Found in the Western Province of Sri Lanka, Kitulgala is a small town situated in the wet zone of the island. Having two monsoon seasons a year, it is recognized as one of the wettest regions in the country.
Being set about 95 kilometres from Colombo, Kitulgala is one of the most popular eco-destinations in the country. It is surrounded by densely forested hills and is also home to one of the main tributaries of the Kelani River. Despite its monsoonal climate, the months between January and March are considered as the dry period, which is when most tourists visit here.
This little town also holds its fame for being the location at which the movie ‘Bridge on the River Kwai’ was filmed. Directed by David Lean, it was an award-winning classic, and the scenic location is accessible and loved by fans from all over the world.
The stretch of the Kelani River, a few kilometres upstream from the village is a famous hotspot for white water rafting. Many stores are available for you to purchase or hire the sporting gear required and some even offer organized rafting expeditions for groups. Many other adventure sports including abseiling, canoeing, kayaking and jungle trekking are also offered by this pristine little holiday destination.
The Kelani Forest Reserve, a popular bird watching destination, is home to most of the species found in the World Biosphere Reserve at Sinharaja. The more open, lush forests of Kitulgala are less dense than Sinharaja, allowing endemic species like the Sri Lankan Spurfowl, Green Billed Coucal and Spot-winged Thrush to be spotted easily.
Two other interesting excursions from Kitulgala are the Beli Lena Caves and Adam’s Peak. At a distance of roughly 8 kilometres from Kitulgala, the Beli Lena Caves house the skeletal remains of the ancient ‘Balangoda Man’ who is thought to be the oldest inhabitant of Sri Lanka, having lived there 32,000 years ago. The starting point of the glorious Adam’s Peak, a significant pilgrimage site for Sri Lankans is also a 2-hour drive from Kitulgala.