11 of the best pieces of advice you should know before climbing Sigiriya rock in Sri Lanka
Thought of giving you some advice as person who have climbed Sigiriya several times, before you gonna climb Sigiriya. Here you'll find everything you need to know about climbing Sigiriya.
Grab drink and a snack,because this gonna take a while.
Ready? Here you go!
1. 'A must visit' in Sri Lanka
Sigiriya is a palace and a fortress built on a 600 feet tall column of rock in 477 AD ,by King Kashaypa. The citadel itself must be magnificent, as it holds proofs for amazing architecture and charming landscape, with its ruins standing still with pride, of its beauty.
If you are going to visit Sri Lanka, never miss to witness the amazing Sigiriya which is named as an UNESCO world heritage.
2. Go early as much as you can
It's a rock! So you can't blame Sigiriya if you feel the place is really hot. Try to reach there as early as you can. At least before 10.00 am.
3. Decide what's the best transport method to reach there
You can reach Sigiriya by bus, by train, by air or the easiest way by a vehicle for rent!
If you are going by bus, the easiest way is to take a bus from Colombo bus station(Colombo fort) to Kalmunaior Kaduruwela or Kanthale and get off in Dambulla. From Dambulla you can hire a tuk tuk(8Us$).It'll take 4 hours(max) to the whole journey.
Love to travel by train? Then, make sure you won't miss the train. Because, there 's only one train per day.
Here's the time table.
From Colombo (6.10 am ) to Habarana(10.59am)
From Habarana(10.36am)to Colombo (3.25pm)
If you are willing to climb Sigiriya in the same day you arrive there, the best way to travel Sigiriya is by bus.
When you get down at Habarana train station at 11 am and reach Sigiriya by a tuk tuk for 5 us$, it'll be almost 11.30 am.I mean it'll be too sunny and hot.
As I told you before, you also can rent a vehicle or you can take a flight to Sigiriya,which is really expensive!
4. Know the price
Let me be brief!It's 30US$
5. Don't skip, just climb it, No matter how old are you!
The hundreds of steps is what take you to the top. Some are really low and some are very high. If you are having leg pain or knee issues the journey might get bit hard. Specially to elderly people and kids.
But no worries! Take your time, get small breaks along the way.
I 've seen old people and kids on the top. You can do it too:)
Also, Sigiriya is completely safe for kids. Just make sure to stay close with your kids and hold their hand in windy area.
6. Wear something comfy
It's better to wear something light and lose as you have to climb a lot of steps. Better if you can avoid short dresses as wind is heavy there. I lied-it's not about the wind,it's about the locals(some locals)).
Avoid intense bright colours, if you really bothered about those hornets up there.
Researches says that hornets have a lesser attraction to brown and black.Also don't forget to wear something cover your toes, as the steps are bit narrow.
7. Hire a guide.
Oh! please don't think like that!
I'm not promoting anyone here. Trust me Sigiriya and Temple of the tooth at Kandy are the two places should not visit without a guide.
I've been to Sigiriya for several times and never thought of hiring a guide as we(my family)thought we knew everything about Sigiriya. You know, we are Sri Lankans and story of Sigiriya is something everyone learn from primary school.
But in the this time we hired a guide as a foreign friend traveled with us.
Stairs to the frescoes
After spending the first 5 mins with the guide, we realize we know only 5% of the story.
So, hire a guide(about15US$) you will be amazed by the stories there and the ancient tech of Sigiriya.
8. Carry those....
It's a bit long journey, that make you feel your muscles and your own weight.
So, carry something to drink, to stay hydrated. A small snack will also be nice.
Don't forget that you are now in a tropical country which is hot and you are going to be on a rock in a tropical country which is double hot.Carry a hat with a neck tie(it's windy), sunglasses and anything to get hide from the sun.
Remember not to carry heavy bags. Carry most essential things. No matter how much it's light, trust me, when you climb higher and higher you feel like the earth gravity has changed.
9. Don't disturb the hornets
No need to lie, there are hornets on the rock.
It's their home.
Some says that they are, the dead queens of King Kashayapa who build Sigiriya have born as hornets to protect the rock.:D
Anyway, I've been there in a hornet attack once.I was a bit down from the place where their nests are. Luckily I got no harm.
When the hornet get disturbed somehow, they only tend to fly around that area they've been attracted but not around the whole rock.
If the hornets get severely disturbed, sometimes the authorities close the place for the next day may be few more days.You are completely safe if you stay silent and peaceful.
Here how you should act not to wake the hornets up.
Don't shout or laugh after you show this board. Be silent as much as you can.
Be aware of hornets!
Don't throw anything from the top of the rock, it might hit their hives.
Avoid odors like perfumes and alcohol or anything. As hornets attract to strong smells.(If they are been disturbed)
Wear clothes with colours like brown and black and avoid bright colors.
What if unfortunately they wake up?
Go to one of hornet protection cages. I don't think all the cages will be enough for all the people there.
Get aside from the path or get to a corner of the stairs and stay near to the ground covering your body as much as you can.
Remember don't run. Hornets attract more to moving objects.
FYI-There is a very fast emergency aiding and rescuing service conducted by the police and the army forces. Remember, I was there in a hornet attack. I've seen it.
I'm sure you'll be fine!
10. Be aware of helpers
If you are suddenly surrounded by some people or accompanied by a person, who try to smile and talk, again and again, moving parallel to you for some time.
Unless you are willing to pay a high amount for a little help. Those people will try to help you along your way and will ask for money at the top of the rock.
If you really need a help and willing to pay what they ask, they are not bad at all. But the payments won't be reasonable.
Try to hire a guide who is willing to help you for free or for few more bucks as it'll be really cheap than trapping with such helpers.
11. Stay away from monkeys.
They are adorable and so funny.But they might get furious if they feel they are unsafe in the place.So don't try to go near them or feed them.
They won't satisfy with the portion you gave it which may lead to a situation where you get attack by a monkey.
Read more Sri Lanka travel guide at here.