When you are in Sri Lanka for longer than a week, you can pretty much tick off the main sites to see, the beaches, the mountains inland around Kandi, the national parks and the rainforest.
Now when I say rainforest, don’t imagine multi-coloured birds every 5 yards, hundreds of monkeys and snakes wrapped around trees, but a kind of toned down ‘Sri Lankan’ version of a rainforest. Sri Lanka has it all but an ‘almost spectacular’ version of everything.
I must have misread my guide book, that or they have it completely wrong. A 3-hour bus journey would apparently get us to the rainforest where we pay $20 to do a full circuit that should take about 2 hours, an hour for lunch and 3-hour journey back and this can easily be done in a day … WRONG!
The bus journey is more like 5 hours and once in Deniyaya, it is a further 45 minutes in a Tuk Tuk into the park. We, therefore, didn’t make it to the park until gone 3 pm and had a whistle stop tour, zooming past lizards, no time to hunt snakes and a brief dip in only one of the parks 8 waterfalls.
We definitely paid over the odds for a short guided tour at 3000 rupees each for a short early evening stroll, which when zooming through seemed little better than the miles of the forest we had been passing through on route. Finishing in the dark we missed the last bus home and had a long wait to hitch a lift that was heading in the right direction late at night.
So not quite the sensational first ever visit to a rainforest I had envisaged.
However, I do recommend a visit, but recommend you do it this way:
- Travel the afternoon before to the town of Deniyaya where you can easily find accommodation for 1000rupees or under for the night.
- Spend some time shopping around town for the best deal to include transport to and from your guest house, park entrance, lunch and a guide who has demonstrated their knowledge in all the wildlife within the forest. (this we definitely had, our guide Bandula knew everything, but sadly only enough time to share a small amount with us).
- Spend a full day in the rainforest, to include time to swim around several of the waterfalls, to hunt for snakes, lizards and birds of varying colours and species and a relaxing lunch in the sunshine … but mind those leeches!
- Finishing at around 4 pm you should have time to get the last bus out of Deniyaya or you could choose to stay another night and leave the next morning.
- The tour should cost you around what we paid for only a couple of hours … 3000rupees
If you make it to Siharaja rainforest, do let me know how it goes and if you managed to see a few more creepy crawlies and waterfalls than I did.
Don’t forget to get your Sri Lanka visa sorted before visiting Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka government introduced a new Electronic Travel Authorization Visa called ETA VISA for a short visit to Sri Lanka on 1st January 2012. Persons intend to visit Sri Lanka must have a valid visa issued by Department of Immigration & Emigration, Colombo, Sri Lanka. Tourists can apply online for Sri Lanka ETA which is completely electronic processing online submission and the approval for the same (authority to enter Sri Lanka) will be communicated via email.