Natural bathing places in Sri Lanka – Rivers and Waterfalls
Last update – 25 June 2019
We had a tough and busy time with all our studies. By end of this week we are getting a small vacation for two weeks. To get rid of this busy environment and to breathe some fresh air, all my friends and myself wanted to go on a trip. All of us got together and discussed about a place to visit this time. We have already gone on two trips since we started our college life, once to Minneriya again to Horton Plains. So we all wanted to visit a different place where we haven’t visited and a place we can enjoy together. We all started finding places and things to do in random ways. I thought of publishing about the places we found here to give an idea about these places so you can have an idea which places are good for a small trip.
1 – Paravithota and Nachchimale
One of the most popular rivers close to Colombo are located at Nachchimale and Pravithota close to Ingiriya
Pravithota is a wonderful place located in Ingiriya, just one hour drive from Colombo. This is an attractive place because of its little water stream and the natural pool bordering Medakanda Forest, which is very safe for a bath. Most of people around Colombo choosing Paravithota for their one day trips because it is very close to Colombo, the clean and tidy environment. There are hotels and other facilities as well.
Nachchimale – Water falls and Natural Swimming Pools
This is located in Ingiriya little bit away from Ingiriya junction to Padukka side. This is also a famous place which attracts lot of visitors. Nachchimale is a natural and safe bathing place. Nachchimale is very attractive because of the little water stream which supplies water to the natural pool.
2 Kithulgala – Waterfalls and River inside Makanduwa Forest
This is a famous place among local people and foreigners as well. I must say this is only one another beautiful place made of Kelani River. People are attracted to here because of its natural beauty. In this area the river becomes totally white in colour because of the ups and downs and the barriers the river meets with. Visitors can have an adventure boat ride in the river as well. It is easy to reach from Colombo and it will only take less than 2 hours. The facilities are very high because the number of people who are coming here daily is a big number. More on Kithulgala River and Makanduwa Forest
3 Bopath Ella waterfall, Kuruwita, Ratnapura
This is located in Rathnapura, few kilometers from Kuruwita town. This waterfall has its uniqueness among all the others. The reason is this water fall look very much like a leap of the “Bo” tree. This is an attractive place where you can ever be. It is very safe to bath here. If we talk about the facilities and the hotels where you can get the services from, it is very good in here because many people are attracted by the beauty of this waterfall.
4. Kahanawita Ella, Dehiowita
Kahanawita is located around 3.5 km from Dehiowita turn off along Deraniyagala Road. You can get down to the falls from there through the rubber patch. It’s only 10-15m from the road and can be heard from the road. Be careful if you swim just near the waterfall as it can be very deep. Kahanawita ella is located in Thalduwa – Dehiowita – Kahanawita – Maha Oya- Deraniyagala route.
5. Eli Hatha – Seven Waterfalls at Uda Maliboda, Deraniyagala
Seven Waterfalls or Eli Hatha is located in a thick Adams Peak (Sri Pada) Forest Reserve at Upper Maliboda (Uda Maliboda) in Deraniyagala surrounding astounding landscapes of Sri Lanka, where you can get a wild rugged trekking experience.
To reach the water falls from Deraniyagala town, take the road to Uda-Maliboda (Polgaswatta Road towards Noori Estate) via Maliboda. The entrance to the waterfalls is from the village of Uda-Maliboda. Turn right just after you pass Nakkavita small bridge. After traveling few miles you will find the first waterfall which was Nakkavita Ella which was projecting down the slope of mount Hidurangala. You will find lots of new Electricity generating projects now being constructed in this road.
The waterfall complex consists of Puwak-mal, Nakkavita & Ellapita Falls.
More – If you travel directly along Polgasawatta Road from Deraniyagala (without turning at Nakkavita) then you will find another very popular bathing place called Rakwana Oya.
6. Katugas Ella and Rajanawa Waterfalls, Ratnapura
Ratnapura District has most number of waterfalls in Sri Lanka. Katugas Ella and Rajanawa Waterfalls are located very close to Ratnapura Town.
Katugas Ella, Ratnapura
Katugas Ella waterfall and surrounding area in Ratnapura is a very beautiful bathing area located inside the Forest. From Ratnapura Junction take Kos palawinna road and Walk into the Forest from the sign board.
Rajanawa waterfall, Ratnapura
Rajanawa is a small but beautiful remote waterfall and bathing place located bordering Ratnapura Kalawana road.
7- Ran Mudu Ella, Dambora falls, Ella Uda Ella and Kumari Ella at Labugama
According to Lakdasun website to reach Danbora Ella, you can take a bus from Puwakpitia Junction (A4 Highlevel Road) that goes to Padukka via Thunmodara, and get down at Dambora (10Km away from Puwakpitiya) right near the waterfall! This 10 meter cascade is about 1Km away from Thunmodara bridge near Labugama reservoir and Labugam kanda (Highest mountain of Colombo district). To reach it you need to get to “Ayre estate” (rubber) where the fall is fond near the main road but to reach it you need to get in to the rubber estate! The base pool is very deep (Do not bath or drink the water).
To reach Ran Mudu Ella one needs to travel passing the thunmodara bridge towards Dambora for few hundred meters where you will find a concrete road to the left which takes you straight to the waterfall which is 500 meters away!
Belihuloya and Non Perial estate in Sabaragamuwa Province have number of waterfalls. “Belihul Oya” and “Galagama Oya” flowing from Horton Plains meet at Belihuoya. Its a very picturesque place renowned for its eco tourism opportunities. You can have a bath close to Rest House and also in River Garden Resort.
9. Kanneliya Forest
Kanneliya Forest Reserve located in the Galle district is the largest of the KDN, or Kanneliya-Dediyagala-Nakiyadeniya, forest complex Kanneliya Forest in Southern Province. You can go to Kanneliya Forest through the Forest Department Conservation Center located close to Galle-Udugama-Neliwa road at Koralegama, Panangala.
It has several natural water streams for nice, clean, cool bath: (1) Natural pool in front of the Kanneliya conservation center, (2) the pool behind the conservation center and (3) natural pool behind the Kanneliya Forest resort.
There are several waterfalls in Kannelliya: Anagimal Ella, Nanikitha Ela, Udugam Ela, Milladoha Dola and Narangas Waterfall.
10. Thudugala Ella, Dodangoda, Kalutara
Thudugala Ella (තුඩුගල ඇල්ල) waterfall is in Thudugala village in Dodangoda is a famous bathing place.
he route to the waterfall starts from Katukurunda Junction off the Galle Road; 5 miles (8.0 km) from there on Matugama Road to Thudugala junction and from there 8 miles (12.9 km) to the waterfall.
When travelling from Thudugala junction, you will come to another junction called “Ellagāwa (Near the waterfall) Junction” with a signboard of a rubber plantation so you can easily recognize it. From there, if you want to go to the waterfall and its natural bathing places, you will have to take the left road which runs over a small bridge nearby. The right road will lead you only to an artificial bathing place, which does not have a view of the natural beauty of the Thudugala Ella waterfall.
11. Sea Bath – Beach Holiday
This post in on river bathing, however Sri Lanka has best beaches around the country so you can have safe swimming at some of the beaches. We bring you two beaches here, if you want to know more beach destinations in Sri Lanka then click here.
Mount Lavinia Beach
If you like to have a sea bath (swimming) the best beach around Colombo is Mount Lavinia beach. It’s a well known tourist destination because of the golden beach and very famous Mount Lavinia Hotel which is functioning since colonial period.
Polhena beach, Matara
This is one of safest beaches in Sri Lanka. And Polhena is very rich with its beauty as well. This is located away from the Colombo, in down south close to Matara. This beach is very safe because of the coral reef lying bit away from the shore. All the big waves crash on this reef and only a small wave in colour of white is finally washing the sand of the beach. This look like a small lake connected to the sea from a side. Polhena is very famous among the local guests more than foreign people as I think. However I must say this is one of the best beaches in Sri Lanka.
12. More Bathing Places
I should mention that these are only few out of the natural bathing places located in Sri Lanka. Other than these places there are many places all over the country. Where ever you go in Sri Lanka you can find a nice place where you can have a safe bath.
I’ll mention few more places where you can have a safe and great experience.
- Dehenwaka (Thalduwa – Dehiowota – few kms in Eheliyagoda route)
- The Bodhinagala or Dombagaskanda reservation in Ingiriya
- Thudugala ella at Kaluthara.
- Kiriella water fall in Ingiriya (Panadura- Rathnapura Road)
- Panawala – Watawala
- Sinharaja Rain Forest – There is a natural bathing spot close to Kudawa Camp
- Athwelthota waterfall – beautiful waterfall with many endemic species and natural beauty. Bus route from Maharagama -> Dehiwela -> Mathugama -> Agalawaththa -> Baduraliya -> Morapitiya -> Athwelthota
- Makeli ella is a very popular waterfall in Kaluthara district. But some places are very dangerous to have bath. (Take Southern Expy/E01, Nagoda – Kalawellawa – Bellapitiya Rd/B304, Tiruwanaketiya-Agalawatte Rd/B421 and Lathpandura – Molkawa Rd/B584 to your destination in Molkawa). Access to the waterfall via concrete stairs from the car park.
- There are many beaches where you can have a safe sea bath. Eg Hikkaduwa, Unawatuna, Negombo
River at Sinharaja Rain Forest
How to reach these bathing places?
Visit trip2lanka google map showing Natural Bathing Places in Sri Lanka below.
View Natural Bathing Places in Sri Lanka in a larger map
Google Map showing Natural Bathing Places – Click to explore more and to get GPS Locations.
Safety Advice on Natual Bathing in Rivers, Lakes and Sea:
Note that though lots of people bath and swim in these places, water level may change from time to time, and shallow water can deepen suddenly. Hence, if you, your children or your friends cannot swim make sure you keep inside shallow areas. Also you have to be careful when walking on the slippery rocks in the rivers.
According to the Life Saving Association of Sri Lanka (LSASL), Sri Lanka has one of the highest drowning rates in the world, with more than three deaths a day. Lakes were reported as the key locations for drowning incidents in Sri Lanka, followed by sea.
There are 14 main points where a majority of drowning incidents occurred. They are, Matara, Mirissa, Galle, Hikkaduwa, Beruwala, Kalutara, Panadura, Dehiwela, Mt Lavinia, Wellawatta, Galle Face Green, Negombo and Nilaveli.
Swimming/ Bathing and Alcohol Use
Most cases of drowning came from recreational activity, with holidaymakers at the sea, tanks or rivers, who completely ignored basic safety measures. Swimming or bathing under the influence of liquor has been one of the main causes leading to drowning.
Police are constantly visit some of these swimming places as drinking in public is illegal.
• In addition to these, there are lots of wild places where locals bath and swim. If you’ve been to such a place please make a comment below.