Balapitiya Sri Lanka
For anyone wanting a taste of the ‘real’ Sri Lanka, the traditional fishing village of Balapitiya, just down the coast from the buzzy tourist magnet of Bentota, is a good place to start.
That’s not to say that Balapitiya is untouched by tourism. Its golden beaches are increasingly sought out by visitors wanting a bit of peace and quiet among its scattering of fishing hamlets.
Those same fishermen also provide what must be Balapitiya’s biggest attraction, boat safaris on the Madu River as it wends its way through the famed Madu Ganga Biodiversity Area.
Here in Balapitiya lies Madu Ganga, the beautiful river that nestles alongside Whispering Waters. Madu Ganga is considered as Sri Lanka's second largest wetland
Including 32 islands, of which two are home to 215 families, this is Sri Lanka’s second-largest wetland, with 300 plant and 250 animal species to be found in this pristine mangrove forest.
According to one review on TripAdvisor: “This river area filled with mangroves is a real delight to sail down. Enjoy the river, with views of the islands, fishermen and the occasional wildlife like monkeys, monitors and kites and eagles. They stop by cinnamon island, temple island and if you like you can see the alligators.”
As an important administrative site from the time of the British era, Balapitiya also has many mansions and estates which are now converted into boutique villas and hotels.