Climbing Pidurangala Rock for sunrise in Sigiriya

Sigiriya is a small town a few hours north of Kandy, home to an ancient fortress on top of the 200m tall Sigiriya Rock, also known as Lion Rock. It’s become one of the main tourist attractions in Sri Lanka, and it’s worth a visit on your Sri Lankan adventure if you like big rocks and amazing views!

You can easily get Sigiriya from Colombo or Kandy by taking a bus to Dambulla and then another bus to Sigiriya, although there might be some direct buses first thing in the morning, you can ask at your accommodation. The whole journey took four hours (from Kandy) and only cost Rs.168 (70p). It’s easy to catch the local bus, just ask around at the bus station and the locals will always be able to point you towards the right one!

There’s a range of accommodation available, I stayed at Backpackers Hostel run by a wonderful and kind family who made me feel right at home, and I even got upgraded to a private room because the dorm was full! Just next door is One More Night Hostel, a great place to hang out and meet other travellers. There are a few local restaurants around, but nothing really stood out food-wise, but you can always find the usual veggie curry, fried noodles or kottu.

Photo from Booking.com
Photo from Booking.com

Climbing Sigiriya Rock

Even though this is one of the most popular activities in the country, I decided to skip it because of the $30 entrance fee. Dan Flying Solo has a great blog post explaining everything you need to know!

The people I met who climbed it thought it was amazing, and I would have done it a few years ago, but I’ve gotten lazy and picky with the things I spend my money on, so I’ll take their word for it.

Start your climb early in the morning to avoid the mid-day heat, take snacks and water, don’t forget sunscreen, and give yourself at least three hours for the whole adventure.

Climbing Pidurangala Rock

Whether you decide to climb Lion’s Rock or not, you should absolutely wake up early one morning and summit the slightly smaller Pidurangala Rock for sunrise!

It meant waking up at 4:30am and riding in our host’s jeep to the entrance, it’s not recommended to walk at that time in case there are any wild elephants rambling about, yes, seriously. We paid the much more affordable Rs.500 (£2.10) ticket and set off into the darkness…

The path was well lit but uneven, and parts were still in shadow so bring your phone or a torch. The climb was pretty easy going and only took me about 25 minutes. At the top there is a lot of room to find a spot away from others, but most people will be facing the sun to the east and Lion’s Rock to the south.

The sunrise itself wasn’t anything special because it was quite cloudy, but the views were amazing. It’s the best place to get the perfect photo of Sigiriya, as well as the surrounding landscape, green as far as the eye can see! On the way down watch out for monkeys, and once the sun is up it’s perfectly safe to walk back via Lion Rock if you want to explore a bit more.

Have you been to Sigiriya and climbed these famous rocks? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below!

You can view the full album here.

You can also follow the adventure on Facebook and Instagram.

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