Kithulgala, a village in Sri Lanka, is well-known for its scenic beauty and exciting outdoor pursuits. Kithulgala should definitely be on your itinerary if you’re traveling to Sri Lanka. All you need to know to explore Kithulgala is laid out here for you.

Introduction to Kithulgala

Discovering Kithulgala: The Ultimate Guide credits goes to original creator

A small town in Sri Lanka’s Sabaragamuwa province is called Kithulgala. It is surrounded by mountains and beautiful greenery and is located on the Kelani River’s banks. The adventurous opportunities, breathtaking scenery, and historical significance of Kithulgala are well-known. It is the site where the renowned 1957 motion picture “The Bridge on the River Kwai” was shot.

How to Get to Kithulgala

The capital city of Sri Lanka, Colombo, is about 100 miles distant from Kithulgala. Take a taxi or rent a car from Colombo to reach Kithulgala as quickly and easily as possible. Depending on the amount of traffic, the trip takes two to three hours. An alternate option is to board a bus, which travels from Colombo to Kithulgala in around 4 hours.

Best Time to Visit Kithulgala

The best time to visit Kithulgala is between December and February when the weather is dry and sunny. However, adventure activities in Kithulgala are available all year round. During the monsoon season (May to September), the water levels in the Kelani River are higher, making it an ideal time for white water rafting.

Top Things to Do in Kithulgala

White Water Rafting

Discovering Kithulgala: The Ultimate Guide White Water Rafting

If you’re an adventure enthusiast looking for an exciting and thrilling activity to add to your bucket list, white water rafting in Kithulgala, Sri Lanka is a must-do experience. Located in the scenic countryside of Sri Lanka, Kithulgala offers the perfect combination of natural beauty and adrenaline-pumping adventure.

Kithulgala is one of the top destinations for white water rafting in Sri Lanka, with the Kelani River offering Class II and III rapids that are perfect for beginners and intermediate rafters. With experienced guides and state-of-the-art equipment, white water rafting in Kithulgala is not only thrilling but also safe.

The rapids of Kelani River wind through lush forests, tea plantations, and beautiful scenery, offering an unforgettable experience for nature lovers as well as adventure enthusiasts. In addition to the thrill of navigating through the rapids, you’ll also get to experience the natural beauty of Sri Lanka up close.

The best time to go white water rafting in Kithulgala is from May to December, with the peak season being from August to December. During this time, the rapids are more challenging due to the increased water flow from the rainy season.

However, if you prefer milder rapids or are a beginner, the dry season from January to April is the best time to visit. During this time, the river is calmer, making for a more relaxed and enjoyable rafting experience.


photo credit goes to yaman team

Canyoning in Kithulgala involves descending into the heart of the jungle through narrow canyons and waterfalls. The journey requires participants to rappel down the waterfalls, jump into natural pools, slide down rock formations, and swim through the water.

With the guidance of experienced guides and modern equipment, canyoning in Kithulgala is not only an adrenaline-pumping experience but also safe. The guides provide a briefing on safety measures and techniques to navigate through the canyons, ensuring that participants are well-prepared for the adventure.

The best time for canyoning in Kithulgala is from June to October, during the rainy season when the water levels are higher, making it easier to navigate through the canyons. However, if you prefer milder conditions, you can visit during the dry season from November to May.


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Hiking is a well-liked pastime in Kithulgala and provides breathtaking views of the area’s woods, waterfalls, and streams. There are numerous trekking routes that are suitable for people with various degrees of fitness and experience.

The Makandawa Forest Reserve trek, which takes around 3–4 hours to complete, is one of the well-known trails. The Kelani River and the surrounding mountains may be seen in stunning detail from this trail, which winds through a thick forest.

The Belilena Cave trail, which takes around 2-3 hours to complete, is another well-liked hiking route. This path leads to the ancient Belilena Cave, which contains relics and old paintings from the prehistoric age.

The Kalugala Peak trail is a strenuous trip that takes roughly 6-7 hours to complete for more seasoned hikers. This trail offers panoramic views of the nearby mountains and valleys as it travels through thick forests, waterfalls, and streams.

When trekking in Kithulgala, it’s critical to wear cosy clothing and footwear, bring plenty of water and snacks, and adhere to all safety precautions. A local guide who is knowledgeable about the area and can share interesting details about its history, flora, and animals is also advised.

Overall, trekking in Kithulgala is an excellent way to explore the natural beauty of Sri Lanka and get a workout at the same time. With several trekking trails to choose from, there’s something for everyone, whether you’re a beginner or an experienced trekker.


Camping Kithulgala

At Kithulgala, camping is a well-liked pastime that lets guests take in the splendour of the area’s natural surroundings. In Kithulgala, there are a number of campgrounds that provide a variety of camping possibilities, from straightforward tent camping to more opulent glamping adventures.

The Kithulgala Adventure Camp, which provides tent camping, treehouse camping, and glamping choices, is one of the well-liked camping locations. The campground is tucked away in a lush forest and provides rafting, hiking, and zip-lining among other adventurous activities.

The Borderlands Eco Adventure Camp is another well-liked camping location and provides both inexpensive tent camping and more opulent glamping choices. Kayaking, canyoning, and abseiling are just a few of the adventurous activities available at the campground, which is situated on the banks of the Kelani River.

The Green Campsite is a great choice for campers who want a more quiet and private experience. This forest reserve campground has eco-friendly accommodations as well as simple tent camping. The campground features numerous adventurous activities, such as bird viewing, trekking, and nature hikes, and is surrounded by beautiful waterfalls.

When camping at Kithulgala, it’s crucial to adhere to the safety precautions and directions of the campground staff. In order to avoid disappointment, it is also advised to reserve camping sites in advance, particularly during the busiest season.

Accommodation Options in Kithulgala

There are several accommodation options in Kithulgala, ranging from budget-friendly guesthouses to luxury resorts. Here are some of the top options:

Kithul Villa

front view of bungalow

Kithul Villa is a charming guesthouse located in the heart of Kithulgala. The guesthouse offers comfortable rooms with stunning views of the surrounding mountains and forests. The staff is friendly and accommodating, and the food is delicious.

The Plantation Hotel

plantation Hotel kithulgala

The Plantation Hotel is a luxurious accommodation option in Kithulgala that offers a unique blend of colonial charm and modern comfort. The hotel is located on a 30-acre tea and rubber plantation and offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and forests.

The hotel offers several room options, including standard rooms, suites, and a private bungalow. All rooms are elegantly furnished and equipped with modern amenities such as air conditioning, free Wi-Fi, and private balconies or terraces.

Rafters Retreat

Rafters Reterat

Rafters Retreat is a popular accommodation option in Kithulgala that offers a unique and adventurous experience for those visiting the area. The retreat is located on the banks of the Kelani River and offers stunning views of the surrounding forests and mountains.

The retreat offers several room options, including tents, cabins, and treehouses, all of which are equipped with comfortable beds and basic amenities such as electricity and fans. Guests can enjoy the sounds of nature while sleeping in the midst of the forest.

Places to Eat in Kithulgala

Jungle River Cafe

Jungle River Cafe is a charming restaurant located in the heart of Kithulgala that offers delicious Sri Lankan and international cuisine in a peaceful and natural setting. The restaurant is situated on the banks of the Kelani River and offers stunning views of the surrounding forests and mountains.

In a tranquil, natural setting, the lovely Jungle River Cafe serves delectable Sri Lankan and international food. It is situated in the centre of Kithulgala. The restaurant offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and forests and is located on the banks of the Kelani River.

The eatery serves a variety of dishes created with seasonal and nearby ingredients for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Together with worldwide favourites like pasta and hamburgers, guests may eat traditional Sri Lankan dishes like rice and curry. Together with food, the restaurant serves a variety of beverages, such as coffee, cocktails, and fresh juices.

The breathtaking setting of Jungle River Café is one of its charms. At the outdoor dining area, visitors can have their meals while admiring the spectacular views of the Kelani River. The restaurant is a great spot to unwind and relax after a day of adventurous activities because of its tranquil and natural surroundings.

Whether a visitor is staying in the neighbourhood or is just passing through, the Jungle River Cafe is a great place to eat while in Kithulgala. It’s a well-liked option for both domestic and foreign tourists because of its delectable cuisine, breathtaking setting, and tranquil ambiance.

Kithulgala Rest House

In the centre of Kithulgala, the well-liked Kithulgala Rest House welcomes visitors with cosy lodgings, delectable meals, and a variety of amenities. The rest house is a great spot to unwind because it is next to the Kelani River and surrounded by lush vegetation.

It offers delectable Sri Lankan food produced with local, fresh ingredients. Visitors can savour their meals while admiring the breathtaking surroundings of the mountains and forests.

Safety Tips for Adventure Activities in Kithulgala

Adventure activities in Kithulgala are safe, but it is essential to follow safety guidelines to avoid accidents. Here are some safety tips for adventure activities in Kithulgala:

  • Always wear a life jacket and helmet during white water rafting and canyoning
  • Follow the instructions of the guide during adventure activities
  • Wear comfortable clothes and shoes during trekking and camping
  • Do not consume alcohol before or during adventure activities
  • Check the weather conditions before embarking on adventure activities

What to Pack for Kithulgala

Here are some essential items to pack for a trip to Kithulgala:

  • Sunscreen and sunglasses
  • Insect repellent
  • Comfortable clothes and shoes for adventure activities
  • Swimsuit and towel
  • Water bottle
  • Camera and binoculars
  • First aid kit


Kithulgala is a stunning location in Sri Lanka that provides a distinctive blend of outdoor adventure and natural beauty. Everyone may find something to enjoy in Kithulgala, whether they are adventure seekers or nature lovers. This comprehensive guide to Kithulgala is intended to assist you in organising your vacation to this breathtaking location.


  1. Is Kithulgala safe for adventure activities?
    • Yes, Kithulgala is generally safe for adventure activities, but it’s important to follow safety guidelines and instructions from guides to avoid accidents.
  2. What is the best time to visit Kithulgala?
    • The best time to visit Kithulgala is from December to April when the weather is dry and pleasant. However, adventure activities can be enjoyed throughout the year.
  3. Can I go trekking in Kithulgala?
    • Yes, Kithulgala offers several trekking trails that lead through stunning forests and waterfalls. It’s important to wear comfortable clothes and shoes and follow safety guidelines.
  4. Are there any cultural sites to visit in Kithulgala?
    • Yes, the Belilena Cave is a prehistoric site located in Kithulgala that is worth visiting. The cave has ancient paintings and artifacts that date back to the prehistoric era.
  5. Is it necessary to book adventure activities in advance?
    • It’s recommended to book adventure activities in advance, especially during peak season, to avoid disappointment. Several tour operators and guesthouses offer adventure packages that include accommodation, meals, and activities.

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