Pidurangala Rock Hike In Sigiriya Sri Lanka – Guide 2024

Sigiriya Rock Sunset

Sigiriya, also known as Lion Rock, is considered the 8th world wonder and is often the number 1 highlight when visiting Sri Lanka. While Sigiriya Rock is the more famous attraction, many find Pidurangala Rock to be the better experience – less crowded, budget-friendlier, and with a more natural vibe.

Pidurangala offers a 360-degree panorama and the best view of the 200-meter-high Sigiriya Rock island surrounded by jungle, especially during sunrise or sunset.

This guide has everything you need to plan an unforgettable hike to Pidurangala Rock.

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Pidurangala Vs. Sigiriya

Pidurangala and Sigiriya are two different rock formations very close to each other offering completely different experiences.

Pidurangala Rock

Aerial View Sigiriya Rock
Pidurangala Rock Aerial

Pidurangala offers a scenic hike surrounded by nature, providing a 360-degree view, including Sigiriya Rock. Fewer people choose to visit during sunrise. 

Moreover, the entrance fee for Pidurangala is much more affordable compared to Sigiriya Rock, costing only 2 USD.

Sigiriya Rock

Sigiriya Walking Trail

This rock is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You should visit this place if you’re interested in historical sites and cultural heritage, as you will explore an ancient fortress with many abandoned palaces, gardens, and waterways on top of a rock island. 

However, the entrance fee for Sigiriya at USD 20 per person is high for budget travelers, like us. This is one reason why we opted to visit Pidurangala.

Combining Both

Many people opt to visit both rocks since they are close to each other, enjoying, for example, sunrise at Pidurangala and sunset at Sigiriya.

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Where is Pidurangala Rock located?

Pidurangala is located in the central part of Sri Lanka, near the town of Sigiriya. It is situated just a short distance away from the famous Sigiriya Rock, which is another popular tourist attraction in the region.

Pidurangala Rock on Map

Best time to visit Pidurangala Rock

Sri Lanka has two distinct monsoon seasons: the southwest and the northeast monsoon, affecting different regions of the country.

The best time to visit Pidurangala is during the dry season in Southwest Sri Lanka from December to March. Pleasant weather can also be found during the shoulder seasons in April to May and October to November, with fewer crowds.

Sunrise Vs. Sunset at Pidurangala

Pidurangala Rock Sunrise
Pidurangala Sigiriya Adventure

Sunrise is the best option if you want to visit Pidurangala with fewer people and a calmer atmosphere. The soft morning light illuminates the landscape, allowing you to enjoy a stunning view of the surrounding area, including Sigiriya Rock.

While sunset can be as magical as sunrise, it tends to be busier, providing a less peaceful experience.

We don’t recommend visiting around midday due to the high heat and strong sun.

Our Recommendation

Visit for sunrise, and, most importantly, stay longer than others do. People usually stay for sunrise and quickly leave afterward. At Pidurangala, it was the same; one hour after sunrise, everyone was gone, leaving us alone with the best soft and warm lighting ever to enjoy the views and take pictures.

How to get to Pidurangla?

Sigiriya Rock drone View

You have different options to reach Pidurangala. Most tourists base themselves in a hotel in Sigiriya town, such as the highly rated Sigiriya Hotel.

From Sigiriya, you can hire a tuk-tuk or taxi to take you to Pidurangala. Make sure to negotiate the price before starting your ride. You can ask your hotel what the normal fare is. Our experience was between 100-150 LKR per kilometer.

You can walk from Sigiriya town; check the exact walking time from where you are staying directly on Google Maps.

You can rent a scooter or car and drive yourself. We recommend downloading offline maps on Google Maps, as it is a quick and efficient option for independent navigation while traveling.

You can book a guided tour to Pidurangala, which includes transportation in the tour package, such as this highly rated tour on Viator.

Our Recommendation

We found cheaper and more valuable hotels in Dambulla, such as the White Land City Hotel. We like to avoid taking a lot of taxis and tuk-tuks, which is why we try to stay close to public transportation and rent a scooter for excursions. This is why we chose to stay in Dambulla, where we arrived by bus from the airport and from where we wanted to continue our trip to Kandy.

Our hotel in Dambulla was a short walking distance from the bus terminal. From our hotel, we rented a scooter and went exploring and visiting Pidurangala.

Wild Elephants

Sri Lanka Wild Elephant
Sri Lanka Wild Elephant in Jungle

There are wild elephants everywhere in this area. When you see them crossing the street, maintain a BIG DISTANCE, so big that you have time to drive away if they come towards you. They can be very fast.

If you see them next to the road, don’t stop for pictures. It can be dangerous, as they are known to be very aggressive towards tourists, and many people have died. You can also ask your accommodation how to stay safe when driving around on your own. Don’t bring fear, but a lot of respect.

Arriving at Pidurangala

Monkey Drinking Water

At the entrance area of Pidurangala, you’ll find the parking where you can leave your bike or car. The locals told us there are monkeys, so make sure to leave everything well-locked, and do not leave any food on your vehicle.

Next, you will encounter the ticket office where they will ask for the entrance fee of 500 LKR (2 USD).

Also, make sure to dress appropriately for passing through temples, covering shoulders and knees, as this place has religious importance for the locals.

Pidurangala Rock Hike

Pidurangala Trek Path
Pidurangala Sigiriya Trek

The Pidurangala Rock Hike takes about 20-40 minutes to reach the top and costs 500 LKR (2 USD). Along the way, you will see temples.

This hike is of medium difficulty and includes stairs, off-road paths, and on the final part, 5 minutes of rock climbing/bouldering, making it unsuitable for those with mobility issues. The trail is well-marked and can be done independently.

The view from the summit of Pidurangala Rock provides a stunning 360° panorama of the surrounding jungle and the Sigiriya rock. Here you can relax, take pictures, and enjoy the landscape. Consider bringing some snacks and drinks to make the most of your time.

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PLEASE: Avoid littering to keep the area clean

FAQS about Pidurangala Hike

Travelnania Pidurangala Rock
Sitting Pidurangala Aerial

The hike to the top of Pidurangala takes around 30 minutes.

The hike is of medium difficulty, and no guide is needed. It involves some climbing and bouldering.

Sunset is the optimal time.

It’s a 10-minute ride from Sigiriya and a 30-minute ride from Dambulla.

Wear clothes covering shoulders and knees as a sign of respect for the religious site. Hiking shoes or sneakers are recommended.

Recommended items include a headlamp for sunrise hikes, snacks and water, proper shoes (hiking boots or sneakers), hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen, a daypack, camera/phone, rain gear (poncho & backpack protection), insect repellent, and offline Google Maps.

Pidurangala Rock offers the best panoramic 360-degree view of Sigiriya Rock, while Sigiriya Rock is known for the ancient fortress built on top of it.

Yes, you can visit one for sunrise and the other for sunset.

Combine your visit to Pidurangala Rock with a safari experience at Minneriya or Kaudulla National Park.

Temples & History at Pidurangala

Buddha at Pidurangala

Before getting into the jungle part of the hike, you will pass through different temples and caves, including a cave temple with a reclining Buddha. These temples have a history dating back a thousand years, playing a role during the reign of King Kashyapa I. Monks were relocated here during the construction of Sigiriya.

Best Tours for Pidurangala Rock

Short on time? Don’t want to plan and arrange everything by yourself? Want to connect with new people?

Organized tours always ensure a stress-free and enjoyable experience. Some tours even combine must-see places, such as Pidurangala Hike, Sigiriya Rock & Minneriya Nation Park, making it possible to explore more attractions in one day.

Discover top-rated and handpicked Pidurangala tours.

Sunrise Pidurangala Hike with Pickup from Sigiriya.

Full Day Tour starting from Kandy to experience the Pidurangala Hike, Sigiriya Rock, and Minneriya National Park Safari.

Sigiriya and Dambulla Day Trip with Village Tour by Tuk-Tuk or Car.

Where to Stay near Pidurangala in Sigiriya?

We recommend staying in Dambulla, which is accessible by public transportation, and visiting Pidurangala from there if you are self-driving. Alternatively, you may choose to stay near Pidurangala in Sigiriya and book a tour or hire a tuktuk.

Check out top-rated and handpicked accommodations near Pidurangala in different price ranges.

Best Hotels near Pidurangala in Sigiriya

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Packing, Tips & Costs for Sri Lanka

We have put together a comprehensive Sri Lanka Travel Guide that includes the ultimate packing list, travel tips, and costs to help you plan your trip.

Where to go after Pidurangala in Sigiriya?

After visiting Pidurangala, we recommend making your way to Ella. We took the bus from Dambulla to Kandy and later the train to Ella.

Before leaving this region, consider doing a safari experience at Minneriya or Kaudulla National Park, known for its large population of elephants and diverse wildlife. Check out this tour.

Conclusion

Aerial View Sigiriya and Pidurangala

The panoramic views from the top of Pidurangala Rock really are worth the early wake-up call and the hike up. The experience was magical and one of the best things to do in Sri Lanka.

Let us know your questions & experiences!

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