This article provides information on things to do in Dambulla and Sigiriya in one day: places to visit in both towns, where to stay in Dambulla & Sigiriya , and how to get around Dambulla and Sigiriya.
Sigiriya and Dambulla are our next two destinations in Sri Lanka. Conveniently, both cities are less than an hour from one another by local bus. We spent the morning hiking up Pidurangala to see the view of Sigiriya and the afternoon visiting the many caves of Dambulla.
How To Get to Dambulla from Habarana
Dambulla is about 20km away from Habarana, our previsous destinations making it a very short ride from one town to another, by bus. Cost is LKR 40 per person (USD $0.30) and should take less than 30 minutes to get there.
From Colombo to Dambulla, it will take 4-5 hours in public bus.
Getting Around Dambulla and Sigiriya
From our hotel, located on Kandy Road, we took a tuk tuk to the Sigiriya bus – cost was LKR 60 (USD $0.40).
Most hotels are located on Kandy Road, which makes it easy to reach the Golden Temple by foot.
In Sigiriya, it is also very easy to walk around the town, ride a bicycle or hire tuk tuks to get to your destination.
Where to Stay in Dambulla: Dambulla Hotels and Accommodations
Saman’s Guest house: Located one minute away by foot from the Golden Temple, we got a double room (September 2013) with private bath, free Wifi in a modern and clean setting for LKR 2,500 (USD $18). Expect some price increases since. There is a restaurant at the hotel.
Travel Tip: if you don’t mind not securing your booking prior to arrival, you can always discretely negotiate with the hotel manager once there, for a better price.
Healy Tourist Inn: Very basic hotel, close to the Golden Temple and located on the main road heading to Kandy. Free Wifi in common areas. Basic rooms start at LKR 1,000 (USD $7).
We would suggest to stay in Dambulla, along Kandy Road as it is easily reachable from the surrounding cities and you can easily get away with buses coming and going from Kandy.
Where to Stay in Sigiriya: Sigiriya Hotels and Accommodations
Sadewa Holiday Inn: double, clean room, private bath and free WiFi for USD $15 – breakfast included. Bicycle and tuk tuk service available. Located between Sigiriya and Dambulla.
Wipula Homestay: 2km away from Sigiriya Rock, double basic room for USD $9, breakfast included and basic external bathroom. WiFi awailable for USD $1 per day. Friendly hosts and bicycles available. May be hard to find.
Sigiriya is about 25km away from Dambulla. The ride takes less than an hour.
Sigiriya is a small town part of the cultural triangle of Sri Lanka. It is famous for its 200 meters high (or 1,200 steps) palace ruins with beautiful gardens, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Bring a hat, sunscreen, snacks and water. A ticket to the Sigiriya Citadel costs LKR 4,000 (~USD $30) per person.
You can also climb Pidurangala to see Sigiriya at an appealing cost of LKR 200 per person (~USD $1.50). There are barely any people on the trail if you go early. The trail is well maintained, not steep and provides an amazing view of Sigiriya and the surrounding mountains. Once you get to Sigiriya, Pidurangala is about 1km away. You can either walk or request a tuk tuk for LKR 100 (USD $0.70), after negotiations. We climbed on a Sunday and did not see anyone else on the trail except for other travelers. Should you see anyone asking for a contribution/donation, best is to give them LKR 100-200 to not be bothered and kindly refuse if he offers to guide you to the top, there is not really any need for a guide.
The hike up and down with contemplation/picture time should take about 2 hrs.
If you leave Dambulla by 8am, you should be back in time for lunch.
In Dambulla, you’ll have the entire afternoon (though it won’t take the entire afternoon) to visit the Golden Temple – the only attraction in the town at a cost of LKR 1,500 (~USD $11) per person. The Golden Temple is a set of caves with carvings and Buddha statues. The view from the caves is beautiful and well worth the climb of stone stairs. Make sure you buy your ticket at the bottom entrance, as tickets are not checked until you reached the top – you don’t want to have to go back down.
How To Get Away – From Dambulla to Kandy
The bus to Kandy stopped right in front of our hotel, we waited less than 15 mins and a bus with “Kandy” written on it arrived. Cost for a bus ride from Dambulla to Kandy is LKR 100 per person (USD $0.70)
View more travel tips to visit Sri Lanka.
How long did you stay in Dambulla and Sigiriya? Did you climb Sigiriya? Share your travel experience with us! We love to hear from you.
Happy Travels !!xx