Battle of the Rocks; Sigiriya Vs Pidurangula, Sri Lanka

Whilst researching what to do with our month in Sri Lanka it became clear that one of the ‘must visit’ places is Sigiriya Rock. Situated in the centre of the country this imposing, freestanding rock in the middle of a vast savanna-esque landscape looked truly magnificent and we couldn’t wait to get a glimpse of it in person!

The only problem we faced was where and how to get the best view of this beast! We had originally planned to do as most people do and climb Sigiriya Rock itself to peer out over the sprawling landscape below. However, after hearing what we thought was an extortionate price of $30 for the pleasure our plans changed!

Luckily for us, the backpacker community is a thrifty one with everyone looking for the cheapest option to experience the most amazing things! Enter – Pidurangula Rock! After a couple of conversations in a hostel and with a really helpful local guy who was hosting us we decided that the better option (and more within our budget!) was to get our trek on and scramble up Pidurangula Rock instead! In hindsight, this is a clear winner and we wonder why more people don’t do it. It’s only 300 SLR to do the climb, there are less people around and you actually get an incredible view out over the magnificent Sigiriya Rock itself!

Granted the last 5 minutes of the climb up are tricky with it being basically loose boulders and sharp edges (made even harder when trying to do with your 61 year old mother) but after lots of bending, leg stretching and squeezing  through some tight space we made it! Success!

When you clamber up over the last rock, with the orange sun just in your sight line, the view from the top is absolutely breathtaking. We think it’s hard to find a better panoramic view of the interior of Sri Lanka anywhere and it gives you a real sense of freedom when you stand up so high peering out over such a majestic natural wonder! There was only a handful of people up at the top so it was amazing to sit in such peace and awe at the spectacular views all around us.

With the Mum worried about climbing down in the dark (probably a good shout!) and the sun setting pretty quickly we sat and took in the view for another 10 minutes before embarking on our downward journey. A couple of near death slips later (not really!) we were feeling triumphant bounding down the lower parts of the path back to find a tuk-tuk!

A top tip here; make sure you tell the tuk-tuk driver who drops you off to come back and get you once you’ve finished your  climb! The entrance to Pidurangula is 3km from the main road and tuk-tuks don’t go down there so unless you want at least an hour walk back to find transport its best to organise in advance!

Now, we can’t vouch for climbing Sigiriya Rock and although we are sure it’s lovely we found Pidurangula to be so beautiful and the much cheaper option. So, before splashing the cash, take another look at the pictures above and think carefully! Everyone we have met who is going to Sri Lanka has been convinced to climbed Pidurangula instead!

Sorry Sigiriya!

C & J

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