When you type ‘Sri Lanka’ into Google one of the first photos that pops up is the famous Lion Rock. So with Sigiriya being one the most popular tourist destinations in the country, here’s our guide on how to approach it…
If you’re heading to Dambulla or Sigiriya then you’ll already be pre-planning you trip to Sri Lanka’s ‘Eighth Wonder of the World’, because that’s exactly what we were doing…
Although it wasn’t until we arrived in the city and started talking to other travellers that we found out there was actually another option. Other than the widely recognised Lion Rock, there is in fact another large, naturally formed tourist attraction – Pidurangala Rock! This of course led us to the dreaded question – ‘Which rock to climb in Sigiriya?’
Well before we could even open Tripadvisor and compare reviews, the first thing we heard was the huge difference in price between Lion Rock and it’s little brother Pidurangala. With the latter costing only 500 Rupees to enter compared to the 4500 Rupees (that’s right 9 x the amount) of the larger rock, it certainly gave us something to think about.
As tight as we are when travelling though, we weren’t going to come all the way to Sri Lanka and skip the main attraction just to save a couple of bucks. So we decided to look into it a bit more. The real game changer came when upon deeper research we realised that Pidurangala not only came up a lot cheaper but actually gave the better views!! Everybody we spoke to, from locals to backpackers and people that had climbed both, all advised us to visit Pidurangala. The main reasons being; there were no crowds, you got a way better view from the summit and the wait time on the stairway to Lion Rock was sometimes up to 3 hours.
So that was it, decision made, and it turned out to be one of the best decisions we’ve made throughout our travels! We grabbed a cheap tuk tuk from Dambulla that cost only 2000 Rupees – which included the 30 minute ride to Sigiriya, the 2 hour wait whilst we explored and the return journey home. As for Pidurangala, it really is beautiful. Not only from the viewpoint but on the 20 minute climb as well.
There’s a cute little temple at the bottom, which ladies you’ll have to cover up for, but the 500 Rupees entrance fee includes head/shoulder covers if needed. Pass the temple and there’s a few other interesting points along the way including rock formations, a reclining buddha and if you look hard enough you might even spot a couple of Cobras in the pond that sits just before the top. Oh and it’s shaded most of the way up so don’t worry it’s not too strenuous, just watch out for the monkeys!
Well, that’s about it for Pidurangala. As you can see from the photo’s it doesn’t really need much more explaining so we’ll leave the rest up to you!
As for the town itself there’s not much else to do in Dambulla. If you’re looking for somewhere good to eat we highly recommend the food at Mango Mango. The service was absolutely awful but the FOOD was well worth putting up with a few miserable looking waiters for.
If you’re on a time limit in Sri Lanka, there are also cave temples and elephant safaris available in the area. So if you’re strapped for time, here could be the place to tick those two off your bucket list. We personally passed on the opportunity just because we had our hearts set on Yala National Park. Apart from that, that pretty much wraps up our short but efficient stay in the central point of Sri Lanka which thanks to Pidyrangala Rock will definitely be one of the highlights of our trip!
If you have any questions or recommendations just drop them in the comments below…