Shaded by swaying coconut palms, edged by tropical mangroves and washed by a warm turquoise sea, Bentota’s long silky beach is nothing short of idyllic. Its picture-postcard strip of sand extends northwards for a few kilometres to the end of a jagged spit, which separates the ocean from a riverine lagoon.

Bentota is famed for its water sports and there are plenty of activities you can indulge in here, ranging from deep sea fishing and diving in the sea to jetskiing, waterskiing and windsurfing atop the lagoon. Upriver, you can also motor off on safari to explore the mangroves that lushly line its banks.

Water is not Bentota’s only selling point though; take any journey inland and you’ll come across pretty rural villages, valleys of lush paddy fields and Buddhist temples ringed by pretty white walls. Further afield, Beruwala’s famous wave-washed island lighthouse and fish market is only a fifteen-minute drive away.