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Updated by Joanna James on Aug 19, 2021
Headline for 5 Awesome things to do in Dambulla – A historic city with a lot to offer
Joanna James Joanna James
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5 Awesome things to do in Dambulla – A historic city with a lot to offer

Dambulla is a beautiful touristic city in Sri Lanka, that promises visitors a truly authentic experience. Here are the top five exciting things to do when visiting this historic destination.


Dambulla Cave Temples

Also known as the Royal Rock Temples, this ancient Buddhist temple complex is located in the very heart of Dambulla. The temple stands over 160m above the surrounding scrub jungle and offers some fantastic views of the area. The attraction is made up of five caves, each section featuring ancient cave paintings and Buddha statues. The cave's history also traces back to the first century B.C. The climb to the top of the cave entrance will take approximately 15 minutes and is not very hard to accomplish. Entry is priced at LKR 1500.


The Golden Buddha

Visit the Golden Buddha, which is located at the bottom of the Dambulla Cave Temple Complex. Entry is free and the Golden Buddha is actually plated in real gold, and sits above the Buddha museum, and is surrounded by statues, and more artwork.


Embark on a wildlife safari

No visit to Dambulla is complete without embarking on a wildlife safari. The Minneriya National Park is an especially popular nature park to visit in the area and is best visited anywhere between July to September. As one can see large elephant gatherings during this time and can be as 350 elephants strong! The wildlife park can also easily be reached from accommodation options in Dambulla including properties the likes of Heritance Kadalama with ease.


Explore the Sigiriya Rock

Located just within a 30-minute drive from Dambulla, Sigiriya is a must-visit, with the Sigiriya Rock being the main attraction. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the attraction is often unofficially called the eighth wonder of the world. Among other popular things to do in Sigiriya, climbing this gorgeous and historical fortress is one of the main things on everyone's itinerary! Once an impenetrable royal palace, the attraction gives visitors a glimpse of the architectural ingenious of ancient Sinhalese civilization. The entry fee to access the complex is priced at $35 and is well worth it, given it's one of the most famous attractions on the island. To make your way back to Dambulla simply flag down a tuk-tuk. To have a well-rounded experience, consider climbing the Pidurangala Rock, while being much smaller, still offers some truly panoramic views of the area at just a fraction of the cost.


Climb Rose Quartz Mountain

South Asia's largest rose quartz mountain is located inside the quiet nature reserve, the Jathika Namal Uyana, and is a 20-minute drive from the city of Dambulla. The reserve is also home to the country's largest ironwood forest. Upon entering, and walking towards the interior of the reserve, you will arrive at a Buddha statue and ancient ruins. From here you can begin your climb. A stunning sight, the entire mountain is a beautiful shade of light pink. The hike and the climb will take a total of 30 minutes. Entry to the reserve will cost USD 5.