Sigiriya Rock – 5 reasons not to go there

Sigiriya Rock – 5 reasons not to go there

Surely everybody who’s traveling to Sri Lanka has Sigiriya Rock on their bucket list. Hence the Internet is full of stoked reviews and photos, you only have to check Google and you will find like 450k results. And the hype is very understandable: Once you arrive you will have to take a step back to get the dimensions of the “Lion Rock”, as it’s such a big rock coming out of nowhere. It is an impressive view when you arrive on top of the old kingdom fortress. But there are a 5 reasons why you shouldn’t visit the rock fortress, which I explain in the following. I’d recommend a great alternative instead.

1. It’s crowded

While you, as an independent traveler, try to arrive early in the morning at Sigiriya Rock you might be surprised. You won’t be alone as several tourist busses are already there as early as 7.00 am, right when the historic site opens. Hence the whole place looks more like the Time Square in New York City than an old rock fortress.

2. Sigiriya Rock entrance fee

While Sri Lanka is still an (relatively) affordable travel destination for most of us, Sigiriya is not. It will cost you roughly 40 US$ entrance fee to stand in a line with other tourists, waiting to be allowed on the steps and make your way up the rock. There are cheaper and better alternatives around.

3. Everybody is doing it

As I mentioned before, everybody who is visiting Sri Lanka is also headed to Sigiriya Rock. It’s mainstream and hence has lost some of it’s former unique charme. Why would you travel independently when you’re just doing the things everybody does? Do something different!

4. It’s hot

The historic site is the most visited attraction in Sri Lanka and has opening hours like a museum. You can visit anytime between 7 am and 5 pm.  While this seems ok, you can hardly find any convenient time as it will be crowded really early on. There is hardly any shelter from the sun. Hence  it will be way too hot to climb 1250 stairs later during the day.


5. You can’t see it

Take a look at the picture – that’s an amazing landscape and the Lion Rock is the main attraction and focus point. When you’re right on top of Sigiriya Rock, you may have a look on some old ruins but you can’t see the rock itself. If you want to take beautiful pictures of Sigiriya Rock there is maybe a better place.

The better alternative – Pidurangala Rock

Of course, Sigiriya Rock itself is surely great to visit, in particular when you also want to have a look at the ancient sights.

However, I strongly recommend to go to Pidurangala Rock close by instead. Read on if you want to know more.


  1. Pidurangala Rock - the alternative to Sigiriya Rock - 2trvlrs

    30. March 2017 at 21:20

    […] Sigiriya Rock is great and all the people are going there for a reason i outlined in the previous post why i don’t recommend going there. For me, Pidurangala Rock with it’s little temple and […]

  2. The cultural triangle - 3 things to visit while your'e in Sri Lanka

    2. April 2017 at 19:45

    […] will cover it in a separate post as there are a few things to consider. Please refer to my post on Sigiriya as well as on Pidurangala […]

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