My one-year Indian visa was about to expire. Where to go next?. I knew I wanted to stay in Asia. Sri Lanka! I thought. I have heard so many good things about this place. It was categorized as the best country to visit in 2019 by Lonely Planet, so I guess it must be a good idea to visit it. Also, I knew Sri Lanka has really lovely waves and many Buddhist temples I could see, so I thought I might give it a try. My first stop was in the middle of the island in a place called Sigiriya, Sri Lanka.
In today’s blog, I will show you the Lion Rock Ancient Fortress in Sigirya, and the Dambulla Cave Temple. Both being part of the UNESCO Worlds Heritage Sites. They are weird and extraordinary, and I can’t wait to show them to you!.
First time in Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka is famous for surfing. In India, and depending on where you are, it can be challenging to swim in the Ocean. This situation happens because you can be far away from the shore (India is huge!) or because of the simple fact that you cannot wear a bikini in public. So, after spending one year traveling mainly in the mountains of India, I wanted to go surfing in Sri Lanka. But when I arrived there, for some reason, my gut told me not to just jump to the beach. Maybe because I knew that if I were going to visit the Ocean probably, I would just stay there all of the days of my visit. And Sri Lanka has so much more to offer than just its beautiful coast.
When I landed in Colombo, the central city of Sri Lanka, it was January. Half of the Island was in winter (the north part), and a half was in summer (the south). Considering that, I decided to start from the middle and then go south, reaching the coast. Talking with some locals and other travelers, they recommended visiting Sigiriya.
Sigiriya, Sri Lanka
Sigi what? Sigiriya is a place in the middle of the Island of Sri Lanka, which has an exceptional gem: The Lion Rock! This weird place, made by a 200 metros tall colossal rock, is situated in a fantastic flat jungle. But what makes this World Heritage Site so unique is its mysterious ruins from the 3rd century built precisely on top of this Rock.
These ruins are so rare that nobody can still figure out how they were built at that time. Many theories involve the natives, monks from a monastery, and even aliens are involved. Aliens? Rareness? Yeap, that pretty much caught my attention. That’s why I decided to start my trip to Sri Lanka by visiting the mysteries of The Lion Rock.
Lion Rock, in Sigirya
If you come to this place, there are two main ways to see this fantastic Rock. The first choice is climbing the Lion Rock, visiting the ruins on top of them, the Museum and the gardens; you have to pay $35. The second way is watching the Rock from a far away. You can do that by climbing a hill called Pidurangala, where you can’t see much of the ruins, but the view of the Lion Rock is just stunning, and it cost only $3.
Which one to pick?
Well, as you can imagine, I went to see both! I mean, I was already there. And to be honest, I’m glad I did because both are different experiences, and both are awesome.
The Lion Rock considers no shade, so try to go early or late in the afternoon. Plus, take a hat with you, sunscreen, and sufficient water because it can get really hot (I went at noon, and it was intense!). Also, you will have to climb lots of stairs, and it gets high if you struggle with this (I know I did because I’m not a fan of standing up high).
For Pidurangala I recommend you to go for the sunrise, trust me you won’t regret it! Non the less, consider that it takes around 40 minutes to get to the viewpoint, so bring a head flashlight with you to see where you are stepping in. If you have to pick only one choice, I would say Pidurangala is a must! But don’t let me choose for you. I made a video vlog showing both options so you can see and pick for yourself.
Sigiriya (Sri Lanka) town
I stayed here just a couple of nights because there are not many things to do more than these two rocks. There is a small town with guesthouses and restaurants, but it is generally small and pretty relaxed. I enjoyed going to the Rasta Café next to the river to drink a beer before bed. So that’s a fun activity to do there in case you are feeling social.
Dambula Cave Temple
From Sigirya, I took a tuk-tuk to Dambulla, which is 30 minutes far away. In this place, there are the Buddhist Cave’s spectacular Temples! Worth it to make the trio there (if you like temples).
One good tip is that you can leave your belongings in the Museum and pay a small fee, so you don’t have to carry them all around. Another recommendation is to eat in the restaurant outside the Museum. It’s all vegan Sri Lankan food, and the taste was fantastic! From the Museum you can take a bus to your next destination. Honestly, my trip here in Sri Lanka has been based only on traveling on buses, and I have found it pretty easy.
Ok, ready for the videos vlogs?
This time I divided my videos in two, one for Lion Rock and one for Pidurangala and Dambulla, so I hope you enjoy them both!
Sending you love from Sri Lanka,
Travel Vlog: Lion Rock Sigirya, Sri Lanka
Travel Vlog: Pidurangala and Dambulla Cave Temple