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Sinharaja Rainforest Kitulgala - Details

Telephone dialing code for Sinharaja is 041
Telephone dialing code for Kitulgala is 036

Places of Interest

Kitulgala

  1. River Kwai , the location for the film “Bridge over the River Kwai.”
     
  2. Beli Lena Caves: once inhabited by prehistoric cave men who fed on River snails. The floors of the caves are covered in shiney shells. Just 7km cycle ride from Kitulgala village centre.

Sinharaja Rain Forest

  1. Entrance fee: R575 adults / R290 child. As trekking is by foot, a guide is compulsory and with their immense knowledge of wildlife, a bargain at R300. Home to monkeys and hundreds of endemic birds and rare orchids
     
  2. Kitul palm sapping and Rattan basket weaving, are just two of the local crafts that you will see in the 22 villages surrounding the forest.

Ratnapura Gem Mines

Just 50km south of the Forest , the wet and humid climate inland has given rise to huge gem mines. The gem museum is open 9am –4pm daily . Entry is free but there is keen push for tourists to spend in the shop. Don’t be put off viewing even if you do not wish to buy. The mines are very narrow and some finding it distressing that local miners still operate in these conditions.

Activities

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White water rafting

Kitulgala and its River Kwai is a popular spot for beginners and advanced rafters alike. There are two companies each operating along 11/2 – 2 hrs stretch of river with grade 2 rapids.

  1. Rafters Retreat who offer a great rafting, bird watching and cave visit package from their tree house eco village.
     
  2. Asia Adventure Ltd operate a series of outdoor sports throughout Sri Lanka. For details on rafting, kayaking, abseiling etc, contact us for more details.

Organic Farming

If you would like to live within or work on an organic farm then Kitulgala is the perfect territory. Home to orchard fruits, buffalo milk, coconut trees, hundreds of spices and every vegetable imaginable. Paradise Farm offers luxury villa and local farm- style accommodation.

Bars & Restaurants

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The hotels are the sole source of restaurants but the standard is high and the produce local:

  1. Boulder Gardens, Sinharaja Road, Koswatte. Tel: 045 225 5812
    Luxury boutique eco hotel set within the rock face and edge of rainforest.
    Lunch or Dinner from a delicious la carte menu. Dine with the birds.
     
  2. Plantation Hotel, Kitulgala. Tel 036 228 7575.
    Buffet lunch or stone baked pizza. Set along side the River Kwai. Casual and pretty. Use plenty of mosquito repellant.

Getting About

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Bus

Buses to Sinharaja and Kitulgala run from Colombo, Ratnapura and Nuwara Eliya but the journey is long and windy.

Driver

For details on private drivers and getting about the island, click here as this is certainly the most efficient way of moving around the Hill country.

What To Wear?

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It’s hot and wet in the rain forest so you will need waterproofs. There are many insects, especially leeches, so have plenty of socks and long trousers and insect repellant.

Proper walking boots are advisable. See our travel tips page for treating leech bites.

In Kitulgala, the mosquitoes descend, so have lots of repellant at hand for when you get out of the water. The sunrays can be fierce when you are in the water so ensure that you have waterproof sun crème. It is recommended to wear shorts and a t-shirt in the rafts- nothing too heavy, but the life jackets may rub a little if you only have a costume.

Banks

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The closest banks will be in the main towns enroute to these regions so get cash before you arrive.