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Sri Lanka: Pidurangala Rock or Lion Rock

Updated: Apr 14

Sri Lanka might be a small country - but it has a lot to offer. So, when we booked a flight to Colombo, we had no idea where to start. Thanks to a little help from Google Maps and internet bloggers, we decided to make Sigiriya our first stop.


Famous for its most popular landmark, Lion Rock, we were keen to learn more about the history of Sigiriya. Between 477 and 495 A.C., the royal palace of king Kashyapa was situated on top of Lion Rock and after the king’s death, the palace was abandoned and is now a UNESCO listed World Heritage Site.


Fascinated as we were, we were still intrigued by Pidurangala Rock which is located not too far from Lion Rock – about 15 minutes away in a tuk tuk.


Here’s why we decided to climb that one instead.


Our first Sri Lankan tuk tuk ride
Spotted: Lion Rock

Crowds


We were basing this purely on things we’d read online, but we were under the impression that Lion Rock attracted a lot more tourists and would therefore be much busier. This is why we opted for the quieter rock, and we were right.


For the majority of the climb, Sam and I were alone. This was both exciting and at times, terrifying. Mainly because Sam had food poisoning and I thought he was about to collapse 600 feet up a rock. But it was amazing! We were alone with nothing but incredible views and a couple of stray doggos.


As we reached a certain point, we had clear views of Lion Rock and the hordes of people climbing its steps which made us realise we’d made the right choice.



Views


As I’ve said, the views were amazing from Pidurangala Rock - much better than the views from Lion Rock in my opinion (from what I’ve seen). So if you want that jaw dropping, euphoric moment where you are truly taken aback by the views, Pidurangala is the rock to choose.


View of Lion Rock from the top of Pidurangala Rock

Time


It does take longer to climb Lion Rock and there are a lot more stairs. This is something we had to think about because Sam could not be too far from a toilet for long. Sorry, Sam.



Cost


Finally, although the cost didn’t sway us, it might be helpful to know that Pidurangala Rock is only £3 to climb whereas Lion Rock is around £25.


A very friendly local took our photo

So, that’s exactly why we chose to climb Pidurangala Rock instead of Lion Rock. However, I do still think Lion Rock would be an amazing experience, so if you can – do both!



Things to bear in mind if you climb Pidurangala Rock


  • You will need a lot of water. I’d recommend taking at least a litre.

  • It’s hot. Take sun cream and a hat.

  • You pass through a temple so it’s important to respect the culture and cover your shoulders and legs.

  • It’s not an easy climb at times. You will literally have to scramble your way through tight spaces and big drops.

  • There are some stray dogs en route, but they’re placid. Well, the ones we saw were anyway.

  • It’s hella windy up there!

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