The town of Pinnawala and the Pinnawela elephant orphanage

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General information about Pinnawala

Пиннавела, Шри-Ланка

Pinnawala (Pinnawela) – a small town in Central Sri Lanka and known throughout the country and far beyond the eponymous elephant nursery. The town itself is completely unremarkable and visited by tourists for the visit to the nursery.

The Pinnawela elephant Orphanage was established in 1975 in order to care for the elephants, which were found in the jungle without their mothers. But over time, he added, and the victims of the long civil war which ended only a few years ago. Here got adult elephants maimed by mine explosions and elephants that lost their mothers because of the war. There are elephants affected by poachers, and born in the nursery elephants. In General, with the support of the poachers and the civil war, this nursery became the largest population in the world, where elephants are held in captivity. Today it contains more than 80 elephants.

The nursery is often visited by tourists and is one of the famous attractions of the country. Despite the fact that he is far away from the main tourist areas, tourists are always abound. Here you can see how take care of the elephants and even to participate in this process. But the most interesting is the feeding of elephants and bathing, of which the Rangers did almost show. Tourists very touched by how the elephants are fed with milk from bottles, and even willing to pay extra money to be able to feed them. After feeding the whole herd of elephants being driven from the nursery right through the city streets to the river for bathing, which is also very interesting. An action happens twice a day:

  • feeding at 09:00 swimming 10:00
  • feeding 13:00 swimming 14:00

Usually a visit takes no more than 2 hours, and it is better to catch it is to feeding and bathing, because the rest are not very interesting.

To ride elephants and bathe them tourists are not. But, of course, next to the nursery has several small private elephant farm, where he proposed to feed and to buy the elephants, and in addition also to ride through the jungle. Such farms are few, and they contain only a few elephants. If you want to get necessarily into a real nursery without riding on elephants, is to be vigilant, as local tuk-tuks and the drivers often try to get tourists on a private farm where they receive Commission.

How to visit the nursery

Visit fee: adult RS 2500 / 1250 for children (see the current exchange rate of Sri Lanka).

You can see only swimming free. To do this, just need to settle in one of the hotels with views of the sea, or to pretend to be their guest, and then you can watch the show right from the restaurant or from the balcony. The Manager of one of these hotels in exchange for something that you sit in the restaurant and order, plays along and confirms that you have it live.

It often happens that the kennel together with visit the Botanical garden Peradeniya. Both attractions can be visited in one day.

If you want to visit them with one of the beach resorts of Sri Lanka in one day, you will have to use a private guide with a taxi, hire a transport or tour. If you are willing to visit this place independently on public transport, it is possible to spend the night in Kandy, Kurunegala, Matale, town of Koggala (not to be confused with the town of Koggala on the coast) and in Pinnawala.

The best option for independent visit – to stay at a hotel in Pinnawala, because in this case, you will be able to see the morning feeding and bathing, which begins at 9 am. There are a few cheap hotels, and at least three of them are directly on the river with views of the sea. The bathing places are marked on our map Pinnawala.

☞ to display the map

Find and book accommodation in Pinnawala can on these sites or via the search form. All sites have Russian interface and Russian-speaking customer support, numerous real guests reviews. And in Agoda and Booking are bonus system:

How to get to Pinnawala

Pinnawala is located in Central Sri Lanka, 70 kilometers from Colombo. Even on a rented vehicle or a taxi ride here from Colombo will take 2 hours, and with other seaside resorts even more. It is possible to get on local public transport for mere pennies:

  • By bus

    To Pinnawala there are no direct buses from the popular resorts and major tourist cities. I have to change in cities Kegalle or Kurunegala. Buses in Sri Lanka only go in the daytime from early morning, quite often. With transfers and finding the right bus at the stations, no problems, just need to ask for help from local residents and the bus conductor.

    • From Colombo

      From the bus station, Colombo bus No. 1 (Colombo – Kandy) or 1-1 (Colombo – Kegalle Kegalle) need a ride to the town of Kegalle. There is need to change the bus number 881 already to Pinnawala. The whole trip will take at least 4 hours at best.

    • From Kandy

      Just as from Colombo you can take bus №1 and ride to See where to change the bus number 881. The trip will take 2 hours.

  • By train

    Just a few kilometers North of Pinnawala is the train/railway station is Rambukkana, of which the nursery can be reached even on foot, to bargain for a trip with the local tuk-tuks, or to find a bus number 881 in the direction of Kegalle.

    To Rambukkana and can be reached by direct train from Colombo or Kandy and transfer to Colombo from anywhere on the island, where there is a railway. Trains run quite frequently, for example, from Colombo daily more 20, 3 and a half hours, cost from 80 rupees. The timetables can be clarified online here:

And yet, if you are going to go to the elephant orphanage, and not on Safari don't let you fool cunning tuks. They often bring tourists to small private farm, not a kennel.

Comments / recent posts on the topic on the forum
admin 30 November, 2017
The site presents guides to Central cities and sites of Sri Lanka:
The cultural triangle
Adam's Peak
Forest Sinharaja
Nuwara Eliya
The guides will be supplemented.
In this topic you can ask questions and discuss travelling to these places. Changes to the guides are appreciated :SUPER ...
Competent 5 January, 2018
Correct though Pinnawella at Pinnawala. In English, too. ...
admin 5 January, 2018

Thanks for noticing. As it turns out, the first time for you to remember and pronounce then. It was also with Polonnaruwa-Polonnaruwa for a long time myself retrained. ...
AMN Oct 10, 2018
Assalamu Alaikum.
I would like to ask. can I find in Sri Lanka Halal food
thank you.
and sorry for the mistakes ...
admin October, 10, 2018

Hello! Yes, I can, but this kitchen is not very widespread. Looking for Muslim hotels, if they operate such restaurants. ...
Павел112244466 11 November, 2018
Here you write "you can still get from Matara to Bandarawela" what kind of bus? What's the number? As he goes ?? If you write a guide, write all the information or just certain. ...
helka November 19, 2018
Good day, tell me whether in Polonnaruwa storage or where to leave bags if you arrive there in the morning, walk around the Ancient city, and then go by bus to Kandy. ...
admin 19 November, 2018

Not sure what injury is there. Rather rather sure that they are not, because there is the entrance and ticket control on-street storage no. Maybe there is something in the office selling tickets, but it is unlikely that the Sri Lankans before this would have thought of. If you really look for a place where to leave things, it is best to railway station so should be storage, as on all other stations. Well, in case you can try to negotiate for a nominal amount of staff offices for the sale of tickets or to go into the first hotel and the clerk to negotiate. The last version working and tested 100%.
And generally I on your place would think if you can master this route without lodging. I can understand if it's a tour or car with driver. But to come in a new strange city, to find a place where to leave your Luggage, find the cashier, to get to the entrance, navigate through the vast territory... besides, you need something to get around distances. Will have to find a tuk-tuk for the whole day. IMHO, knowing how difficult travel in hot countries, I would come in the evening, slept, and bright and early the next day I began to explore the Park. ...
helka December 2, 2018
Thank you very much for the reply. The fact that we were coming and so in the morning, so will spend the night in Dambulla, and was planning to rent a tuk tuk for the whole day.
About things have already booked a cheap guest house, where they leave it at that. )) And I hope the night will be in Kandy, because if you come to Polonnaruwa in 10 hours then to 16 hours the time I think that would be enough to see the most important thing, especially on a tuk tuk. ...
admin December 2, 2018

Well, in principle Yes, 6 hours on a tuk-tuk. Determine for yourself the most important thing to look at. I hope our guide to Polonnaruwa read. ...