One of the most popular attractions in Sri Lanka is the Lion Rock in Sigiriya. This landmark is a must-visit in Sri Lanka. And if you follow our 3-week travel itinerary you will not miss it. This huge 200m square-shaped rock is the former fortress of King Kassapa. It’s a place where you can experience beautiful gardens, murals, and incredible history and view on the top. The Lion Rock in Sigiriya has become a Unesco World Heritage site, and is definitely worth a visit when in Sri Lanka.
What to know about climbing the Sigiriya Lion Rock
Before climbing the incredible Lion Rock in Sigiriya there are some things that are good to know.
The entrance for the Lion Rock is open every day from 7:00 to 17:30. But you should be aware that the last tickets are sold at 17:00. After that, the ticket counter is closed.
As the Lion Rock in Sigiriya is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, attraction in Sri Lanka the entrance fee is higher than you will experience in the rest of the country. The entrance fee is 4500 LKR per person. It’s a bit high but shouldn’t be why you don’t visit the Rock. Because it’s one amazing experience to have climbed the famous Lion Rock in Sigiriya.
There is no definitive dress code for visiting Sigiriya Lion Rock because it’s not a religious monument. But you should respect the Sri Lankan culture and cultural norms. It’s acceptable to wear tank tops, shorts, and spaghetti straps but keep the revealing outfits at home. Our recommendation for clothing is to wear a t-shirt so your shoulder doesn’t get burned by the sun. Wear shorts as it is way easier to walk upstairs in those than in a skirt – and as a woman, you don’t have to worry about people getting a look at things they shouldn’t. A cap wouldn’t be such a bad idea as well as the sun is very hot and you can easily be burned. And lastly, you should wear closed and comfortable shoes. You must have shoes with a good grip as the climb at some places can be a little difficult and uneven.
What to bring?
When climbing the Lion Rock in Sigiriya there are some things we would recommend you bring. A backpack is always a good idea as it’s easier to bring up the stairs to the top. Remember to bring a lot of water. The sun is very hot – especially at the top. And it can be quite crowded and therefore sometimes impossible to find shadow. Therefore, sunscreen is also a must to bring or at least wear when climbing the rock.
Other than that, you should bring cash to buy your ticket and of course a camera or phone to take pictures of the amazing Lion Rock in Sigiriya.
Is the hike to the top of the Lion Rock difficult?
The climb to the top of Sigiriya Lion Rock can be challenging. But it’s not impossible to climb the 1200 steps to the top. We are not born climbers and made it to the top without difficulties. We actually thought the climb would be much worse than we experienced. So, if you remember to drink enough water and take some breaks throughout the climb it should be a problem for you to reach the top.
The climb to the top will take about an hour – depending on the number of breaks you need. Getting back down from the top is a bit easier and you will probably take about 30 minutes.
Monkeys and bees
You should be aware that there are wild monkeys at the Lion Rock in Sigiriya. They walk around freely and may try to grab something from your back or other of your belongings. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to keep your back closed and don’t bring unnecessary things with you. And you should, of course, keep your distance, then there shouldn’t be any problems.
There can also be a lot of bees at the rock – and they can be very aggressive. We didn’t experience anything but there are signs which say to keep quiet so you don’t disturb the bees.
Best time to climb Sigiriya Lion Rock
The best time to climb Sigiriya Lion Rock is in the afternoon or the morning.
The afternoon is probably the time where you will experience the most beautiful view from the top of the Lion Rock. It can be very hot going up but you can look forward to knowing that your climb will get cooler as you progress. The crowds tend to be smaller during the afternoon and that is definitely a plus. Another plus for visiting in the afternoon is the magical sunset you will see from the top of the rock. But you should be aware that when you climb down from the top, you will be in the dark. That means that you should bring a flashlight (you can use the one on your phone). If you’re not that comfortable with going down in the dark it’s also possible to visit during the early hours of the day.
The mornings are the ‘coldest’ and therefore the most comfortable weather-wise. As well as you will make the whole climb up and down in the sunlight. Then crowds tend to get big during the first hours of the day – especially because of guided tours. So, if you visit in the morning hours try to be as quick as possible at the ticket counter and get ahead of the groups so you aren’t stuck behind them on your way to the top. It can be hot – especially on the top – but you will think it’s worth it all when you see the view from the top.
No matter what time of the day you visit Sigiriya Lion Rock the experience is incredible and you will end up giving yourself a high-five when you reach the top.