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Earning its name from an ancient mythical story, the city of Bentota offers a plethora of tourist attractions; ranging from eye-catching natural scenes of beaches, rivers and natural forests to the water sports complexes and many places of cultural attractions for foreigners, like the famous Galapota Temple near the Bentota River. For the enthusiastic tourist, there seems to be no end to the visiting worthy spots that can keep appearing in this coastal city of Sri Lanka. Let us dive into some of these attractions, which attract hundreds of tourists all year round, like bees attracted to honey.
1) Visit the famous UdaWalawe Safari Park
A mega natural tourist spot, the Udawalawe Safari Park is a vast expanse of tropical trees and dry grasslands housing many species of animals, most famous of which is – you guessed it – the elephant, and not just any elephants, wild elephants! Scary, no? Perhaps not, especially if you are an enthusiastic tourist, you would want to have a closer exposure to the ‘dangers of nature’. A common sight for visitors in Udawalawe Safari Park is seeing a large herd of elephants, adults and young alike, walking sluggishly away, or playing with one another, spraying water mischievously or simply bathing in the shiny waters of Sri Lanka.
Speaking of waters, there are water animals in Udawalawa as well. Apart from wild elephants, you might prepare yourself to see big water buffaloes, huge (or small for that matter) water monitor lizards, sambar deer, monkeys and sometimes, even, the mighty leopards.
However, as famed as the park is, a day trip to the vast thirty thousand hectares of land might be a bit costly for some tourists. Prices can be found and compared in the local currency (Sri Lankan rupee) or your own currency. Different companies offer different packages and different timings. Be sure to check out prevalent pricing and any discounts available for group tourists before planning your trip to Udawalawe Safari Park.
2) The Sparkling Waters of Bentota Beach
Ranked by many trip advisor sources (websites and articles) as one of the best tourist attractions in Bentota, the Bentota Beach is a must for all foreign visitors who are fortunate enough to step into the beautiful city of Bentota. The beauty that we speak of owes not the least to the shiny, sparkling waters of Bentota Beach. The waters appear crystal clear and bright blue, almost as if they were full of blue opals and gems. If you are a lover of nature and the serenity that it can offer, then the best times of the day for you to have a leisurely stroll along the beach is either morning or evening. The cool weather at these times also helps to calm down your soul and induce deep serenity in your heart. Sounds too dramatic? Well, wait till you actually visit the Beach. Lined by hotel resorts and by lush green trees, the tall date palm trees being the main eye-catch, the Bentota Beach can become crowded during the afternoons or the evenings. Past tourists have praised the beach all out, talking about the soft sands, strong water current, the cool and moist winds and the many activities there, although some have criticized it for not having enough ‘public amenities’ as well.
3) Galapatha Buddhist Temple
Enough of the nature-seeking sites for now, though there are still many more where these came from. But let us turn our attention to some cultural sites for those of you more interested in the historical cultures and arts. Sri Lanka is one of the main birthplaces of the Buddhist creed. One will inevitably lay eyes on statues of the great ‘Enlightened Buddha’, at least once when visiting any part of Sri Lanka. More so, when visiting Bentota, because herein is found the famous Benthara Galapatha Raja Maha Vihara (Galapatha Temple), near the famed Bentota River. There are other Buddhist religious sites in Bentota as well, and we encourage you to visit as many as you can, but here we shall discuss a little more about the Galapatha Temple.
Housing some of the biggest statues of Buddha, the Galapatha Vihara has much more to offer. The intricate stone carvings and motifs, the stone inscriptions, the various historical landmarks including a queen’s bathing stone, the sacred tooth of the ancient Sri Anubuddha housed in the ‘Dagoba’; every archaeological relic here has a fascinating story behind it, which are sure to amuse and perhaps, inspire newcomers as well.
4) Water, water, and sports
Let’s just be clear here. For those of you who might have any distaste for wet things or any degree of ‘water phobia’ (aquaphobia), you would be missing out on most of what Bentota has to offer. Better yet, most of what Sri Lanka has to offer (since it is an island surrounded by water). However, for those of you who look forward to having some thrill and thunder playing in the crystal clear blue waters of Bentota, we have great news.
Bentota is famed as the water sports capital of Sri Lanka. There is a huge range of water sports and activities to be had in Bentota. Some of the major sports complexes there are LSR Water Sports Complex, Sunshine Water Sports Complex, and Malu Banna Complex. From speed boating to jet skiing to bodyboarding or wakeboarding (there are various kinds of windsurfing activities available, you’ll have to look up the details elsewhere) to less ecstatic banana or donut boat rides and canoeing offered in these places. However, be sure to estimate the costs of these activities. The fun doesn’t come for free!
5) Helicopter Joy Rides with Skylark
One other major tourist activity worth mentioning in Bentota is the helicopter joy rides offered by the Skylark Aviation authority there. Of course, we leave out the monetary details for you to find out, but for those of you who are desirous of ‘flying high’, you might want to check this out.
With that, our list of activities for tourists comes to an end. There are so many more things to enjoy in Bentota; we could not mention every one of them here. Be sure to seek out tourist sites in which you are interested, whether you are a nature loving person, cultural fanatic or an eccentric sports enthusiast. Bentota has something interesting to offer to every kind of person.