A travellers guide to Diyaluma Falls: Sri Lanka's second tallest waterfall
A guide to Sri Lanka’s second tallest waterfall, Diyaluma falls.
Includes detailed instructions on how to get there, what to do, and what to be careful of!
GO. CHASE. DIYALUMA. WATERFALL.
That’s our advice after visiting Sri Lanka's second tallest and most impressive waterfall, Diyaluma. Located off the beaten track in the Sri Lankan highlands (about an hour from Ella), Diyaluma falls is home to epic views and some of the best natural infinity pools in the world.
After a two-hour tuk tuk ride from Ella to Poonagala through quintessentially lush Sri Lankan tea plantations, we set off on foot, hiking downhill through long, dry grass for around 30mins before getting our first glimpse of the upper Diyaluma falls. A short hike further and we were there, standing on what seemed like the edge of the world, watching the cascading water drop 220m to the valley below.
Unfortunately for us, we visited during the wet season, so were unable to swim in lower Diyaluma Falls pools (we value our life a little too much).
We watched the sun set over the valley below from top of the falls, joined by a group of young local guys keen to chat about our travels (and cricket, of course!). We flew our drone, snapped a few insta-bangers, and relaxed before reluctantly commencing our journey back to Ella.
A guide to Sri Lanka’s second tallest (and best) waterfall, Diyaluma Falls
Where is Diyaluma Waterfall
Diyaluma falls were originally formed by Kirindi Oya, a river that starts near Bandarawela and flows through central Sri Lanka.
How to get to Diyaluma Falls
Getting to Diyaluma falls isn't an overly easy feat. That said, due to its growing popularity many of the local tuk tuk drivers know exactly where to go. For that reason, we’d recommend making the trip with a tuk tuk driver instead of taking it on yourself.
There are two ways to get to the top of Diyaluma falls: 1) from Poonagala village at the top, which is far shorter and easier, or 2) hiking from the bottom near the village of Koslanda, which is rather strenuous and hard to follow.
Below are details of the hike from Poonagala village, which we did personally:
DIYALUMA FALLS FROM POONAGALA
After our two hour tuk tuk ride from Ella, we arrived in the local tea-village of Poonagala and the starting point of our hike to Diyaluma falls. From the village, walk south until you find the footpath right by the Makaldeniya bend, and the pathway emerging from the grassland. Follow this pathway downhill as this will lead you to upper Diyaluma falls.
The tuk tuk from Ella town to Poonagala should cost around LKR 3,500 - 5,000 return. Remember to tell your tuk tuk driver you wish to go to the upper Diyaluma falls and hike from there.
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The hike to Diyaluma Falls
Hiking downhill through long, dry grass for about 30 minutes, you’ll hear the sound of water rushing long before the stunning upper Diyaluma falls become clear. While the path isn't signposted, it's super easy to follow and seems to be pretty well maintained.
From here, it's a short walk down to the lower section of Sri Lanka's 2nd tallest waterfall, Diyaluma and the incredible 220m drop to the valley floor below.
What to do at Diyaluma falls
SWIM IN NATURAL INFINITY POOLS
During the summer months when the water levels have dropped, you can enjoy a refreshing swim at the various natural pools, including right on the edge of the main waterfall. It's basically the best infinity pool in the world, and definitely worth a chilly dip.
Alternatively, there are a number of larger, safer pools at the upper Diyaluma falls, but again, take precautions before diving in.
Where else in the world can you sit on the edge of a cliff next to a gushing 220m tall waterfall and just relax?
After a tough journey and hike to get to Diyaluma falls, we recommend sitting down on the rocky ledge, having some lunch and admiring the view for an hour or so. Remember to bring a towel or something to sit on.
CHAT WITH LOCALS
When we visited Diyaluma falls, there were a large group of locals who wanted to learn all about us. "Where are you from" was the most common question, followed by question after question about cricket! On the flip side, we asked everything we could about the country, the somewhat volatile political situation at the time, and of course where to find the best rice and curry!
It's important to embrace these travel moments, and chatting with locals is a great way to learn more about the local culture.
Safety at Diyaluma Falls
At this point we should warn you that safety barriers do not exist at Diyaluma falls, so if you're adrenalin junkie (like Mark), and like to stand on the edge of just about anything, please be careful.
During the summer months, it's possible to swim in the falls. You should always take precautions, including checking the forecast or speaking with locals about the weather situation in the area, and not diving in head first. Please, don’t attempt to swim in the falls during the monsoonal periods, as the water level is far higher and the currents much more powerful.
During the rainy season (Sept - early Dec), the heavy water flow makes it impossible to swim at the lower falls. The upper falls are a little safer, though please check with locals on the day you arrive.
Read more of our top Sri Lanka travel tips here.
Have you visited Diyaluma Falls before? Is there anything we've missed? Let us know in the comments