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“Some parts are very nice”

Citadel of Sigiriya - Lion Rock
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US$95.00*
and up
Private Day Trip to Hiriwaduna Village and Sigiriya from Kandy
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US$107.00*
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Private Day Trip: Sigiriya and Dambulla Rock Cave Temple from Kandy
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US$127.79*
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Sigiriya Day Tour from Kandy
Ranked #2 of 17 things to do in Sigiriya
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: The remnants of a fifth century royal rock fortress.
Reviewed 13 May 2014

We visited Sigiriya en route from Anuradhapura to Kandy. It was warm, but not unbearably so. We did not find the climb tough at all - perhaps because one doesn't really climb up in one go - rather it is done in pieces. However the staircases are steep, and the descent can be tough for people with vertigo.

The wall paintings were very pretty and amazingly well preserved. On the other hand, several other aspects are completely and disappointingly gone. Nothing remains of the original castle. The Lion's entrance has only the lion paws (the lion face is gone).

On the whole, Sigiriya is definitely worth a visit. It can be made a lot better with improved signage and better guides. Our guide was very disappointing. If somebody could direct you to a good guide, please do take him, as the signboard information is not enough.

Please carry your passports - the entrance fee is halved for SAARC country visitors.

Another aside: we bought a beautiful hand painting with artist's impression of how Sigiriya must have looked with the full Lion entrance and the castle on top of the rock. We bought this from the artist - D Rathnayake who is also the caretaker of Gadaladeniya temple at Kandy.

2  Thank RamVenkat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 7 May 2014

I had a great experience by climbing the Sigiriya Rock Fortress with my friends, It was very close to the Sigiriya Village hotel. When you climb to the top of the Rock the surrounding was beautiful and amazing, We had a great time visiting the Sigiriya Rock and hoping to visit again...

1  Thank Rehana K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 May 2014

Well worth the effort, remember to avoid the crocodiles in the outer moat, the monitor lizards in the water gardens and the hornets at the lions paws gate!!! Even with all that to keep in mind it is a fantastic place. As others have said plan your visit for a cool time of the day, you will find a "guide" will tag onto you this is no big deal and kind of worth it, just don't let him rush you!! The museum is a waste of time so don't bother. One last thought wear good shoes, flip flops would be a bad choice, and if you are at all scared of heights think very seriously about this as some of the stairs are quite exposed!!!

1  Thank saudimako
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 May 2014

Before attempting Lion Rock and after paying the $30 entrance fee we were taken to the museum by the ticket office. It was pretty bad. The first few rooms were just empty walls! Further in there were some relics of various sorts but the majority of the museum is empty and it really wasn't worth a visit at all. I was beginning to wonder what we'd wasted our money on however....
As we entered the water gardens a young local man started giving us a running commentary on the surroundings despite our best efforts we couldn't get rid of him and I do have to say he turned out to be quite helpful. The 2400 steps are extremely hard work. I did see one tourist with a couple of "helpers" which consisted of locals shoving him forward!! We set off around 10:30 and the heat and exertion (and my fear of heights) meant I did consider giving up but I made it to the top and the scenery is breath taking - well worth it! The mirror wall part way up I thought was nothing really to look at. I had expected a reflection of some sort but all it looked like was a wall with some graffiti from tourists on (I apologize if I missed the point or something). Luckily we didn't see any sign of the hornets except for the escape tents but apparently the last attack was around 10 months ago and put many people in hospital.
If you are reasonably fit I highly recommend giving Sigiriya a visit on a clear, not too hot, day - maybe give the museum a miss. Take plenty of water, a hot and a face cloth to wipe away the sweat. We ended up giving our 'guide' 1000 rupees and he wasn't the least bit pushy

1  Thank shelley038
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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.

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

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