Ancient Citadel of Sigiriya
The Lion’s Rock in the Ancient Citadel of Sigiriya is easily Sri Lanka’s most iconic sight. Ruins of an ancient civilisation are in and around it, and those of a 5th century palace is on the flat-topped summit, 200 meters up.
The climb of 1,202 steps to the very top could be tough for those with a serious fear of heights as some staircases are exposed, steep, and rickety, but it’s not impossible. Besides, it’s well worth every gasping moment.
Throughout the ascent, there are quite a handful of attractions to check out such as the enormous wasp nests, the temple caves with impressive ancient frescoes, and the massive lion paws, which the rock is named after, so there are a lot of opportunities for you to take a breather.
The views from the top are simply stunning. I don’t think you could say you’ve been to Sri Lanka unless you have been there.
Top tip: Try to go early to avoid the crowds and the midday sun which would surely make the hike much more of a backbreaker. And bring some water!
Golden Temple of Dambulla
The Golden Cave Temple is spread over 5 caves, which contain over 150 Buddha statues, a few statues of Sri Lankan kings and mythological gods and goddesses like Vishnu and Hanuman.
In contrast to Sigiriya, the top isn’t as high, so don’t expect such breathtaking panoramic views. On the other hand, the caves are just incredible in their own right. It’s quite difficult to believe that such inspiring works of art were done by humans so long ago. No matter what you’re into- history, art, architecture, or spiritual- you won’t leave this place disappointed.