Balapitiya is a picturesque coastal town, located in the Southern Province in Sri Lanka.
It is an approximate two-hour drive (or less if travelling on the southern highway) from the capital Colombo. It is the nearest town to the infamous Madu River. If you are looking for a quiet and relaxed beach holiday away from the more popular and crowded resorts of Bentota and Hikkaduwa, Balapitiya is the place to be. The town has many dated mansions and villas which are now transformed into attractive boutique villas and hotels, which makes finding suitable accommodation pretty easy. Surfing and snorkeling facilities are available and even deep sea fishing trips can be enjoyed.
One of the main attractions is the Madu River safari. Madu River which flows across Balapitiya, boasts of having many small islands most of which are uninhabited and covered with mangroves. With its variety of flora and fauna, it is fast becoming a popular spot for ECO tourists and bird watchers alike. An interesting site to visit in the area is the Balapitiya Purana Viharaya. Its European style architecture makes it look quite unusual to be the main temple in a steadfastly Buddhist coastal area.
Madu Ganga Boat Ride
The beautiful Madu River or Madu Ganga is located in the South West coast in Balapitiya. It is considered as Sri Lanka’s second largest wetland. A boat ride on this lagoon which takes about 2 hours ensures a breathtaking and fascinating experience. Madu Ganga wetlands is home to over 300 species of plants and nearly 250 species of vertebrate animals and consists of many islands of various sizes. The largest island is known as “Ma Doowa” and the smallest is called “Satha Paha Doowa’ for its resemblance to a local 5 cent coin. Other places of interest are the Kothduwa Temple, a wooden bridge 300 metres long that is constructed across the river and cinnamon island. The main occupations of the local inhabitants are producing cinnamon, cinnamon oil and prawn fishing. On your journey you will also observe some traditional fisherman and traditional fishing kraals (ja-kotu) set up to trap lagoon prawns. Another recent attraction is the ‘fish massage’ /’fish therapy’. Different types of fish are put into tanks, which are floating on the river and visitors can immerse their feet and experience fish nibbling at their toes. You will pass huge mangrove forests by the river banks and will ride under short mangrove tunnels.
Fresh Water Fishing
One of the best locations for inland fishing is the Madu River which is teeming with a variety of fish. Fishing enthusiasts will be very pleased with the facilities available in this area for fresh water fishing. Surrounded by pristine mangrove forests and located in the southern coast of Balapitiya, this infamous river is a world renowned wetland too. Professionals are ever present to advice you on the best times for fishing as it usually depends on weather conditions and month of the year. Sessions are usually in the morning 6.30 am-10.30am or evening from 2.30 pm - 6pm. Fish usually seen in this fishing ground are Barramundi, Bull eyed Jack, Mangrove Jack, and on some instances depending on the tide, smaller Trevally, and Barracudas.