Ultimate guide to Dambulla, Sri Lanka

 Well hello to you my reader chums! I'm missing the wonders of Sri Lanka; it has to be one of my favourite countries I've visited. Sri Lanka featured plenty of beautiful experiences and scenery and I felt welcomed with open arms by the people. 

If you're planning a trip to Sri Lanka, Dambulla is a must-see and here is the ultimate guide to what to see and do.

Ultimate guide to Dambulla, Sri Lanka

What to see and do in Dambulla

Hike up Sigiriya Rock or Pidurangala Rock

I will rave about this hike time and time again as it was one of my favourite experiences of the entire trip. Dambulla is renowned for two hikes, Sigiriya Rock and Pidurangala Rock. Sigiriya Rock is a UNESCO Heritage Site, whilst Pidurangala Rock is located a couple of kilometres away. You can do either hike as the views will be just as amazing as the other.

I chose Pidurangala Rock for a couple of reasons: it was cheaper, $2 in comparison to $35 and it was nowhere near as crowded. As I reached the top of the rock, I could see the crowds on Sigiriya Rock. Plus, by climbing this one, I had a gorgeous view of the UNESCO heritage site. Pidurangala Rock was a phenomenal experience because it really challenged me with my hiking skills and confidence. 

I especially loved it because the view was out of this world. It genuinely felt like I was on a cloud, looking out at the stunning natural scenery below and surrounding me, especially Sigiriya Rock. We timed it beautifully as we got to the top a while before sunset and got to enjoy the view in the daytime and watch the sun go down.

Visit the Dambulla Cave Temple

As the largest and best-preserved cave temple in Sri Lanka, it holds great historical significance and is a wonder to visit. The Cave Temple I enjoyed for many reasons. Firstly, I loved the uniqueness of the fact it was in a cave and had many Buddha statues; it was awe-inspiring to wander around and soak up the culture. I also loved the location of the temple, despite the long walk to the top, it overlooked the natural side of Dambulla.

Go on a safari in Hurulu Eco Park

Elephants are my favourite animals and in Sri Lanka, I knew there were loads of opportunities to see them roam free in the wild. Depending on the time of year determines where the heard of elephants are. As we went in January, they were roaming around the Hurulu Eco Park in Dambulla. 

We booked a safari tour through our homestay and the jeep driver is what made the experience even better than it was. He drove us to the park earlier than any other tourists, meaning for most of our tour, it felt as if the eco-park was ours to explore. I also loved how cautious our driver was for the elephants' welfare and that he wouldn't crowd them, unlike some of the other jeeps we witnessed. 

I loved the freedom of driving through the park and witnessing the elephants just go about their day and enjoy it. The whole experience was magical and I'd give anything to relive the wonders of being in the elephant's natural habitat.

Go to a spice garden

Spice gardens are very common in Sri Lanka and often as a part of a tour or when you're being taxied around, you would be offered to you to see one. However, despite them trying to force us to visit, I really enjoyed the spice garden. I'm a big fan of holistic health and I really enjoyed learning more about what herbs and spices can do, as well as receiving a free massage. 

Ultimate guide to Dambulla, Sri Lanka

Explore its surrounding nature

Dambulla is a hub for gorgeous surroundings with green wherever you look. The roads are filled with trees and many high viewpoints meaning you can see views of green scenery for days. We stayed at a homestay and our driver helped us with many of our excursions and even took us to a beautiful rock to watch the sunset. As we left our accommodation in his car, he drove through various village lanes and then we arrived at this massive rock to climb up, which boasted a pretty epic landscape.

Where to stay in Dambulla

The accommodation options in Dambulla vary from hostels, homestays to hotels. The accommodation in Dambulla had to be one of my favourite places I stayed in Sri Lanka and a place I will never forget. As a homestay, the Perfect Hideout was located close to the Cave Temple and had the kindest owner. He helped us book excursions, taxied us around and generally, was a helping hand on our trip. Plus, he made us breakfast every morning and always checked in with us. The room itself was beautifully modern with every amenity you could need.

Things to know before visiting Dambulla

  • It's hard to get around - Dambulla's main attractions aren't walkable to each other; you need to hire a tuk-tuk to get around everywhere, or if you're feeling brave, hire a scooter.
  • Talk to the locals for recommendations - Our host at the homestay was a blessing during the time in Dambulla as he helped us with many excursions, taxis, food recommendations and advice. 
  • Wear suitable clothes - The excursions in Dambulla require suitable walking shoes, especially for the hikes and being in nature. Pack accordingly for all of these attractions.
  • Visit the attractions as early as you can - The weather can get hot and attractions can get busy which means it's best to visit first thing in the morning or later in the day.

I hope you enjoyed this post! Are you planning a trip soon?

Thank you for reading <3

1 comment

  1. Thanks for sharing, this is a great guide of what to do in Dambulla, seeing the elephants looks lovely experience :)

    Nic | Nic's Adventures


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