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“A good way to spend half a day.”

Citadel of Sigiriya - Lion Rock
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Ranked #2 of 20 things to do in Sigiriya
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Owner description: The remnants of a fifth century royal rock fortress.
Helensburgh, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
105 reviews
38 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 94 helpful votes
“A good way to spend half a day.”
Reviewed 5 May 2014

Sigiriya is one of those places that is pretty much mandatory on a tour of Sri Lanka.. kind of like the the Empire State Building in NY or the Colosseum in Rome. It's basically a big rock surrounded by some nice gardens, but it's quite an impressive looking big rock and there's a lot of history to it.

Our driver dropped us off at the entrance and we set off along the gardens. All along the way are 'guides' who will try and charge $20 to help you to the top. Now, $20 might be fairly cheap to some but remember that is several times the average daily Sri Lankan wage so if you do want one of these guys to help you up to the top, barter down (I'd do it in rupees). We didn't need/want any help so we avoided them as best we could (and it's not easy - they are almost as persistant as the 'beach boys' in Kenya) and worked our way up.

On the way up there are some spiral stairs that lead up to a cave with some old cave paintings which are quite cool, then some more spiral staircases down to the mirror wall (which didn't impress me that much). Both sets of staircases are pretty dodgy looking in my opinion and the places where it was attached to the sheer rock face did not look overly safe to me.. but then it takes thousands of people daily so I guess I am perhaps just a little paranoid :)

About halfway up, there is a rest area where the giant lion's paws are, on either side of the steps that take you the rest of the way. From here, the steps are kind of narrow and if there is anyone who is struggling, there is likely to be a queue behind them. Once you do get to the top however, there are some great views to be had.

The way back down is pretty much the same way as the way up but just before the mirror wall, take a different set of steps down to head to the exit. We caught a family of toque macaques playing at the bottom of those steps and one of them grabbed someone's water bottle and clambered up a tree, opened the bottle and drank the rest of the water.. quite hilarious. At the bottom, there's a 'vendor alley' with a load of stalls selling various Sigiriya, buddhism and Sri Lanka memorabilia but we didn't feel any pressure to buy here.

A definite must-do but if can avoid going there during a Sri Lankan holiday or weekend (we went on a crowded Sunday), I'd recommend doing that.

Visited April 2014
1 Thank MProudfoot
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Sheffield, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
12 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Fabulous experience”
Reviewed 4 May 2014

The climb up the rock was tiring and very, very hot but 1200 steps later our efforts were so worthwhile. The whole experience was just marvellous, I have never seen such a beautiful ancient place, full of atmosphere, creativity and beauty. Well worth a visit but wear a hat and try not to go at midday like we did!

Visited April 2014
Thank planetdeb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hong Kong, China
Level 5 Contributor
31 reviews
17 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“Must see!”
Reviewed 4 May 2014

It was hard work to climb up but all worthwhile. The view from the top was excellent and we also enjoyed the frescoes painting on the wall.

Visited April 2014
Thank Marcolino888
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bengaluru, India
Level 6 Contributor
134 reviews
62 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 61 helpful votes
“Worth the effort”
Reviewed 2 May 2014

We climbed after 4 PM. It was drizzling a bit and was cloudy. The crowds were sparse. Captivated by the cave paintings and the lion's paws. There were no signages for the exit route and we had to keep asking the guards for instructions. Worth the climb.

Visited April 2014
Thank jmca1977
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Milan, Italy
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 attraction reviews
“Historical rock”
Reviewed 1 May 2014 via mobile

Sigiriya is a UNESCO listed World Heritage Site. It is one of the best preserved examples of ancient urban planning.It is the most visited historic site in Sri Lanka.Enjoy

Thank Shehan86
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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