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Ways to Experience Citadel of Sigiriya - Lion Rock
from US$ 447.99
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4,413
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All reviews lion rock sri lanka early in the morning worth the climb spiral staircase mirror wall take your time be careful half way entrance fee scared of heights coming down well worth the effort amazing views cave paintings avoid the crowds start early
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Reviewed 6 April 2018

Thankfully we set off early as it was so hot and humid. It is not an overly difficult climb but in parts has very steep steps and it's just the heat that gets you. A fascinating history and the expansive view from the top was wonderful. Wall paintings very complete which was surprising. Good there are many levels to take a breather if needed, so if you choose not to climb to the top you can wait for your companions. Amazing to think they built this in such a difficult location complete with a swimming pool. Good to see so many school children visiting this incredible place. Happy to recommend and a must do whilst in Sri Lanka.

Date of experience: March 2018
Thank rfm013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 April 2018

Fascinating place steeped in history and an amazing site that just leaves you wondering how on earth they built it and then lived there successfully. We went about 10.00 am and it was a particularly hot (38 degrees) and humid day so we were soaked in sweat as it is quite a climb in such heat. Knowing what I now know, and if I could have added an extra day on to the holiday, I would have split the transfer from Kandy (2 and half hours drive) and visiting the site by organising an overnight stay in either Sigiriya or Dambulla so that we could have climbed at 7 am. We did this earlier time for World's End hike and the temperature earlier is a far nicer experience. If like us though you don't have enough days to split the travel and climb, go for it, the enjoyment outweighs the sweat. One of the more expensive entrances for Sri Lanka but still only 4650 rupees each (£22) and well worth it.

Date of experience: March 2018
1  Thank Mark D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 April 2018 via mobile

Go early morning as it gets very hot and difficult to climb. Not for young children or those with walking difficulty very steep steps and loads of them. The views at the top are well worth it. Simply stunning

Date of experience: April 2018
Thank 839sue839
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 April 2018

Wife & 2 kids 10 & 8 commenced the climb at 8.40am & reached the top at 9.10am. There were a few people but never in a queue. It was shaded until 3/4 of the way up but pretty hot. Its not a really tough climb but you do get a sweat up. Yes it is quite pricey but we knew that before we went and glad we did it. The views are absolutely stunning, the history behind it is interesting and just experiencing it was fulfilling. You cant visit Sri Lanka & not visit this place. Highly recommended.

Date of experience: April 2018
Thank BigTone72
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 April 2018

We went on this walk in February. We started the walk at 3 p.m. The weather was pleasant about 25 celsius but it was overcast. I prefer the word 'walk' rather than a 'climb' to describe this challenge but of course the walk is elevated. So long as you are not someone short of breadth or very obese it is very doable if you take your time.
Comment has been made on this site about the value of starting the climb early in the day. Well 3-00 p.m. is not early. It was never too hot, never too exhausting and I am 70 years old and someone who has had a heart attack but also someone quite fit for my age.
The disadvantage of starting the walk at 7-00 in the morning is having to get out of bed and perhaps delaying your breakfast until you have completed it. I like my bed. I like my breakfast. It may be that in the hot months an afternoon walk is too hot but in early February it was ok. There is another advantage to a mid-afternoon walk in that the descent it is less frenetic, with less people around. And the top is less crowded to and the stairs are less busy.
My experience was that coming down was harder than going up if, like me, you are not keen on heights. Coming down is also quicker than going up because you reach the lower level sooner because the elevation is less severe.
Our walk took about 3 hours from start to finish. This is partly explained by the fact we had a guide who shared his knowledge about the sites, history and heritage. We found his contribution added to our experience; not only did we learn a lot from him but his explanations, at different points, provided us with periods of resting. His reassurance that in February that the wasps/hornets would not be active as I am allergic to wasp stings. He knew what to do if the wasps were out and about was also reassuring The monkeys provided a little bit of amusement, that said if you have children and you give them something to eat discourage them from engaging with the monkeys when eating. I saw one little girl (aged 7/8) get a nasty scratch when monkey interpreted her interest in them as an invitation to share her snack.
Be prepared for the view at the top being a little disappointing on overcast days. The best views for me were looking up at the citadel as you walk up. However I can imagine that on a clear day you will get great 360 degree views.
There are some photographic challenges on this walk. Firstly carrying a camera around your neck risks the lens hitting the iron work as you climb or descend. Not taking a camera will surely disappoint even more. The best picture I took was that of an indian rat snack which was over 2 metres long. These snakes are not poisonous and it was in the grassy area when you approach the entrance. I did photograph the monkeys too. The iron work makes for memorable images but with a DSLR you need to have both hands free to get a decent photo which can be a challenge when you get higher up the face of the rock. There are also better views of the citadel if you approach it from the road if your desire is to take a really great photo.
It is amazing to ponder how on earth did people managed to build the palace at the top and how did they get the bricks etc up there. I have wondered how Stonehenge in the UK was erected. This place is probably just as remarkable. I would have liked to have more information on the site itself. I kept wondering was this citadel built by slaves or perhaps built by people in servitude. One wonders how the workforce managed to cultivate, prepare, serve and eat there food; and how long did it take to complete the project? It is a very remarkable structure.
Whether 70, 17 or 7 you do get a satisfaction from getting to the top. I enjoyed my walk very much despite my anxious concerns that I would not be able to make the full ascent because of my fear of heights or that I would be stung to death by hornets or attacked by monkeys. Neither happened and while not a gentle stroll it was a very rewarding and interesting walk. However for me it was not the best experience of my holiday as see elephants in the wild topped it. Hence the score of 4 stars.

Date of experience: February 2018
Thank DevizesTwin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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