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15+ Best Things To Do In Sigiriya In 2024

Climbing the famous Lion’s Rock (i.e. Sigiriya Rock Fortress) is the most famous and popular thing to do in Sigiriya. But there are plenty of other fantastic sights to explore here too.

These include Pidurangala Rock, Sigiriya Buddhist Temple, and Kandalama Lake. I’ll share more info on each of these below to help you plan an unforgettable trip to Sigiriya.

I usually try to avoid the most popular tourist hotspots as I’m generally more of a fan of off-the-beaten-path places. However, I was really blown away by Sigiriya when I visited. It’s an epic place and you shouldn’t miss it!

Best Things To Do in Sigiriya, Sri Lanka

If you’re planning a trip to Sri Lanka, Sigiriya should definitely be on your list of places to visit. This ancient city is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and it’s known for its impressive rock fortress, beautiful gardens, and stunning landscapes.

Climbing Lion’s Rock is a must, of course. But there are plenty of other attractions worth seeing around the area too. I’ve described the best of these below.

🤩 If you’re pushed for time, check out this private tour of Sigiriya, Pidurangala, and Dambulla


1. Climb Lion’s Rock (i.e. Sigiriya Rock Fortress)

Climbing Lion’s Rock is THE famous thing to do in Sigiriya. And, yes, despite all the hype, it is worth it.

This amazing place is unlike anywhere I’ve ever visited before.

It was built by King Kashyapa I (477-495 CE) as a royal palace and fortress and is one of the best-preserved examples of ancient urban planning anywhere in the world.

The fortress is perched atop a huge rock column that rises almost 200 metres above the surrounding plain. This towering height made it nearly impregnable.


At the top, there is a vast palace complex with gardens, ponds, pavilions, caves, and even a series of tunnels. The majority of it is still incredibly well preserved to this day and it’s a really atmospheric place to explore.

To get up there, you need to climb around 1,200 steps, which takes anything from 30 minutes to 2 hours, depending on how fast you go.

It’s pretty tough going – especially given the heat and humidity – and you’ll need to bring lots of water with you (at least a litre). I was amazed to see a few people aged 85+ doing it when I was there.

Lion’s Paw Terrace is located near the top of the rock. It’s a good place to rest before the final push to the summit. Here you’ll see the main gateway to the fortress, with the staircase guarded on both sides by a pair of huge lion’s paws.

People walking up the main path leading to Sigiriya Lion's Rock just before dawn with the giant rock fortress looming overhead

My number-one recommendation for climbing Lion’s Rock in Sigiriya is to get there at 5:00am when it opens. The Sigiriya Fortress website says that it opens at 6:30am, but this is wrong. It’s 5am.

(I hate early starts but this was so totally worth it!)

At this time, you’ll have the place virtually to yourself, and the temperature is much cooler and more bearable for the climb. Plus, you’ll be able to enjoy the sunrise from the top (a definite win).

There were only about 30 other people at the top when I got there. It was awesome.


On the way back down, don’t miss the spectacular Sigiriya frescoes. These are some of the oldest surviving Medieval paintings in South Asia and depict a series of beautiful women and goddesses.

They’re genuinely mesmerising and have become a symbol of Sri Lanka.

Along with its feats of ancient engineering and beautiful artwork, Sigiriya stands as a testament to the Sri Lankan civilisation’s creativity and ingenuity. It’s one of the most important symbols of Sri Lankan culture.

This is undoubtedly the most iconic thing to do in Sigiriya. Don’t miss it!

Price: $30 USD (for foreigners)

Opening times: 5 am–5 pm, Mon–Sun

Location: Thalkote Rd, Sigiriya, Sri Lanka

NOTE: You don’t need to take a guided tour of Lion’s Rock. There are many info boards throughout the site, and the museum is great. However, this highly-rated tour might be a good option for those without much time who want to see as much as possible

2. Explore the Sigiriya Archaeological Museum

After you’ve climbed the Sigiriya Rock Fortress, be sure to visit the Sigiriya Archaeological Museum too. This museum houses a vast collection of artifacts and exhibits related to the history and culture of the ancient city.

You can learn about the various rulers who lived in Sigiriya, as well as the art, architecture, and daily life of the people who inhabited the city.

It’s a really well-curated museum and a great place for those interested in learning more about the history and culture of the region.

Sigiriya Museum offers engaging displays and exhibits that showcase artifacts spanning prehistory up to modern times. These include ancient stone tools, pottery, engraved swords, coins, and sculptures.

I particularly enjoyed learning about how the fortress was built and how its use developed over time. There’s also an interesting section on how it was (re-)discovered in 1831 and subsequently excavated and opened up to the public.

There are also galleries dedicated to Buddha statues from various periods, ancient manuscripts written in the Pali language on palm leaves, and an interactive exhibition highlighting the importance of sustainable living practices in Sigiriya.

It’s worth spending at least an hour here after you get back down from climbing the famous rock.

Price: Included in Lion’s Rock ticket price

Opening times: 5:30 am–5 pm, Mon–Sun

Location: Sigiriya, Sri Lanka


3. Relax in the Royal Gardens

The Sigiriya Royal Gardens are located at the base of Lion’s Rock and are home to various ponds, fountains, and landscaped areas. I recommend visiting these after you’ve climbed Lion’s Rock.

You want to get up to the summit of the rock as early as possible (ideally in time for sunrise). Once you’ve made it back down, this is a great time to explore the gardens.

Take a leisurely stroll through the gardens and soak up the peaceful atmosphere. Sit by the water and soak up the sun, or cool off under the shade of a large tree and enjoy the birdsong.

The gardens are famous for their intricate and symmetrical design, exquisite water gardens, and the ancient irrigation system that still works to feed the moat and ponds.

This intricate network of weirs and canals (some underground) was once part of the irrigation system used by King Kashyapa’s ancestors. It’s considered to be one of the most advanced engineering achievements of that era.

The water gardens were built with sophisticated waterways that allowed rainwater to be diverted into reservoirs at different elevation levels while also providing a safe source of drinking water for the city population.

Price: Included in Lion’s Rock entrance fee

Opening times: 5 am–5 pm, Mon–Sun

Location: Sigiriya Rd, Sigiriya, Sri Lanka

See also:


4. Visit Pidurangala Rock Temple

Pidurangala is another giant rock formation in Sigiriya. It’s less famous than Lion’s Rock but is still definitely worth a visit.

Pidurangala is home to a rock temple containing a giant carved Buddha statue. You can also explore the various other caves and shrines that are located around the temple.

The hike to the top of Pidurangala Rock takes about 30-45 minutes, and the views from the top are spectacular. It’s pretty steep but not too difficult if you’re reasonably fit and have water and comfortable shoes.

When you’re on top of Lion’s Rock (/Sigiriya Rock Fortress), you don’t actually get to see Lion’s Rock itself (duh).

The beauty of climbing Pidurangala is that you get the same epic aerial view of the surrounding scenery. But you also get to see the impressive Lion’s Rock rising dramatically out of the plains, too.

It’s an amazing place to come for sunrise or sunset, as the sky is painted orange, pink, and blue. The atmosphere is peaceful and tranquil, making it perfect for reflection as well as photography.

If you only have one day to spend in Sigiriya, I recommend catching the sunrise from the top of Lion’s Rock and sunset from the top of Pidurangala Rock.

The Pidurangala ticket office is open from 5:30 am–6 pm. But, the rock doesn’t “shut”, so you can stay up there as long as you like after sunset (bring a headtorch for the way down if you’re planning to stay late!)

Price: 500 LKR

Opening times: 5:30 am–6 pm, Mon–Sun (for the ticket office – see above)

Location: Pidurangala Rajamaha Viharaya Road, Pidurangala, Sigiriya 21120, Sri Lanka

🤩 As with Lion’s Rock, you don’t need a guided tour for Pidurangala


5. Go on Safari in Minneriya National Park

Sigiriya is only a short drive (20 kilometres / 30 mins) away from Minneriya National Park. You can easily visit this amazing place as a half-day trip from Sigiriya (or a full day if you prefer).

Minneriya is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including elephants, leopards, monkeys, deer, wild buffalo, sloth bears, wild pigs, pangolins, and over 150 species of birds.

The best way to spot these animals and enjoy the beautiful scenery is to take a jeep safari tour of the park. These can be arranged to pick you up from your accommodation in Sigiriya, so it’s super easy and convenient.

The best time to visit the park is during the dry season, between July and October when the animals congregate around the water sources. Although it’s worth visiting any time of year as you’ll probably still see a lot even outside of these months.

Afternoon (between 3 pm and 6 pm) is the best time to go on safari in Minneriya as it’s cooler and the animals (especially elephants) like to come out of the forest to eat and drink on the banks of the Minneriya Reservoir.

Price: $30 USD park entrance fees per person (+ cost of safari driver: $25–50 USD per jeep, depending on length of trip)

Opening times: 6 am–6:30 pm, Mon–Sun

Location: Minneriya National Park, Sri Lanka

🤩 Check out this fantastic private safari in Minneriya (includes transport to/from Sigiriya)

Or, if you’re happy to make your own way to/from Minneriya, this one is cheaper but still very highly-reviewed


6. Take a Hot Air Balloon Ride Over Sigiriya

Taking a hot air balloon trip over Sigiriya is an unforgettable way to experience this majestic and awe-inspiring place.

From high up in the sky, you’ll get a breathtaking view of the ancient ruins and the surrounding areas. The peace and tranquility, paired with the views, are hard to beat.

Most Sigiriya hot air balloon rides start early in the morning before dawn (around 5 am), so you’ll also get to enjoy the sunrise from the air. It’s atmospheric beyond words.

Be sure to come prepared. It might be a little chilly up in the sky at first. But once the sun rises, it will soon heat up. You’ll want light clothing, sunglasses, sunscreen, and plenty of water.

Don’t forget your camera either for some truly spectacular photos.

Price: approx. $350 USD per person

🤩 This is an excellent Sigiriya hot air balloon trip


7. Visit the Ancient Dambulla Cave Temples

The Dambulla Cave Temples are really impressive. Built into the side of a mountain, this vast complex of caves and temple buildings are over two thousand years old. They’ve provided sanctuary for Buddhist monks since the first century BC.

It’s also only 20 kilometres away from Sigiriya, so you can easily visit both Lion’s Rock and the Dambulla Cave Temples in one day.

The complex houses some of Sri Lanka’s oldest murals and statues. Many of these are incredibly intricate and carved directly into the walls of the caves.

The murals illustrate stories from ancient Buddhist mythology. And the statues depict various kings, gods, and goddesses.

These murals and statues are among the best preserved in all of Sri Lanka, having survived countless earthquakes and invasions over centuries.

It’s an important place of pilgrimage for Buddhists across South Asia who come to pay homage to this sacred site.

As with most Buddhist holy sites, you should cover your knees and shoulders (both men and women), and take off your shoes, before entering the temples. (It’s fine to wear a T-shirt and tie a sarong around your waist.)

Beyond its religious significance, Dambulla Cave Temple is also an important cultural landmark in Sri Lanka and one of the best places to visit near Sigiriya.

Price: 2,000 LKR ($6.50 USD)

Opening times: 7 am–7 pm, Mon–Sun

Location: Kandy – Jaffna Hwy, Dambulla, Sri Lanka

🤩 This tour includes Dambulla (as well as Sigiriya) and might be a good option for those without much time who want to see as much as possible

Fancy a trip up to the far north? Check out my guide to the best places to visit in Jaffna!


8. Relax on the Shores of Kandalama Lake

Kandalama Lake lies between Sigiriya and Dambulla. It’s surrounded by lush greenery and is an excellent place to unwind and soak up the natural tranquility.

There are a number of trails around the lake that offer great views of the surrounding landscape. The water itself is pretty clean and there are several places where you can swim or sit and relax on the shores.

For birdwatchers, Kandalama Lake is home to many rare and endemic species. The lake is also home to a variety of fish, reptiles, and other animals.

It’s a really lovely, peaceful spot and you probably won’t see many (if any) foreign tourists there. When I visited, there was a handful of local families having picnics and taking a dip, but that was all.

I also saw a couple of little boats out on the lake. I’m not sure whether these were private boats or rented ones. But if you can get your hands on one, this would be an amazing place for a boat and/or fishing trip.

If this is something you’d like to do, try asking your accommodation host if they can help you arrange it. This is often the best way to get things done in Sri Lanka in my experience, most people are wonderfully helpful and happy to help.

It’s well worth taking an hour or two out of your Sigiriya itinerary to explore this beautiful spot.

Price: Free

Opening times: N/A

Location: Dambulla, Sri Lanka

🤩 Alternatively, check out this guided sunrise/sunset boat trip on nearby Thalkote Lake


9. Feast on Authentic Sri Lankan Cuisine

I love Sri Lankan food! There are so many different dishes to try, each one showcasing a range of local ingredients and flavours.

Bursting with fragrant spices, and using unique culinary techniques, Sri Lankan food is a true delight for the senses.

Most dishes use coconut in some form, whether grated or pulped into coconut milk. Other ingredients used in Sri Lankan cuisine include chili peppers, curry leaves, mustard seeds, and garlic.

The most traditional and typical Sri Lankan meal is rice and curry. This consists of (yep – you guessed it) a pile of rice served with several different curries.

There are various types of curries, both mild and spicy, vegetarian and non-vegetarian. Two of my favourites are pumpkin curry and beetroot curry.


For an authentic and unique Sri Lankan breakfast, be sure to try some hoppers. These traditional bowl-shaped pancakes are made from fermented rice flour and coconut milk.

They’re cooked in a round-bottomed pan, resulting in a crispy outer edge and a soft, fluffy centre. Best enjoyed with spicy sambal, chutney, and/or caramelised onions, but can also have a range of other fillings, including egg and cheese.

Another iconic Sri Lankan dish is kottu roti. This is made by stir-frying shredded roti (a type of flatbread) with vegetables, egg, and (optionally) meat or seafood. Everything is chopped up and mixed together on a hot griddle.


The rhythmic chop-chopping is really distinctive and can be heard all over the country – you really know you’re in Sri Lanka when you hear it. The combination of flavours and textures is so satisfying, and it makes a very filling meal.

I stayed at Anu Homestay in Sigiriya, which is owned by a lovely, kind local couple. If you decide to stay here, definitely ask for them to cook you dinner – it’s some of the tastiest and best Sri Lankan food I found in the area.

Two other excellent places to enjoy authentic Sri Lankan food in Sigiriya are Coconut Shades Restaurant and Little Hut (links to locations on Google Maps).


10. Take a Sri Lankan Cooking Class

Okay, now you’ve got a taste for Sri Lankan food, why not learn how to make it yourself?

The best way to do this is to join a cooking class in Sigiriya!

You’ll learn the art of blending spices, how to make coconut milk from scratch, how to cook up some delicious curries, and various other techniques essential to traditional Sri Lankan cooking.

Most cooking classes in Sigiriya take place in real local homes, so they’re also a good way to connect with the local people and their culture. You’ll be taught to make dishes that have been passed down through many generations.

I took several cooking classes during my time in Sri Lanka and they’re really fun! I also love the fact that now I can make authentic coconut sambal, pumpkin curry, and dahl whenever I want at home.

It’s a perfect way to scratch the itch whenever you find yourself missing Sri Lanka (which is quite often for me). You’ll also impress any dinner party guests too. 🙂

Price: $20–25 USD per person

🤩 Check out this superb Sri Lankan cooking class in Sigiriya


11. Unwind and Rejuvenate with Ayurvedic Spa Treatments

Ayurveda is an ancient system of medicine and self-care that originated in southern India but has also been practiced in Sri Lanka for thousands of years.

It’s based on the belief that health and wellness depend on a balance between body, mind, and spirit. By using specific herbs, oils, massages, yoga, meditation, and other techniques, Ayurveda seeks to heal the body and bring balance to life.

There are several ayurvedic spas and wellness centres in Sigiriya that offer a range of treatments and therapies. Each treatment is designed to bring harmony between your body and mind for an overall sense of well-being.

Traditional Ayurvedic massage uses rhythmic movements with herbal oils to stimulate energy points in order to balance the body’s energies.

Herbal baths and steam baths are supposed to draw out toxins from the body while infusing it with essential nutrients.

No matter which kind of treatment you choose, visiting an Ayurvedic spa in Sigiriya will definitely leave you feeling relaxed and revitalized.

Spa Serendib is one of the most highly-regarded Ayurvedic spas in Sigiriya.

Price: $20–25 USD for 60 minutes (depending on the treatment)

Location: Sigiriya Rd, Sigiriya 21120, Sri Lanka


12. Explore Sigiriya Village

As well as being one of the most popular tourist destinations in Sri Lanka, Sigiriya is also an ideal place to learn about (and immerse yourself in) the local culture and lifestyle.

I definitely recommend taking some time to explore Sigiriya village, in addition to the more famous sights.

You’ll probably come across people fishing, farming by hand, and crafting traditional artisanal goods. Take your time, wander around, stop and chat with the locals, and just soak up the vibe.

This will help give you some first-hand knowledge of this beautiful region and the people who live here.

You can also pick up some unique gifts and/or souvenirs to take home from your trip. You’ll find a range of locally produced items such as hand-woven tapestries, intricately carved wooden masks, pottery vases, spices, and locally grown tea.

Just be careful at night. The area around Sigiriya is home to a large number of wild elephants. These like to come out at dusk and can be very dangerous, especially if startled.


The owner of my guesthouse advised me not to be out at all after nightfall because of the elephants. I think this might have been slightly overkill, but you should definitely be careful either way!


Price: Free

Steer clear of any organised “Sigiriya village tours”. Most of these include some sort of cringe and cruel ox-cart ride or (worse) an encounter with a captive elephant. Don’t support such practices

13. Hire Bikes and Explore the Local Area

Sigiriya village itself is fairly small and easily walkable. But hiring a bicycle is an easy way to explore more of the surrounding area (assuming you don’t have your own tuk-tuk or motorbike).

You can take in all the sights and sounds of the area at your own pace. Plus, if you are looking for a little adventure during your time in Sigiriya, cycling allows you to get off the beaten track and explore places that most visitors miss.


For example, hiring a bike is a perfect way to get to Kandalama Lake (above). And you can use it to explore the rice paddies and the countryside around Sigiriya.

It’s also very economical (and sometimes free). Ask your hotel or guesthouse whether they have any bikes that you can borrow.

Failing that, it’s usually only a few dollars to rent one for the day from one of the little shops along the main road.

Again, be careful of elephants, especially around dusk.

If you’d rather book an organised bicycle tour in Sigiriya, this is possible too.

Price: < $5 per day (unguided)

🤩 Check out this guided bicycle tour of Sigiriya

14. Join a Yoga or Meditation Retreat

Sigiriya is an ancient place that’s renowned for its rich cultural history and spiritual significance. It’s also a serene, peaceful place ideal for those looking for a spiritual retreat in nature.

A few reputable yoga and meditation centres have popped up in the area recently, catering to an ever-growing demand for wellness programmes and retreats.

These can provide the perfect opportunity to reconnect with yourself, practice mindfulness, and experience a heightened sense of clarity and self-awareness.

I haven’t personally done one here, but it’s something I’d be keen to do in the future.

(If you have done one anywhere near Sigiriya, please do let me know in the comments below! It’ll also help me update this section with more info.) 🙂


15. Visit Ritigala Forest Monastery

Ritigala Forest Monastery is a secluded site that’s home to an ancient Buddhist monastery complex. It’s hidden away in a dense jungle in Sri Lanka’s North Central Province but is only about an hour away from Sigiriya by road.

Ritigala’s history dates back to the reign of King Valagamba of the Anuradhapura Kingdom in the 1st century BC and is one of the oldest historical places in Sri Lanka.

It used to be a large and powerful city. However, sadly, most of it has since been destroyed. Although, the remains of the monastery complex are still fairly well preserved.

The ancient monastery was built near a sacred mountain and enjoys a wonderful, peaceful location. Inside the forest, it’s cool and calm, and the whole complex is incredibly atmospheric.

Exploring it really does feel like discovering an ancient lost city. In fact, the whole place reminded me a lot of the ruined Mayan city of Palenque in southern Mexico.

You can hire a guide at the entrance for around 2,000 rupees. It’s optional, but I’d really recommend doing this. Without a guide, you will probably struggle to find all of the ruins inside the dense jungle.

They’ll also teach you about the history and significance of the site, so it’s definitely worth it.

Keep an eye out for wildlife in the forest too, including deer, wild pigs, and junglefowl (Sri Lanka’s national bird).

Despite its historical significance (and the fact that it’s a generally awesome place), very few people come here, especially foreigners.

If you’re looking for a unique and authentic place to visit near Sigiriya, well away from the crowds, Ritigala Forest Monastery is a great option.

If you’re driving yourself, look out for the sign on the main road that tells you where to turn off. It’s not very obvious or well-signed, though you can always stop and ask a local who will be happy to point you in the right direction.

The last couple of kilometres is along a dirt road that should be accessible to most vehicles. There’s a car park near the entrance.

If you’re hiring a taxi or a tuk-tuk driver to get there, ask them to wait for you and bring you back again afterwards.

Price: 2,000 LKR ($6.50 USD)

Opening times: 7 am–5 pm, Mon–Sun

Location: Palugaswewa, Sri Lanka


16. Discover Sigiriya Buddhist Temple

Visiting the Sigiriya Buddhist Temple is another fantastic, slightly offbeat, thing to do in Sigiriya.

I only knew about this place because the owner of my guesthouse was going there to give food to the monks (almsgiving is common in Sri Lankan Buddhism). He asked me if I wanted to join, and I’m so glad I did.

The temple itself is fairly small but has an enormous standing Buddha statue that towers over the landscape and faces directly towards Sigiriya Rock Fortress. You can see it quite clearly if you look due west from the summit of Lion’s Rock.


There are also around 100 smaller statues of Buddha standing in rows around the edge of the complex.

According to local legend, a hermitage was located here long before any outsiders knew about Sigiriya’s rich history and significance.

Monks have been living here for centuries. Local people (like my host, Anu) still come regularly and provide them with food and other gifts. It’s a fascinating place to visit to witness and learn about some of the local culture.

Price: 300 LKR (suggested donation) ($1 USD)

Opening times: (I’m not sure and haven’t been able to find out, but I think it’s open every day)

Location: Sigiriya, Sri Lanka


How to Get to Sigiriya

Visiting Sigiriya is a must-do for anyone visiting Sri Lanka, and there are several different ways to get there.

For those travelling on a budget, your best option is to take a public bus.

First, catch the bus to Dambulla, which can be reached from several major cities (including Colombo, Kandy, and Anuradhapura). Then take a local bus to Sigiriya. You’ll need some cash to buy your tickets on the bus.

Sigiriya doesn’t have a train station, and the nearest one is at Habrana which is 17 kilometres away. Services aren’t that frequent so I don’t recommend taking the train to get to Sigiriya. You’re much better off taking the bus.

For those who don’t mind spending a bit more money, you could always take a taxi (or an Uber, or a tuk-tuk) to Sigiriya. The price for this will obviously depend on where you’re coming from, and you should agree on a price in advance.

One thing I always do when I’m not sure how much a taxi should cost is to ask the hosts where I’m staying. They should be able to let you know what a fair price would be for the journey – and they may even know someone who can take you!

Another way to reach Sigiriya is to join a tour that will take you there (and possibly to other surrounding attractions too). This is one of the most expensive options, but is definitely convenient so might be good for people with less time.

🤩 This is an amazing 7-day tour of Sri Lanka’s “Cultural Triangle”

If you’re coming from Anuradhapura, check out this private day tour.

You can even book a private transfer to Sigiriya direct from Colombo airport.


However, my personal favourite option for getting around Sri Lanka is to hire your own tuk-tuk and drive yourself. I did this a few times during my 4 months in Sri Lanka.

It’s definitely the most fun way to get about and allows you to explore as much as you want at your own pace.

If you’re interested in doing this, I’d highly recommend going with Tuk Tuk Ceylon Ride. Their customer service is fantastic, they sort out all the necessary permits, and they’re generally better value than the more popular tuktukrental.com.

If they don’t have any availability, another option could be this highly-reviewed tuk-tuk rental company.


Where to Stay in Sigiriya

Sigiriya is a fairly small place but, given its popularity, there’s no shortage of good places to stay.

The best place to stay in Sigiriya if you’re travelling on a budget is Anu Homestay. I stayed here for 3 nights and it was one of the cheapest and best places I stayed in the whole country.

It’s simple but really comfortable. The hosts are so kind and hospitable, and they do delicious food (ask for breakfast and dinner). Anu even took me to his favourite secret spot for watching the sunset which was amazing.

For those looking to spend a little more, il Frangipane is a fantastic mid-range hotel in Sigiriya.

And if you want to splash out, check out the luxurious Roo Mansala Boutique Villas.

🤩 Click here to check prices and availability of all other Sigiriya accommodation on Booking.com

FAQs About Visiting Sigiriya

Here are answers to some frequent asked questions about visiting Sigiriya.

Is Sigiriya worth visiting?

Yes, Sigiriya is definitely worth visiting! I usually tend to avoid the sorts of places you see on Instagram as I often find them overtouristed and overrated. But Sigiriya is an absolute must. It’s awesome and I’ve never been anywhere like it.

When was Sigiriya built?

Sigiriya was built in the fifth century (around 477 CE).

How long to stay in Sigiriya?

You can see most of Sigiriya’s important sights in one day. But, I’d recommend spending at least a day or two longer if you can as there are plenty of other fantastic things to do in Sigiriya.

Why is Sigiriya important?

Sigiriya is important due to its historical, archaeological, and cultural significance. It’s one of the most recognisable symbols of Sri Lanka and is one of the most impressive feats of ancient engineering in South Asia.

Why is Sigiriya called Lion’s Rock?

Lion’s Rock is the name of the towering and iconic rock that houses the famous fortress. It’s all that remains of an ancient volcano. The name comes from the giant lion’s head carved into the rock face high up near the summit. This serves as both a welcome for visitors and a deterrent for enemies.

Who built Sigiriya?

Sigiriya Rock Fortress was built by King Kashyapa I. It was his royal palace and served as the capital of the country during his reign.

What’s the best time of day to visit Sigiriya?

The best time of day to visit Sigiriya is at sunrise. The views from the summit of this ancient fortress are stunning and best enjoyed in the early morning light. It’s also much cooler and less crowded at this time of day.

What’s the best time of year to visit Sigiriya?

The best time of year to visit Sigiriya is between the cooler, drier months of December and March. It’s still going to be hot and humid but will be slightly more bearable than at other times of the year.

How long does it take to climb Sigiriya Rock?

Climbing Sigiriya Rock can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours, depending on your fitness and the time of day. You should allow at least an hour to explore the ruins at the top before beginning your descent. Bring lots of water.


🤩 Want to also visit Anuradhapura but don’t have much time? Check out this day tour to Anuradhapura from Sigiriya

Final Thoughts

If you have the chance to visit Sigiriya, don’t miss it! It’s an incredible place and absolutely lives up to the hype.

Most people rush in and rush out again. However, I highly recommend allowing enough time to experience some of the other great places to visit in Sigiriya and the surrounding area. There are many hidden gems to be found.

And I’ll repeat it again: Climb Lion’s Rock at sunrise if at all possible. I don’t think I would’ve enjoyed it anywhere near as much if I’d got there later in the day.

I hope you enjoy this awesome place as much as did!


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  • World Nomads – for adventurous travellers, covers 200+ activities that many other insurers won’t, such as skydiving, heli-skiing, rock climbing, rafting, scuba diving, cliff jumping, and kiteboarding (not available for residents of every country – check here).

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Who Am I?


  • I’m Alex Tiffany.  Former corporate city robot; lifelong travel addict.


  • I’m on a mission to make adventurous travel accessible to all.


  • I created this site to inspire, encourage and enable as many people to get outside and explore as much of our beautiful world as possible.