Beach beauty with a wild side
Set on Sri Lanka's picturesque south-west coast is Bentota, one of the island's superstars. The beach itself is a long, pale gold ribbon taken straight off a postcard, with two distinct sides.
The north is the wild side, with a glassy lagoon bundled up in jungle where you can hire canoes or try out water-skiing and windsurfing. The southern part is widely considered one of the prettiest bits of beach in Sri Lanka, with powdered-gold sand against a backdrop of straight-from-paradise coconut palms.
Boat safaris glide up and down nearby Bentota River, giving you the chance to spot local wildlife and flora, while dive boats whisk scuba diving enthusiasts out to offshore reefs and wrecks.
Other out-and-about options include the 12th-century Galapota Temple and the wonderful Brief Garden, once owned by the brother of the famous Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa.
Flights from the UK take approximately 10 hours 30 minutes.
Transfer time from Colombo airport to Bentota is approximately 1 hour 45 minutes.
Sri Lanka has two monsoon seasons – one in the south-west between May and September, and one in the north-east between October and January. Galle and Bentota are in the south-west, and the most popular time to visit is between December and March for hot, sunny weather and an average temperature of 30°C.
UK citizens will need a visa to enter Sri Lanka. You can apply for a 30-day tourist visa online before you travel.
Tipping is common in Sri Lanka. You should aim to tip 100 rupees at restaurants, and the same again per day for hotel maids and porters. It’s not necessary to tip taxi drivers, although you could round up the fare to the nearest 50 rupees if paying cash.
The official languages of Sri Lanka are Sinhala and Tamil. English is widely spoken too.