Climbing Sigiriya Rock
Sigiriya Rock or otherwise known as Lion Rock is one of the most famous tourist attractions in Sri Lanka. The rock is lovingly called the eight world wonder by locals and I can see why! This rock has served has served a purpose since the third century BC when it was a monastery. Later a King built his palace on top of the rock and those are the ruins we can see today.
It is absolutely breathtaking whether you see it from up above, on top of the rock or from any of the view points in the area. The rock is 370m above sea level but don’t let that deter you from climbing to the top.
It is called the Lion Rock as the entrance used to be a huge stone lion on the side of the rock. The only thing that remains now are the paws. It is definitely a dramatic sight with a rich history and a great place to add to your Sri Lanka itinerary.
Where is Sigiriya
Sigiriya rock is located in between the towns of Dambulla and Habarane in the center of the island. You definitely wont miss the rock as it sticks out in the green landscape.
How to get there
If you base yourself in a nearby hotel it is pretty easy to get to Sigiriya rock. If you don’t have private transport don’t worry. There are plenty of tuk tuk’s around!
How much does it cost
A pass to climb up Sigiriya is $30. It is definitely worth it to see the ruins but if you are on a tight budged there are other options. The best views of something are always from a distance and the best view of Sigiriya rock is from Pidurangala. This is the mountain just next to it and it only costs $3 to hike up.
Is climbing Sigiriya Rock difficult
There is in fact not a whole lot of actual hiking involved when climbing up Sigiriya. You can easily head up in sandals and it is mostly just steps you need to walk up.
The steps can be strenuous though especially when it is really hot so keep that in mind. The climb can be done by older people as well as children but it is not wheelchair friendly.
How long does it take to get to the top
Climbing up to the top of Sigiriya will take your around 30 min to 1 hour depending on your fitness level and the crowds. You will probably spend around an hour at the top and another hour to head down and see everything you missed in your hurry to get to the top. You can also spend some extra time at looking at the ancient paintings, the mirror wall, the lions paws and the gardens at the bottom.
What to wear when climbing Sigiriya Rock
As Sigiriya is not a temple there is not need to cover your shoulders or knees. I hiked up in a dress with sandals so you can wear what you prefer.
A hat and comfortable shoes are a good idea though if you are planning on spending some time at the rock.
Best time to climb up Sigiriya Rock
As it is one of the most famous and popular tourist attractions in Sri Lanka you will want to go early to avoid crowds. It does get pretty tedious waiting in a line all the way to the top like we did. It can also be really uncomfortable during the heat of the day.
You will also be able to get much better photos earlier when there are less people. If you are short on time getting there as it opens ( it is open from 7am till 7pm ) will be the best option. As it stays open quite late a sunset climb could also be a good idea.
What to know when climbing Sigiriya Rock
- Put on sunscreen as the wait to get to the top can be long.
- Pack water or buy some at the cafeteria at the bottom.
- Be respectful and don’t climb on, damage or scribble on any of the ruins.
- Watch out for the monkeys. They are pretty harmless but give them their space and don’t try and interact with them.
- There are large bee hives so be careful especially if you are allergic to bees.
- Use the bathrooms at the bottom as there are none on the way to the top or at the top.
- Drones are prohibited so don’t bother bringing one.
- Remove the plastic sleeve from your water bottle before entering.
Where to get the best photos when climbing Sigiriya Rock
- As you walk towards the rock you will get a great leading line with the path heading towards the rock. This is a great shot especially with no crowds around.
- When you get to the top there are numerous locations to shoot at. The best one however is on the opposite side if where you climbed up with the mountains as your backdrop.
- When the ruins are filled with water at the top it can also make for a dramatic picture.