Sinharaja Rainforest Walk
Sinharaja Forest Reserve is a UNESCO world heritage forest, and a major eco-tourism destination in Sri Lanka. As you enter this untouched rainforest, the outside world disappears entirely. Not only is it an oasis from urban life, the forest is also one of the most important biodiversity sites in Sri Lanka, and the world. As you enter their home, the forest's furry residents, from long-tailed squirrels to the myraid of diverse birdlife, will emerge to greet you.
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The experience takes place at Sinharaja Forest Reserve. The best way to get there from Colombo is by car, which will take approximately 3.5 hours.
We wouldn't recommend taking public transport from Colombo to Sinharaja Forest Reserve as the transport is infrequent and the total journey will take almost twice as long, as it would by private vehicle. If you would like to take public transport, you can take a bus from Colombo to Ratnapura, and then a tuk-tuk or taxi from Ratnapura to Sinharaja Forest Reserve. This journey will take 5-6 hours.
The park requires that visitors into the Forest Reserve be accompanied by a licensed guide. If you don't have a licensed guide, you will only have limited access to the Forest Reserve.
The hikes with Sinharaja Forest Edge lodge are with a licensed park guide and therefore take you deeper into the rainforest. The hikes with Sinharaja Ecolodge are with the lodge's in-house guides, and only take you around the surroundings of the lodge. If you wish to stay at Sinharaja Ecolodge and go deeper into the rainforest, we are happy to arrange an additional licensed park guide for you.
Not necessarily - it depends on the option you choose!
There are many trails at Sinharaja, which range from low to high intensity. The low-intensity hikes are suitable for complete beginners or people who want to go through the forest at an easy pace. The high-intensity hikes are suitable for intermediate hikers or people who have a regular cardio routine.
There is no bad time to go, though if you have a choice do try to avoid monsoon season (which is unpredictable but usually falls between February to March, and May to July). In any case, do make sure you come prepared with a rain jacket and other water-resistant gear and you'll be fine!
You'll need 1.5 to 2.5 days (including travel time from Colombo) to do any of the options - the exact amount of time will depend on the option you pick.
The main difference is in the intensity and length of the hikes - so you can pick the one that is most suited to how you would like to experience Sinharaja Forest Reserve.
Sinharaja Forest Edge offers a wide variety of options for exploring the heart of the rainforest (from low to high-intensity hikes) with licensed park guides. On the other hand, the hikes with Sinharaja Rainforest Ecolodge are with the lodge's in-house guides, and only take you around the surroundings of the lodge. If you wish to stay at Sinharaja Rainforest Ecolodge and go deeper into the rainforest, we are happy to arrange an additional licensed park guide for you.
Also, Sinharaja Rainforest Ecolodge includes complimentary driver accommodation (if you come with a driver), whereas Sinharaja Forest Edge does not. If you require driver accommodation at Sinharaja Forest Edge, please do let us know.
All of the options will allow you to arrive at the lodge at your leisure on the first day.
The next day, you will spend some time hiking and exploring the rainforest (the length and intensity of the hike will depend on the option you choose).
Depending on the option you pick, you will either depart after the hike, or spend another night relaxing at the lodge before departing.
Leech socks (if you have them, otherwise these will be provided)
Hiking shoes or trainers (ideally waterproof)
Clothes you are not afraid to get dirty and wet
Change of clothes (after you come back from the walk)
Waterproof jacket or poncho
Sinharaja is a fairly isolated place, so unfortunately, there is not a lot to do outside of hiking and relaxing at the hotel. This does give you plenty of time to simply relax in nature though!
As with any rainforest, do come prepared for leeches. If you visit during rainy season, there will be more leeches but proper clothing (ideally clothing that is tighter on the skin like sports leggings, and knee-length thick socks/leech socks) will protect you against them.