Today is set aside at leisure to spend as you see fit, with an air conditioned car and driver available for a mileage of 80 km’s. Alternatively take the opportunity for an optional day tour to visit the Galle Dutch Fort & a River boat ride at the Madu River in Balapitiya (supplement applies).
Galle, the epic Southern capital, is where classic Dutch architecture sits in a tropical setting, creating a vividly beautiful atmosphere.
Walk the Dutch streets as you observe how European architecture mingles with South Asian traditions, creating a unique cultural smorgasbord.
Its original ramparts and bastions showcase evidence of a heritage preserved for more than 3 1/2 centuries. Walk clockwise within the fort to observe the 'old gate' carrying the British coat of arms. Flanking the old gate is the Zwart bastion and the lighthouse standing in its glory next to the Point Utrecht Bastion. Hop into the Dutch Hospital Shopping Complex to be mesmerised by an array of souvenir selections. Or simply soak in the atmosphere of the Dutch fort which remains a working community with its usual buzz of administrative offices, court complex, commercial buildings, churches, and Southern folks.
Next, partake in a river safari at the Madu River in Balapitiya.
Madu River is a complex coastal ecosystem of mangroves and islands. A boat tour is an ideal way to experience hundreds of species of plants and animals in their natural habitat. There are around 64 islands in the river and lagoon from tiny speck housing and a deserted shrine to one housing 250 families connected to the mainland via a long footbridge. You can visit an island with a Buddhist monastery where the friendly young monks will show you a 150-year-old book made of palm leaves and how they cook on cinnamon wood on an open fire.
Overnight in Bentota.