A little further from Dambulla is one of the probably most known sights in the country. Sigiriya, also known as a Lion Rock, is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site and has been declared as an eighth wonder of the world. With vertical sides and nearly 200m height, this rock was a site of an ancient civilization.
Sigiriya is one of the destinations what has been in the bucket list for a very long time and being able to visit and see it with your own eyes was truly a dream come true. Even after reading so much about it and seeing countless photos on the internet, we were not prepared for the views and history surrounding the rock.
Although it is an amazing place and worth a visit, the entrance fee of 30 USD per person is probably the highest I have ever seen for any of the historic sights in an Asian country and it is proportionally higher than anything else in Sri Lanka. I sincerely hope that the money people are paying to be able to walk around the surrounding Water Gardens and be able to hike up to the top of the rock is going towards conservation of the site and its heritage.
Before deciding to make the trip to the Lion Rock, do ask yourself if you are willing to climb up to the top of it. It is definitely not a place for people afraid of heights. There are plenty of scary, but exciting climbs with just a bare minimum of security features stopping you from falling off. If you like that extra thrill, it is a place to see.
Most blogs and guides you can come across when doing your pre-travel research would recommend going early to avoid queues and busy times. As a recommendation from our driver, we ended up doing Dambulla Rock Temple as the first destination in the morning and left Sigiriya for the afternoon. While we were walking around the surrounding Water Gardens we did see long lines of local students on their way up and down the rock. By the time we were ready to make the climb, we were lucky to have the way rather empty with the relatively clear way all the way up.
The views on top are truly spectacular and a true reward for climbing the stairs and risking angering the wasps. There are lots of signs around cautioning you to be silent not to anger wasps.
While walking around on top of the rock and between the ruins I was wishing there was some information to show what it used to look like or what different parts of the ruins used to be. It would be a good comparison while you're up there, but unfortunately, the only place to see all is in the museum near in the same building as the ticket office. We decided to visit it after the real thing. You could go to the museum first, but I feel like it means less when you haven't seen the ruins for yourself yet.
There are so many photo opportunities throughout the whole experience it's difficult to choose just one or two photos to illustrate the magnificence of the place. Should you ever have a chance to visit the place, try to take time and imagine how life used to work in this place. Try to imagine how the buildings were made and how all the raw material got hoisted to the top of the rock.
Sigiriya is one of those places what makes me seriously think about investing in a drone. Photos and videos what I could've had would make the ones I did take fall pale in comparison.