Kithulgala is ideally located as a stop-off between Colombo, Kandy and the Tea Country. This beautiful landscape is home to jungle, tea and rubber plantations and spectacular mountains looming in the distance, and was the backdrop for the Academy Award-winning ‘The Bridge on the River Kwai’ which was filmed on the Kelani River – although nothing remains now except the concrete foundations for the bridge and, supposedly, the submerged train cars that plunged into the river in the climactic scene. A few kilometers upstream are the bases from which white-water rafting expeditions take place – Kithulgala is the best place to go in Sri Lanka for those seeking out adventure travel. You can also go canyoning, trekking and canoeing on the river. Sinharaja Rainforest is within reach from Kithulgala – trek through this mysterious land of tropical plants and stay on the look-out for colorful birds, exotic butterflies and a variety of other creatures.
Just across the Kelani River is a primeval forest with lush tropical flora, while it is home to about 54 rare species of birds. Though in a lesser density, most of the rain forest bird species that are found at the Sinharaja rainforest can be sighted at Kitulgala. Elusive endemic species like Sri Lanka Spurfowl, Green-billed Coucal and Spot-winged Thrush too are seen in the woods. The hills above the rubber plantations are populated with Mountain Hawk Eagles, Crested Treeswifts and Layard’s Parakeets.