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Sigirya

melbourne
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385 posts
35 reviews
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Sigirya

What is the best time of the day to visit Sigirya and is it a half day or full day visit?

We are in this area for 3 night - so how would you suggest we spend this time - I would also like some down time at the resort.

Not interested in an elephant ride, but definitely interested in seeing wild elephants.

Thanks again everybody

Larraine

St Austell
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3,560 posts
32 reviews
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1. Re: Sigirya

Hi Larraine

Make it early ... very early, and allow yourself half a day. The reason you need to go there first thing is to do the climb before the sun hits that side of the rock, making it unbearably hot. You also tend to get crowds of people towards the middle of the day too.

I don't know where you are staying, but I always suggest that people visiting the Cultural Triangle make time to enjoy where they are staying, rather than be rushing here, there and everywhere. It isn't something I normally recommend, as I like to get away from the hotels to explore, but the Cultural Triangle has some great hotels in amazing settings. If you are based at one of the Habarana or Sigiriya hotels for example, you will find that the hotel grounds are great places to see wildlife; everything from large land monitors to lots of monkeys, the occasional mongoose and an huge variety of colourful birds and lizards. You might even spot a wild elephant around dusk if you are staying around Sigiriya.

Sue

St Austell
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3,560 posts
32 reviews
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2. Re: Sigirya

Other places to visit on a 3 night stay in Cultural Triangle apart from Sigiriya:

Definitely one of the ancient cities .. either Polonnaruwa or Anuradhapura. Polonnaruwa is more compact and the sites are in better condition. It's nice to cycle round too, but Anuradhapura has more of a "living" feel and is the one I prefer, as I like to watch the pilgrims worshipping there, and all the Buddhist monks. Also, at Anuradhapura, you can visit nearby Mihintale at the same time. Mihintale is one of my favourite spots in the Cultural Triangle. It is a hilltop pilgrimage centre and sacred because it is where Buddhism was introduced to Sri Lanka. It's a really lovely place and has wonderful views too.

Dambulla is another easy trip, with its famous rock/cave temple, although I personally prefer the less visited (and cheaper!) Mulkirigala temple near Tangalle on the south coast, which you might pass if you are going on to Yala and are continuing to the south coast after that. Definitely try to fit in one or the other.

For wildlife lovers, apart from a jeep safari at Minneriya or similar, consider visiting Ritigala hillside monastery. Again, it's a ruin, but the jungly setting is fascinating. You walk up through twisted old trees and see much wildlife, particularly enormous butterflies, perhaps a snake or two, etc.

You'll certainly fill 3 days in the area and could find things to do for much longer, such as Pidurangala rock climb (the large rock outcrop next to Sigiriya, which gives the best ever view of Sigiriya from the top ... no crowds and no charge for this one either ;-) Or see the lovely Aukana Buddha statue, best viewed at sunrise.

Have lots of fun.

Sue

Hertfordshire...
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51 posts
49 reviews
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3. Re: Sigirya

Hi, I have a different question about Sigiriya. I am a bit of a clumsy downhill walker and wondered how steep it is to come down Sigiriya. The metal steps appear to stand out from the rock and the stone ones appear very steep. My questions are:

are the steps as bad as some pictures suggest?

Can I walk just part way, maybe to the lions feet without having a steep climb back down?

Many thanks for any comments.

Anne

Hertfordshire...
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51 posts
49 reviews
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4. Re: Sigirya

Hi, I have a different question about Sigiriya. I am a bit of a clumsy downhill walker and wondered how steep it is to come down Sigiriya. The metal steps appear to stand out from the rock and the stone ones appear very steep. My questions are:

are the steps as bad as some pictures suggest?

Can I walk just part way, maybe to the lions feet without having a steep climb back down?

Many thanks for any comments.

Anne

St Austell
Level Contributor
3,560 posts
32 reviews
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5. Re: Sigirya

You can indeed choose to go just as far as the Lions Paws if you want to. There's a large flat area right there where you can rest and decide if you want to continue. It's been a few years since I did Sigiriya now, but I don't remember it being a problem at all. You have a hand rail to help you also.

Perhaps take a look at this old post as Rod_B describes the climb in some detail and you might have a better idea of what is involved. It's not mountaineering ... honestly!

tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowTopic-g293961-i8983-k3…

Good luck

Sue

melbourne
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385 posts
35 reviews
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6. Re: Sigirya

Hi Sue

thank you so much for the great response. You have given wonderful advice. We are staying at Vil Uyana and I certainly want to enjoy what this place has to offer. I also want to take a peek at Kandalama. How far is it to Anuradhapura by car in time? I love that you mention less crowded places, I will be be up very early to climb Sigirya

thanks again

Larraine

Leicester, United...
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176 posts
16 reviews
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7. Re: Sigirya

I found the climb easier than anticipated. No problem to the Lions' feet, after that it is a bit more challenging but OK unless you have extreme vertigo. I fely quite safe and I don't like heights normally. Well worth the effort.

St Austell
Level Contributor
3,560 posts
32 reviews
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8. Re: Sigirya

Hi again Larraine

Happy to help :-)

From Vil Uyana you are talking approx 1.5 hours to Anuradhapura, so it is definitely one you can do as a day trip. Make it an early start (again ... sorry!) because the sites of Anuradhapura will take you a good few hours to cover with your driver, and then, Mihintale deserves a good couple of hours aswell. Make it a good long day trip to the area.

When you get to the top of the steps at Mihintale, there is a wonderful view back over the distant stupas of Anuradhapura. When we were there, we were enthralled by the tame deer wandering around. It used to be a King's hunting ground before Mahinda converted the king to Buddhism and it became a sanctuary for wildlife. One of the best memories I have of Mihintale, is of a Buddhist monk carrying a "pet" fawn around. He was carrying it upside down, much as you'd carry a pet dog or cat, with the deer's spindly long legs sticking in the air and perfectly happy about it!

I missed that classic photo shot, but did get some others at the time, a couple of which are shown here:

flickr.com/photos/…

I am sure you will love the area and even now, there are plenty of places to escape the crowds and more touristy spots if you wish to do so. You probably won't have time to see many of them, but places I have thoroughly enjoyed, which are much less visited (in addition to those mentioned in my earlier post .. Pidurangala is the favourite) are Hatthikucchi Vihara - also close to Anuradhapura etc.,

flickr.com/photos/…

and Yapahuwa or Arankele are also well worth a visit to escape the masses. Arankele is a bit like Ritigala, in that it is in a wild, overgrown area with much wildlife around, so it had an added appeal to us apart from the ruined site itself, but Arankele and Yapahuwa are a bit off your route for this trip. I mention them for anyone who has a longer stay in the Cultural Triangle and wants to see something extra to the usual big draws of the area.

All the best

Sue

Brisbane
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2,136 posts
99 reviews
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9. Re: Sigirya

HI Larraine and also Hertfordshire

Sue has described everything beautifully. I also loved Mihintale and think that it is a pity that people in a hurry often seem to miss it out so it has my vote.

Sigiriya was much easier than I had been led to expect - a breeze really, even with a knee that can sometimes be troublesome. There were very few people about when we climbed, due to rain, and I think that made a difference. I have been at the bottom on times when I was unable to climb due to family responsibilities with children and have seen it very crowded. That would change the experience as SL people are not as meek as they might seem when they want to get past you.

The steps are actually very firm and hand rails pretty good with one exception. --- Last December the spiral staircase up to/ down from the ancient Art Gallery was rusted and swinging about. Unfortunately I didn't notice and caught my arm on it while hurrying down to catch up with my group, indicating that I should learn not to be last and hold others up. Quite nasty but in the end healed OK. Tetanus shots need to be up to date. That was December and I am 99.9% certain that income from visitors won't have been used to fix the problem.

Have a lovely time!

Archi

10. Re: Sigirya

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