Whether you’re an absolute adrenaline-junkie or a little more on the cautious side, Bentota in Sri Lanka has you covered. Paramotoring and helicopters will help you take to the skies – without breaking the bank but with all of the fun!
Though we’d unequivocally recommend giving both a shot, we’ll explain the differences between the two offerings so you can make the right choice for you.
Paramotoring was what initially took us to Bentota – it was an experience that neither of us had tried before and looked like the perfect combination of excitement and absolute peace in the skies. We’d both been sky diving before and I’ve paraglided in the past so between the two, we thought we had an idea of what to expect.
Suren and Natalie run Sky Club, the leaders (and only certified operators) in Sri Lanka and they are hands-down the only company to head up on a paramotor with. They single-handedly brought this sport to the island nation and worked with local aviation authorities to ensure proper regulations were established. Once they were given the go-ahead to begin flying, the couple trained ex-air force personnel and never looked back.
During the course of your flight, you’ll sit securely in a custom-designed cart. The parachute above your head controlling your direction (flown by the expertly trained pilot of course) whilst the massive fan behind him decides the height at which you fly.
The whole experience was surprisingly calm – from the effortless takeoff to the smooth landing, there was never a point in time where either of us felt nervous (which says a fair bit as Nathan’s not a fan of heights).
These machines just feel like they were built to soar through the sky – probably because they were!
Even if you don’t think you’re brave enough, we’d urge you to give paramotoring a go – it’s surprisingly manageable, even for the most nervous of flyers and you’ll certainly be in safe hands with the Sky Club team.
Following our paramotoring session (and a quick dip in the ocean), we made our way over to the heli pad and before we knew it were racing over Bentota in what was to be a significantly different experience.
Can you tell from the next picture how we felt about it?
If paramotoring was surprisingly relaxed with stunning views out over the ocean, our heli flight was an adrenaline-inducing adventure that practically had beach-goers on the ground ducking for cover (in the very best of ways!)
In safe hands, we hopped into our ride for the afternoon, suited up with our headphones and took to the skies for the second time that day.
Our flight started with a relaxed tour of the surrounding area, taking in Sri Lanka’s famous architecture, buddha statues and lighthouses before whizzing over the beach in an exciting acrobatic performance.
I’m sure you could ask for the more mundane version of this flight but, really, why would you?
How to Get to Bentota Beach
Located on the stunning Bentota Beach, you’ll find both Sky Club and Skylark within easy reach of each other – you can walk between the two in less than five minutes or, if like us, you go from one activity straight to another, the helicopter will even drop you off right outside the paramotoring spot. How’s that for a memorable transfer!
Many people choose to stay in Bentota (which is half way between Colombo and Galle) but more so opt for the beaches in and around Galle or the historic city itself.
If you too are based near Galle, there are many trains that connect the two regions – we found the train station staff to be friendly and helpful and the train system easy to navigate making it a great option. Second class tickets were only 100 Sri Lankan Rupees each (less than NZD1 or USD0.65 each) and the ride took approximately an hour. If you’re planning on making the trip, you’ll find train times departing here and returning here.
Helpful Hint: The Aluthgama train station is less than a kilometre from Bentota so if you find more convenient connections there, don’t be afraid to walk down or catch a tuk tuk – it’s incredibly easy to find.
Before making a move for the beach we checked in regarding the train departure time but managed to misunderstand the time we needed to be back – who knew 3.15pm and 3.50pm could sound so similar?
Left with the choice of either waiting around for two hours for the next train (and missing our snorkelling session at Jungle Beach) or hiring a tuk tuk straight away, we elected to head back to Galle ASAP. The tuk tuk to get home set us back LKR2,000 in total – though it was a significant price hike over the train, it ended up worth it to be back ready for the afternoon activities we had planned.
Tuk tuks in the area are generally comfortable and safe and heading back by road, we managed to catch some sights we didn’t see on the train.
Though we didn’t intend to hail a tuk tuk for the ride home, the combination of train and tuk tuk ended up working well for us whilst still keeping the costs relatively low.
Two Very Different Experiences, Both Equally Worthwhile…
If you have the time and the funds (and let’s face it, adventure activities like these don’t come any cheaper whilst retaining stringent safety standards), we really recommend you give both of these activities a go.
Sitting in the open air as the paramotor glided above the heads of visitors below was a fantastic experience – serene with a touch of excitement, we couldn’t take the smiles off our faces. This activity is relatively unique to the area too so it’s a great opportunity to try something new.
By comparison, the helicopter ride in Bentota is chock-full of excitement with tight turns and sudden drops. It’s not for the faint of heart but is a great way to get your pulse going and to see a little more of the area as you fly further inland.
Why choose one though, when for the price of trying one of these activities elsewhere, you can do both over one of Sri Lanka’s most gorgeous beaches?
It was an easy decision for us!
Thank you to Sky Club and Skylark for so kindly hosting us both for the purpose of this review. As always, all thoughts are our own.