In the home of the largest and oldest lowland rainforest exploited commercially until 1977, but now a World Heritage site. A dense canopy above ensures poor light below, therefore the vegetation is not too dense for trekking. Waterproof clothing is a must and boots, socks and trousers a sensible precaution against leeches and ticks. Subcanopy trees are largely rare and/or endangered species, birds and butterflies are in abundance but you may also see deer, wild boar, porcupines, water monitors, monkeys, and rarely, a leopard. Visit between January and April when it only rains in the afternoons! Boulder Gardens is a must for the dedicated eco enthusiast, blending in smoothly with the environment.
Film buff’s may enjoy Sri Lanka’s River Kwai - Kelani Ganga, scene of the 1957 film. It is well signed but you may have difficulty avoiding “guides”. If you would rather enjoy the orchards and expanse of farmland in your own secret retreat, Paradise Farm has a stunning setting at the peak of a hill with home grown fruit/vegetables and wild boar on the menu!
Kelaniya has good swimming areas and for the more adventurous it is one centre for the white water rafting. Rafters Retreat offers excellent rafting excursions and in our opinion, provides the most adventurous and comfortable tree houses in the World.
In the wet season you need to cover up to avoid leeches in the forest land - tuck those trouser legs into your socks! Don’t fill your suitcases before you leave as you can find all you need here in the market towns at unbelievably low cost.
The City of gems- Ratnapura - is not the place for a bargain but interesting to visit mines and view local sapphires (along with Thailand, Sri Lanka is the only source), amethysts, aquamarines and moonstones in the gem museum. The Vesak orchid flourishes in the surrounding forests, flowering in May, the month of Buddhha’s birth and 23/26 of Sri Lanka’s indigenous birds are found here.