Bentota, Sri Lanka- Explored!
Day 2: Breakfast @ Palms, Vivanta, Water Sports and Exploring the Islands across the Maduganga River.
It’s perhaps not the best seasons to be visiting this Island, or atleast so do all travel updates say and we still planned this holiday against all wise advises. My experience in these two days has been quite the contrary, for although its monsoon time but since its almost retreating from the Southwest cost we didn’t experience any of it so far. The weather rather is pleasant with the temperature hovering around 27-30 OC and the cool breeze blowing through the most part of the day, while of course there is moisture but its bearable. My opinion might be over shadowed by the fact that after Delhi’s scorching heat anything is a relief, so do read and research before planning a trip and when you finally decide to go to Bentota do not miss on a few things I am about to share here.
Vivanta by far is the best and the only 5 star luxury resort in Bentota and since it’s not the peak season the room rates are very low, atleast half the price of what we’d pay for a similar service back home in India; not to forget that our currency is stronger so it is one of the only few destination where we feel really rich. The buffet breakfast at the pool side, beach facing all day dining restaurant was a real treat, a good selection of menus from across the globe, Mediterranean, Continental, some Sri Lankan speciality and a wide variety of bakes and flavoured yogurts. All in all the menu had something on offer for every palate, especially since the Sri Lankan cooking is so close to the South Indian Style there was no dearth of curies, sambhars, idlis for us to gorge on.
The early breakfast was followed by an hour long of fun in the pool and little soaking in the sun and towards the noon we went on for some water sports activity across the Bentota River. It was an hour long of tube rides, and jet skiing across the river, it was fun indeed but came nowhere near the adrenaline rush that similar activities in the sea across the mighty waves offer, so I’d actually not recommend it unless you are travelling during monsoon and are forced to do these activities in the calm of a river rather than the might of the tides. The entire activity however left us hungry and we grabbed a quick bite at a highway restaurant that was serving fast set food and we all picked a serving of Mangolian curry with Rice and gorged on it sitting at the adjoining beach watching the rough yet mighty beautiful sea. The curries were not a bad choice for a meal on the move and to top up the view of the wide expanse of sea simply added the much required extra flavour.
Immediately after lunch we proceeded on 30 minutes ride to reach the town Balapitiya located on the banks of Maduganaga river for a river Safari that later turned out to be a real memorable experience and is highly recommended. The Maduganga wetland is an enormous spread of water with 36 big and small islands. The colourful flora and fauna that offers a variety of bird watching opportunity to the keen eyes, the natural mangrove caves are sure to take you beyond expectation. It was a two hours long excursion across the river that was well guided by a professional who was both well informed and both humble to answer all our curious queries.
Our excursion also included a 20 minutes fish pedicure sitting right in the middle river followed by an interesting session on cinnamon extraction from the bark of the cinnamon tree which is cultivated on one of the Islands using the age old traditional techniques by a village family, some good Cinnamon sticks and oil that were available for purchase made my takeaway souvenirs for friends and family back home.
By the time we were tracking our way back to the same wooden pier where we had embarked on this memorable journey, the sun had already started to set and we hummed the tunes of our timeless “Oh Manjhi Re Nadiya Ki Dhara….” in unison. Nothing could have snapped us out of the tranquil trance but just a few minutes before we could hit the terra firma soft showers began and we soaked ourselves in the divine elixir from our Mother Nature.
The eventful day that it had been had left us calm and happy and sneezing, a hot tea cup at a street side stall along with the area’s favourite street snack of Appam with eggs was a quick fix to our cold shivers. Later on reaching the hotel we took a quick shower and straight headed for a buffet dinner at the The Palms again, the hearty soup and delicious American Chicken Pie by the pool with the alternating sound of the Sea waves and instrumental music playing in the restaurant was all I need to be induced into a relaxed night’s sleep later.
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