Kitulgala is surrounded by wooded hills making way to the swift water of River Kelani Ganga, surrounded by low wooded
hills, Kitulgala is a village of lush vegetation. Kitulgala being blessed with two monsoons each year records the highest rainfall in Sri Lanka. However January to March is the dry period that makes Kitulgala Srilankan's foremost tourist attraction of those who venture in to white water rafting. In addition to the white water rafting Kitulgala affords the opportunity to engage in nature adventure, jungle trekking, outdoor camping, mountain biking and Bird watching.
The stretch of Kelani river 5Km upstream from the village of kitulgala provide seven grade two and three rapids for white water rafting. The upper section is suited to the experienced white water rafting adventures. The lower section is suited for the beginners of white water rafting. In between rapids are few calm stretches of 6.5Km Kitulgala run that takes about 90 minutes to complete. Each rapid brings off its own distinctive character. Their colourful names - Head chopper, Virgin's Breast, Butter crunch Killer fall and the Rib cage could perhaps carry indications as what to expect.
Many birds stay at Kitulgala.Just across the Kelani River is a primeval forest with lush tropical flora, home to about 54 rare species of birds. Though in a lesser density, most of the rain forest bird species that are found at the Sinharaja rain forest can be sighted at Kitulgala. Elusive endemic species like Sri Lanka Spur fowl, Green billed caucal and spot winged Thrush too are seen in the woods. The hills above the rubber plantations are populated with mountain Hawk Eagle, Crested Tree swift and Layard's Parakeet.
Kitulgala has been famous for being the location were the award winning classic movie 'Bridge on the River Kwai' directed by David Lean was filmed. The picturesque location of the movie by the river is accessible to all visitors.
Belilena caves, 8Kmfrom Kitulgala revealed the remains(ten skeletons) of prehistoric "Balangoda Man"(Homo sapiens balangodensis). Sri Lanka oldest inhabitant deduced to have lived there 32000 years ago.
Kitulgala is also excellent for many rare species of butterflies. Most of the endemic species can also be seen here. Tawny Raja, Red helan, Blue mormon. Tree nymph, common Blue Bottles and Blue Oak leaf can be seen here.