Dambulla, Sigiriya and a jungle vista

Dambulla and Sigiriya are two places on almost every traveller’s itinerary when they head through Sri Lanka. Both Dambulla Cave Temple and Lion Rock are touted as must-see attractions, so we were interested to see them.

It’s surprisingly easy and also super cheap to get around Sri Lanka. Buses and trains which travel for hours only cost around 150 LKR (roughly 75p) and going a few stops locally only costs 20 LKR. Our bus journey from Anuradhapura to Sigiriya involved two buses and one attempt by a tuk tuk driver to make us think we’d have to wait an hour for the next bus. We arrived early afternoon which gave us enough time to check-in and head back out to tick one of the things off our list.

When you meet other travellers on the start of your trip in a new country, chances are you’ll see them again at some point on the way. We had this happen in India with some French students and again here in Sri Lanka when we spotted the girls who we had lunch with in Colombo, Amanda and Rachel, on the bus to the Dambulla Cave Temple. It was nice catching up and comparing stories for a couple more hours before we head our separate ways.

The Dambulla Caves Temples were fascinating, albeit a bit small. It took longer to get up to the caves than it did to go around them but it was nice to study the statues and paintings up close.

The hostel we were staying at in Sigirya was probably the quirkiest we’ve been to so far. They had regular dorms, but they also had an open floor with a roof but no walls where you could see out into the surrounding jungle area (hence the name Jungle Vista). The beds were dotted about all over the floor so it was like sleeping outside in a comfortable bed with just a mosquito net between you and the bugs. To be honest I didn’t sleep very well at this place, but I didn’t mind because there were plenty of things which made up for it.

The traditional Sri Lankan meals were delicious and were served as a buffet where you take as much as you need. Serving the food like this meant everyone came together to eat and it was really nice when on the second evening there was a huge group eating communally. There were two adorable puppies at the hostel too, so naturally I spent a lot of time playing with them and letting them sleep on my lap.

Sigirya is famous for the ancient rock fortress built on top of what is know as Lion Rock, though most people just refer to the rock as Sigirya. The entrance fee to the area is 4500 LKR which for some is a bit expensive, so a lot of travellers choose to climb a separate rock nearby called Pidurangala from which you can see Lion Rock. Budget is pretty important for me as I’m very conscious that there are going to be locations further down the line which need a higher daily limit, so I struggled for a while with which rock to choose. We eventually decided to do the main rock though as I’m not really climbing these things for the view and the history of Lion Rock intrigued me.

Although our original plan was to leave very early in the morning and make the climb around sunrise, we changed our minds on the second day after a lazy morning and instead decided to go in the afternoon. This decision turned out to be the perfect one as the temperature was cool, the site was quiet and when we reached the top there weren’t more than 20 tourists up there. We didn’t get to see the sunset due to the clouds but it was still stunning up there and I loved exploring the ancient ruins, imagining the crazy people who saw a huge rock and decided to build a fortress on top.

On our way up the rock we actually bumped into some guys, Martin and Max, who we’d met previously at the hostel in Anuradhapura. They asked us where we were staying as their bags were with a tuk tuk driver near a restaurant and hadn’t decided whether to stay in the area or not. When we got back to the hostel they were checking in and it was fun having drinks with them and playing Carrom, a board game where you flick a piece to get coloured discs into the corner pockets of the board.

It’s been fun staying in Sigiriya thanks to some really friendly people in the hostel and some adorable puppies. You could easily do everything we did on a day trip from Kandy but I’m glad we stayed where we did.

2 thoughts on “Dambulla, Sigiriya and a jungle vista
  1. No you can’t have a puppy…!!!

    1. But whhhhyyyyyyyy.

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