Perhaps best known as the location of filming for the 1957 academy award-winning film Bridge on the River Kwai, Kitulgala is an adventurer’s playground. It is a stop-off west of the Kandy-Nuwara Eliya road, with approximately 60km from Kandy to Kitulgala. Thick jungles, tea estates, rubber plantations, hills, and mountains span the landscape. A few kilometers upstream Kelani River here is Sri Lanka’s top white water rafting base. The area also has picturesque waterfalls offering arresting sights. If jungle trekking is your thing, the untouched forest cover provides the perfect setting with its myriads of animal species and endemic plants. A Kitulgala adventure day trip also takes you to thousands of years of history.
At a glance
White Water Rafting
Kitulgala water rafting covers 5major rapids and 4minor rapids in a 5km stretch of the Kelani River. Conditions are also ideal for flat-water rafting.
Makandawa Forest Reserve
It is the catchment of the Kelani River and one of the most pristine rain forests in Sri Lanka. After Sinharaja, it has the most lowland endemic bird species.
These caves are an archeological site, where the remains of Homosapiens Balangodensis, a 12,000-year old prehistoric man, were discovered.
This 98m high waterfall is situated nearby Laxapana Falls. The base pool offers a stunning vantage point for admiring the falls and its rocky outcrop.
This 126m waterfall lights up Sri Lanka literally, with its twin hydroelectric power stations. Its deep base pool and the misty splash of water are a sight.
- Zip-lining through the forest is the best aerial rope activity in Kitulgala.
- Nalagana Ella Falls is a charming waterfall tucked away in the forest.
- The many waterfalls in Kitulgala offer waterfall abseiling opportunities.
- White water kayaking is available over 7km of the Kelani River with world-class rapids.
- Canyoning is rock sliding down to refreshing natural plunge pools of waterfalls.
Where to Shop in Kitulgala
Kitulgala is all about adventure and very little about shopping.
Where to Eat in Kitulgala
Kitulgala hotel and camp atmosphere set in the wilderness makes for a truly relaxing dining experience. However, Kitulgala Rest House, The Plantation Hotel, and Heritage Family Restaurant serve up a treat as well.