Planning a trip to Sigiriya, Sri Lanka can be overwhelming with so many incredible sights and experiences on offer. I know how you feel; where to begin in this ancient city rich with history and brimming with adventure? After thoroughly exploring the region myself, I’ve compiled some of the best things to do in Sigiriya – from climbing iconic rocks to serene wildlife safaris.
Ready for a journey of a lifetime? Let’s dive into the heart of Sri Lanka!
- Climb Sigiriya Rock (Lion Rock) for stunning views and ancient frescoes.
- Explore Pidurangala Rock for a different perspective of Sigiriya and its surroundings.
- Visit the Sigiriya Museum to learn about the area’s history and archaeology.
- See elephants up close at Minneriya National Park on a thrilling jeep safari.
- Discover the Dambulla Cave Temple with its Buddhist statues and beautiful murals.
- Take a day tour to Polonnaruwa to explore ancient ruins and historical sites.
- Enjoy additional activities like hot air balloon rides, beach trips in Trincomalee, cycling tours in Polonnaruwa, or climbing Rose Quartz Mountain.
- Experience unique adventures by staying overnight in a treehouse or attending a cricket match at Dambulla International Cricket Field.
Top Attractions in Sigiriya
Climb Sigiriya Rock (Aka Lion Rock)
Sigiriya Rock, also known as Lion Rock, is a must-do in Sigiriya. It’s more than just a rock; it’s an adventure that you shouldn’t miss. We have to climb up steep stairs and paths to reach the top.
On the way up, we can see stunning wall paintings of olden times called frescoes. They tell stories of past people and events. Before we get to the very top, there are giant lion’s paws carved into the rock! Once at the peak, I enjoy breathtaking views all around me that stretch far into Sri Lanka’s land.
That feeling at the summit is like being on top of an ancient world!
Explore Pidurangala Rock
When you’re in Sigiriya, don’t miss the chance to explore Pidurangala Rock. It’s an alternative to climbing Sigiriya Rock and offers a different perspective of the area. The hike to the top takes about 30-45 minutes and is less crowded than Lion Rock.
From the summit, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking panoramic views of Sigiriya Rock Fortress and its surrounding landscapes. The rock also has its own historical significance, with ancient cave temples and ruins scattered around it.
So put on your hiking shoes and get ready for an adventure at Pidurangala Rock!
Visit the Sigiriya Museum
When you’re in Sigiriya, make sure to visit the Sigiriya Museum. This museum is located near the ticket office for Sigiriya Rock and offers a fascinating insight into the history and archaeology of the area.
You can learn about the ancient civilization that once thrived here through exhibits showcasing artifacts and information about Sigiriya’s past. It’s a great way to enhance your understanding and appreciation of this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
So don’t miss out on exploring the Sigiriya Museum during your trip to Sri Lanka!
See Elephants at Minneriya National Park
When visiting Sigiriya, one of the top attractions you shouldn’t miss is Minneriya National Park. This park is known for its incredible wildlife, especially the elephants. You can take a jeep safari and get up close to these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat.
It’s an unforgettable experience to see them roaming freely and interacting with each other. Keep your camera ready as you might also spot other animals like deer, buffalo, and various bird species.
Minneriya National Park is definitely a must-visit for nature lovers and adventure seekers alike!
Discover Dambulla Cave Temple
One of the popular attractions near Sigiriya is the Dambulla Cave Temple. This ancient temple is located in the Matale District and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It consists of five caves filled with magnificent Buddhist statues and intricate murals that depict the life of Lord Buddha.
Inside these caves, you can also find various shrines and meditation spots. The Dambulla Cave Temple is not just a spiritual destination but also offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape from its hilltop location.
Don’t forget to take off your shoes before entering the sacred caves!
Take a Day Tour to Polonnaruwa
Polonnaruwa is an ancient city near Sigiriya that you should definitely visit during your time in Sri Lanka. You can take a day tour to Polonnaruwa and explore its fascinating ruins, including the Royal Palace and the Sacred Quadrangle.
These historical sites give you a glimpse into the rich history of Sri Lanka and showcase impressive architectural feats. The city is also surrounded by lush greenery, making it a scenic place to wander around and soak up the atmosphere.
So, if you’re interested in history and culture, don’t miss out on taking a day tour to Polonnaruwa when visiting Sigiriya.
Additional Activities in Sigiriya
– Take a hot air balloon ride and experience breathtaking views of Sigiriya from above.
– Visit the coastal town of Trincomalee for a relaxing day at the beach.
– Explore Polonnaruwa on a cycling tour and discover its ancient ruins.
– Challenge yourself to climb Rose Quartz Mountain for stunning panoramic views.
Hot air balloon ride
One thrilling activity to experience in Sigiriya is a hot air balloon ride. Soaring through the sky in a colorful balloon gives you a unique view of the surrounding landscape. During the ride, you can enjoy breathtaking views of Sigiriya Rock Fortress, Pidurangala Rock, and the lush greenery below.
The best time for a hot air balloon ride is during Sri Lanka’s ballooning season, which runs from November to April. It’s an unforgettable adventure that will surely add excitement to your trip to Sigiriya.
Visit Trincomalee for a day at the beach
If you’re an adventure traveler visiting Sigiriya, make sure to take a day trip to Trincomalee for some beach time. Trincomalee has beautiful sandy beaches and crystal clear waters that are perfect for swimming and sunbathing.
You can relax by the shore, go snorkeling or diving to explore the underwater world, or even try out some water sports like jet skiing or surfing. Trincomalee is also known for its rich history, so you can visit historical sites like Fort Frederick and Koneswaram Temple while you’re there.
Enjoy a day of fun in the sun at Trincomalee’s pristine beaches!
Cycle around Polonnaruwa
One of the enjoyable activities to do in Sigiriya is cycling around Polonnaruwa. This ancient city, located near Sigiriya, is a UNESCO World Heritage site known for its well-preserved ruins and archaeological sites.
Renting a bike allows you to explore this historical place at your own pace and get up close to its fascinating landmarks. As you cycle along the paths, you can admire the grandeur of the Royal Palace, visit the Sacred Quadrangle with its impressive Buddhist statues and temples, and discover other unique structures like the Gal Vihara rock carvings.
Cycling through Polonnaruwa gives you a sense of adventure while immersing yourself in Sri Lanka’s rich history.
Climb Rose Quartz Mountain
One of the additional activities you can enjoy in Sigiriya is climbing Rose Quartz Mountain. This mountain offers a unique experience as it is made up of rose quartz, a beautiful pink-colored crystal.
The climb can be challenging but rewarding, as you’ll be surrounded by stunning natural scenery and breathtaking views from the top. It’s a great opportunity to connect with nature and explore the diverse landscapes that Sigiriya has to offer.
So get ready for an adventure and conquer Rose Quartz Mountain!
Unique Experiences in Sigiriya
Experience the thrill of staying overnight in a treehouse, embark on a thrilling Jeep safari in Minneriya National Park, immerse yourself in local culture with a Hiriwadunna Village tour, and catch an exciting cricket match at Dambulla International Cricket Field.
Stay overnight in a treehouse
One of the unique experiences you can have in Sigiriya is staying overnight in a treehouse. Imagine sleeping among the treetops, surrounded by nature and waking up to the sounds of birds chirping.
It’s an adventure like no other! There are several treehouse accommodations available that offer comfortable amenities while still providing an authentic experience. You’ll get to enjoy the tranquility of the jungle and perhaps even spot some wildlife from your perch high above the ground.
It’s an opportunity to disconnect from the world and fully immerse yourself in nature. So, if you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind adventure, don’t miss out on staying overnight in a treehouse in Sigiriya!
Take a Jeep safari in Minneriya National Park
Let’s explore the thrill of a Jeep safari in Minneriya National Park! This adventure is perfect for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts. Hop into a sturdy 4×4 vehicle and set off on an exciting journey through the wilderness.
As you navigate through the park, keep your eyes peeled for incredible wildlife sightings. Minneriya National Park is famous for its large gathering of elephants, so be prepared to witness these majestic creatures up close in their natural habitat.
Along with elephants, you might also spot other fascinating animals like deer, crocodiles, and various bird species. It’s an unforgettable experience that allows you to immerse yourself in Sri Lanka’s incredible biodiversity.
Grab your binoculars and camera because this jeep safari will take you on a thrilling ride filled with amazing encounters with wildlife. Get ready for an adventure like no other as you explore the untouched beauty of Minneriya National Park.
Experience Hiriwadunna Village tour
During your visit to Sigiriya, one unique experience you shouldn’t miss is the Hiriwadunna Village tour. This cultural tour takes you away from the bustling tourist destinations and immerses you in the traditional way of life in rural Sri Lanka.
You will have the opportunity to walk through paddy fields, interact with friendly villagers, and witness traditional farming practices. Along the way, you can also enjoy a bullock cart ride and a peaceful boat ride on a scenic lake.
The Hiriwadunna Village tour offers an authentic glimpse into local culture and is a great way to connect with nature and support sustainable tourism efforts in the area.
Attend a Cricket Match
One of the unique experiences you can have in Sigiriya is attending a cricket match at the Dambulla International Cricket Field. Immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere as you watch an exciting game of this popular sport.
The stadium hosts both local and international matches, so there’s always something thrilling happening on the field. It’s a great opportunity to learn about Sri Lanka’s passion for cricket and cheer alongside passionate fans.
Don’t forget your sunscreen and hat as you enjoy watching this beloved sport against the backdrop of beautiful landscapes.
Practical Information for Visiting Sigiriya
Plan to spend at least 2-3 days in Sigiriya to fully explore the area and its attractions. There are several accommodation options available, ranging from budget guesthouses to luxury resorts.
Getting around Sri Lanka is easy with tuk-tuks and taxis readily available. Discover all the practical information you need for your visit to Sigiriya and start planning your adventure today!
How long to spend in Sigiriya
Sigiriya is a fascinating place with lots to see and do. If you’re an adventure traveler, I recommend spending at least two to three days in Sigiriya to fully explore all the amazing attractions.
This will give you enough time to climb both Sigiriya Rock (also known as Lion Rock) and Pidurangala Rock, which offer stunning panoramic views of the surrounding area. You can also visit the Sigiriya Museum, where you can learn about the history and culture of this ancient rock fortress.
Don’t forget to take a day trip to Minneriya National Park for a thrilling elephant safari experience. And if you have more time, consider visiting nearby places like Dambulla Cave Temple or taking a day tour to Polonnaruwa, known for its impressive ruins.
Where to stay in Sigiriya
During your visit to Sigiriya, there are several accommodation options to choose from. You can stay in one of the hotels or guesthouses located near Sigiriya Rock Fortress, which is convenient if you want to explore this iconic attraction.
Alternatively, you can opt for a unique and adventurous experience by staying overnight in a treehouse amidst the lush greenery. If you prefer a more luxurious stay, there are also luxury resorts available nearby.
No matter where you choose to stay, be sure to book in advance as accommodations fill up quickly during peak travel seasons.
Getting around Sri Lanka
To explore the beautiful sights of Sri Lanka, there are several transportation options available. One popular choice is to hire a private driver or use a taxi service, which provides convenience and flexibility.
Another option is to travel by train, where you can enjoy breathtaking views of the countryside. Buses are also widely used and offer an affordable way to get around. If you’re feeling adventurous, renting a scooter or bicycle can be a fun way to navigate through cities and towns.
Lastly, domestic flights are available for those who want to cover long distances quickly. It’s important to note that traffic in Sri Lanka can be congested, so it’s best to plan your itinerary accordingly and allow extra time for travel.
In conclusion, Sigiriya, Sri Lanka offers a plethora of exciting activities and attractions for adventure travelers. From climbing the iconic Lion Rock to exploring nearby Pidurangala Rock and Dambulla Cave Temple, there is something for everyone to enjoy.
Don’t miss out on the opportunity to see elephants at Minneriya National Park or take a day tour to Polonnaruwa to discover ancient ruins. With its unique experiences like staying overnight in a treehouse and attending a cricket match, Sigiriya is truly a destination worth exploring.
Don’t forget to plan your visit wisely with practical information on how long to spend in Sigiriya and where to stay.
1. What are the best things to do in Sigiriya, Sri Lanka?
The best things to do in Sigiriya, Sri Lanka include visiting the ancient rock fortress, exploring the beautiful Sigiriya Nature Reserve, experiencing a traditional village tour, and taking part in an elephant safari.
2. How much does it cost to visit Sigiriya Rock Fortress?
The entrance fee for visiting Sigiriya Rock Fortress is approximately $30 USD for foreign adults and $15 USD for foreign children.
3. Is it safe to climb the stairs at Sigiriya Rock Fortress?
Yes, it is generally safe to climb the stairs at Sigiriya Rock Fortress as there are sturdy handrails and steps have been constructed for visitors. However, those with mobility issues or fear of heights may find it challenging.
4. Are guided tours available for exploring Sigiriya Nature Reserve?
Yes, guided tours are available for exploring Sigiriya Nature Reserve and they can provide valuable information about the flora, fauna, and history of the area. It’s recommended to book a tour with a reputable guide or agency for a more enriching experience.
Melanie Cho is a passionate traveler, storyteller, and cultural enthusiast with a heart that bridges the landscapes of Korea and Sri Lanka. As a 28-year-old Korean woman who spent her formative years splitting time between these two captivating worlds, Melanie’s unique upbringing ignited her love for exploration and connection. Her intimate knowledge of both cultures enables her to share authentic insights, captivating stories, and practical tips that inspire fellow adventurers to embark on unforgettable journeys.