Cultural Triangle & Ancient Cities

Telephone dialing code for Sigiriya and Dambulla is 066
Telephone dialing code for Polonnaruwa is 027
Telephone dialing code for Anuradhapura is 025

Places of Interest

Destination Opening Hours Adult Price Child Price Comments
Dambulla Cave temples 7am-7pm daily US$13 Free 5 caves worth seeing
Sigiriya Rock Fortress 7am-5.30pm $30 $15 Visit early morning to avoid crowds and sun
Sigiriya Archeology Museum 8am-5pm Wed-Mon Free Free  
Sigiriya Eco Culture Centre       Pass enroute to fortress
Polonnaruwa Ancient Cities and info center 7.30am-6pm daily $25 $15 Cycle or stroll by foot. Start at the Rest House and museum
Anuradhapura Ancient Cities 7am-7.30pm daily $25 $15 Cycle or Tuk Tuk around the expansive grounds and relics
Anuradhapura Archeology Museum 8AM-5PM Wed-Mon      

Giritale standing Buddha along side the 7th century lake is a great picnic spot and photo opportunity.

Enroute to Dambulla caves from Kandy or Matale, you should definitely stop off at the Rock Monestry. Here you can admire the monastic lifestyle and for just Rs20 a monk will use ancient carving techniques to produce a Sinhala version of your name upon a Ola (palm leaf). They make great momentoes and book marks.


There are 2 National Parks in this region although they are not the best for sightings.


  • Entry adult / child $15 / 7.50 plus service charge of $8 and a vehicle charge of R250.

  • June –September is the best time to visit.

  • Tickets can be bought at the Wildlife office in Ambagaswewa


  • Entry adult / child $10 / 5 plus service charge of $8and a vehicle charge of R250.

  • August- December is best viewing period.

At both you will see Sambar Deer, elephants, birds, fishing cats. Take a 4WD from the town for R6000 (approximate price)  

Habarana : is the land of Elephant safaris. Its fun but expensive. $20-30 / hr. The elephants will take you on a trek around the lake and through the low waters and you can be at one with the birds.

Bars & Restaurants (our favourites)

In this area you will see lots of history mango trees, cashew nut trees and sweetcorn. The fruit and vegetables are in abundance and very tasty. The river fish is popular but can lack flavour so it tends to be deep fried with chips.

For lunch bites, we would recommend the local stalls and rest houses. Expect to pay Rs600-1000 / head.

Buffet Lunch or A la’ Carte can only be found in the hotels surrounding these key tourist attractions.


Elephant Corridor (stunning boutique hotel/ restaurant with fantastic views over land, lake and Fortress rock)
Tel. 066 2286950/5

Sigiriya Village (large 3* hotel)
Tel. 066 2286803/6


Sudu Araliya (buffet style lunch and ayurvedic centre)
Tel.027 222 4849

Deer Park (luxury 4* hotel)
Giritale (4km away)
Tel. 027 224 6272


Tissawewa Rethouse (Colonial and listed building . Home of British army)
Tel. 025 222 2299

Palm Garden Village Hotel (4* large complex)
Tel. 025 222 3961


Entertainment/ Nightlife


Birds and wild elephants who seek water and shade in the night.

Getting About/Transport



1 1/2 hrs to Polonnaruwa
2 hrs to Anuradhapura
2 hrs to Kandy
40 mins to Sigiriya departing every 30minutes
4 hrs to Colombo


6 hrs to Colombo departing every 30 mins on Airconditioned bus
4 hrs to Kandy via Dambulla and Habarana


2 Bus stations and the private express buses depart close to the old bus station
3 1/2 hrs to Trinco departing early morning
3 hrs to Kandy departing hourly
3 hrs to Polonnaruwa departing hourly
5 hrs to Colombo departing every 30 mins.


Stations are at Habarana, Polonnaruwa and Anuradhapura.
6-7hrs from Colombo to Polonnaruwa (Kaduruwela)
7hrs from Colombo to Anuradhapura. Departs 6 times /day.

Tuk Tuk’s

Tuk Tuk’s are available throughout and you will require one in Anuradhapura if you are not cycling or driven.

Less expensive and less in demand in Sigiriya and Polonnaruwa


A fun way to view the ancient cities. Most guesthouses rent out bicycles or hire them from the main suppliers in town centers.

Sigiriya – in village
Polonnaruwa- 2 suppliers on main street in town
Anuradhapura – in new town

For detail on drivers and getting around the island click here.


There are banks are in Polonnaruwa, Dambulla , Habarana and Anuradhapura within the main streets of town centres.

The ancient cities of Sri Lanka including Dambulla caves, Sigiriya Rock and Polonnaruwa. Elephant rides, spas and local comunities. We have lived in the cultural triangle in Sri Lanka for months and reviewed hotels and sightseeing. Check availability and book hotels in the ancient cities on line with Boutique Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka specialists with detailed knowledge of the Cultural Triangle and Ancient Cities
Consultant Helpline: (0094) 11 2699213 (Overseas) or click here to email our consultants

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