Travelling to Sigiriya
There are many ways to travel to Sigiriya, most travellers go to Dambulla to visit the Cave Temple first and make their way to Sigiriya.
Traveling from Dambulla to Sigiriya
There is a bus that runs every half hour from the Dambulla Main Bus Station. The bus runs from 6.45 am to 6 pm. The trip will take close to an hour. You need to get off and take a 10-minute walk to the Sigiriya ticket counter.
You can hop on a tuk-tuk for a 30-minute ride. The cost will be much higher than on the bus but more convenient and less time-consuming.
Hiring a vehicle with a driver is the way to get around anywhere in Sri Lanka, the same goes when it’s from Dambulla to Sigiriya.
Travelling from Colombo to Sigiriya
Using public transport to travel from Colombo to Sigiriya will be time-consuming (6-7 hours) since there are no direct buses or trains.
From the Fort bus station in Colombo, you need to travel to Anuradhapura or Kurunegala and then get on a bus to Dambulla. From there use the above methods to go to Sigiriya.
There are no direct routes from Colombo to Sigiriya. You need to get off at Habarana train station and organize private transport from there.
To be honest this is the best way to get from Colombo to Sigiriya without wasting too much time on the road. It is also far more convenient than any other mode and also expensive.
Exploring the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Sigiriya doesn’t come easy. You will have to climb a set of vertiginous stairways to reach the summit. Your climb will be an interesting one with amazing frescos, an ancient mirror wall, and a pair of massive lion’s paws carved on the bedrock of the entrance. Once you reach the summit – you will be transported to a completely different era.
The ticket office located close to the main entrance is open from 6.30 am to 6 pm. It’s easy to miss the ticket counter but make sure you purchase a ticket BEFORE heading in because you will have to go back down the stairs to get one if you don’t.
Not many visitors realize this but the entry ticket also grants access to the Sigiriya Museum. The museum opens from 8 am to 5 am if you go during those times, its best to tour the museum first since most people are too tired to go after the climb.
Best time of the day to visit Sigiriya
The entry gate opens at 7 am so if you plan to go in the morning, that’s the best time to be there. You can get back before it gets too sunny.
We highlight recommend the time around 3.30 pm to start the climb. Not only can you beat the heat but you can also reach the summit to see the sunset!
How long does it take to climb Sigiriya?
You need to ascend 1000+ steps to get to the top. So the duration may depend on your fitness level too.
To climb and explore every nook and corner of the fortress and then descent will take at least 3 hours.
Things to see in Sigiriya
The Royal Gardens
The former royals’ gardens are quite well preserved. There are terraced gardens, lovely water fountains, ponds and boulders scattered everywhere. These lush gardens are among the oldest landscaped gardens in the world.
The Water Gardens
The former bathing pools of the royals would have been a spectacular sight back in the day. The irrigation system used to source water for them is truly spectacular. The engineering and hydraulics used are way beyond its time.
The Boulder Gardens
The Boulder Gardens comprise of twisty narrow winding paths and passes a collection of ancient natural boulders. The boulders have been the foundation for the monastery for the Buddhist monks after King Kashyapa’s death and the downfall of the kingdom.
The frescos of the Sigiriya damsels are one of the most celebrated attractions in Sri Lanka. The frescos are of 21 scantily clad damsels holding a tray of flowers.
The Mirror Wall
This has been a mirror, which was polished enough for the king to see his reflection. It is no longer that shiny but there are scribbles and doodles by visitors over the last 1500 years.
To reach the summit you need to walk up a twirling metal staircase, which is quite a task. But once you reach the summit and see the ruins, breathtaking scenery and everything around makes it truly a (nerve-wracking but) worthwhile experience.
Tips for climbing Sigiriya
- Carry water so that you will remain hydrated
- Apply sunscreen and wear a hat/ cap
- Wear comfortable shoes. Trainers would be ideal but anything comfortable would do.
- Take a camera – there are plenty of beautiful things to capture and prove you made it to the top!
- There’s no dress code since Sigirya is not a religious site but wear comfortable cotton clothes.
Adventure Lanka offer licensed guides on all their tours.