Natural bathing places in Sri Lanka – Rivers and Waterfalls

By on August 28, 2012


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

Paravithota, Ingiriya

Paravithota river natural pool

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

nachchimale – indigiriya river
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

waterfall inside kithulgala 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

Bopath ella falls swimming
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

kahanawila ella - deraniyagala

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

Nakkavita Ella First waterfall of Sevean waterfalls uda maliboda

Nakkavita Ella First waterfall of Sevean waterfalls uda maliboda

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 rvier 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

kumari ella

Kumari Ella

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!

Ranmudu Ella Thunmodara

Ranmudu Ella, Thunmodara

8.  Belihuloya

Belihuloya river

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 rain forest river

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. 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

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

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.

11. 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.

Hiniduma Sri Lanka River Hiniduma Sri Lanka River

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
• There are many beaches where you can have a safe sea bath. Eg Hikkaduwa, Unawatuna, Negombo
River at Sinharaja Rain Forest
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.

Hashan Subasingha

About Hashan Subasingha

20 years old. Civil engineering student at ICBT. Facebook username is hashan.subasingha.


  1. carlamax

    August 28, 2012 at 4:10 am

    Bopath ella is a beautiful place for one day trip. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Anita Clark

    August 28, 2012 at 4:43 am

    Where is the Panawala mentioned here?

  3. Bimal

    August 30, 2012 at 10:13 am

    Peesa Ella in Lunugala in Uva Province is a very nice remote place to have a bath and fun.

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  5. Dinuban

    June 30, 2013 at 8:44 am

    i wanted a place to visit like eg: sorabora wawe or something like that
    also a place to stay for a night with any kind of water

    • admin

      July 1, 2013 at 1:42 am

      Dinuban – Sorabora wewa is in Dry Zone (Mahiyanganaya). It has a nice dry weather. There are some poeople who arrange camping at Sora bora wewa, Search the internet.

  6. pasindu

    November 9, 2013 at 6:07 am

    can we have a drink at nachchimale water fall?

  7. Sunera

    March 30, 2014 at 4:13 am

    Try these river bathing places also.
    Kithulgala – Makandawa Forest Reserve
    Bopath Ella
    Olu Ella water fall in Yatiyanthota
    Fishing hut in Mooray Estate, Maskeliya, bordering the Peak Wilderness Sanctuary
    Sinharaja close to Kudawa conservation center
    Belihul oya
    Diyaluma falls

  8. Deepal

    April 17, 2014 at 8:45 am

    Are there any hotels near Nachchimale?

    • Suneth

      May 20, 2017 at 2:39 am

      There are hotels on Paravithota. Randiya Hotel.

  9. Mike

    October 28, 2014 at 12:58 pm

    Kanneliya Forest in Southern Province 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.

  10. Janidu

    October 28, 2014 at 1:00 pm

    Olu Ella (Waterfall) in Yatiyanthota is also a great palce for nice river bath

  11. Dimuthu

    August 1, 2016 at 10:43 am

    Katugas Ekka 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.

  12. Dushi

    November 1, 2016 at 8:37 am

    please tell bathing places in kandy???

  13. Don Peter

    May 13, 2017 at 5:13 am

    People should not pollute these places. We can see empty bottles and litter in these places. Pl do not put garbage in these beautiful places.

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  15. Derrik

    May 20, 2017 at 1:06 am

    Visit Seven Falls (Eli Hata) – Puwak-mal, Nakkavita & Ellapita Falls. in UdaMaliboda off Deraniyagala. From Deraniyagala take the the Noori route and then at a junction take right turn towards Maliboda via Nakkavita. After traveling few miles you will find the first waterfall which was Nakkavita Ella which was projecting down the slope of mount Hidurangala.

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