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An update from Evaneos

Sigiriya (Sri Lanka)

Practical information about Sigiriya

  • Encounters with locals
  • Viewpoint
  • Countryside
  • Place or Religious Monument
  • Archaeological Site
  • Place or Historical Monument
  • Unesco World Heritage
  • Essential
5 / 5 - 3 reviews
How to get there
30 minutes from Dambulla by bus
When to go
From January to September
Minimum stay
One day

Reviews of Sigiriya

Romain Beuvart Travel writer
89 travel articles

Sigiriya is an important archaeological site and an ancient royal city perched on the summit of a famous rock. It's a must-see place for anyone staying in Sri Lanka.

My suggestion:
Make sure you take enough water with you, the climb is quite steep, the tour lasts quite a long time and there are no street traders or taps on site.

It's just amazing when you arrive at the foot of the rock, so huge in the middle of the relatively flat plain. The site is a masterpiece of ingenuity, and the paranoia of its creator who sought to protect himself and his kingdom. Ingenious is just the right word, because you can see the traces of the entire system implemented, in particular to bring water to the summit.

i was really fascinated by the very well-preserved paintings on a sheer part of the sides. I wondered how they managed to get up there. The last part of the tour begins at the foot of the paws of the famous lion that gave its name to the rock, Sigiriya being known as the Lion Rock. From there, you have to scale a series of steep stairs...but it's worth it when you get to the summit! The beautiful 360° view across the entire plain is worth a bit of sweat!

I wanted to see a bit more than the rock itself, so I took the time to wander around the villages near Sigiriya and meet the locals who are always so welcoming and with a ready smile!

The Lion Rock of Sigiriya
In a village near Sigiriya
Anne Vergnaud Travel writer
19 travel articles

Climb up this imposing rock and see the maidens of Sigiriya.

My suggestion:
Visit early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid the crowds and the heat.

When touring Sri Lanka, you'll almost certainly visit the rock of Sigiryia, where you'll experience the geological incongruity that is this plug of eroded lava.

When you enter the site, you first pass through royal gardens and various ruins before attacking the actual ascent. I really enjoyed climbing up the numerous steps to reach the incredible frescoes, which depict maidens, nymphs and King Kasyapa's concubines. I was stunned by their beauty, and I'm still asking myself how they managed to paint them at that location.

Despite the dizzying height, I continued on up to the very top of the rock. From there, the scenery is breathtaking. I spent a long time admiring the 360° panoramic views over the greenery of Sri Lanka and the ruins of the monastery and its reservoir, astonished by the genius of those who managed to build on this site.

The ruins of the monastery at Sigiriya
Travel writer
49 travel articles

Sigiriya is world famous for its Lion Rock, a major site classed as UNESCO World Heritage.

My suggestion:
Spend some time cycling in the area around Kimbisa in the late afternoon/early evening. As you pass through the superb landscape of jungle and rice fields, you may be lucky enough to spot wild elephants.

As one of the essential places to see when visiting Sri-Lanka, Sigiriya inevitably gets very busy, and the entry fee is quite high (20 euros). The rock seems to suddenly appear out of nowhere and makes for a very impressive sight. I advise you to do the ascent early in the morning, both before the heat becomes too overwhelming and to avoid the crowds. When I first saw the views out over the plain from the top of the rock, I was rendered speech. The panorama is just incredible, with virtually unspoiled nature as far as the eye can see

Be wary of the many touts and guides present at the site. The simple offer of a helping hand up can turn into an enforced guided tour, which are never free. You can find out more about the rock of Sigiriya by consulting my travel journal.

In addition to the historic site itself, the area around Sirigirya is a wonderful place for outings and excursions through lush forest. Approach a local guide to find what activities are available.

Sigiriya plain