Things to do in
Dambulla

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Our most recommended things to do in Dambulla

Sigiriya and Dambulla Day Trip from Colombo

1. Sigiriya and Dambulla Day Trip from Colombo

Depart Colombo and travel by a shared vehicle, in a small group, to the city of Sigiriya, and head directly to Sigiriya Rock on arrival. Gaze in awe at the massive column of rock that, according to the ancient Sri Lankan chronicle The Culavamsa, was selected by King Kasyapa as the site of his new capital. Admire numerous paintings of historic queens, princesses, and maids inside the rock fortress before getting a break for lunch at your own expense. Then, explore some of the traditional crafts of the region, such as wood carving and batik textiles, with time to purchase souvenirs before departing. Start the journey back towards Colombo via Dambulla to explore the largest and best-preserved cave temple complex in Sri Lanka. Discover the magnificent Buddha images and rock paintings of vivid colors and different shapes, painted from around the 2nd century B.C. up to the 18th-century Kandyan era.

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From Kandy: Sigiriya and Dambulla Private Day Tour

2. From Kandy: Sigiriya and Dambulla Private Day Tour

Take a full day excursion out to Sigiriya, where you'll visit two fascinating sites: the Golden Temple of Dambulla, a cave complex full of Buddhist imagery, and Sigiriya Rock Fortress, a massive column of rock turned into a fortress. After pickup at 7:00 AM from your hotel in Kandy, head out of the city towards the first site. On the way, admire Sri Lanka’s countryside and villages as you journey to this atmospheric cliff side cave complex packed with Buddhist imagery and frescoes.   Enter the historic caves of the Golden Temple of Dambulla, which dates back to the 1st century BC. View the ancient murals depicting the life story of Lord Guatama Buddha. Admire the hundreds of figurines of the Buddha and other deities scattered throughout the 5 main caves. Visit the Cave of the Divine King, the Cave of the Great King, and the Great New Monastery, as well as the giant golden Buddha statue just a little distance outside of the cave complex.   At noon, enjoy lunch at a restaurant of your choice before traveling approximately 45 minutes to visit Sigiriya Rock Fortress. Rising from the central plains, the iconic rocky outcrop of Sigirya is perhaps Sri Lanka’s single most dramatic sight. Near-vertical walls soar to a flat-topped summit that contains the ruins of an ancient civilization. Climb the 5th-century rock fortress and walk through the entrance framed by the paws of a lion (which give the fortress its name, “The Lion Rock”). View the beautiful unfaded murals that brought Sigiriya its fame, climb the steep staircase to the terraced gardens, and walk through the tunnels throughout the palace. You’ll get an eerie feeling of times long past.   Finish your tour at 5:00 PM, at which point you’ll head back to Kandy to be dropped off at around 8:00 PM. Stop en route to have dinner at a restaurant of your choice.

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From Colombo: Sri Lanka Cultural Triangle 2-Day Tour

3. From Colombo: Sri Lanka Cultural Triangle 2-Day Tour

Begin the tour by meeting your tour leader in Colombo and set off for the ancient city of Polonnaruwa. After exploring the history museum of Polonnaruwa, discover the ruins of the ancient city. Later, check in to a 3-star hotel in Sigiriya for your overnight stay.  The next morning, enjoy breakfast at the hotel. Set off for the Dambulla golden cave temple which was the site where a king of Anuradhapura took refuge from the South Induan invasion in the 1st-century BC. Learn about how when the king recaptured the region 13 years later, he converted the caves into a monastery and gifted it to the Buddhist monks. After this, head over to the ancient Sigiriya Rock, where a 5th-century prince who had committed patricide made it his hideout. Also make a stop at the Pidurangala ancient cave temple. At the end of the tour you will be returned to Colombo and dropped off at the start point.

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Sri Lanka: Five-day Multi-City Sightseeing Tour

4. Sri Lanka: Five-day Multi-City Sightseeing Tour

Explore the best of Sri Lanka with this tour to the Golden Temple of Dambulla, the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, the Peradeniya Royal Botanical Gardens, rolling tea tea plantations in Ella, the chance to see wild elephants in the Udawalawe National park. Have your hotels, dinners, and breakfasts arranged for you in this fantastic tour package. Day 1: Be welcomed by your guide at the Colombo International Airport where your guide will take you to your hotel in Negombo. Take a PCR-test on arrival in the hotel and enjoy a delicious dinner and a comfortable overnight stay while awaiting your test results. Day 2: Journey from Colombo to Sigiriya after getting your negative test results and eating a filling breakfast. Visit the Golden Temple of Dambulla, the largest and best-preserved cave temple complex in Sri Lanka. Relax before heading to the ancient rock fortress Sigiriya before having dinner and staying at a 4star hotel in Sigiriya. Day 3: Travel to Kandy after a hearty breakfast to visit the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic which holds the most important Buddhist relic in Sri Lanka. Take some time to unwind in your hotel before proceeding to see the amazing flora at the Peradeniya Royal Botanical Gardens. Eat dinner and stay overnight at a four star hotel in Kandy. Day 4: Next, have a full breakfast before heading to Ella to walk among the lush tea plantations. Learn more about the colonial history of Sri Lanka and take in the stunning landscape views. Return to your hotel in Ella for dinner and to rest. Day 5: After breakfast, drive to Udawalawe National park where you can spot elephants in their natural habitat.

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From Negombo: Sigiriya and Dambulla Day Trip

5. From Negombo: Sigiriya and Dambulla Day Trip

After being transported in private car with local English speaking tour guide from Negombo, you will reach your first destination: Sri Lanka's largest rock, Dambulla Cave Temple, which is built on a 600-foot high rock at an elevation of 1118 feet from sea level. It is home to the worlds most acclaimed cave complex of magnificent Buddha images and rock paintings of vivid colors and shapes from the 2nd-century BC to the Kandyan era of the 18th-century.  Your second visit is to Sigiriya Rock, a site of historical and archaeological significance dominated by a massive column of rock nearly 200 meters (660 feet) high. According to the ancient Sri Lankan chronicle the Culavamsa, this site was selected by King Kasyapa for his new capital. Finish your day with a tour to see the crafts of the traditional artisans in Sigiriya, including wood carvers and batik makers. Learn about the process of their work and purchase some great souvenirs.  At the end of the trip, your guide will take you back to your hotel in Negombo.

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From Dambulla: Private Polonnaruwa and Minneriya Day Tour

6. From Dambulla: Private Polonnaruwa and Minneriya Day Tour

Your day tour to Polonnaruwa and Minneriya begins in the morning with a 8:30 AM pickup from your hotel in Dambulla. Drive with your private chauffeur and guide to the first destination of Polonnaruwa. If you didn't have breakest already, stop along the way for some local fare. Arrive at Polonnaruwa at approximately 9:30 AM and spend the morning exploring the second capital of the ancient Sri Lankan Kings.   During your visit to the ruined city, see famous archaeological sites such as Gal Vihara, the Polonnaruwa Vatadage, Sathmahal Prasada, Medirigiriya Vatadage, Lankathilaka Image House, the Shiva Temple, Rankoth Vehera, Nissankalatha, Mandapaya and much more. If you have time, visit the Archaeological Museum. At about 12:30 PM take a break and enjoy lunch before going to Minneriya National Park. Leave Polonnaruwa at 1:45 PM to arrive at the park at about 2:30 PM. Minneriya is famous for its seasonal elephant gatherings where hundreds of elephants come together to socialize, feed, and play. Depending on the season, witness this phenomenon or at least get the chance to see the majestic animals during other times of the year. Take a 3-hour safari ride in the park to see other types of fauna. The safari concludes at 5:30 PM, after which you will be driven back to your accommodation in Dambulla. 

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Sri Lanka: 7-day Island Highlights Tour

7. Sri Lanka: 7-day Island Highlights Tour

Day 1 Meet your driver and proceed to your hotel in Dambulla. See the Dambulla Golden Cave Temple along the way. Dinner and overnight stay in Dambulla. Day 2 After a leisurely breakfast, visit the Sigiriya Rock Fortress and the Polonnaruwa historical city. Dinner and overnight stay in Dambulla. Day 3 After a leisurely breakfast, leave for Kandy. Visit a spice garden along the way. After arrival in Kandy, enjoy a sightseeing tour and visit the Tooth Relic Temple and Royal Botanical Garden. Dinner and overnight stay in Kandy. Day 4 After an early morning breakfast, head to the Kandy Railway Station and board the train for Nuwara Eliya. Stop to visit a tea plantation along the way. Dinner and overnight stay in Nuwara Eliya. Day 5 After the breakfast, head for Yala. Visit a waterfall and the Sita Temple along the way. After arriving in Yala, enjoy an afternoon safari. Dinner and overnight stay in Yala. Day 6 After the breakfast, leave for Bentota. Visit Galle Fort, the Madu River estuary, and  the Sea Turtle Conservation Centre along the way. Dinner and overnight stay in Kalutara/Bentota. Day 7 After the breakfast leave for Colombo. Your driver will drop you off at your hotel or the airport after your Colombo sightseeing tour.

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From Colombo: All Inclusive Sigiriya and Dambulla Tour

8. From Colombo: All Inclusive Sigiriya and Dambulla Tour

Begin your 14-hour tour with an early-morning drive to Sigiriya. When you arrive, climb the Sigiriya Rock fortress, considered to be the 8th Wonder of the World. In the 5th century, King Kashyapa built a palace atop the rock. Sigiriya commemorates some of the turbulence of Sri Lanka’s history. Stop to enjoy a restaurant lunch before heading to Dambulla. Visit the UNESCO-listed cave temple built by King Walagambahu in the 1st century B.C. It is the most impressive of Sri Lanka’s cave temples. The complex of 5 caves features more than 2,000 square meters of painted walls and ceilings. See 150 images of the Buddha, of which the largest is a 14-meter-high image carved out of the rock.

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Dambulla & Kaudulla National Park Day Tour From Colombo

9. Dambulla & Kaudulla National Park Day Tour From Colombo

On arrival in Kaudulla National Park, you will commence with a jeep safari in the Polonnaruwa District. This was opened in September 2002 as a National Park. This is home to a large herd of elephants, sambhur, spotted deer, wild boar, wild buffalo, a range of reptile species, and a large number of bird species. The elephant population found here far exceeds those found in other Parks. After the safari, enjoy a Sri Lankan lunch at your own expense. Then, proceed to Dambulla to visit the Cave Temple. Here you will find the famous Rock Temple, dating to the First Century B.C. The caves of Dambulla sheltered King Walagamba during his 14 years of exile from Anuradhapura. In the first cave is a recumbent image of the Buddha 47ft long cut out of the rock. In the second cave, the finest and the largest of all, there are 150 life-size statues of the Buddha in various postures. The ceiling is also covered with frescoes.

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From Bentota: Balapitiya, Handunugoda and Galle Guided Tour

10. From Bentota: Balapitiya, Handunugoda and Galle Guided Tour

Start your sightseeing adventure with a convenient pickup from your hotel and head to your first stop for the day, Balapitiya. Enjoy a boat safari down the beautiful Madu River. Take a closer look at this wetland estuary and explore its lush mangrove forests, gliding under the canopy of the forest tunnels. Take in the unique biodiversity of this region, keeping an eye out for the crocodiles and water monitors that inhabit these waters. Stop at one of the many islands to witness the locals harvest cinnamon and end your boat safari with a visit to the fish spa. Your tropical tour continues after a short break for lunch. Head to Handunugoda to visit the local tea estate. Discover the tea that this plantation is famous for, Virgin White Tea, and learn how this luxury product is made on a tour of the plantation. Next, head to Ahangama for a truly unique photo opportunity. Watch as local fishermen demonstrate on-water stilt fishing, one of Sri Lanka's most interesting traditional fishing methods. Speak to one of the local fishermen and learn how they do it. The final stop on your Sri Lankan sightseeing tour is the old colonial city of Galle. Explore the Galle Fort, one of the best-preserved fortifications in Asia. Visit the Maritime Museum, the Galle National Museum, and the local lighthouse. Stroll down cobblestone streets as you learn the history of this port city, including the periods of Portuguese and Dutch rule.

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Frequently asked questions about Dambulla

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What people are saying about Dambulla

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 73 reviews

Very nice day tour. The temple in Dambulla is very worth seeing. The Löwenfels is also worth a visit, but admission is expensive. My driver tried very hard and explained a lot. He also stopped at many vantage points and responded to individual requests.

CJ was a fantastic, knowledgeable guide who patiently answered all my questions. He went out of his way to ensure my comfort and convienience. The trek up to the top was absolutely worth it! One of my highlights in Sri Lanka.

This is a must do activity in Sri Lanka. Amazing view of endless nature in Sigiriya, but also a lot of other small activities on the way there and back.

The Tour was really good and the driver gave a lot of explanations and was very friendly. I recommend this tour, I had a very nice day.

I was the single person in the car and the driver Aaron was friendly and understanding