When people ask me “Which places did you like the most in Sri Lanka?” the first image that comes to my mind is the impressive Lion Rock and what I like the most about it is that I have two mental pictures (apart of my normal camera pictures): the view from the bottom whilst I was walking towards in through the entrance gardens and the view from Pidurangala Rock after the climb.
I’m pretty sure you have seen loads of pictures of it if you have started looking for information about Sri Lanka. It is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. Not sure if it’s its shape, the colours, the dimensions… but I can say I’m pretty in love with that place. Would you like to know why? Keep reading.
The town itself it’s quite laid-back but there is some “je ne sais pas” that makes you feel so good.
First things first: the Lion Rock
I started my day very early in the morning, ok not as earlier as I wanted – my homestay was in a very random location between Sigiriya and Dambulla and by the time that I walked to the bus stop and got there it was around 10am. Don’t take me wrong, I don’t regret it, I took my time to enjoy my delicious typical Sri Lankan breakfast at what it’s now called Heaven Natural Tent and Tree House, but if you really want to better enjoy the place you should be there just before opening times to avoid the crows and school groups. Guess what? I didn’t avoid them.
Anyway, I got there and headed to the Lion Rock ticket booth straight away to buy the tickets (plash! plash! slap in the face – so pricy! but never mind because it is worth the money, promise guys). It most likely is the most visited touristic attraction of Sri Lanka and known by the locals as the 8th Wonder of the World and it is so for a reason.
It was time to explore the place. I started walking and there it was in front of me, so majestic and impressive The Lion Rock and its Citadel. You will start your visit passing by the entrance gardens before the long spiral staircase to the top: Take it easy as there are 1,200 steps to the top. Please note that the staircase is narrow and only allows one person at a time (that’s why you have to avoid the crows, even more if you are a fast climber). Oh and by the way, if you are afraid of highs it may not be your cup of tea, just said.
After the advice, let’s keep going then. What you are going to find at the top is so incredible. I cannot image how Sri Lankans managed to build that on top of the rock in the late 5th century CE. I cannot even imagine how this could be done nowadays actually, but they made it so even more impressive. You have to see it. The construction together with the surroundings makes the Lion Rock such a magical place.
We are not done yet: heading to Pinduragala Rock
After that, after you have enjoyed the views and perhaps a nice lunch you will have still time for a second challenge: Pidurangala Rock. You can easily reach the place on foot but check the direction on Google because I took what I think it was the longest path, surrounding the whole fortress. It is about 25-30 minutes walk to reach the entrance. You will have to pay a small fee as well as have your shoulders and legs covered because it is a sacred place.
Overall it is an easy hike except the last bits where you have to literally climb the rocks (more challenging if you go solo, I got stacked in between to rock and spent 10 minutes there trying to find a way to make it). I will take you around 20-25 minutes to reach the top unless as I said you get stacked in the rocks. You will manage 🙂
And there you are again on top of a mountain seeing the spectacular Lion Rock in front of you only that now it is from a different perspective being able to admire its dramatic shape. The thought of knowing that I was on top of there a few hours ago was so rewarding and weird at the same time (a good weird though). I extremely recommend to do both on the same day but this is up to you of course. I have to add that it is recommended to do the Pindurangala hike in the golden hours (before sunrise or just in time for the sunset). I didn’t do it because I was travelling solo and I didn’t want to see myself there on my own at dark but apparently the effect of the early and last rays of lights on the Lion Rock could leave you speechless.
After that, on your way “home” is when you will think how fantastic your day was. The best part is that you are going to sleep like a baby.
People also asked me which one of those I would choose if I could only do one. My answer is that if you can easily do both, why do you have to choose only one? Be brave and greedy and go for all!
Sri Lanka has been selected as the top 1 destination in 2019 by Lonely Planet so hurry up and go there before the crows, time is ticking!!!!
And last but not the least, wish you enjoy your time in Sigiriya as much as I did.
Feel free to have a look at other useful post about Sri Lanka:
For general information:
About your expenses to plan wisely:
Or where to go if you travel between May and September (be aware that there are two Monsoon hitting different areas of Sri Lanka at different time):
And if you are going to Sigiriya don’t forget to visit the Dambulla Caves in Sigiriya’s neighbour town Dambulla. If you would like to know why:
Have fun guys and see you around witties!