Sigiriya Sri Lanka

View of Sigiriya today

Sigiriya, the majestic 5th-century rock fortress nestled in the heart of Sri Lanka, once appeared like a gigantic cloud hovering above the treetops. It was so awe-inspiring that it was referred to as "Alakamanda" – the city of the gods. At the heart of the Sigiriya is a massive 600-foot-tall granite monolith, which was once painted with over 500 beautiful celestial nymphs known today as the Sigiriya Frescoes. Perched halfway up the rock was a massive lion-shaped gatehouse, giving this site its name – Sigiriya – the Lion Mountain. On the summit was the breathtaking Sky Palace, with awe-inspiring panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. Whether you are an adventure seeker, a history enthusiast, or simply seeking a unique cultural experience, Sigiriya will leave an indelible impression on you.

Sigiriya Site Information

Entrance Fees

$30 - Foreigners (Rs50 - locals)

Opening Hours

7:00 AM – 5:30 PM
(Last entry 5:00 PM)


3-4 hours for site tour


60-90 Minutes to the top


Main Entrance (Bottled Water)
Exit (Juice Bar is Excellent)


Toilets at Main Entrance & Exit only

Taking Photographs


There are no restrictions in taking photographs. Most people don't mind you photographing them. If you are visiting temples, remember it is very rude to take pictures posing next to religious statues and objects. It is especially rude to do so with your back towards them or leaning on them. Some museums charge extra fees to take photographs of their exhibits.

Tour Guides

Sigiriya tour guides

The Sigiriya site is well sign-posted, but tour guides can still be helpful. They know the place well. Negotiate the duration of the tour and its price (between $15-25) before you start. A good tour should take approximately 3-4 hours. Anything less than that will probably be a direct trip to the summit and back. It is a common courtesy to tip the guide.

Sigiriya Museum

Sigiriya Museum

The Sigiriya Museum is near the main entrance. The audio-visual show gives a good background of Sigiriya. The model of the site, as it is today, provides a good orientation of the area and its vastness. The displays are mediocre, being predominately from times after the reign of King Kasyapa who built Sigiriya.

Sigiriya Location

Sigiriya rock from across the lake

Sigiriya is located in north-central Sri Lanka. It is 181 kilometers from Colombo, a drive of 3.5 hours. The tourist resort of Negombo is 153 kilometers (3 hours) away. It is 98 kilometers (2 hours) from the hill capital of Kandy.

Sigiriya Weather

Vie from the top of Sigiriya

Sigiriya weather is hot and humid tropical climate, and is general unpredictable. The best time of the year to visit Sigiriya is January to March (February is the best month). The best time to climb Sigiriya is early in the morning or the late afternoon. The maximum daytime temperature range is 28 - 32°C (82 -90°F).

What to Wear

Summer hat

Dress in loose cotton, linen or breathable fabrics. Sunglasses are an excellent idea to protect your eyes. Closed footwear or at least firmly fastened footwear is strongly recommended. Don't forget a broad-brimmed hat and sunscreen. If you plan to visit the Pidurangala temple, your clothing must cover the shoulders and extend below your knees.


Tipping guide for Sigiriya

Hotels/Restaurants: A tip of 10% or more is customary.

Sigiriya Site: Other than your tour guide, if you use one, there is no one else you need to tip while visiting the Sigiriya site.


Toilets and Amenities at Sigiriya Rock

Refreshments: Refreshments stands are near the main entrance and exit. There are no facilities while climbing. Take your own supply of non-alcoholic drinks with you and dispose of your rubbish responsibly.
Toilets: There are clean toilets at the main entrance and exit. There are no toilets within the site or while climbing.

Elephant Ride

Elephant ride at Sigiriya

Ride a lumbering giant bareback or in the safety of a sedan chair. A detour through the lake is fun, especially when the elephant spouts water out of its trunk.

Airport Transfers

Airport Transfers

Most hotels will arrange airport pick-up and drop-off. There are also local hire car operators who will provide transfer services.



Car: Sigiriya is 181 kms from Colombo,153 kms from Negombo and 98 kms from Kandy. Several hire car operators can provide you with a vehicle and driver.
Bus: Intercity bus services run from major cities to Dambulla and Habarana, both of which are 24 kms from Sigiriya. There are local bus services from there to the site. The ride is interesting, friendly, safe but rough.
Train: There is a train service to Habarana 24 kms away. You will need to take road transport from there.
Plane: Cinnamon Air offers a flight from Colombo International Airport to Sigiriya. The flight takes approximately 30 minutes.