One should not miss a morning or evening excursion to "Brief gardens", a wonderful estate, owned by a former Sri Lankan architect and artist, who lived there with his lover(s?) and died 1992. The estate and park have been bequeathed to his gardener/ servant, who still owns the place and gives interesting tours.Just take a tuc-tuc or taxi in Bentota or by the hotel - it takes you in about 10 minutes to the 8 km distant Garden. It `s definitely worth a visit !!
Short trips from Bentota
Boat trip on Bentota river
Kande Vihare Buddhist Temple
- Sri Lanka's tallest Buddha Statue. The Buddha Statue which is 160½ ft tall is constructed in Bhoomi Sparsha Mudra (Calling the Earth to Witness His Enlightenment).
Sri Kalyanarama Maha Viharaya, Kaluwamodera (opp. Araliya Hotel)
- This temple has the tallest ancient marble Buddha statue in Sri Lanka
Brief-Gardens (about 7 km from Bentota)
- Brief Gardens is the house and garden of landscape architect Bevis Bawa, developed since 1929. It is a hillside garden with excellent views and many sculptures - both by Bevis himself and other artists. The estate was formerly a rubber plantation
Weekly Fair in Aluthgama
- Mondays there is a fair in Aluthgama (Mathugama Road). Large vegetable market and lots of street vendors. Beware of "commission boys".
Beruwala Fishing Harbour
- visit around 6am and watch the fishing boats being unloaded
Day trips could be:
Down the coast to Galle with possibility to visit
- Kosgoda Sea Turtle Conservation Project
- Boat Trip on Madu Ganga, Balapitiya
- Ariyapala Mask Museum, Ambalangoda
- Batik Factory,Ambalangoda
- Moonstone Mine, Meetiyagoda. This is one of the very few places in the world where blue gleaming moonstones are found. A number of stores and stalls sell jewellery made with these semi-precious stones.
- Hikkaduwa. Glass bottom Boat ride on the coral reef and maybe a swim inside the reef. Good place for lunch break (several good restaurants - Refresh is recommended)
- Galle. UNESCO declared World Heritage Site the magnificent Dutch fort is the most popular attraction of the town. 300 year old Dutch atmosphere is still very much alive around the fort and amidst its many historical buildings. Good possibilities for shopping in Galle.
- Sinharaja forest reserve is one of the least disturbed and biologically unique lowland rain forest in Sri Lanka. This forest covers an extent of about 11187 hectares from east to west .The length of the forest is about 21km and width from North to South is about 3.7km. It was declared a Man and Biosphere Reserve (MAB) in 1978,as representative of tropical humid evergreen forest Eco system in Sri Lanka and has been recognized by UNESCO as part of it's International Network of Biosphere reserves. It was declared a National wilderness area in 1988 and lately a world heritage site in 1989.
2-5 day trips could include:
Elephant Orphanage, Pinnawala
Kandy. Tooth Temple, Kandy Dance, Botanical Gardens
Dambulla. Rock Caves Temple
Hill Country (N'Eliya, Haputale, Ella).
This little place at Bentota beach gathers turtle eggs and place them in their premise for the eggs to hatch. After the little turtles have hatched, they will then be safely released to the ocean.
The short guided tour costs 100 rupees per adult. Children enter for free.
Normally, they will have several species of turtles on display and visitors are encouraged to pet and hold the turtles. Even the hatchlings, which is quite fun for the kids.
Visitors will also be requested to make a voluntary donation at the end of the guided tour.
I thought this place was cool. They do a lot of good work.
They pay locals for all eggs they recover from beech than they hatch them and release them after 3 days because they have a greater chance of survival.
They have some permanent residents including a fully grown blind albino turtle. Abs huge!!!
The Brief Garden actually covers over 2 hectacres, so you could easily while away a morning here, admiring how the other half must have lived.
The caretaker who shows you around the property, worked for Bevis Bawa when he lived here also. He has great respect for his old employer. Not sure who owns the property now, but it is run as a museum.
The beach is a superb stretch of golden sand. Although there are a string of resort hotels here, the beach was clean & tidy, the buildings are mainly hidden by palm trees too. I visited the beach early in the morning and at sunset, there were a few locals selling things, the ones I encounted were neither pushy or persistant.
MaluBanna offers unique local excursions aimed at culture hungry visitors.
Deep Sea Fishing
Guided Village Bicycle Tours
Morning at BeruwelaFish Harbour
Coastal Snorkelling Cruise
Candle Lit Dinner at KosgodaTurtle Hatchery
Sunset Drinks at BeruwelaLighthouse
Jeep Tours - Rubber and lowlying tea plantations
Yoga & Mediation Classes
We have just returned from a 14 night holiday in Sri Lanka. We stayed at The Bentota Beach Hotel which was a little bit average, but the holiday was lifted a little by the number of great activities available in the area. We went water skiing and did a river safari, but by far the best activity was a trip to Koggala Turtle Hatchery. We had planned to do this before we arrived and knew that we coudl do so thorugh the hotel, but once there we found a great little local company called Malubanna. They arranged transport for us, a private tour of the sancturary after hours, the chance to release new born baby turtles into the sea at sunset and then a private candle lit dinner on the beach afterward. All in all it was a great afternoon/evening which I would highly recommend. I can't offer very good directions, but the contact information from their leaflet is below.
The grass is quite strange in Sri Lanka. The leaves are very thick & rubbery. I think the term for it is Elephant Grass.
The part of the Garden looks out on to a cleared area which used to be part of the Rubber Plantation
Donald Friend an Australian artist, came to stay with Bevis for 6 days & ended up staying for 6 years. He left behind many wonderful pieces of Art work, which is on display around the House & Garden.
There are many different designs incorporated in the Brief Garden. From wonderful British style lawns to pretty Japanese Gardens and secret seating areas. This photo shows the Japanese garden area.
The river and lagoon offer a wide range of water activities from canoeing to jet-skiing. It's also possible to go on boat trips up the river and explore the Bentota Ganga's waterways. Here you'll find many different types of birds and reptiles.
My favourite time to visit the beach was at sunset. It was so relaxing and peaceful to watch the sun setting over the Indian Ocean.
This is one of the reasons why I fell in love with the Brief House. A beautiful outdoor shower.
It is a dream of mine to one day have a secluded outdoor shower
This is a Buddhist Graveyard, near Bentota, The material hanging off the tree is for rememberance and prayers.