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“Amazing views” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Citadel of Sigiriya - Lion Rock

Citadel of Sigiriya - Lion Rock
Sigiriya, Sri Lanka
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Ranked #2 of 8 Attractions in Sigiriya
Type: Ancient Ruins, Cultural
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Attraction details
Owner description: The remnants of a fifth century royal rock fortress.
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Amazing views”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 20, 2013

Brilliant views from the top well worth the climb but go early as its a hard climb in the heat. Not for people who have a fear of heights

Visited March 2013
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Surrey, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
5 attraction reviews
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14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
“We made it!!!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 18, 2013

Well, climbing Sigiriya is one of those things that has to be done on a visit to Sri Lanka and we did it! Over 1200 steps in 34 degrees C was hot! Beware if you don't like heights as the climb in one or two places is pretty scary. The worst part was the spiral staircase half way up to see the frescoes, only attempt if brave! But the view from the top is magnificent. How several stray dogs managed to get up there is a complete mystery!

Visited February 2013
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Nottingham, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
178 reviews 178 reviews
42 attraction reviews
Reviews in 110 cities Reviews in 110 cities
83 helpful votes 83 helpful votes
“Lots of steps but great to see”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 18, 2013

We started our visit from the car park. It as long walk through the gardens to the base of the rock, this shows just how extensive the place was and the variety of areas built as part of the citadel.

Once at the base of the rock it is a steady and hot climb up uneven rock steps through passages etc until you get to the actual rock. From here it is more of the same up the outside of the rock until you reach the spiral staircase to go and look at the cave paintings. These are amazing to see and strange being able to see the mistakes e.g. the person with six fingers on a hand.

Still more steps brought you to the terrace where there was a chance to sit and rest plus being able to see the views back across the plain.

For those intrepid and still with some energy metal steps (much more even and smaller) led up to the top of the rock. From the top the views all around were stunning, they would have been better if it was not misty.

If you go up make sure you take plenty of water.

Visited March 2013
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13 reviews 13 reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
“Tiring and Exhausting... but totally worth it!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 15, 2013

Went there with my family and fiancee. I have heard so many legends and stories about Sigiriya, and have always wanted to go there. The ambience when entering it is amazing, seeing the lovely large rock just the way you've seen it in pictures and nice gardens and ponds of water that make us forget the heat of the day. I must say the local authorities are doing a great job in keeping it clean, despite the thousands of tourists and locals that go there daily, and the very nominal 50 LKR they charge from an adult and 25 LKR they charge from a child. However, it was very strenuous to climb it, with the very narrow and steep steps, and near the katapath tower, winding stair cases. Thank God for the occasional empty floor areas where we could rest every 10 minutes or so. I was out of breath and in tears multiple times, and from what I saw I was not the only one. But once I reached the top, it was surreal, the feeling... I cannot believe Sri Lankans that lived that long ago were so skilled and had this much of architectural and engineering skills, without formal colleges or degree programs. Also loved the mango, pineapple, guava and maniyoc sellers on the way back - gave us back some of the energy we lost while climbing. The total journey of climbing up and down took over 3 hours - Great workout!
Some tips:
If you have a weak heart or are scared heights, Sigiriya is not the place for you, cause there are so many places where you have to see directly down
Aged people low in stamina or have weak legs or knees, this is going to be tough! Once you get to the top, there are no resting places and specially if you go on a peak day (I went on a public Holiday), there's gonna be 1000 people behind you screaming go go go.... whenever you stop to catch your breath for 5 seconds ! :)
Beware of some local guides, I heard myself one particular guide taking about 3000 LKR from a tourist for a ticket that was just 50 LKR.
My only suggestion to the local authorities would be to have a parking space at the entrance available at low costs for locals.. We had to walk about 2 km from the main road to the sigiriya site since they said it would cost us LKR 4000 if we wanted to take a vehicle there, and a 3-wheeler would also cost 300 LKR (occupying only 3 people) - so it was not very cost effective.

Visited February 2013
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Newark-on-Trent, United Kingdom
17 reviews 17 reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
“Beware of Parasitic Helpers”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 14, 2013

This is a very impressive attraction that was, for us, totally spoilt by so called 'helpers'. The people of Sri Lanka are warm and friendly but don't let these parasites anywhere near. Some have official badges on but most do not. Best advice is to completely ignore them especially if you are older. If they reach out a hand to help or you find a hand on your arm as you climb the first steps, politely but firmly remove it. If you don't you'll find anything up to four of them talking to you and holding on to you as you climb following steps and then you'll find them all demanding money later. If you decide that you don't want to climb the steps they will still try to talk to you and later demand money. Don't speak to them, don't make eye contact and definitely don't let them touch you. Their behaviour anywhere else would be regarded as harrassment and it is a mystery as to why the Sri Lanka authorities allow this.

Visited February 2013
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