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Sigiriya Tourism And Travel Guide
21.5° C / 70.6° F
February to April
3 to 4 Days
Sigiriya Airport, Dambulla
Built by King Kasyap, the historic city of Sigiriya’s well known for the Sigiriya Rock Fortress or the Lion Mountain, which should have been officially labeled the 8th wonder of the world. With Sri Lanka’s structural designing portrayed rather impressively in Sigiriya, the balanced mix of buildings and parks rich with pathways, greenery, water gardens, multi-levels of outspread and circular architecture and a blend of proportioned and lop-sided components speaks volumes about its sophisticated planning methods.
Tourism in Sigiriya is one of the chief sources of income in Sigiriya, and in addition to the Rock which is the main tourist attraction, other tourist places to visit include the Sigiriya Gardens, Frescoes, the Minneriya National Park, Pidurangala Rock, the Archeological Museum, the Summit, the Lion’s Paws and the Dambulla Temple. If you’d like to travel to Sigiriya, here’s a brief travel guide for your convenience.
How to Reach
To travel to Sigiriya, there are no direct flights, hence you can choose from the flights to Colombo from the different metros and then board an air taxi, catch a bus, book a self-driven car or hire a cab on arrival for Sigiriya.
The ride to Sigiriya by road is about 166.3 km and takes about 1 hour and 33 minutes. There’s an air taxi option offered by Cinnamon Air, a Sri Lankan airline which has flights operating every day from the domestic terminal and can take you there in 30 minutes. However, given that the air taxi may burn a hole in your pocket, it is best to explore other modes of travel.
From Colombo Fort, there’s a train to Habarana, the train station nearest to Sigiriya which is about 15 km. The best way to travel is to board the train and then take a cab to Sigiriya on arrival at Habarana.
To enjoy a road trip to Sigiriya, you can drive down yourself or take a taxi. Another alternative would be to board a bus from Colombo Bus Terminal to either Dambulla or Habarana, and then take a tuk-tuk to Sigiriya.
Sigiriya is an archeological wonder and is best explored at leisure. To get around in Sigiriya, you can explore the tourist places and streets on cycles or scooters that are available on rentals.
Weather and Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit Sigiriya is February to April and it is good to explore the popular attractions early in the morning or late afternoon when the temperature’s cooler.
Spring (March through May):
The weather gets very hot in March, until May because of the varying temperature and humidity levels. The average temperature keeps fluctuating between 34°C to 32°C. Rainfall is common during these months with the average precipitation being 4-10 days.
One of the best periods to visit Sigiriya, the summer months of June, July & August are usually hot and cloudy. The humidity levels are very high and rainfall is low, from 0-3 days in a month.
The varying temperature between 33°C-29°C makes it very pleasant in Sigiriya. However, with almost 4 to 14 days of rainfall in a month, tourism is quite dull during this period. If you don’t mind getting wet, then this is a good time to be in Sigiriya.
Winter time in Sigiriya is cool at night with the average day temperature being pleasant at 20°C. And with rains or snowfall occurring almost 5 to 12 days in a month, this period can be considered the second-best time of the year for tourists.
Things To Do
One of the most popular things to do in Sigiriya, climbing the Lion Rock is best done in the morning. It is wise to enter about ½ hour after entry opens, so you don’t get stuck walking behind a crowd. If you make the trip during the morning hours, you’d enjoy the climb, before it gets too hot to handle.
To experience the nature trails, you can visit the Minneriya National Park with a day-long tour to witness the famous jamboree of Elephants at the lake during July through September. There’s a wide variety of wildlife and bird species as well to see and enjoy. There’s Kaudulla National Park, not very far from Minneriya which is yet another popular spot for birds.
With most of the Sigirian beauty residing in its countryside, enjoy the village trails and become familiar with the rural lifestyle, organic farming, and historical sites, in addition to experiencing local hospitality and relishing home-made food. You can do all this by renting bicycles and exploring Sigiriya on your own or take a Jeep tour with a local guide.
Hot Air Balloon Ride:
On a clear sunny day, view the beautiful Sigiriya sunrise, the lush green forest canopies and the incredible flora and fauna atop a Hot Air Balloon, which is run by a local Government approved company offering hot air balloon rides during sunrise.
And after a long day, take a boat ride on the lake to relax, enjoy the sweet silence by the water body, listen to birds chirping and mellow chattering of the primates and then unwind with some spa or massage sessions back in the hotel.
Where To Eat
Given its popularity, most eateries in Sigiriya are based on the thematic aura of the Sigiriya Rock Fortress. The food in Sigiriya is quite economical and also authentic in regards to the local cultural taste. Of some of the best places in Sigiriya to enjoy local cuisine, Rithu restaurant, Inamaluwa Sigiriya leads, on the way to the Lion Rock. For LKR 750 per person, you can have a variety of delicacies, enjoy the earthy and pleasant vibes of the restaurant.
Another popular diner is the Wijesiri Family Restaurant, Sigiriya road, with famous local tea. The food is delectable and prices reasonable. The Banana Lassi at the Ahinsa Restaurant, Inamaluwa-Sigiriya Road is quite promising, while the menu is rich with good food and more than enough quantity! Some other eating places include the Royal Sigiriya and Chooti restaurants.
Where To Shop
The Sigiriya Craft Village is a shopper’s delight with a lovely assortment of local artefacts with some really beautiful selection of wood carvings, batik, jewellery, and brass items. The prices of these items vary between being reasonable to expensive and you need to be a smart bargainer. Then there’s Lanka Souvenirs and Vish Wood Carvings where you can find a wide array of wood art, leather items, paintings, gemstones, minerals, and local spices. You can also visit Lanka Silks, which specialises in Silk Sarees, Batik Sarom, and Natural Silk.