What to do in Sigiriya when you don’t climb Sigiriya Rock in Sri Lanka

by Kelly

So you’re not willing to pay the $30 USD entrance fee to climb Sigiriya Rock?  I get it, we didn’t either. Never fear here is everything you should do instead! We arrived to Sigiriya from Anuradhapura and it was a great place to take a day or two to relax.

Climbing Pidurangala Rock

Climb Pidurangala Rock

This is an absolute must do if you don’t climb Sigiriya Rock. Even if you are concerned about the bouldering (and I was!) if I can make it, you can make it! For everything you need to know about climbing it check out our Pidurangala Rock post!

This will take up most of your time. Really take it in and spend time at the top enjoying the view.

View point Pidurangala Rock and Sigiriya Rock

Sigiriya viewpoint

The perfect Sigiriya viewpoint. If you drive (or walk) further up past the Pidurangala Rock carpark you can take two lefts to get to this beautiful viewpoint. The road is tiny and pretty much one way so if you drive it’s best to leave your tuk tuk at the turn in, otherwise you will get stuck like we did! Luckily there was a local tuk tuk driver to help us turn it around. You’ll be rewarded with stunning views of both Pidurangala Rock and Sigiriya Rock.

Map to viewpoint of Pidurangala Rock and Sigiriya Rock

This is the map of how to get there from Pidurangala Rock carpark, if you type Sigiriya Kings Resort into google maps you should find it as the little road backs on the resort (which looked really nice!) If you are driving a tuk tuk when you turn down the road towards the resort leave it there and walk, you will find it hard to do a u turn. Halfway up they have blocked the road so you have to go out the way you came in. If you don’t have data for google maps make sure you download the app Maps.Me it is an awesome app which we used a lot!

Ruins in Sigirya


There are loads of little spots around Sigiriya to see ruins and temples. Just up the road from the Pidurangala carpark there is some ruins to check out. They are all quite well kept, there is 4 sites here to look at. There is also a path to the right leading to a sign that says Monastery. We walked around the scrub there but there wasn’t anything we could find to see. I think it is the site of it but no ruins remain.

Elephant in town

There is an elephant that lives near Sam’s Bungalow and washes in the river. It has a rope and I am not sure where he came from but you can see him washing there which is a little bit cute.

Checking out temples

Pidurangala Vaharala Inscription and temple

Pidurangala Vaharala Inscription and temple – Just a little further up the road from the Pidurangala Ruins is this site. It has some temples and this awesome Buddah with cobra. From what I understand the cobra is a ‘Naga called Mucilanda’. Apparently after Buddah achieved enlightenment the weather was bad and the naga sheltered him from the weather while he meditated. The inscription is said to be from 6th-7th Centuries AD and is written in old Singala.

Visit Sigiriya Temple

This is near the entrance to Sigiriya Rock but is separate and there is a separate entrance and fee. It does cost 250 rupees to get in here but there are 4 areas to see. There are columns of monk statues lining the outside and a huge standing Buddah statue at the back.

Sigiriya is awesome, a really lovely place to spend a day. If you do end up deciding to climb Sigiriya Rock you might want to do it the next day for sunrise. Get there before it opens so you are one of the first as it does get busy and really hot through the day.

The important stuff:


We stayed at Sigiriya Village Homestay. It was fine and the people that ran it were really lovely, but very budget.  The location was really good, just down the road from the main street and the intersection where you head to Sigiriya and Pidurangala Rocks. There is a nice garden and the breakfast is nice but again it was quite basic.

Where to stay in Sigiriya

These are our picks of where to stay in Sigiriya:

Budget: Home Stay, Bandula Home Stay, Pinthu Home Stay, Sigiri Anu Homestay, Another World Sigiriya

Midrange: The Traveller’s Hostel & Private Rooms, Sigiri Rock Side Home Stay, Sigiriya Paradise Inn, Sigiriya Sun Shine Villa

Luxe: The Nature Park Villa, Lankapura Heritage, Sigiriya King’s Resort, Back of Beyond – Pidurangala


Mammas Cafe was close by our accommodation and had reasonable prices. There are a couple of general stores there to grab snacks. We didn’t do a lot of eating out as our homestay kept feeding us, even though it was not included.

Where to next:

Ultimate self drive Sri Lanka itinerary

Sri Lanka Travel Guide

Best way to spend one day in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka

Pidurangala Rock, Sri Lanka – The ultimate guide!

What to do in Sigiriya when you don’t climb Sigiriya Rock in Sri Lanka

Why Theva Residency is the best hotel in Kandy, Sri Lanka

Nuwara Eliya – home of tea plantations Sri Lanka

Lime & Co Kaba – perfect beach hotel in Sri Lanka

Midigama & Kabalana – two perfect little beach towns you should visit

Gluten Free in Sri Lanka

Tuk tuk hire Sri Lanka – Renting and driving a tuk tuk around Sri Lanka!

Your go to Sri Lanka packing list

Dambulla and the Golden Buddah Temple

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