing, and door-to-door transport from your hotel.
Day 3: Wildlife Watching
Earmark today to experience as much of Sri Lanka’s wildlife as possible. Tour Udawalawe National Park, known for its elephants, by 4WD, or take a safari in Yala National Park in search of leopards, elephants, birds, and monkeys. Alternatively, if you’re here between November and April, consider a whale-watching expedition. Cruises leave early morning from the south coast town of Mirissa to view blue and other species of whales in their natural habitat. Day trips from Bentota include dawn transportation to Mirissa and a boat ticket, so you can skip transport hassles or the need to overnight in the town.