How to climb Pidurangala Rock: A guide (2020)

Hiking up Pidurangala Rock was one of our favourite things to do in Sri Lanka. Think 360 degree views of the surrounding jungle, incredible sunrises and sunsets, and the best view you can get of the famous Sygiria Rock.

Here’s everything you need to know before you go.

pidurangala rock

How to get to Pidurangala Rock

Pidurangala Rock is located in the small town of Sigiriya, four hours north of Colombo. It can also be accessed from the nearby towns of Habarana or Dambulla, which are just a short tuk tuk ride away.

Depending on where you are staying in Sigiriya you can walk to the base of  Pidurangala rock or else catch a tuk tuk to the entrance.

Climbing Pidurangala Rock

The climb will take around 30 minutes, however we recommend giving yourself more time if you want to catch sunrise or sunset. You will begin with a walk through the Pidurangala Rock Temple. Here you will be asked to pay an entrance fee of 500 Rupees and to take off your shoes and cover your shoulders.

Once you make it past the temple it is a short, steep hike up several sets of stairs. The stairs are made of rocks but the path is well maintained and easy to navigate.

The final section of the climb involves scrambling up a few large rocks. I’m only 5 foot and managed it easily, so most people should be fine with it. Once at the top, you will be rewarded with the most incredible views of the surrounding valley, and of the famous Sigiriya rock.

sygiria rock

Should you climb Pidurangala Rock for Sunrise or Sunset?

We reccomend both if time allows! We were originally only going to hike Pidurangala for sunset, but we loved the view so much that we climbed it again the next morning.

If you can only climb Pidurangala Rock once, then we would say go for Sunrise. It should be less crowded at the top in the morning, and you also avoid climbing in the heat of the sun.

Pidurangala rock sunrise

Should I hike Pidurangala Rock or Sigiriya Rock?

If you’re short on time or money, or purely just want to see the stunning views, then climbing Pidurangala Rock will be perfect for you.

If you’re more interested in the history of Sri Lanka, and don’t mind paying the $30 USD entrance fee then Sigiriya will be a good option.

However It is definitely possible to hike both in the same day and this is what we recommend! We hiked Pidurangula for sunrise and then headed straight to Sigiriya Rock. This allowed us to be first in line to buy tickets and meant we largely avoided the crowds.

Where to stay in Sigiriya?

There are many accomodation options in Sigiriya to choose from, ranging from luxurious hotels to budget guesthouses. We stayed at Nelu Villas, a small family run guesthouse with a view of Sigiriya rock from the restaurant. The guesthouse was clean, simple and an easy walk to the town centre

For a more luxurious option, stay at Hotel Sigiriya which has a gorgeous pool that offers stunning views of Sigiriya.   

Top Tips

  • Bring a head torch if you are climbing at sunrise or sunset.
  • Don’t worry about bringing a wrap to cover your shoulders, the temple will provide one.
  • Avoid climbing at midday, the heat makes the climb much harder.

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