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Do Not Miss Climbing Sigiriya in Sri Lanka

By Latitude34 @Lat34Travel
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Do Not Miss Climbing Sigiriya in Sri Lanka

Marina and I were recently lucky enough to jump over to Sri Lanka to attend TBC Asia, the first ever travel blogging conference in Asia. What was even more exciting was being able to arrive four days before the conference and travel around seeing all that we could of this beautiful country in the short time that we had. Easily one of our favorite experiences of our time in Sri Lanka was hiking up to the top of Sigiriya, or Lion Rock, located in the town of Dambulla, in the Central Province.

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We arrive early, maybe before 7am, and the heat was already turning up quickly. Chosen by King Kasyapa (477 – 495 CE) as the location of his capital, the grounds are covered in ancient walls, structures and ponds as the location of his palace was at the base of this magnificent rock structure. Walking towards this massive rock I felt a bit like I was walking through the grounds of Angkor Wat as the vastness of ruins reminded me of the similar layout of the Cambodian temples.

Sri Lanka is one of the greenest countries we have ever visited and while it is also extremely humid for much of the year, it is a small price to pay for the beautiful scenery the wet climate produces. Approaching the first stairs at the base of the rock, we passed one of the funniest signs we have ever seen, a bit intimidating huh? Luckily we kept our cool and didn’t get attacked.

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Approaching the rock itself we started to climb small stone steps leading to the sheer, flat side of the stone. Watch your step, as the stones are often wet and extremely slippery. Word of caution, if you are afraid of heights, have anxiety or are easily scared, think twice about doing this hike as most of the journey is up somewhat rattling metal stairs, bolted directly into the stone face. You will no doubt be fine and will feel like Indian Jones the whole way, but just know its a bit of a thrill.

About half way up the rock face there is a small cave which is still filled with some of the amazing paintings from centuries ago. Take a minute to check out these beautiful frescos, delicately preserved and still just as colorful as when they were painted.

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For those who do not want to go all the way to the summit (but you totally should, the view is amazing!) you can stop about half way up on a plateau where you can see the ancient remnants of the lion massive lion statue which was built into the side of the rock. Only the feet remain, but you get an amazing idea of the insane size this statue must have been.

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Continuing on we started our ascent up the winding walkways, again built into the side of the rock, slowly, as we approached the summit. Once on top we were greeted with a truly magnificent view. The early morning sun had filled the valley below and the glistening mountain tops in the far distance were covered in perfect clouds. The shimmering ponds below reflected the perfect blue morning sky and we sat in awe for a good 30 minutes before beginning our decent down to the base.

The hike down is equally exciting so remember to go slow, take your time and enjoy the view. While we might not either be morning hiker people we would both do this amazing climb over again in a heartbeat – just one more thing that makes Sri Lanka such an amazing destination to visit.

Today Sigiriya is a UNESCO listed World Heritage Site and is the single most visited historical site in the entire country.

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jeffjohnsheadshot 150x150 Do Not Miss Climbing Sigiriya in Sri Lanka
Jeff Johns is the co-founder and editor of Latitude 34 Travel Blog. Through 65 countries on 6 continents he has accumulated a seemingly endless stream of odd information, interesting stories and helpful tips and tricks to better travel. Jeff’s goal is to visit all 204 countries on Earth before he is too senile to remember them all. A graduate of the Visual Journalism program at the Brooks Institute, his true passions lay in honest visual storytelling, documentary filmmaking, Thai food and a good laugh. Together with Marina, they run Latitude 34 Travel Blog as a source of helpful information for those who love to travel or those who simply dream of it. If you have a comment or suggestion, send them an email at [email protected] and they’ll respond super fast! 

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