I honestly cannot believe more than one year has passed since we’ve been to Sri Lanka and I haven’t managed to write this post about our last part of the itinerary.
Maybe it was because things did not turn out as planned, and we encountered some issues with the hotel we booked many months in advance, and it took a while for me to accept that people don’t always act professionally even though you pay them for their services.
I’ve heard afterward that this might often happen with hotels in Sri Lanka: overbooking. In our case, it was The Surf hotel in Bentota.
Update 2019: The hotel link has been deleted, thus I think It might have been rebranded or taken over by another hotel chain.
But still, since we booked everything through a travel agency, and since I had a friend who had the same problem one week before us, I was expecting better control from their side and, of course, a suitable replacement.
Since we were planning to spend the longest part of the trip in one place (6 nights), in Bentota, we planned on staying in a nice resort on the beach. That did not happen, and we were never reimbursed for the difference. But I’ve come to accept that that’s a risk one just takes when traveling, even though I fought a lot and I don’t think it’s normal.
Moving forward, after accepting the facts and deciding to make the best out of the time, since we were either way really close to a wonderful beach, we planned it all.
Relaxation on the beach, mixed with fun times at a party on the beach, and a day spent at sea searching for whales.
Where to stay in Southern Sri Lanka
We chose Bentota because it was closer to Colombo’s airport, and we had to get up early the morning of the day we were going to leave the island, thus choosing to stay further away wouldn’t have been such a great idea.
Bentota is not a very lively destination, you won’t get the boho vibes we got from other places further South (such as Mirissa, Hikkaduwa, or Unawatuna right next to Galle – popular places for when you are backpacking Sri Lanka).
If you don’t have an early flight, I would suggest you book a room Souther, but if you do, here are my top options for Bentota:
- Taj Bentota Resort & Spa – we went to lunch at this 5* resort, and I have to admit both the hotel and the food were impressive. I would have loved to spend at least one night in this chic deluxe hotel, and you sure will not regret booking your stay here.
- Avani Bentota Resort – here is where we spent 3 out of 6 of our days in Bentota. Okay, we did not sleep here, but accessing the pool was convenient while also being next to the ocean and having a delicious lunch.
- Sea Rock Villa – if you are looking for something in the mid-price range, while still being on the beach and pool, this is the right go-to option for you.
If you have more time to spend on the road towards the airport or are planning to spend the last days in Colombo, here are some great hotel options:
- Lantern Boutique Hotel – the perfect simple, clean and minimal design, right on the beach, this will be the perfect setting for those beautiful Instagram pictures.
- Villa Oceane – for surfers (and not only) this is a very traditional place wight by the sea, from where you will have the waves calling you to ride them.
What we did in Bentota, Sri Lanka
Whenever I think about that week in Bentota, I see the wide yellow sandy beach. Empty. Or almost empty.
I see those very narrow blue boats which were standing on the beach waiting. Waiting for something to happen to them. Waiting for their fisherman to come and take them for a ride on the big waves you get there. Or maybe they were waiting for us to take the perfect pictures. Who knows?
I see the orange coconuts on the side of the street or just in front of Avani Bentota. The sweet and refreshing coconut water we sipped on under the sun, with a good book in hand and a frangipani flower in hair.
I see that morning we got up at 4 a.m., to drive some 2 and a half hours to Mirissa. Why did we do that? To get to see the whales.
Of course, you can always choose to spend more time in Mirissa, and even celebrate an incredible New Year’s Eve on Mirissa Beach. Wouldn’t that sound amazing?
The same colorful boats as the ones on the beaches of Bentota were sailing to the shore, filled with their fisherman who, at 6 in the morning, were already returning from their jobs.
Hundreds of tourists waiting in line to get on a boat, on the quest for the biggest mammals: whales!
The ocean welcomed us all and offered us a peek into its beautiful tenants: dolphins, sea turtles, and that huge impressive whale, larger than our boat, just going on about her business.
Some other popular things not to miss while in Southern Sri Lanka:
- Take a day trip to Galle Fort and visit the old colonial town, with its fort and picture-perfect lighthouse.
- Take surfing lessons (if you are not already a pro) – the waves in Sri Lanka are perfect and the island is a destination where people come especially for surfing. There are plenty of surf schools and it would be impossible to miss the signs.
- If you are not a surfing fan, try diving in Sri Lanka instead
- Swing in Unawatuna – just give it a search on Instagram and you will be smitten
- Go and see the baby turtle hatchery in Habaraduwa
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