Bentota
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From Negombo: Bentota Full-Day Tour

1. From Negombo: Bentota Full-Day Tour

Begin your day at 8:00 AM at Madu River in Balapitiya for a boat safari. For one-hour, journey through the primitive depths of the mangrove marshes. Traverse the dark and dangerous caverns, formed by the thick mangrove forests, interspersed with stretches of bright open water.  The next destination is the Kothduwa Temple. This Buddhist temple is located on the island and is known as the Kothduwa Raja Maha Viharaya. The island is within the Madu Ganga Estuary. Madu Ganga is an archipelago of fifteen different islands and a lagoon. It is believed that a Relic of Lord Buddha was once sheltered in the Kothduwa temple circa 340CE.  Enjoy lunch then visit the Lunuganga Garden. Geoffrey Bawa was one of Asia's finest architects. He passed away in 2003. Lunuganga was Bawa’s country home. It sits in an enchanting atmosphere with glorious views. It is now managed by the Lunuganga Trust. Admire the home’s features and blissfulness. It is now run as a country hotel and the proceeds go to Colombo.

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Lunuganga, Kosgoda and Balapitiya Day-Tour from Negombo

2. Lunuganga, Kosgoda and Balapitiya Day-Tour from Negombo

Start your day of adventure with a pickup bright and early at 7:00 AM when your chauffeur arrives to pick you up at your accommodation. After a scenic car ride (2.5-hours) you will reach the destination of Bentota. The first location you will visit whilst in Bentota is the Bawa estate in Lunuganga. While visiting the estate you will get to see the beautifully designed gardens that are now open to the public. Some of the buildings of the estate are also now a country house hotel. The tour of the estate takes 2-hours, during which, you will learn of the fascinating history behind this place.  Continue on your travels to Kosgoda for your visit to the Turtle Hatchery. Whilst here, you will get to spend 30 to 40-minutes learning about sea turtles and their conservation. One of people's favourite parts of the hatchery is the touch pools, deep tubs of seawater with baby sea turtles swimming in them. Visitors are allowed to pickup and handle them under supervision. There are also fully matured sea turtles of different kinds, receiving treatment for various ailments or wounds. Once you leave the Turtle Hatchery behind, you will venture to Balapitiva for your chance to go on a lovely Boat Safari in Madu River. Balapitiya is a little southern town lying in marshy wetlands. The area is a high bio-diversity zone that relies on the lagoon created by Madu River as it flows into the Indian Ocean. Your safari will take you on a ride down the river. You will get to see the dense mangrove forest that grows along the marshy banks of the river and the forms of wildlife that call the roots home. Your guide will also take you to some of the larger free standing islands on Madu River. On one such island you will find an old Buddhist monastery.  During the safari, you will also get to try a very popular attraction, the fish massage. This ‘massage parlor’ is a hut standing on stilts in the middle of the river. A netted-in area contains the ‘massage fish’. You will be sitting on the deck of the hut with your feet in the water, while the fish work their magic. After this relaxing boat tour, you will return to Negombo around 2:30 PM. You will arrive back at your hotel at 6:00 PM for an evening of rest and relaxation after a long day of adventure.

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From Colombo: Galle and Bentota Full-Day All-Inclusive Tour

3. From Colombo: Galle and Bentota Full-Day All-Inclusive Tour

You'll be picked up from your hotel in Negombo, Colombo, or Mount Lavinia at 7:30 AM to drive to Galle and visit the Dutch fort. The fort is a historical, archaeological, and architectural heritage monument. Even after more than 400 years, it remains intact and well maintained thanks to the extensive reconstruction work done by Sri Lanka's archaeological department. Next, you'll visit Ambalangoda, known for its exquisite collection of native masks. Many generations of artisans have carved these beautiful artifacts. Afterwards, drive on to Balaptiva for lunch at a local restaurant. After lunch, you'll take a boat trip on the Madu Ganga River. Discover the unspoiled beauty of the Madu Ganga estuary, a wetland ecosystem that opens to the Indian Ocean. Finally, you'll visit a turtle hatchery in Kosgoda before heading back to your hotel. Visitors can see the newborn turtles and even be a part of the process of releasing them into the sea!  

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Colombo/Negombo: Galle, Bentota, and Hikkaduwa Day Trip

4. Colombo/Negombo: Galle, Bentota, and Hikkaduwa Day Trip

Your tour begins as you are picked up from your Colombo hotel to be transferred to Bentota. Once there you will enjoy some water sports, before taking a river safari down the beautiful Madu River. This river is a wetland estuary spreading over 900 hectares of which 770 hectares are covered with water and inhabited with 64 islands. This boat ride is a wonderful way to take a closer look at this complex wetland ecosystem, which is a UNESCO-listed site. The area is also protected by the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands as one of the last wetlands in Sri Lanka to contain a pristine mangrove forest. Once having explored the wetlands, you will transfer to Kosgoda to visit a turtle hatchery where you will see various breeds of sea turtles. Lunch at a recommended restaurant will follow before you transfer to Meetiyagoda, where you will visit the Moonstone Mine and workshop. Following the mine, you'll head to Hikkaduwa Beach to visit the Galle Dutch fort, which was first built in 1588 by the Portuguese. It was later extensively fortified by the Dutch during the 17th century, and in the modern age has become UNESCO-listed. At the conclusion of your cultural experience, you will transfer back to Colombo.

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From Bentota: Balapitiya, Handunugoda and Galle Guided Tour

5. From Bentota: Balapitiya, Handunugoda and Galle Guided Tour

Start your sightseeing adventure with a convenient pickup from your hotel and head to your first stop for the day, Balapitiya. Enjoy a boat safari down the beautiful Madu River. Take a closer look at this wetland estuary and explore its lush mangrove forests, gliding under the canopy of the forest tunnels. Take in the unique biodiversity of this region, keeping an eye out for the crocodiles and water monitors that inhabit these waters. Stop at one of the many islands to witness the locals harvest cinnamon and end your boat safari with a visit to the fish spa. Your tropical tour continues after a short break for lunch. Head to Handunugoda to visit the local tea estate. Discover the tea that this plantation is famous for, Virgin White Tea, and learn how this luxury product is made on a tour of the plantation. Next, head to Ahangama for a truly unique photo opportunity. Watch as local fishermen demonstrate on-water stilt fishing, one of Sri Lanka's most interesting traditional fishing methods. Speak to one of the local fishermen and learn how they do it. The final stop on your Sri Lankan sightseeing tour is the old colonial city of Galle. Explore the Galle Fort, one of the best-preserved fortifications in Asia. Visit the Maritime Museum, the Galle National Museum, and the local lighthouse. Stroll down cobblestone streets as you learn the history of this port city, including the periods of Portuguese and Dutch rule.

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Bentota: Boat River Safari

6. Bentota: Boat River Safari

Bentota River, the third largest river in the country, is a perfect place to spot an array of reptiles and birds including crocodiles, snakes, bats and lizards, and this tour will show you why. Your boat safari starts from the Bentota River (near the the Bentota Bridge), from here, you'll embark on a 2 hour journey through this stunning natural backdrop.   This is a delightfully relaxing cruise that will take you through a canopy of mangroves in the magnificent riverine scenery, away from the world as you know it. This tour also comes with a convenient pickup and drop off service from your hotel.

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From Bentota: Private Galle Day Trip with River Safari

7. From Bentota: Private Galle Day Trip with River Safari

Start your day with morning hotel pickup at 8 AM and take a short drive to the Turtle Conservation Project. Find out about their work, then venture into the mangrove forest to discover native wildlife. Enjoy a riverboat safari, and keep your eye out for rare birds, crocodiles, and many other animals. After your river excursion, pay a visit to the Tsunami Museum where you can learn about the impact of the devastating natural disaster that destroyed the local villages in 2004. Continue to a herbal garden, a wood carving center and gallery, and a moonstone gem mining center. Next, make your way to the famous Dutch Fort of Galle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site built by the Portuguese in 1588 and further fortified by the Dutch in the years after. Finish the day with stilt fishing, a method of fishing unique to Sri Lanka. Witness this incredible skill in person before it dies off. The tour concludes with drop-off back at your accommodation in Bentota.

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Other Sightseeing Options in Bentota

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