Sinharaja rain forest
Sinharaja Forest Reserve is a national park and a biodiversity hotspot in Sri Lanka. It is of international significance and has been designated a Biosphere Reserve and World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
The hilly virgin rainforest, part of the Sri Lanka lowland rain forests ecoregion, was saved from the worst of commercial logging by its inaccessibility, and was designated a World Biosphere Reserve in 1978 and a World Heritage Site in 1988. The reserve's name translates as Kingdom of the Lion.
The reserve is only 21 km (13 mi) from east to west, and a maximum of 7 km (4.3 mi) from north to south, but it is a treasure trove of endemic species, including trees, insects, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals.
Because of the dense vegetation, wildlife is not as easily seen as at dry-zone national parks such as Yala. There are about 3 elephants and the 15 or so leopards are rarely seen. The commonest larger mammal is the endemic Purple-faced Langur.
An interesting phenomenon is that birds tend to move in mixed feeding flocks, invariably led by the fearless Greater Racket-tailed Drongo and the noisy Orange-billed Babbler. Of Sri Lanka's 26 endemic birds, the 20 rainforest species all occur here, including the elusive Red-faced Malkoha, Green-billed Coucal and Sri Lanka Blue Magpie.
Reptiles include the endemic Green pit viper and Hump-nosed vipers, and there are a large variety of amphibians, especially tree frogs. Invertebrates include the endemic Common Birdwing butterfly and the inevitable leeches.
Recommended review time for sightseeing: 4 h
Marc A [TA], , Sydney, Australia
Stayed at Rainforest View lodge near the Deniyaya entrance & had a bittersweet experience. While the forest was excellent, the compulsory forestry guide tried to rip us off by charging us triple the published rate for guiding.
ScubaJunk... [TA], , Ko Tao, Thailand
This jungle is definitely worth at look at, it's a jungle in Sri Lanka so it's beautiful.
I didn't book pre book anything, there is no need, I took a Tuk Tuk with Raja, an amazing, funny and informative man who pointed out stuff on the way and showed me photo opportunities too.
Excellent English and also made sure I was charged correctly for water and bananas on the way. I booked him through my amazing hotel fort bliss villa, the manager Arman is also fantastic, take some time to chat with him, extremely interesting.
Anyway he can book Raja for your Tuk yuk, he also walked with me and the guide, my guide was provided at the park and you pay 1500rup I also tipped 1000.
Raja has a proper tour company and also provides cars too, take a Tuk Tuk it's more fun, easier for photos taking and just a better experience
We saw monkeys, lizards, a wonderful waterfall and no other tourists!!! Great day
DonPacket... [TA], , Johannesburg, South Africa
The Sinharaja Rain Forest is spectacular. We saw so many endemic birds, snakes and plants to Sri Lanka. We also got to tick off the Sri Lankan Blue Magpie and Sri Lankan Frogmouth from our "to see" list, which was extremely exciting.
An absolutely incredible experience.
John4017 [TA], , Brisbane, Australia
We drove about 2 and a half hours from Koggala and then did the 5 km walk to a waterfall. Along the way we saw a green pit viper and a hump nosed lizard. Be sure to take a packed lunch as there is no where to buy food or water. Or local guide was very informative and showed us many of the medicinal plants in the forest.
The entrance fee was only 250 rupees each. Although it takes a bit of getting there it is well worth the trip, highly recommended!!
frank m [TA], , London, United Kingdom
This is Amazing place, I think it is like amazon forest africa.. there is thousands of fauna and floras..../
Priya V [TA], , Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India
A wonderful experience, very well preserved rainforest. Its around a 4.5km walk you might choose for a longer or a shorter walk. Its a experience full of nature don't expect huge scary animals, you would mostly spot lizards (monitor too), snakes(we saw the green pit wiper :)), birds, lots of butterflies, wild plants, insects and many more. The tour guides here are mostly volunteers so giving them tip is a good idea. Specifically ask for a english speaking guide if you need one.
Slverfox [TA], , Pune, India
Very long drive to reach with the road not being the best. We had organised for a jeep safari and it is quite a bashing ride into the park. We just blundered into the walk while there were much better prepared tourists around us with long socks to ward off leeches. But we had a great guide who gave me a stick with chewed tobacco tied on the edge of it to push away any leeches that get too comfortable. Apparently leeches dont like tobacco :) Not much animal life but some lovely butterflies and bird sounds and tall beautiful trees in the primary forest.
Ivana C [TA], , Belgrade, Serbia
Lots of different animals and insects to see. We saw florescent green little snake and held it :) We've also seen monkeys, different species of lizards, some weird caterpillars, spiders, and some amazing plants... To top it off there's a swim at the waterfall at the end, a beautiful day out in beautiful Srilankan nature.
ThushanI [TA], , Galle, Sri Lanka
Sinharaja rain forest is Sri Lankan famous and biggest rain forest. Normally there are three main entrance for that rain forest.
Galle district - Neluwa
Matara district - Deniyaya, Pallegama entrance
Ratnapura district - Kalawana, Weddagala
We went to Sinharaja forest at Pallegama entrance in Deniyaya. It is very adventures tour. Ideal for birds watching, walking and relaxing.
We can see many waterfalls (ex -Kekuna waterfall)
The average annual temperature of Sinharaja is approximately 23.6C. It annually receives more than 2500mm of rainfall. There fore no dry spell throughout the year.
Sinharaja forest is our heritage we must protect this our invaluable world heritage rain forest.
Madawa G [TA], , Galle, Sri Lanka
Well it was a wonderful experience of tropical flora and fauna, if u wannna get a experience of a rain forest Sinharaja is the best.
Leen D [TA], , Wuustwezel, Belgium
Sinharaja Forest was on my wishlist since we started to plan our trip to Sri Lanka. I never visited a rainforest before, so I was really looking forward to it. We booked the trip in our hotel, so they took care of the transport by tuktuk (otherwise we never find the entrance to the forest I suppose) and a guide (without a guide, you can't get in).
We arrived in the afternoon, wich is apperently not the best time to watch the birds. Fortunatly we saw enough other animals to compensate the abscense of the birds. For example we saw chameleons, monkeys, a giant centipede, a big waspnest, a little green snake... First we thougt our guide was quite laid-back, but he was more alert than he looked and spotted a lot of animals. He told us about the vegetation and helped me also to remove the leaches from my legs.
We had to cross a river and ended the tour by a nice waterfall. It was a shame we didn't know that, otherwise we had brought some swimmingclothes and towels. After having lunch, we had to take the same path back.
After all it was a very nice experience, but I do regret it was such a short trip. We were lucky to be there in low season, it must be less special with lots of tourist around.
Hafsal [TA], , Auckland, New Zealand
Had a awesome trip to Sinharaja where you and mother nature meet and great each other. Natural pure spring water and clean oxygen with beauty of its own. Stayed there for 2 days and will go again in the near future. Miss it so badly. We stayed at a wonderful eco lodge and the owner Mr. Anil is very friendly and supportive. Food was lovely and the service was simply superb.
Johny_dan... [TA], , Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
We had a really nice walk in the rain forest. Unfortunately for us the weather wasn't so good and we didn't get to see any birds in the reserve (though we saw several kingfishers in the paddy fields on the way to the reserve).
We did get to see a couple of snakes, lizards and spiders. Leeches are a problem but if you keep rubbing salt around your shoes you should be fine. Another option would be to walk in your flip flops and shorts, which we saw our guide do successfully and without any problems.
Carry water and snacks.
Frederic... [TA], , Nantes, France
If you feel like Indiana Jones or Tarzan wandering in the Jungle, this is the place to go for a stroll !! More than walking in a lush vegetation, you'll have the opportunity to spot many animals including giant squirrels, water monitors, monkeys, snakes (cobra, green pit viper, hump-nosed viper), mangoose,fish, porpucines, civets, kingfishers... and there is no doubt you'll be spotted by leeches which are abundant in the forest and which are waiting for passing-by mammals to suck blood. it may help to carry a little bit of salt to get rid of them on the way. And don't forget that in the Rainforest, it usually... Rains a lot!! Thus, it may not be a luxury to bring a raincoat in addition to your camera.
shiama [TA], , india
Usually wen I go to visit the Singaraja forest I rent a Bike in Hikkaduwa , start very early in the morning (arnd 5.30 am) and with a confortable & easy drive arrive arnd 8 am. Amazing views on the way...once you ll reach Deniyaya find a guide and spend all the day in the forest. Nice waterfall, snakes, huge trees etc. be sure to have some salt with you : leaches will not bite if you ll spread some salt on your feet and legs. It is possible to spend the night in the forest bungalow (a bit expancive but nice) ..you have to book in advance trough the forest department. By the way from Hikkaduwa to the forest is 120 kms....
robbotrav... [TA], , Melbourne, Australia
If you really like rainforest then this is a good place to go. Particularly if you are interested in the flora. It is a bit away from the usual tourist haunts but is very important as suggested by its world heritage status.
Didn't see much wildlife other than a few butterflies and there certainly are no stunning views. Also be prepared for the leaches.
TravelerR... [TA], , Colombo, Sri Lanka
If you’re willing to go to sinharaj forest , the best may be not to make a one day trip , if you can book a bungalow inside the forest ,through Forest Conservation department, that would be ideal (But please not you have to take all provisions ,they only cook and give you the food), their you can have a bath in the river in the morning and evening , walking in the forest during the day time, that makes it a very special palace , there are about 7 waterfalls to visit within the forest ,but the route it bit tough. You have to take leech replicate also,
I was there last week for 3 day trip and I enjoyed a lot, if you travelling from deniyaya side you have to walk 1.5Km to the bungalow ,parking the vehicle at a nearby place, a car cannot travel on this road ,so it’s better if u can hire VAN with good clearance.
Laktours [TA], , Galle, Sri Lanka
Why Sinharaja ? Means Lion-King (Sinha- Raja) . The Forest spread over the districts of Ratnapura, Galle and Matara. Rainforest spread over 100,000 hectares of the south western hills and lowlands.
this forest represents a tropical rain forest with dense tall trees, steep and rugged hills and rivulets. The value of forests such as Sinharaja are well known for their functions as watersheds and store houses of great biological wealth.
We access through the Deniyana (From Galle) also you can access Kalawana (Via Ratnaupura - Vaddagala)
There are many circuit bungalows at the both ends udawa and deniyaya.
There are trackers you can hire for your jounery through the forest.
I recommend you go with Naturalist...
oronp [TA], , Israel
Don't miss it if you are of any biological tendencies. Try to take morning AND evening sessins. They differ...
mantravel [TA], , Manchester, United Kingdom
We had a nice day out at the sinharaja rain forest. The trip up there from Bentota was great in itself. Going through towns/villages/jungle areas. The rain forest is amazing with low cloud over the jungle. We saw frogs, snakes, monkeys,various birds, spiders etc. Quite a bit of walking involved but on a pathway so nothing too difficult. Leeches were sorted out with a covering of tiger balm on our uncovered feet etc. We were taken round by a very informative guide. The forest has a lovely damp hunid atmosphere and is very lush with lots of small rock pools.etc. Well worth a visit.
Staffsmar... [TA], , Staffordshire
Amazing location with good paths and an amazing variety of rare and unusual birds
glyn254 [TA], , Cheltenham, United Kingdom
The forest has a magiclal atmosphere. Don't go in a large party
amooafshi... [TA], , Sharjah, United Arab Emirates
I recommend here. Really there is an important part of Sri Lanka’s nature.
raysto [TA], , Brighton, United Kingdom
I didn't go to sinharaja but I really wanted to so I'm leaving a review as to why i didn't. Look away now if you don;t like people whinging about costs .....
As some reviews have said here, sinharaja i a great spot for jungle walks and an opportunity to visit unspoilt forest. The entry fee, plus the cost of a mandatory guide meant that I didn't get to see Sinharaja nor did I get to see any of the national parks of sri lanka for the same reason. Why do tourists have to fork out $80 for a guide and car to visit national parks whilst locals pay just Rs30?? I wish that foreign tourists would boycott the national parks of SL in protest at the stupid money-grabbing pricing. ha, fat chance of that happening hey!?
redmill [TA], , Daintree
Excellent birdwatching, with so many of Sri Lanka's endemic species in Sinharaja. Our park guide was very good - knew his birds and worked very hard looking for the specialties like Sri Lankan Frogmouth and Seredip Scops Owl.
We had 2 days in the park and loved it. The sheer variety of wildlife and plant life is fantastic and Sinharaja is unique in many ways. To watch the mixed feeding flocks of birds pass through makes the trip worthwhile.
Yes, there are leeches, but the leech socks available from he park work well.
All part of the adventure!
FranCess1... [TA], , Bruxelles
Nice walk of +/- 4 hours in the forest with a guide but we didn't see many birds. A few snakes, little chameleons and colourful butterflies.
ramli27 [TA], , Colombo, Sri Lanka
UNESCO World heritage site. One of the last tracts of virgin rain forest in Sri Lanka. Possibly best location to track endemic birds. Also great place to see endemic reptiles and plants. Visitors pl note its "rain forest" read leeches by the dozen!!! one has to walk here, no jeep safaris! Serious photographers, think hard about your lens choices.
Joanna C [TA], , Doha, Qatar
i loved this place. lots of pitcher plants, butterflies, incredible birds (including a frogmouth), reptiles (including green vine snake, which was beautiful), wild orchids, well-maintained trail.
HOWEVER: USER BEWARE. There are tons of leeches. You can either go in flip flops and that way you'll see them or wear your socks, which they can go through. I wore socks and shoes, because i'm not used to walking on forested trails in flip flops. I got 8 leeches and my socks and shoes were FULL of blood. And the bites continue bleeding for hours and hours afterwards. It was really kind of gross, but also kind of cool in a weird way. So if you're really squeamish about creepy crawlies, perhaps not the best activity for you.
Ranalwis [TA], , Colombo, Sri Lanka
Located in the south west of srilanka. sinharaja is a national park and a bio diversity hot spot which was declared as a world heritage site by UNESCO. it is of international significance and has been designated a world biosphere reserve in 1978.
in hilly virgin rain forest which is part of the countries lowland rain forest Eco region was saved from the worst of commercial logging by its inaccessibility .the reserve is 21 km from east to west and a maximum of 7 km from north to south and is a treasure trove of endemic species, including trees,insects,amphibians ,reptiles,birds and mammals.
CZ_gASK [TA], , Prague, Czech Republic
The Sinharaja rainforest is certainly worth a visit - while quite different from what we expected, it is a unique experience and great place.
The forest itself can be entered from multiple places - we took the norhtern entrance so situation may be little different in other places.
Be aware that in addition to the entrance fee you have to pay for a mandatory guide (you cannot enter by yourself). The guide is one for a group and it is not as expensive as it may seem - we paid less than two thousand rupees for the entrance for two persons, everything included.
The quality of your visit is highly influenced by the quality of your guide - be sure to check that he AT LEAST speaks in your language well. While we were lucky and ended up with an experienced guide that told us a lot of interesting information and knew local plants and animals well, others were not - we met a Swiss group who had a much less usefull young boy who mostly smiled and did not talk much.
The trip consist of a roughly three hour walk through a well traveled path and then of a short walk through a small path taking you into the heart of the forest. The length is very variable depending on your speed and on your curiosity.
You will mostly see flora - lot's of trees, flowers, orchids, shrubs, lianas and other green things. Don't expect too much fauna - while the forest is densely inhabitated, the animals are shy and mostly run away from the tourist paths. We saw mostly snakes, lizards, birds, butterflies, millipedes, squirrels, spiders and catterpillars (and also a behinds of a bunch of running monkeys). Don't expect any of the "more interesting"animals like monkeys, leopards and tarantulas because they are hidden in the middle of the park and even the guides see them rarely.
Last tip: come prepared. Long trousers are a MUST as well as long socks and firm footwear. The small paths are filled with leeches and while they are not as bad as it sounds, it's better to avoid them. (They are small worms, not even one inch long, they are living on ground on wet areas and stick to your shoes and then crawl up. They can crawl throuh small holes in shoes, socks and trousers. They stick to your skin - it does not hurt and you won't even notice and you can just pull them off - they will leave a small bite. They are not dangerous in any way though, so do not be paranoid :)
Moshe47 [TA], , Israel
We went to the park with a local guide and before we started we put salt in our socks to prevent leeches to get us. We forest very beautifull place. With water falls and pool where we can swin. An all day program and very interresting. But at we need to lock for the leeches all the and take them off.
This spoil a little bit our pleasure.
Aiden44 [TA], , Colombo, Sri Lanka
Nature in its true form. Nothing has been altered to attract more tourists. Not even road signs. The experience was truly breathtaking & unique. A Trek through a virgin rainforest without the fear of being attacked by wild animals.
There’re many areas in Sinharaja that no human being has set foot on. Nobody ventures that deep into the rainforest. The tree growth got thicker & thicker as we went in. These are the moments that defy all the other experiences in our lives. No human contact, no mobile coverage, no nearby hospitals, but only the sound of the insects & the deep darkness of the forest in a sunny afternoon.
Old sinhala legends claim that the forest was royal territory belonging to ancient kings & in some early colonial records, the rainforest is referred to as the “Rajasinghe Forest”
We stopped only for a little rest at times, since we had lots of ground to cover. But the amount of time dedicated for certain beauties of the nature was priceless.
The variety of the vegetation was exquisite. The further we ventured into the forest, the distance between two trees got closer. There’re some parts of the forest where we couldn’t see more than 20 feet ahead.
Sinharaja is filled with birds, butterflies & snakes. I was fortunate enough to witness several of their kind.
If you enjoy the natural bio-diversity, this is the best place to be in Sri Lanka to study about them. there's a research center inside the forest as well. There're no wild animals except for a couple of wild elephants who're rarely seen.
ShawnWith... [TA], , Rome, Italy
We have been twice to Sinharaja now and we are so looking forward to going back.
I can not give you any technical details about the place, (but i see that the person who wrote the previews review did a great job) but i can tell you what its like for an outsider to visit this place.
We drove to Sinharaja early morning, after driving through some beautiful hills full of tea plantations, we arrived at the entrance. The entrance fee to the forest is around 600Rupees per person and we had our video camera with us so we had to pay an extra fee for it, but trust me, its totally worth it. it all came down to around 10 euros for the both of us plus the cost of the guide.
Let me start by saying that the best time to visit this place is from January to April, when its dry season so there is no rain.
The first time we went to Sinharaja it was May 2008, and it was rainy season so there was the huge problem of Leeches, which we had heavily underestimated and we just went there in our shorts and sandals. From the moment we went in to the forest, every ten minutes we would be wiping off Leeches from our legs and cleaning the blood, you have to know that when leeches start sucking your blood you dont feel a thing, when they stop thats when the blood starts to flow and you realize that you have been bitten. its really scary but fortunately u dont catch anything from them. u just bleed for a few minutes thats all.
This time we went it was dry season so there werent so many leeches, but we went prepared anyways, rubber boots and track pants so there were a couple of desperate leeches who were looking for a way to get in the boots. But anyways, always go prepared.
The guides that accompany you are really great. they speak english and they will tell you everything you want to know and the names of every single animal and insect, and even the names of every single tree.
We saw so many beautiful butterflies that were so huge that at first we thought they were birds.
We also saw lots of beautiful birds, many of these you find only in Srilanka. and many different species of Lizards, some very rare Animals as well, like the Frog Mouth Owl which was so amazing to see. lots of snakes, water snakes and if you are lucky, you may see some wild cats.
If you are a Nature lover, or if you love hiking or u just love watching those documentries about rainforests and always wanted to visit one, well this is the place for you.
To see a short clip of our trip to Sinharaja, please go here: