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A few queries on Cultural Triangle & advice needed

Sligo, Ireland
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A few queries on Cultural Triangle & advice needed

Hi,

I will be visiting Sri Lanka in a few weeks with my partner and we are putting together our itinerary for the two weeks. We are planning on staying 3 nights in the cultural triangle, with possibly Dambulla as a base, but may spend one night near Anuradhapura considering it is further away.

Our must sees were the usual, Sigiriya, Dambulla, Polonnaruwa, Anuradhapura and maybe a stop off at Minneriya National Park to see the gathering.

The thing is the more i read about the cultural triangle, the more sites i want to visit. Are there some smaller sites that anyone would definitely recommend visiting? Like Aluvihara, Mihintale, Panduwasnuwara, Yapahuwa or Ridi Vihara, would any of these be considered 'must see's'?

One place that does sound interesting to me is Ritigala Ruins, is this as good as it sounds (to me at least), and worth a visit?

Ive also noticed people seem to choose either Polonnaruwa or Anuradhapura if their short on time, i know both are considered must see's, but is would seeing just Polonnarauwa be sufficient, considering Anuradhapura is a bit more out of the way?

Just one more question, i know entrance fees to the sites have gotten more expensive, but once you pay the entrance fee, is that it, there are no more hidden costs inside i.e. paying someone to take pictures of certain statues or sites? I dont want to arrive in an area and get tricked into paying someone for photos or someone telling me i need a guide when i dont, or in fact the other way round that i do genuinely need to pay to take a photo of something. Is the entrance fee all you have to pay at each site? Or will you have to be for certain things inside? And if so, how do you know they are genuine and not trying to scam you?

Thanks in advance for your help.

Paul

London, United...
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1. Re: A few queries on Cultural Triangle & advice needed

Hi Paul,

IMO if you have time Polonnaruwa and Anuradpura both worth,

Most of the those site ok to take photos if not there will be will sign, don't have pay to anybody else rather than official ticket,

There are guides available if you wish to hire unless otherwise you don't have to.

All other places you mentioned are related to Buddhist history in Sir Lanka nothing major if you have money and time give a try

Regards

Kandy, Sri Lanka
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2. Re: A few queries on Cultural Triangle & advice needed

Small places you have mentioned are old Buddhist temples. All of them have a story related to Sri Lanka's history and each and every one of them has something unique about it. If you are really in to exploring ancient sights, all of them are worth a visit and i could also let you know few more sites if you have enough time. Ritigala is a wonderful place with lot of history so it is worth visiting if you have time on your side.

Edited: 17 July 2013, 04:39
UK
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494 posts
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3. Re: A few queries on Cultural Triangle & advice needed

Sorry but a good guide worth their weight in gold, as they paint a picture and breathe life into a site that a guide book can never achieve!lol

False economy IMO, considering what you pay to get to Sri Lanka. On our golden triangle tour in india last christmas, the standard of guides ( all graduates) we had were excellent and really made the trip, it's hard to explain the difference they make

Sligo, Ireland
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4. Re: A few queries on Cultural Triangle & advice needed

Thanks for the advice, yes i will probably get a guide in one or two places, what kind of costs would i be looking at for guides? I assume the bigger the site, the more a guide costs. Is there official guides at each sites rather than just people who know a bit about the area and are trying to make a quick buck?

I have just heard stories about people coming down from Lion Rock at Sigiriya to get their shoes and people blocking their way saying they have to pay, how true that is i dont know, but i would just like to know if there are certain things you are expected to pay for.

Fredericia, Denmark
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5. Re: A few queries on Cultural Triangle & advice needed

You don't take off your shoes at Sigiriya - that's only at temples.

Hans

Brisbane
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6. Re: A few queries on Cultural Triangle & advice needed

Hi Paul

Shoes and climbing Sigiriya - I have never removed my shoes here and have not seen either the local people with me or others around do so. Actually climbing without shoes would be difficult for a lot of people. Sigiriya is a ruined palace, not a temple.

My experience with on the spot supposedly qualified guides: Dambulla Cave Temples first. I was there with friends on their first visit to Lanka and, knowing that the caves have a very interesting history, engaged a guide. This was a disaster as he rushed us through with a fast speil of dry facts and figures and was, was either unwilling or didn't know much of the history apart from facts and figures. He was in a hurry to finish with us and move on to other tourists.

My experience with such a guide at the Temple of the Tooth, Kandy was very much different. We hired one at the booking booth and he was a delight. He not only knew his stuff but when we asked further questions he led us to see other things and I got to see parts of the place usually not open to visitors. He was in no hurry to leave us and in the end we didn't know what he was expecting for his fee but felt he deserved a great one. "My friend asked his fee and he then quietly said, Ï'm happy you are happy. That is my reward but you can give me whatever you think."

If you are travelling with a licensed guide - ask to see his registration card if unsure - it should not be necessary to hire guides at each place. IMO I got great value from each site on the times I was with our regular driver/guide.

Two stand out places in the CT for me are Polonnaruwa and Mihintale and I will go there any chance I get. There are many more lesser known places mentioned above and that means fewer visitors and a quiet contemplative visit for you. I believe Ritigala is well worth visiting and hope to do so myself next month. With three days you should be able to fit a few in. Sigiriya, Dambulla Cave Temples and then Aluvihare could be visited on the day you go to Kandy. If time was an issue then, with an early start it would be possible to see Polonnaruwa in a morning, Mihintale after that and an afternoon elephant safari [ 3pm ish ]on the same day.

Have a great time in this very special part of Sri Lanka!

Archi

Sligo, Ireland
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7. Re: A few queries on Cultural Triangle & advice needed

Thanks for all the help, yes i think i will put Ritigala down as a must see, it sounds amazing.

Sydney, Australia
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8. Re: A few queries on Cultural Triangle & advice needed

You have to pay them a v small amount to look after your shoes at Dambulla Caves. A tip, wear socks to avoid the hot rough stone.

Sydney, Australia
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9. Re: A few queries on Cultural Triangle & advice needed

Our driver organised a local guide at Sigiriya as we were nervous about climbing. We were so glad as he encouraged us all the way and helped me overcome my extreme fear of heights, as well as providing information about what we were seeing. Not everyone might need this, but if you are nervous of heights it could be useful.

Sligo, Ireland
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10. Re: A few queries on Cultural Triangle & advice needed

Thanks CaroSydney