Diyaluma falls are the 2nd highest waterfalls in Sri Lanka but despite that, they don’t attract large crowds. The falls are worth visiting mostly due to the spectacular 3-tiered infinity pools above them. The hike up the falls is short and doesn’t require a guide.
Getting to Diyaluma Falls from Haputale
We woke up to a very cold and very foggy day in Haputale and started wondering whether it makes sense at all to go to the falls in such poor weather. I wanted to take a towel and a swimming suit but Sayak dissuaded me from carrying them ‘for no reason’. Our host mentioned something about the weather ‘on the other side’ being quite different but we didn’t expect it to be THAT much better.
We took a direct bus to the falls from Haputale bus stand (direction of the bus: Wellawaya). The bus was gradually descending, taking many, many serpentines down. We soon left the mist and cold behind. It was sunny and hot in Diyaluma. We travelled just 30 km but it felt as if we ended up in a totally different climate zone.
The bottom of Diyaluma Falls
After getting off at the Diyaluma Bridge, we took a small path leading to the bottom of the fall (which was visible from the road in all its glory). The fall was no doubt tall but didn’t carry much water so wasn’t looking very impressive.
Hiking up the Diyaluma Falls
We had two options of how to get to the top of the falls. Getting there from above, from Poonagala, would require catching a very infrequent bus and walking a long time along the tarmac road. It was much easier to follow a turn to the top of the falls which we had seen from the bus.
We trodded from Diyaluma Fall upwards along the road until we reached the sign directing to the shortcut. It was in Naulla, around 1.5 km away from the falls but before the Diyaluma village. As expected, a man turned up offering his services as a guide. We politely declined, saying our budget doesn’t allow it. We went up the road until we reached a parking lot and followed the same road further up. There, we got a bit hesitant, trying to orientate ourselves.
It was enough for the guy (who was following us) to convince us that we wouldn’t manage without his help. So if anybody approaches you, firmly and confidently say no. This path is marked on Maps.me app which means anybody could reach the fall on his own. If you do prefer a guide, don’t pay more than 400 rupees for service (not per person!). I’ve read on forums of people paying 1 500 – 2 000 rupees which is totally out of proportions.
The beginnning of the trail is the most tricky. There is a tiny path to the right, just after a stall with green concrete table and chairs. I don’t think it matters much where do you start, though. Later on, all the paths seem to be converging into one, small yet visible trail to the falls.
The lower infinity pools and the top of Diyaluma Fall
Walking up fast you could reach the falls in 20-25 minutes. If you took your time and enjoyed the view, it would take at least 40 minutes. At the final section, the path splits again. One leads to the top of the waterfall, the other one to the tiered pools. That was where our ‘guide’ disappeared.
There were just a couple of tourists on the top. Three small round pools ending with a precipice where the fall was originating were empty. I sat at the edge of the last one and dipped my legs in. I needed the help of Sayak to lower me to the thigh-deep water and to climb back up. Then we sat on the edge of the cliff admiring the beautiful, panoramic view at green hills. If you leaned over the cliff, yuo could see the waterfall and the road with the bridge far below.
The three-tier infinity pools
Following the river upstream took us within a few minutes to the bottom of the second, much smaller fall. The fall created a fairly large pool. The temptation of cooling down in the water was irresistible. Since there were only foreigners around and no locals to offend, we eventually stripped to underwear.
We then took a path upwards to get to the tiered pools. We were very lucky as the pools were almost empty, apart from a couple of tourists. However, we heard that this place is very popular among the locals on the weekends. If you want to avoid crowds, make sure you visit on a weekday.
The topmost pool was the safest but also the smallest, only enough to bathe. The second one was the deepest and the most suitable for swimming. I didn’t see anyone entering the third and the lowest one. I waited until the second pool got empty and walked down a steep path to it. I jumped into the pool and swam a bit in cool water. Someone said there were leeches in the water, but I don’t think it’s true. At least we didn’t catch or seen any. The pool is completely safe to swim since rocks block the passage to the lower level. When you position yourself at the edge at the pool and look at the views around you, you feel like in paradise. If we came earlier, we’d have no doubt stayed there for at least a few hours.
On the way back we retraced our steps down to Naulla. Once we hit the main road, a short walk to the right led us to a shop which also served as a bus stop. Soon enough, a bus to Haputale pulled down. With mist lifted, we could enjoy splendid views to our left until Beragala and to our right from Beragala to Haputale. We reached Haputale around 5 pm, back in chilling temperatures, with the mist already gathering.
How to get to Diyaluma Falls?
You could access the falls from above, from the direction of Poonagala or from below, from Diyaluma village. The second option is much easier if you’re relying on public transport.
Most of the blogs describe the route from the road between Koslanda and Poonagala down to the top of the falls. It’s good if you’re willing to pay for a tuk-tuk or if you’re driving. If coming by bus, it requires a 4.5km upward walk to the start of the trek or catching one of 3 daily buses.
The bottom of Diyaluma Falls is right next to the road between Beragala and Wellawaya. Diyaluma is just 30km from Haputale (on a direct bus). If you’re coming from Ella, you’d need to change bus in Wellawaya.
The hiking path from the bottom of Diyaluma Falls is marked on Maps.me. It starts 1.5km away from the bottom of Diyaluma falls, in Naulla, but apparently it’s possible to join that path directly from the bottom of the falls, sparing oneself a de-tour. There is a bus stop very near to the turn which you need to take to get to the top of Diyaluma.
Using Maps.me you certainly DON’T NEED A GUIDE,(though local men you’re likely to meet at the parking at the turn to the falls would try to convince you otherwise).
Prices [in Sri Lankan rupees as of February 2019]
400 one-way guide to the top of the falls from Naulla (bargained)
71 bus from Naulla to Haputale
10 vada (snack) bought from a vendor on the bus