Located on the banks of the Kelani River, in the western foothills of the central highlands between Avissawella and Hatton, Kitulgala is a paradise for adventurers and outdoors aficianodos.

Here, Sri Lanka's second longest river, the Kelani, forms a natural choke point before widening out again, making it the most popular location for whitewater rafting in the country. Over a course of 6.5km, this section of the river offers seven sets of rapids ranging from level two to four, interspersed with long stretches of placid water, making for a perfect mix between heart stopping action and tranquility. Names like Head Chopper, Virgins Breast, Butter Crunch and Killer Fall, give rafting enthusiasts a good idea of what to expect.

The wetland rainforest that lines the bank of the river around Kitulgala is a haven for ornithologists with many endemic species to be witnessed under its dense canopy. The Sri Lanka spurfowl, green-billed coucal and spot-winged thrush are but a few of the possibilities. Trekking through the numerous jungle trails offer hours of pleasure within this unique ecosystem, getting a close hand look at its flora and fauna. For the more adventurous, camping by the river provides the best opportunity from which to base expeditions into the jungle. Mountain biking through rural settlements and rubber estates, can be coupled with a visit to the Belilena Caves, a pre-historic settlement dating back 12,000 years where the Balangoda Man once lived.

Things to do in Kitulgala:

* White water rafting

* Mountain biking

* Belilena Cave

* Laxapana Waterfalls

Best time to visit Kitulgala is from December to April.  

Distance and travel times from Kitulgala to some key cities; 

Distance from Kitulgala to Nuwara Eliya is about 73 km and travel time is 1.5 to 2 hours.

Distance from Kitulgala to Colombo is about 93 km and travel time is 2 to 2.5 hours.

Distance from Kitulgala to Bentota is about 142 km and travel time is 3.5 to 4 hours.

Distance from Kitulgala to Galle is about 187 km and travel time is 4 to 4.5 hours.

For any other location you can use the distance calculator on the side bar.

Written by Jonathan Roelofsz for

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