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“Rainforest at its best” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Sinharaja Forest Reserve

Sinharaja Forest Reserve
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10-Night Sri Lanka UNESCO Heritage Sites Tour from Colombo
Ranked #3 of 65 things to do in Galle
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: SINHARAJA RAIN FOREST is a world heritage and bio diversity hotspot which is also a major eco tourism destination in Sri Lanka. It is one of the few virgin forests left in the world. This evergreen rain forest, a UNESCO World heritage site, is one of the few virgin rain forests left to date. Damp mysterious and teeming with life, the Sinharaja forest reserve situated 120 KM South East of Colombo, is the last expensive stretch of virgin rainforest on the island. At just over 11000 hectares, line across the wet zone the Southern edge of the hill country, Sinharaja is an ecological treasure trove. It is staggering array of flora and fauna place it among the top bio diversity hotspot in the world. Sinharaja Forest Reserve - A UNESCO world heritage site - encompasses the largest single swath of remaining low land tropical rain forest in the country. Over 130 birds, species are found here including many of the 33 species endemic to the Sri Lanka. There also rich reptile population and myriads of insects species, many yet to be classified. Mammals scenes here including the purple faced langur monkey and the giant squirrel. Sinharaja is also home to the elusive leopard. It is preferable to explore Sinharaja on foot, which makes for the truly authentic jungle experience. Best starting point for visits are Deniyaya Mederipitiya to the East or Kudawa to the North.
Useful Information: Activities for young children, Bathroom facilities, Lockers / storage, Activities for older children, Food available for purchase
Frankfurt, Germany
Level Contributor
135 reviews
35 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
“Rainforest at its best”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 14, 2014 via mobile

We spent one full day in this forest reserve as a family with young children and we all liked it a lot. We booked the tour with our guesthouse and our guide was very helpful. He even helped us to carry our big back-pack. Although we were late in the morning we could see many lizards, spiders, monkeys, snakes and many fishes at the waterfall. The tour to the latter can be recommended for families since it includes a cool swim.

1 Thank eberhard475
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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362 reviews from our community

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Moscow, Russia
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Sinharaja Rain Forest”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 3, 2014

A lot of snakes and lizards. From 6-00 P.M. to 9-00 P.M You can see endemic birds. There are several walking routes. They all are very interesting. One of them runs through the waterfall to the swimming pool where you can swim.

Visited January 2014
3 Thank Natalia_2309
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“Sri Lankan Expeditions.com”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 13, 2014

Avoid this company like the plague. In May 2013 I booked two nights in tents in Sinharaja for my family (including two teenage boys). It was to be our Christmas and Boxing Day treat and at over $2000 for two nights, by far the most expensive element of a two week trip. To put the price into a Sri Lankan context, it cost more per night than renting the luxurious entirety of Taprobane Private Island (five double bedrooms and a private staff). As a family we have done similar 'birding' trips in Africa and South America and safety is paramount when travelling with children. We booked through this company as they seemed to be efficient and provided camps in Yala and other parks too. We knew what sort of thing to expect and not to expect luxury. We were there to see the rainforest and, hopefully contribute to its upkeep as well as the local tourist economy. We chose to stay in standard tented accommodation as, at the time we booked, the only noted distinction between that and luxury accommodation was the fact that you didn't have a private loo. At double the price we didn't feel that it was worth it - the website has changed a little since we booked, now offering 3 levels of accommodation. It became clear when we arrived that there was no dedicated vehicle associated with the camp. The company refers to a jeep on their website, we saw no evidence of one. We had to wait 3/4 hour for a local guy in a pick up truck to turn up to take us into the rainforest (which we had to pay for). I am a fit, active 47 year old, however I twisted my ankle on the steep descent to the camp because there are no steps and we were left to carry our bags. It was wet slippy and dangerous. We were the only ones staying in the camp. We had confirmed that we wanted a large tent for four (rather than two twos) and this company had confirmed that was available however not one of the small mouldy pod tents fitted that description. The whole atmosphere of the camp was edgy and unsafe. With nobody else there I even felt vulnerable as a woman and that it wouldn't be safe to leave our luggage there during the days. We were promised a guide, however, the (very nice) site manager Mr Kumar informed us that he could take us for a walk that afternoon and he was to be our guide. He had arrived 3 weeks earlier from Kandy and knew nothing about Sinharaja. There was no programme of what to visit/ what to see and Mr Kumar asked us what we wanted to do. At that point, we decided to leave. The most distressing part of the whole experience was actually witnessing the grinding poverty of those who we met on the ground. Not a penny of the vast price we paid filtered to the locals.The thieves in this scenario bask further up the food chain and this is an extremely cynical operation. Mr Kumar became almost panicky when we decided to go - he was so hungry that he wanted to eat before sorting things out for us and his meal was the left overs of our brief lunch. I spent 20 minutes on the phone to Mr Janaka, his boss, to confirm that we were not leaving because of anything Mr Kumar had done - because he was scared of what would happen to him. As we left Mr Kumar pointed out another camp and said that that one was a good one. Perhaps the other one (on the website) was busy? Perhaps we were unlucky, who knows? I have corresponded with Sri Lankan Expeditions since returning in the hope of reclaiming some of our money. I like to give people a chance and I had hoped to be able to say at the end of this sorry tale that we were just unlucky and that this responsible company had reimbursed us some of our costs. Not a bit of it! I have received two inaccurate, defensive emails and then - nothing. I have no idea whether they provide a good service in other camps elsewhere - but I have no intention of finding out. AVOID at all costs! Go to Taprobane instead - it's cheaper!

Visited December 2013
20 Thank Judi N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
25 reviews
16 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 50 helpful votes
“Nature at its best, and Need a good Guider aswel”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 5, 2014

we spend three days close to Sinharaja (@ Pitadeniya Wana Niwahana) Reserve. and it was a mind relaxing place. you will witness beautiful birds, small species (you have never seen before) and trees (older than 400 years). I enjoyed every minute every second inside the reserve. and don't forgot to watch the beautiful waterfalls. If you wanna enjoy Sinharaja like me, please note you really need a good guider. and best time to visit Sinhara is middle of August to end of September. because it is a place that rain will knock you every day (365days).
Keep enjoying and love the nature. (NOTE: DO NOT TAKE ANY POLYTHENE OR PLASTIC INSIDE THE RESERVE) God bless you all to have a lovely time

Visited August 2013
4 Thank Taaro
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bath, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“You need a good guide”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 1, 2014

We had a fabulous day in the forest greatly enhanced by our very knowledgeable guide Bandula Rathnayaka (abrathnayaka7@gmail.com) From practical advice on how to avoid the leeches, an interesting route that included crossing the river on a rope ferry and a swim at the waterfall, to pointing out lots of wild life and interesting trees and plants. The leeches are a nuisance but two pairs of stockings and keeping alert keeps most of them away. A small price to pay for a most interesting day.

Visited December 2013
7 Thank Jack S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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