Traveling around Sri Lanka in two weeks

Summing up our travel route in Sri Lanka, trying to give an idea of the diversities you can experience. The following text is a short summery including where we stayed, how to get from A to B, and links to the blog posts from the different experiences.

Day 1, 29 December: Male, Colombo
Stopping over in Male, The Maldives for 9 hours.
Arriving in Sri Lankas capital Colombo in the evening. We had pre-booked a taxi to pick us up at the airport, arranged by the guesthouse we stayed in. Price 30$.
Overnight stay at: Colombo Haven B&B
Small family run B&B. We felt very welcome, and they were very helpful. Very tasty breakfast as well! The room was large including a huge terrace.
Colombo Haven B&B, Colombo Colombo Haven B&B

Day 2, 30 December: Colombo
Visited Salvation Army The Haven children’s home, giving them clothes and toys we brought from home.
Eating our way through Galle Road on a Food tour with a local.
Overnight stay at: Colombo Haven B&B

Day 3, 31 December: Colombo to Galle
Express bus on the Colombo-Galle highway, leaving from Maharagama bus station approximately every hour. The journey takes 90 minutes, but depending on where you are coming from in Colombo, you also have to count in the time to get there. It took us about 45 min from Colombo Haven B&B in Colombo 3 to Maharagama by taxi, price 700LKR. Comfortable bus with AC. Price 420LKR per person.
Arriving in Galle, the bus station is right next to the railway station, about 10 min walk from Galle Fort.
New Year’s celebration at the beach in Unawatuna.
Overnight stay at: Leynbaan Villa & Fish Spa
Small hotel in the old town of Galle. The room could have been bigger and cleaner, but if you are not planning to hang out in the room all day, it covers your basic needs.
Leynbaan Villa & Fish Spa, Galle

Day 4 & 5, 1-2 January: Galle
Lazy days in Galle with a day trip to Unawatuna.
Overnight stay at: Leynbaan Villa & Fish Spa

Day 6, 3 January: Galle to Colombo
As we did not get to see much of the capital when we first arrived, we decided to return one day earlier, even though we were booked in Galle for four nights.
Taking an afternoon train on 1st class from Galle to Colombo, 990 LKR per person. The coach had AC and therefore closed windows, which were almost impossible to look through. Too bad, as the train journey is supposed to be quite nice. I would absolutely choose 2nd or 3rd class instead, as they have fans, and therefor possibility to open the windows.
Dinner, and visiting local bars.
Overnight stay at : Ivy Lane.
A brand new (not finished) hotel. There were ongoing construction works and the elevator was not installed, but the room was really nice. Great value for money!

Ivy Lane, Colombo

Day 7, 4 January: Colombo
Poya day, or full moon day, in Sri Lanka. Wandered around town, soaking in the atmosphere.
Overnight stay at : Ivy Lane

Day 8, 5 January: Train from Colombo to Polonnaruwa
Took the early morning train at 06.05 from Colombo to Polonnaruwa. Had reservations in 2nd class, comfortable seats, and fantastic views of the scenery passing by the open window.
Rented bikes from Thisara Guest House and had a beautiful bike ride along the lake.
Overnight stay at: Thisara Guest House
Situated a short bike ride away from the lake and the ancient ruins. Our room was good sized, the bathroom could absolutely be cleaner, and there are A LOT of mosquitos, so be sure to tuck the mosquito net right, and off course use insect repellant spray. Plus for providing mosquito coil when sitting out on the terrace.
Tasty food for both breakfast, lunch and dinner.
One thing worth noticing; they lock the front gate in the evening, so don’t expect to get out to go somewhere else. However, there is not much happening elsewhere either.

Day 9, 6 January: Polonnaruwa
Explored the ruins of ancient Polonnaruwa
Overnight stay at: Thisara Guest House

Day 10, 7 January: Driving from Polonnaruwa via Sigiriya and the Rock Temple in Dambulla to Kandy, and other stops along the way.
We decided the best way to get the most out of the day and see as much as possible, we had to rent a driver. The price was 9000 LKR. Pickup at 09.30, arriving in Kandy around 18.00.
Overnight stay at: Blinkbonnie Inn Kandy
Situated on one of the hills surrounding the city. A bit far away from the city center, about 30 min walk. A tuk-tuk charge 200LKR, but it is probably negotiable. Our room was clean and just the right size, with a nice balcony overlooking a quiet valley.
Blinkbonnie Inn Kandy

Day 11, 8 January: Kandy
It was Election Day, so we were told to stay at our guesthouse in case of demonstrations. However, we went out for a walk downtown, we had to see some of the city!
Overnight stay at: Blinkbonnie Inn Kandy

Day 12, 9 January: Train from Kandy to Hatton, then bus to Delhousie
Scenic train ride from Kandy to Hatton, among tea plantations. 3rd class at the train, but just as good as 2nd class. Train ride is 2 hour 20 min. Price 400 LKR per person + 75 LKR per person for the local bus from Hatton to Delhousie.
Overnight stay at: Wathsala Inn
Situated along the road in a cluster of small hotels, about 700 meter from the last stop for the bus. You can get off along the way, but as the bus was crowded and our luggage was clamped underneath a pile of other backpacks, we came along to the end. The room was large, but the bathroom smelled like diesel. Quite cold during the night, so we were glad we had brought a blanket. Beware of mosquito’s! The restaurant has a great view to Adam’s Peak and serve buffet dinner, but we ended up eating at one of the other places nearby.
Wathsala Inn, Delhousie

Day 13, 10 January: Hiking to Adam’s Peak at night, driving to Negombo
Hiking to Adam’s Peak
We figured it would take too much time and hassle to get from Delhousi to Negombo, so we shopped around for prices for a driver. Starting at 14000 LKR, we asked a few more, and ended up with 11000 LKR.
Overnight stay at: Thisara Holiday New Villa
Situated within a guarded housing complex, about 30 min walk to the beach. The room was quite small, with a private bathroom next-door. The villa has two other rooms, so kitchen and living room is shared. There is also a pool, shared with all the other houses within the complex.
Thisara Holiday New Villa, Negombo

Day 14, 11 January: Negombo
Doing basically nothing, just relaxing, hanging out at the beach and watching the locals enjoying their day off.

Day 15, 12 January: Negombo – flying out to Dubai
Found a tuk-tuk driver that drove us to the airport for 800 LKR. Note that the tuk-tuks are not allowed to drive all the way, and have their own stand 2-300 m from the entrance.
Overnight stay in Dubai: Marina Palm View Room
We stayed in the London room, and found it very nice and clean. The room is large with beds for four persons, so an easy pick for a larger group. The bathroom however, is shared with the two other rooms. The bathroom is tiny, so make sure not to bring anything unnecessary when showering, as it will most probably be wet.
Marina Palm View London Room, Dubai Marina Palm View London Room

Day 16, 13 January: Dubai
Speed sightseeing, as we only had one full day.
Overnight stay in Dubai: Marina Palm View Room

I also noticed they have snooze cubes at the airport in Dubai. As we were staying for a longer time, we did not get to try, but it is absolutely on my bucket list!

Day 17, 14 January: Flying home to the winter.

We booked most of our accommodation through Airbnb. If you are new to Airbnb you can sign up using this link, and get $25 off on your first booking.

Just a few more things to bear in mind when planning a trip to Sri Lanka.

See the official Sri Lanka Tourism website for more information about Sri Lanka. 

Get your bearings, prepare for Sri Lanka!

Just a few things to bear in mind when planning a trip to Sri Lanka.

The basics before you go:
Remember to apply for a visa. Get your Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) at www.eta.gov.lk.

Buy mosquito repellent with high level of DEET. Or bring me along. The mosquitos sure love me, and will probably leave you alone…Adapter Sri Lanka - www.globaltravelproducts.com.au

Pack an adapter. Or, make sure to buy one when you arrive. The longest of the three pins are crucial, as it opens the wall socket for the two others. Regular European plug can also be used some places, but in most of the rooms we stayed we needed the one with three plugs.

Bring clothes covering your shoulders and knees to dress appropriate.

Once you get there:
Trishaw/tuk-tuk
: Make sure to use a tuk-tuk with meter, AND, ask them to actually use it. Unless you want to learn yourself the hard way. It is harder to find metered taxis outside Colombo though, but it should not cost more than 50 LKR per kilometre. Agree on a price before you get in.

Tuk-tuk's lined up. Which one to choose?

Tuk-tuk’s lined up. Which one to choose?

Phone card: Unless you are planning on a serious mobile detox, you really should buy a local SIM card. We got the Tourist Plan from Dialog, apparently the largest network in Sri Lanka. The SIM card in itself you can easily get in small kiosks, as well as the reload cards. There is a special deal for tourist as well, giving quite good prepaid inclusions of local and international calls as well as a large amount of mobile data. You will be set back the whole amount you pay for the local deal in just a few minutes on your own national number, so it is absolutely worth it. And if you need to, you can easily reload almost anywhere.

Early closing hours: Be prepared for an early night. Most restaurants and bars close around 22 or 23, with a few exceptions.

Trains: To prebook tickets cost more, but sometimes you just cannot risk the seats to be sold out. As a foreigner, prepare to pay a higher price than the locals do. When buying a ticket at the train station, there are separate counters for buying tickets to the different classes. Or, you will sometimes find that each counter handle only one or a few destinations, while others handle the further.
During our trip we travelled by train in all three classes. The 1st class coach had AC and therefore closed windows, which were almost impossible to look through. I would absolutely choose 2nd  or 3rd class instead, as they have fans instead, and therefor possibility to open the windows. The only difference between 2nd and 3rd was that the seats on the latter were formed more as a bench than separate seats, but still comfortable. Find train schedules and more information about Sri Lanka Railways.

Trying to look through the window at the train from Galle to Colombo.

Trying to look through the window at the train from Galle to Colombo.

2nd class on the train from Colombo to Polonnaruwa.

2nd class on the train from Colombo to Polonnaruwa.

3rd class on the train from Kandy to Hatton.

3rd class on the train from Kandy to Hatton.

 

Car with driver is very convenient, as you can stop along the way whenever you want to.

ATMs are widely found, but not all of them accept all types of cards. I had trouble with my Visa, but just try the next one.

Etiquette guidelines in religious places: dress appropriate, hats and shoes must be removed as well.

Last, but not least; Many of the people we met were genuinely friendly and helpful, but unfortunately there are exceptions. Use your head and a certain skepticism.

Read more posts from Sri Lanka.

Negombo – nothing to do?

To be honest, and I really think travel writers should be, I do not see any specific reason to go to Negombo. The beach is not particularly nice, and there are plenty of souvenir sellers trying to get you to buy their stuff. At first, they start a regular conversation, but after a while they take out their souvenirs from their bag. As I have stated earlier, I am not very fond of people trying to sell me things I do not need. Especially when they do not take no for an answer.

The reason we ended up in Negombo, was because it is right next to the airport, and as the Pope was visiting the day of our departure, we did not want to risk losing our flight due to traffic jam. Taking the easy way out. In hindsight, we would probably stayed in Colombo instead.

However, I always try to see the positive in things. So if you still for some reason end up in Negombo, this is what you should do: Wander along the Dutch canal, watching the fishermen clearing their nets, while their kids run around in the background. Feel the sand between your toes while strolling the beach and looking at the sea, avoiding eye contact with the souvenir sellers. Sit down at the tip of the mole, watching the locals enjoying their day off. And get cooled down by the sea spray from the waves crashing against the breakwater.

But there is really not much more to do, than just that.

The Dutch Canal in Negombo, Sri Lanka

The Dutch Canal.

Fishermenn in the Dutch Canal in Negombo, Sri Lanka

Fishermen in the Dutch Canal.

Set sail at the beach in Negombo, Sri Lanka.

Set sail at the beach.

The beach in Negombo looks better in the photo than in real life...

The beach in Negombo looks better in the photo than in real life….

Locals enjoying their time off at the beach in Negombo, Sri Lanka.

Locals enjoying their time off at the beach.

Sunset at the beach in Negombo, Sri Lanka.

 

Experienced in January 2015. 

Kandy. Sweet and sour. And a bit bizarre!

Liking the Sri Lankan city of Kandy or not, really depends on your taste. I would say there are two sides of the city. The sweet, and the sour.

I am not really know to be fussy, and often find shabby rundown houses charming. Kandy absolutely do have some pretty colonial houses, but the large ugly commercial signs tear down the impression.

Kandy is built on five hills, with a nice lake at the East end of the city. I had booked a room at Blinkbonnie Inn Kandy, situated at one of the hillsides. As our driver drove further and further up, and away from the city center, I started to regret my choice of accommodation. My doubt however, soon disappeared. Our room was clean and just the right size, with a nice balcony overlooking a quiet valley.

Heading downtown for a quite late dinner in the evening, we decided to settle for the first place we laid our eyes on. That was The Pub. Located in a well-renovated colonial house, we found a place out on the balcony. Being keen on something else than Singhalese food for a change, this was just what we needed.

A few stone throws away, we found the magnificent Royal Bar. A real gem with a unique atmosphere! The bright shining moon and the starry sky certainly underlined that. Sitting outside in the courtyard really make you feel like being back in the colonial time. The soft dimmed lights relieving the simple white columns and the bright red wooden doors and mullions. I just could not help thinking how it must have been living there at that time. The bright version of it, that is.

The magnificent and atmospheric Royal Bar.

The magnificent and atmospheric Royal Bar.

Sadly, this bar, like all other places, closed early, and we had to head back home after just one beer.

The next day being Election Day, we were actually advised to stay away from the city. Good thing than that we had a balcony with beautiful view.

The view from our balcony at Blinkbonnie Inn.

The view from our balcony at Blinkbonnie Inn.

However, we did not want to just stay put, so we went for a walk. Not far from Blinkbonnie Inn, we stopped at the fabulous viewpoint overlooking the lake surrounded by white-painted houses. A bit further down, we escaped the burning sun, enjoying a glass of iced tea. Still overlooking the lake and Temple of The Tooth.

While walking down the hill, we almost did not meet any others. And downtown, where I assume it is quite bustling on a regular day, only a few people walked around. But it was just that; It was not just any given day. It was the day of the election, and the coming result was not at all obvious. We had met many people along the way, both the ones wanting the old president, and the ones with strong desire for change. We had felt the tension, and understood the ones warning there might be trouble. So the people stayed away, minding their own business. Leaving the streets more or less empty.
View of Kandy and the lake

Overlooking the lake and Temple of The Tooth in Kandy.

Overlooking the lake and Temple of The Tooth in Kandy.

Kandy, Sri Lanka

One of the main streets in Kandy, with plenty of commercial signs .

One of the main streets in Kandy, with plenty of commercial signs .

The market in Kandy.

The market in Kandy.

The lake and Temple of The Tooth in Kandy, Sri Lanka
Now to the bizarre part.
We decided to find a place for dinner nearby where we stayed, and found Helga’s Folly just around the corner. Arriving at the premises, the man at the front desk rolled out a large papyrus roll, with neatly scripture describing the menus for the various weekdays. The starter and dessert is set, but there is a choice of three different main courses. This in itself is not that strange. It is what awaits as the appetizer is served, that will knock you out.

All the rooms are diverse, filled with props gathered from all over the world, of all thinkable styles. Chandeliers hang from the roof, softly lighting up the room with help from dripping candles.  Photos and paintings are hanging all around. Alternatively just painted directly on the wall. The pictures show Helga’s family members photographed together with the many celebrities visiting throughout the times. Mahatma Ghandi being one of them. One of the more recent guests was Kelly Jones from Stereophonics, writing the single Madam Helga after his visit.

Helga herself is still alive and kicking, living in the house together with her third husband. Before we left, we even got to talk to her, hearing exciting stories about her unique life. Truly a special evening in an extremely eccentric place. What can I say; you just have to go there to experience it yourself!

Get amazed at Helga’s Folly.

Get amazed at Helga’s Folly.

Helga’s Folly in Kandy, Sri Lanka 2 Helga’s Folly in Kandy, Sri Lanka 3 Helga’s Folly in Kandy, Sri Lanka 4

 

Experienced in January 2015. 

Tips along the way between Polonnaruwa and Kandy

Travelling from Polonnaruwa to Kandy, we decided to rent a driver to be able to experience Sigiriya and Pidurangala Rock as well as the Golden Temple or Rock Temple of Dambulla on the way. The driver also included a few other stops.

Skip Sigiriya Rock, climb Pidurangala Rock instead!
Enjoy the spectacular views from Pidurangala Rock almost all by yourself instead of queuing up like ants climbing Sigiriya Rock. Not only will you get the same grand view, but it also include the Lion Rock.

The stone stairs start from Pidurangala Temple, giving you a 20 minutes upward hike to a giant reclining Buddha. Here the path end, but continue onward through some bushes, and you will be right on track. The last part is only about five minutes, including a little bit of rock climbing. Nevertheless, it is absolutely worth the amazing sight of almost everlasting green, only framed by the mountains in the far distance. And off course the massive Sigiriya Rock rising a few kilometers away.

As a bonus, to climb Pidurangala Rock you only have to pay 300LKR as a contribution to the temple by the same name, opposed to almost 4000 for Sigiriya Rock!

Beautiful view including Sigiriya Rock seen from Pidurangala Rock.

Beautiful view including Sigiriya Rock seen from Pidurangala Rock.

The Rock Temple of Dambulla
With an elongated white painted house concealing five sanctuaries carved into the rock, the Rock Temple of Dambulla is a magnificent place to visit.

The cave monastery is the largest and best-preserved cave-temple complex in Sri Lanka, housing 157 Buddha statues as well as large Buddhist mural paintings.
The Rock Temple of Dambulla is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and an important sacred pilgrimage site.

From the parking lot it is about 10 minutes uphill walk. The tickets however, are sold from an office right next to the Buddha Museum, so please remember to buy them there before heading up. The price is 1500LKR per person.

The Rock Temple of Dambulla 2
The Hindu Temple Nalanda Gedige
Nalanda Gedige is a Hindu Temple in the very center of Sri Lanka, dating back between 8th and 10th century.
The Hindu Temple Nalanda Gedige
Spice garden
Spice gardens are well known in Sri Lanka, and our driver suggested to stop and have a quick look. By all means, it can be both interesting and fascinating to see how the spices grow and the various possibilities of use, but you will feel quite obligated to buy something from their shop when you leave. You are hereby warned.

Experienced in January 2015. 

The ancient city of Polonnaruwa

Ancient ruins fascinate me, so when I heard about Polonnaruwa, I was really eager to visit. The sights of the ancient city are a bit spread out, so renting a bike is the perfect way to get around. Bike rentals are available, and most guesthouses probably offer that as well. At least ours did.

The Vatadage at the sacred Quadrangle in Polonnaruwa.

The Vatadage at the sacred Quadrangle in Polonnaruwa.

The ancient ruins of Polonnaruwa were a fortified capital in the 11th and 12th centuries, now consisting more than 30 historical buildings. Tickets for the fenced in archeological area are bought at the Polonnaruwa Museum, ticket price: 3250Rs/25USD. The museum in itself is also worth a visit, housing archaeology remains of the ancient city of Polonnaruwa, and introducing the sights you are visiting.

The sights Potgul Vihara and the Island Park including the baths, are outside the main area, and free of charge. Therefore, if you arrive in the afternoon, you might consider seeing them then, and have the whole day to explore the ancient city with entrance fee the next.

Island Park
Island Park include the Council Chamber of Nissankamalla, with a large lion figure in the southern end of the building. This was also a recreation area, with baths getting fresh water from the lake.
Island Park and the Council Chamber of Nissankamalla Council Chamber of Nissankamalla in Island Park, Polonnaruwa The lion statue in the Council Chamber of Nissankamalla in Island Park, Polonnaruwa Bath house in Island Park in in PolonnaruwaPotgul Vihara and the statue of Parakramabahu
The sight Potgul Vihara and the statue of Parakramabahu is perfectly located along the lake Parakrama Samudra. Biking along the peaceful narrow road, with the lake on one side and the lush green rice fields on the other, is the perfect introduction to Polonnaruwa. I just couldn’t help getting the melody from a Norwegian commercial with a woman on a bike stuck in my head, as I softly pushed the pedals. Stopping on the way back to enjoy the sun setting at the other side of the lake was off course not a disadvantage. In case I need to remind you; I really love sunsets!

Rest House by lake Parakrama Samudra in Polonnaruwa Rice fields by lake Parakrama Samudra in Polonnaruwa

The road along lake Parakrama Samudra.

The road along lake Parakrama Samudra.

The statue of Parakramabahu

The statue of Parakramabahu

Sunset by lake Parakrama Samudra in Polonnaruwa
The main archaeological site was just a short bike ride away, with one of the highlights, the sacred Quadrangle, right next to the gate.

The quadrangle
The quadrangle holds numerous significant sacred monuments, displaying the most grandeur architecture of the Polonnaruwa period. These are the Thuparama image house, Vatadage Stupa shrine, Atadage and Hatadage (shrines of the Tooth and Bowl Relics), Nissanka Latha Mandapa, Galpotha (Stone Book) and the Sathmahal Prasada Stupa (Seven story edifices).

The most eye-catching sight of the quadrangle is the circular Vatadage. The middle of the shrine is surrounded by four large Buddha statues seated around it.

It is believed that the Atadage was constructed to contain the Buddha Tooth Relic, that is now in the Temple of Tooth in Kandy.

Seeing the Sathmahal Prasada immediately made me think of Angkor Wat in Cambodia. Probably not without reason, as it is thought to have been built for Cambodian soldiers as a place for worship.
The Vatadage at the sacred Quadrangle in Polonnaruwa 1 The Vatadage at the sacred Quadrangle in Polonnaruwa 3 The Vatadage at the sacred Quadrangle in Polonnaruwa 4 The sacred Quadrangle in Polonnaruwa 7 The Vatadage at the sacred Quadrangle in Polonnaruwa 5 The sacred Quadrangle in Polonnaruwa 6 The sacred Quadrangle in Polonnaruwa The sacred Quadrangle in Polonnaruwa 2 The sacred Quadrangle in Polonnaruwa 3 The sacred Quadrangle in Polonnaruwa 4 The sacred Quadrangle in Polonnaruwa 5 Sathmahal Prasada at the sacred Quadrangle in Polonnaruwa
We were more or less the only people, and as we biked along the empty paved path, we spotted a group of shy deer in the distance, monkeys sauntering around or hanging from a tree, and every now and then a grazing cow. There are remarkably many trees, but then again, the city was rediscovered covered in a jungle.
Biking is the perfect way to get around among the sight of the ancient city of Polonnaruwa

Rankoth Vehera Stupa.

Rankoth Vehera Stupa.

Gal Viharaya
Just as we walked over to Gal Viharaya, a group of monks dressed in white started chanting in front of the reclining Buddha (see YouTube video). Sitting down, relaxing and listening to their song blending with the sounds of birds, insects and monkeys, was a powerful experience.
Gal Viharaya in Polonnaruwa 1 Gal Viharaya in Polonnaruwa 2 Gal Viharaya in Polonnaruwa 3

Alahana Pirivena
The complex of Alahana Pirivena include the massive white Kiri Vehera and the impressive high-raised ruin of Lankathilaka with a gigantic headless Buddha. Among many other things.

Almost blinded by the great white cupola, I just barely noticed the slim animal rising at the low wall by the side of the path. A snake! I am not know to be particularly afraid of animals, but I could feel my heart skip a beat. It was fine while it stayed over there, posing perfectly in front of the camera, as it was its life mission. It was obviously not, and the snake shortly snapped out of it, and wiggling rapidly across the trail. Towards me! I froze for a second, trying to pretend not to exist. Luckily, it did not bother about me, and disappeared in the grass.
Posing snake by Alahana Pirivena in Polonnaruwa Snake by Alahana Pirivena in Polonnaruwa 1
Back to the “dead” sights. Have a look yourself!

Alahana Pirivena in Polonnaruwa 1 Alahana Pirivena in Polonnaruwa 3 Alahana Pirivena in Polonnaruwa 2 Kiri Vehera Monkey in Polonnaruwa

Lankathilaka

Lankathilaka

Lankathilaka in Polonnaruwa 2
Around the sights you will meet many souvenir salesmen. I rarely lose my patience, but people trying to sell me things I do not need, and does not take no for an answer, is one of these moments. I do understand that they try, by all means. However, when I politely tell them that “No, I do not need the carved baby elephant or the postcards”, I really don’t want them to ask me repeatedly.

To be honest, one of them was a lie. I actually did need a postcard, as I was planning to be retro and actually send one. However, I prefer to buy my postcards in peace, so no sales for him. At least not to me. Let’s just state this once and for all; bargaining markets are really not my thing…

After a day full of cultural impressions, it was the perfect ending to sit at the patio at Rest House, enjoying an ice-cold beer, overlooking the mirroring lake. The monkeys were clearly envious, trying to steal it. Sadly for them, they had to settle for the water bottle.
An ice cold Lion beer at the Rest House in Polonnaruwa
Facts are given by the Central Cultural Fund and the UNESCO World Heritage Centre.

Experienced in January 2015. 

The Rock Temple of Dambulla

With an elongated white painted house concealing five sanctuaries carved into the rock, the Rock Temple of Dambulla is a magnificent place to visit.
The Rock Temple of Dambulla The Rock Temple of Dambulla 2
The cave monastery is the largest and best-preserved cave-temple complex in Sri Lanka, housing 157 Buddha statues as well as large Buddhist mural paintings.
Buddha statues and murals in the Rock Temple of Dambulla A reclining Buddha statue and murals in the Rock Temple of Dambulla Buddha statues and murals in the Rock Temple of Dambulla 3 Buddha statues and murals in the Rock Temple of Dambulla 2The Rock Temple of Dambulla is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and an important sacred pilgrimage site.

From the parking lot it is about 10 minutes uphill walk. The tickets however, are sold from an office right next to the Buddha Museum, so please remember to buy them there before heading up. The price is 1500LKR per person.

Experienced in January 2015.