12 Best Places To Visit In Dambulla

 In Sri Lanka

For people who are fond of art and architecture, “Dambulla” in Sri Lanka, is the must visit place to explore. Dambulla is a town which is situated in the north of Matale District, in Sri Lanka’s Central Province. There are so many places to visit In Dambulla which can be explored with our Sri Lanka Travel Packages.

There are so many things to do in Dambulla, except for staying there. You might want to make it a day trip to this historical paradise. The place is worth a visit though, just for the stunning sculptures and paintings that you will see in this little town.

Let’s explore the Dambulla travel guide.  There are so many things to do in Dambulla, except for staying there. The place is worth a visit though, just for the stunning sculptures and paintings that you will see in this little town.

Some of the amazing places to visit in Dambulla are:

dambulla
  • Dambulla Cave Temple
  • Sigiriya Rock
  • Minneriya National Park
  • Buddhist Museum
  • Pidurangala Rock
  • Popham’s Arboretum
  • Traditional Foods Sales Centre
  • Dambulla Dedicated Economic Centre
  • Kalu Diya Pokuna
  • Ritigala
  • Jathika Namal Uyana
  • Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium
dambulla-royal-cave-temple
  • Dambulla Cave Temple : Explore The Caves

This is one of the places to visit in Dambulla City. The Dambulla Cave Temple, also called the Golden Temple of Dambulla, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is the best-preserved and most amazing cave temple complex in the country. It has five main caves, each one has numerous statues of Lord Buddha and some figures of kings and statues of Lord Vishnu. 

You can only reach it by climbing the Dambulla Rock. The Dambulla Rock also offers a brilliant view of the Sigiriya Rock Fortress. The five rock caves of Dambulla have different names, and each of them holds a significance of its own. Each caves were built at different periods of Sri Lanka’s history and will give one an insight into the evolving culture. This is amongst the top Dambulla attractions.

It is an entire complex of caves and will at least take you a couple of hours to explore it in ease. You definitely can’t afford to miss this one. 

Timings: 7AM-7PM (ticket counter closes at 5PM)
Entry fee: LKR 1500/adult
Location: Kandy – Jaffna Highway, Dambulla, Sri Lanka
How to reach: You will have to take the stairs up to the temple. You will find multiple buses running between Kandy and Dambulla.

sigiriya
  • Sigiriya Rock: Soak In The magnificence

Sigiriya, often known as the “Lion Rock,” and is amongst the top Dambulla attractions. It is an ancient rock fortress and UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the central Matale District of Sri Lanka. It is among the best places to visit in Dambulla, located between Dambulla and Habarana. 

The place, just 17 km from Dambulla, is one of the valuable historical sites of Sri Lanka. Sigiriya dates back to the 5th century AD when King Kashyapa chose this site as his capital and built a magnificent palace at the top rock. This is amongst the places to go in Dambulla. The fortress was abandoned after his death and transformed into a Buddhist monastery. There is a huge gateway shaped like a lion, and the place derives its name from this gateway. Visiting the place is amongst the top things to do in Dambulla similarly like other top things to do in Sri Lanka.

The cave itself has a mirror wall and also frescoes from the ancient era. The views from the top are quite breath-taking as well.

-Timings: 7AM-7PM
Entry fee: LKR 5000/adult
Location: Rock Front, Sigiriya 21120, Sri Lanka
How to reach: Car– Sigiriya is around 180 km from Colombo. Take track A1 or A6

Bus– Buses are available from Dambulla regularly, and they take around 40 minutes to reach Sigiriya. They start at 7:00 AM and run every 30 minutes. The tickets cost around LKR 50 per person one-way

Tuk Tuk– Available from Dambulla for around LKR 1000-1600

minneriya-national-park
  • Minneriya National Park: Spot Elephant Herds

The Minneriya National Park is in the Northern province of Sri Lanka is among top places to visit in Dambulla, is just four hours away from Colombo, and 30 minutes away from Sigiriya. This national park is famous for its herds of elephants migrating for food, water and shelter, and  is amongst the top things to do in Dambulla.

This is one of the best places to visit in Dambulla City . It is just 50 minutes drive from Dambulla and the visit is worth it. You might get lucky enough to find the biggest herd of Asian elephants. One of the main points in this park is the Minneriya Tank, which was built way back in the 3rd century AD by King Mahasena. This is amongst the places to go in Dambulla. It becomes the main attraction during the dry season, which is from June to September. You will explore up to 300 elephants around the time. This place is an animal lover’s delight and will truly be a wild experience.

-Timings: 6:30 AM-6:30PM
Jeep Safari Cost: LKR 4000/jeep
Park Entry fee: LKR 3600/adult; LKR 1800 for children between 5-12 yrs
Location: Maradankadawala-Habarana-Thirukkondaiadimadu Highway, Rambawilla 50150, Sri Lanka
How to reach: Sigiriya Airport is 24 km away from the national park. Take a private taxi or cab to reach the park.

buddhist-museum
  • Buddhist Museum: Attain Peace At The Museum of Wall Paintings

Just before the famous Dambulla caves you can catch your eye, there is a huge golden statue of Buddha, which welcomes you to this amazing place. In fact, this statue is considered to be Asia’s largest Buddha statue in Dhyan Chakra pose. This is the entrance to the Dambulla Museum. 

This is amongst the places to go in Dambulla. Construction on the statue began in 1998 and was completed in 2001. It was made with concrete and bricks and then plated with gold. It is amongst the top things to do in Dambulla and one of the top Dambulla attractions.

If you are looking for places to visit in Dambulla, this small wall art museum is something you have to see, to know the rich culture of the country. This also houses a terrace, from where the view is great and is absolutely peaceful.

-Location: Kandy – Jaffna Highway, Dambulla, Sri Lanka
How to reach: You will find autos and other modes of public transport that will take you to the temple.

pidurangala-rock
  • Pidurangala Rock: Hike Up For A Breathtaking Sunrise

This is one of the places to visit in Dambulla City. The Pidurangala Rock is a few km away from the famous site, the Sigiriya Rock. Let’s explore the Dambulla travel guide for this amazing place. It is known for the view of Sigiriya Rock from the top of the rock, the white temple situated at the base of the cliff, and the big reclining Buddha statue.

The Pidurangala Rock is also called the Sister Rock of Sigiriya as both the rocks are just a few kilometres away from each other. The Pidurangala Rock also has a white temple called the Pidurangala Vihara, where the monks live and Buddha is worshipped. 

Midway through the hike, there is a huge reclining statue of Buddha under an ancient boulder. The Pidurangala Rock may be less popular amongst tourists, compared to the Sigiriya Rock, but the hike to the topmost point, and the view from up there makes it no less magnificent than the UNESCO site. The Pidurangala Rock is well known for its breathtaking view of the sunrise.

Tourists, from all over the world, visit Sigiriya Rock for its uniqueness and the historical factor. Pidurangala Rock is right adjacent to the Sigiriya and is worth the climb. It is slightly lower than Sigiriya and so you get a breathtaking view of Sigiriya from Pidurangala and it is also a famous spot to view the sunrise from.

-Entry fee: LKR 500/adult
Location: Sigiriya, Sri Lanka
How to reach: You will find tuk-tuks from Sigiriya to Pidurangala Vihar. You can also hire bicycles.

pophams-arboretum
  • Pophams Arboretum: Discover The Rawness Of Nature

This is one of the places to visit in Dambulla. The Popham’s Arboretum was founded by Sam Popham in 1963. It is a botanical garden with different variants of trees and wildlife coexisting in their natural environments. The highlight of the Arboretum is the Night Safari, where tourists get to walk on the trail of the rare Slender Loris. 

Walk through this beautiful place and admire the various species of Trees, Birds, Butterflies, Dragonflies and Mammals that can be found in abundance. This place is a wonderland, what with its wooden bridges, small streams and the greenery. You can hear the sounds of the birds while walking through this amazing place. 

It is located in the town of Dambulla, built initially on seven and a half acres of jungle, then further extended up to 27 acres. The place is very much loved by nature lovers, and is a must visit.

-Entry fee: LKR 1500/adult

-Location: Dambulla, Sri Lanka

-How to reach: Tuk Tuk in Dambulla will take you to the arboretum.

sri-lanka-food
  • Traditional Foods Sales Centre: Explore Culinary Flavours

Yes foodies, after exploring places to visit in Dambulla here comes the best part for you. You can literally taste the local culture in this place, run by the government. It is an amazing opportunity for the traveller to explore the local traditional food that this historic town has to offer. 

They serve delicacies that you might not find anywhere else like the pittu, narang kavum, and belimal flower tea. You will find most of the ladies who run the stalls in the town to earn some bucks, which keeps their homes running.

Location: Pelwehera Rd, Dambulla, Sri Lanka
Timings: 7 AM – 7:30 PM

bandarawela-honeymoon-places-in-sri-lanka
  • Dambulla Dedicated Economic Centre: Interact With Farmers.

One of the top things to do in Dambulla, Sri Lanka is to pay a visit to this place while discovering places to visit in Dambulla. Fresh vegetables and fruits which are making their way to the capital. It is right in the middle of the town and is considered to be the largest wholesale fruits and vegetable market in the whole of Sri Lanka. 

Location: Kandy – Jaffna Highway, Dambulla, Sri Lanka
Timings: Open 24 hours
How to reach: Take a tuk-tuk from Sigiriya towards Dambulla

kaludiya
  • Kalu Diya Pokuna: Soak In Nature

This is one of the best things to do around Dambulla, Sri Lanka and definitely worth it. This involves hiking as well, but the sight you will be welcomed to, at the other end, makes the hike even more exciting. 

Besides other places to visit in Dambulla, it is one of Sri Lanka’s other best-kept secrets and peace that you will find in this place is something which can’t be described in words, but only felt. Once there, you will also be witness to the magical mother nature, with birds and butterflies for company.

-Location: Central province, Sri Lanka
How to reach: Dambulla is the nearest city to the reserve. You can either take a tuk-tuk or hitchhike with any vehicle heading towards the village.

ritigala
  • Ritigala

Ritigala is situated between Polonnaruwa and the old town of Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka. It is a hilly forest and a place of Buddhist worship. 

The highest of the peaks in the Ritigala mountain range is the Ritigala Kanda that makes for an excellent trekking adventure place to visit in Dambulla. Legend has it that an herb called “Sansevi” found near the crest, on consumption gives eternal life. It is also an ancient legend that these mountains once hosted Hanuman and Sita on their expedition from Sri Lanka to India.  Like this, there is so much history and archaeological study associated with Ritigala.

Monks in Ritigala don’t practise traditional Buddhism. The fact that the concept of worship in an off-beat track existed in the 2nd-century minds speaks volumes of the calming effect that Ritigala has.

-Location: Sri Lanka
How to reach: Located 49 km from Polonnaruwa and 43 km from Anuradhapura, Ritigala is a rocky trail off Habarana-  Maradankadawela – Anuradhapura road. The closest place for accommodation is Habarana, which is 21 km away. Wild elephants, leopards and bears inhabit the thick forests. It has been conferred as a Strict Natural Reserve to preserve the authenticity of the place.

Suggested Read: Ramayana tour in Sri Lanka

jathika-namal-uyana
  • Jathika Namal Uyana

Among the places to visit in Dambulla, Jathika Namal Uyana is a nature reserve home to Sri Lanka’s largest quartz mountain and Ironwood forest. The area also has the remains of a Buddhist monastery, stupa, and other structures. It was initially designated as an archaeological site on 12th November 2001, after the efforts of a Sri Lankan monk named Vanavasi Rahula Thera.

The tree also has considerable significance in Buddhism. The rose quartz mountain has an interesting Indian connection. The area also has diverse flora and fauna which are more than a hundred, ranging from medicinal herbs to elephants and leopards.

-Location: Sri Lanka

-Timings: 7:00 AM – 5:00 PM
-How to reach: Located 49 km from Polonnaruwa and 43 km from Anuradhapura, Ritigala is a rocky trail off Habarana-  Maradankadawela – Anuradhapura road. The closest place for accommodation is Habarana, which is 21 km away. Wild elephants, leopards and bears inhabit the thick forests. It has been conferred as a Strict Natural Reserve to preserve the authenticity of the place.

rangiri-dambulla-international-stadium
  • Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium

The Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium was built to organise one day international (ODI) matches in Sri Lanka throughout the year. This stadium was strategically built in the dry zone of the country since it receives less rainfall as compared to the rest of the places to visit in Dambulla. It has a capacity of approximately 16800 people.

The Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium was built in 167 days and held its inaugural match between Sri Lanka and England in March 2001. 

-Location: Sri Lanka

-Timings- Open 24/7
-How to reach: This stadium is easily accessible from the town of Dambulla.

Best time to visit Dambulla

dambulla-places-to-visit-in-sri-lanka

If you were to ask, what would be the best time to visit Dambulla? The best time to visit Dambulla is from May to September. Visitors can go through the best time to visit Sri Lanka while planning their trip here. 

These months fall within the dry season in Sri Lanka, offering minimal rainfall and pleasant weather. The temperatures are generally warm but not excessively hot, which provides the comfortable conditions for sightseeing and outdoor activities. 

The beginning of September can also be an excellent time to visit.

While the dry season is generally more suitable for travel, the shoulder months surrounding the monsoon transitions (September and early October) can also offer good weather conditions for visiting Dambulla.

How To Reach Dambulla

airports

So! If your mind is stuck with a question, how to reach Dambulla ?

Then please find the below details: 

Bandaranaike International Airport is the main international airport which serves Sri Lanka. The airport is 35 m from Colombo and 113 km from Dambulla. 

From here one can travel by bus or taxi to Dambulla city. The airport is connected to various cities across the world, such as Mumbai, Kuwait, Kuala Lumpur, Seoul, Dubai, Istanbul, Singapore, Milan, Bangkok, Shanghai, etc. Major airlines serving this airport include SriLankan Airlines, Mihin Lanka, Cinnamon Air, Air India, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines and many more.

Places to Go Shopping at Dambulla

pettah-market-in-sri-lanka

So! Yes visiting the place and looking for some places to go shopping at Dambulla, then you must check these below and shopping in Sri Lanka :

  1. Pettah Market
  2. Paradise Road
  3. House of Fashions
  4. Laksala
  5. National Gem & Jewellery Authority
  6. Lakpahana Handcraft

Places To Stay in Dambulla

places-to-stay-nani-daman

There are so many places to stay in Dambulla, here are the list of few:

  • Richwin Villa Dambulla

Location– 243/3 Indigollawa Rd, Dambulla 21100, Sri Lanka

  • Catch Up Dambulla

Location–  Yapagama, No : 330 Kandy Rd, Dambulla 21100, Sri Lanka

  • Dambulla Tourist Resort – Owner Thushari Ranaraja

LocationPost office junction, No. 214 Matale road, Dambulla 21100, Sri Lanka

Suggested Read: Restaurants in Sri Lanka.

Conclusion

Dambulla is the perfect base if you’re planning on seeing Sigiriya, the Dambulla Cave Temple in Sri Lanka or climb Pidurangala Rock. However, there is much more to see and explore than must visit places in Sri Lanka

Dambulla is home to many architectural delights and also takes you through a cultural trip of this beautiful ancient town with famous Sri Lanka cuisines. With so many things to do in Dambulla, the history nerd in you must be excited and curious to explore this part of the world. 

What are you waiting for, plan your trip to Sri Lanka now.

Is Dambulla worth visiting?

Dambulla cave temples are thought to be over 2,000 years old and the monastery here is still functional. It’s actually so significant for Buddhists all over the world that you even get monks from all over the world who make a pilgrimage to the site.

What is Dambulla famous for?

A sacred pilgrimage site for 22 centuries, Dambulla is famous for housing some of the most well preserved and largest Dambulla cave temples complex in Sri Lanka. The Golden Rock Temple among them is declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

How many days do you need in Dambulla?

For visiting Dambulla, 2-3 days will be enough for visitors to explore the Sigiriya, the Dambulla Cave Temple or climb Pidurangala Rock.

What are the most popular things to do in Dambulla with kids?

The Golden temple of Dambulla, Sigiri jeep safari, Sunrise ballooning, Minneriya safari and taxi tour of the town are the most popular things to do in Dambulla with kids.

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