Where the road crosses the Bentota River is the beach resort of Bentota. The town itself is a busy centre with around 10,000 inhabitants and plenty of local life in its markets and restaurants. Dominated by its tourist industry, 4 and 5 star hotels stretch along the coast bordering the golden sand beaches that are such a magnet for visitors. The weekend and holiday destination for Colombo dwellers escaping the intense heat of the city, many of the resort’s beaches are geared towards catering for large groups and lack the style and character of smaller establishments.
Although only 100 or so kilometres from the airport at Bandaranaike, the journey to Bentota takes an excruciating four or more hours which is the last thing you want after a long haul flight so it’s worth breaking your journey in Colombo or Negombo before travelling on to the beach part of your holiday.
A great location for resting up and catching some rays after spending time travelling where you can find everything you need within your hotel complex. And when you get bored with sunbathing when there are so many exciting things to see and do outside of your hospitality cocoon, Bentota is a good central location for visiting the amazing Dutch fort UNESCO site of Galle; the Kosgoda turtle hatchery where you can see giant leatherback turtles, the balance-blessed stilt fishermen of Unawatuna and the backpackers and sufers beach paradise of Hikkaduwa.
Take the train to the UNESCO walled city of Galle. The journey itself is an adventure in old carriages with torn leather seats (if you pay extra for first class that is), that rattle along the line passing rural scenes and stopping at stations where hands thrust parcels of curry and rice wrapped in banana leaves into passengers’ hands for a fistful of rupees. The adventure continues when you arrive at the fascinating city of Galle itself and if you really want to push the adrenalin button, catch the local bus back to Bentota.