A traditional fishing village with a golden sand beach, Balapitiya also sits on the Madu Ganga (River) estuary, connected to inland Randombe Lake by two winding channels. Together they form one of Sri Lanka's biggest wetlands, a vast swathe of densely-forested mangrove swamp that makes a wonderful home for wildlife. With hundreds of varieties of plants and numerous mammals, reptiles and fish, all adapted to living in the brackish water, this is the perfect place for a river safari, weaving between more than 60 islands and looking for water monitors and purple-faced langurs. Local people fish, tap toddy and cultivate cinnamon, which is bundled into bunches of red "quills".
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My favourite thing is to go where I've never been.Diane Arbus