Kithulgala is synonymous with adventure. From January to March, Kithulgala attracts hundreds of thrill seekers who enjoy white water rafting, kayaking, canyoning, jungle trekking, camping, mountain cycling and bird watching. The Kelani River flowing through Kithulgala offers the best white water rapids in the country, making it the go-to destination for rafting enthusiasts.
The stretch of river here located 5km upstream of Kithulgala town offers grade two and three rapids ideal for both novice and experienced rafters. There is a short stretch of river between the rapids with little to no rocks on which is perfect for a river float as the water gentle carries rafters downstream. Kithulgala gets its name from the local kithul palm tree, which produces an abundance of yummy kithul treacle, a heavenly syrup that is equal parts sweet and delicious, not unlike maple syrup. In the vicinity of Kithulgala – about 8km from the village, and a beautiful hike through rubber and tea estates – is the famous Belilena cave system, home to the so called Balangoda Man, a prehistoric human that lived in the late Quaternary period. A pivotal scene in the film The Bridge on the River Kwai was also shot in Kithulgala.