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Can You Still Experience An Off-the-beaten-path In Sri Lanka?

Bringing us all things Sri Lanka, straight from the elephant’s mouth, is travel blogger and all-round island girl Demi Perera. Demi is the creator and editor of her own popular e-zine Girl Travels World. In her spare time she loves to recline on her hammock under a coconut tree. What we have here is a match made in heaven… 👏👏👏

Are there still untapped parts of Sri Lanka? This is a question that I’m asked often. With an unprecedented number of tourist arrivals in the country last year are there still unique experiences to be had on the island?

Well, I certainly think so. One such place waiting to be discovered is Kithulgala. This small village is home to the magnificent Kelani river which runs through it. Situated between Colombo and Nuwara Eliya it takes around three hours by car to get here. Life in Kithulgala centres around the river. There are precarious pedestrian bridges that connect hamlets on either side, fishermen still catch their dinner along the banks and you may even spot a working elephant on an island. One thing that’s for certain is that the wild, rugged scenery here will astonish you.

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Kithulgala was immortalised in the Academy Award winning movie The Bridge on The River Kwai. The said bridge was built and exploded in the movie in Kithulgala over the Kelani River. If you wish to visit Kithulgala and explore the river we recommend Adventure Base Camp. From white water rafting to hiking the company has been providing safe excursions for many years. 

For those seeking less adventure but as much intrigue a hike up to Belilena Cave is just the thing. The oldest skeletal remains of a man found in Sri Lanka were discovered here. The immense cave, which later became a monastery, can only be reached by foot through a jungle village and on higher grounds. Once you get here views over Kithulgala will mesmerise you. The jungle as far as the eye can see split by the river snaking through it is a must-see by any means.

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Whilst options to stay in Kithulgala are limited Palmstone Retreat offers a magnificent luxury break. The hotel is set on a private estate deep in the forest. With panoramic views of the surroundings each suite at Palmstone is an experience in itself. Private plunge pools, wrapped balconies overlooking its own stream and magnificent service allows Palmstone Retreat to live up to its name. It will awaken all your senses.