Dambulla Royal Cave Temple
Dambulla Royal Cave Temple
4.5
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Duration: 2-3 hours
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The area
Address
Kandy - Jaffna Highway, Dambulla 21100 Sri Lanka
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  • Bea
    Sydney, Australia2,430 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Beautiful and so serene
    Five different caves, the oldest being over 2000 years old. Beautiful fresco paintings are so impressive, there is a small Hindu temple on site as well. A few stairs to climb so will not be suitable for people with mobility issues. All the caves are beautiful in their own way, with constant restoration. As this is a temple site be sure to wear appropriate clothing or bring something to cover legs and shoulders. The monkeys are everywhere too and very cheeky!
    Visited August 2023
    Traveled with friends
    Written August 17, 2023
  • Peter M
    Melbourne, Australia1,293 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Dambulla Royal Rock Cave
    This a World Heritage Site from 1991 and is the largest and best preserved preserved cave temple complex in Sri Lanka. It towers 520 feet over the surrounding plains. It has five caves ,built on a base of 488 feet high rock, with statues and paintings. It goes back to the first century BC. King Valagamba of Anuradhapura sheltered in the cave for 15 years and built a temple in thankful worship. It goes back to 100BC.
    Visited June 2023
    Traveled with friends
    Written August 31, 2023
  • Murali Krishna
    Chennai (Madras), India101 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Amazing feel
    Visited the place in Aug 2018. The place is rich with heritage. Its a cultural masterpiece. Don't be in a hurry to visit this place - you'll need time to enjoy every moment of it. Please respect the place and maintain silence. It's understandable to have fun while vacationing, but is more important to respect local traditions while visiting the place. Joking or talking loud isn't respectful at all.
    Visited November 2022
    Traveled as a couple
    Written October 26, 2023
  • Sheffview
    Sheffield, United Kingdom705 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Dambulla Caves
    The ticket office is off the main road. You then have a fairly steep 20 minute walk to the entrance. The caves are interesting, but all very similar, and not as amazing as we had expected. Worth visiting for sure but didn't give off a spiritual vibe to us.
    Visited November 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written December 15, 2023
  • Gaya M
    42 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    World heritage site
    Nice climb and at the top you’d see cave paintings and Buddha statues built inside the cave. You can buy flowers in the middle of the climb for offering. Unlike other world heritage site you can take photos inside. Mind you , they close the door for 15mins between 10.30-10.45 for daily offerings.
    Visited December 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written December 19, 2023
  • reins76
    Scone, Australia1,533 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Stunning! (and all but empty at 8 am)
    A truly incredible site! We arrived at 8am and were among the first to get our tickets (currently 2000lkr). The walk up the stairs (kings way route) was shaded and not nearly as arduous as Sigiriya Rock or Pidurangala Rock. About 10 - 15 minutes max even with a couple of photo stops. You wear your shoes up the stairs and leave them at the top just before you enter the temple area. My shorts (just below the knee) were fine. His shorts (just on the knee) were deemed insufficient and so he had to borrow a sarong. The caves are all immediately adjacent to each other. We started at 5 (the furthest) and worked back. Even for people with zero interest in religious art, the caves were just amazing. Walls and ceilings are painted, and in good condition and there are a large number of Buddha figures. Caves 3 and 2 are the most impressive (1 is the smallest). The lighting was well done and allowed for beautiful photographs. What really made the experience for us was the fact that we had the caves (very nearly) to ourselves. As we were leaving, the hordes were streaming in which would definitely detract. There were a few touts outside the gates (not inside). If you are not interested, a simple no, thank you suffices, they are no big deal.
    Visited May 2024
    Traveled as a couple
    Written May 31, 2024
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles61 reviews
Excellent
39
Very good
15
Average
4
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Terrible
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Milind Shah
Ahmedabad, India1,860 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2020 • Family
The cave temple is located in dambula which is a couple of hours drive from Kandy. The place has a temple and a museum at the bottom and a cave temple at the top for which you are required to climb a few steps. It takes around an hour to climb to the cave temple. Before starting your climb do not forget to buy tickets from the ticket office which is located at a certain distance. (Just did not understand the reason for keeping the ticket office so far from the actual climbing spot. This gets a bit inconvenient for tourists and you have to spend on auto to visit the office) The tickets cost 1500 LKR per person plus 25 LKR for keeping the shoes at locker. Upon reaching the top you can enjoy some great views of the area nearby and also some remains of the cave temple. You can visit the place if you have a couple of hours to spend. There is also a local canteen run by women which offers some really good and fresh food on the ground floor.
Written January 13, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

centralvic
Ballarat, Australia1,294 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2023
It's only 364 steps up, but can be an effort if you're like me, and not good with steps.
But, oh!! So worth it!! So take your time, and keep going.
Our guide gave us history of the place as we went into each cave. The temples are of all different ages, and it was good to get some knowledge about it.
If you don't have a guide (though I recommend one) it's still worth it, for the beauty and amazement of what was achieved.
*To others- stop whining about having to pay to rent a shoulder/leg cover. Just do your research before you go, or put up with it. Or don't enter.
Written February 27, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

madusha narasinghe
Colombo, Sri Lanka138 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2020 • Solo
If u drive from Colombo it take 3 hrs 45 min to reach dambulla town.it s in 5 minutes away from Dambulla city , u hv to come through Colombo Trincomalee road . Best time to visit s early morning. Before 9 am, because these days really hot weather In outside. royal cave temple built in before 1 st Centuries. U hv to climb steps to reach 5 caves. Well maintained foot path & steps. Bring water bottle & cap , sunglasses also.. major attraction s are spread over 5 caves .which contains statues & paintings . There are 153 - gautama buddha statues. 3 statues of Sri Lankan Kings, paintings about the lord buddha & his life. Never be missed to visit dambulla royal cave temple.
Written March 22, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Alan C
Hong Kong, China367 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2021 • Couples
We entered via the Kings Way which is a series of stairs which are not onerous, if you are reasonably fit. Great site to see painted frescos amazingly painted on uneven rock. There were five caves open at the time of our visit and all had something of interest to see. If you are not in a rush then try to make time to visit here.
Written October 11, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Danushka Basnayaka
Mawanella, Sri Lanka127 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020 • Couples
Very beautiful place. There is a beautiful ancient Buddhist temple top of the Mountain. I’ve seen lot of Buddhist statues builded by ancient Sri lankans.
there are lot of monkeys around here.
Very sunny. Better to take Sun Glass and sun protection cream when traveling.
Written March 26, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Janka K
Brno, Czech Republic8,172 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2022 • Couples
One of few things that can be seen in Dimbulla. The place is unique and I think it's worth of visiting.
The tickets are bought at the ticket office under the hill. The place is totally not suitable for wheelchairs or people with any joint problems, as you need to walk a lot of stairs.
It was raining at the time when I was visiting the place. This itself is not a problem, it was not even cold, but count with the fact, that you will be walking through water puddles and make your feet especially dirty. I would see it as a part of the experience.
What looked like a scam to me was the place where you needed to leave the shoes before entering the place. That place was paid and at the same time, there were signs everywhere that you can't put your shoes e.g. to your backpack. Which I don't see any other reason for than just to get some extra money out of people. The price for keeping your shoes at shoe parking place is not defined and you can give to the guy working there as much as you consider as a reasonable price.
I recommend to take some clothes that cover the knees. Otherwise you need to borrow and pay for some scarf to put around your waist to cover the knees.
Written March 26, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Sunseeker2012_12
Hampshire, UK48 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020
We had to climb up steps to this temple so can take a while, my friend had to keep stopping as she has problems with her lungs so be aware! Take plenty of water for the journey up and admire the views. Once up the top you leave your shoes at the shoe rack for a couple of pence. Inside you will see amazing paintings and more. Worth a visit if you in the vicinity.
Written February 24, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Peter M
Melbourne, Australia1,293 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2023 • Friends
This a World Heritage Site from 1991 and is the largest and best preserved preserved cave temple complex in Sri Lanka. It towers 520 feet over the surrounding plains. It has five caves ,built on a base of 488 feet high rock, with statues and paintings. It goes back to the first century BC. King Valagamba of Anuradhapura sheltered in the cave for 15 years and built a temple in thankful worship. It goes back to 100BC.
Written August 31, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Jake W
Shropshire, UK18 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2022 • Couples
What a way to ruin what is quite an impressive temple. First you buy your ticket, walk up some steps, get fleeced by two old ladies for some flowers. Next take your shoes off, fleeced for storing them in 'safe place'. Next need a sarong, fleeced for the hire of it. Next an old man gives some kind of blessing, fleeced for a 'donation'. I gave 100 rupees for his 20 seconds of work, to which he rolled his eyes in disappointment. Next get hounded to buy random souvenirs. All in all you better be extremely hard faced or have lots of surplus money to come here.. what a way to ruin the experience. Not authentic at all, a complete tourist trap. Don't bother.
Written December 20, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Gaya M
42 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2023 • Family
Nice climb and at the top you’d see cave paintings and Buddha statues built inside the cave. You can buy flowers in the middle of the climb for offering. Unlike other world heritage site you can take photos inside. Mind you , they close the door for 15mins between 10.30-10.45 for daily offerings.
Written December 19, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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