The Best Time To Visit Sigiriya? (What I Did)

Best time to climb sigiriya with pictures

If you’re planning a trip to Sri Lanka, you’ve likely come across photos of the iconic Sigiriya Rock in your research (doom scrolling).

This ancient rock fortress, also known as Lion Rock, is a must-see attraction located in the central-northern part of the country and as well as offering epic views is also a place of great cultural significance.

The best time to visit Sigiriya (lion rock) is during the dry season from May to September. The walk itself takes 1.5-2 hours and provides incredible views of the surrounding landscape. Try set off early in the morning as this way you can beat the crowds of other tourists and have a better chance of clear skies.

In this blog post, I’ll share my experience climbing Sigiriya Rock and provide a comprehensive guide to help you plan your own visit.

Why is Sigiriya Called Lion Rock?

Before we dive into the details of climbing Sigiriya Rock, let’s first explore why it’s called Lion Rock.

The name comes from the large lion paws that flank the once entrance to the fortress. Unfortunately, only the paws and a small portion of the lion’s head remain today, with most of the sculpture and original staircase destroyed.

You actually walk up between the paws when you start your ascent!

Tristan Balme best time to climb sigiriya lion rock 1

The Best Month To Visit Sigiriya

The weather in Sigiriya can vary greatly depending on the time of year you visit. Here’s a breakdown of what to expect each month:

In general weather isn’t too much of a deal breaker here, but if you can it makes sense to visit in one of the dry months.

MonthAverage Temperature (Celsius)Average Rainfall (mm)Overall Ranking
January2765Good
February2850Good
March3190Average
April32150Poor
May32175Poor
June3160Good
July3140Best
August3160Good
September30135Average
October28300Poor
November27320Poor
December27175Average
Source: SigiriyaFortress.com
Tristan Balme best time to climb sigiriya

1. Dry Season

The dry season in Sigiriya runs from May to September, with June and July being the driest months. During this time, you can expect hot temperatures and minimal rainfall, making it the ideal time to visit if you want to avoid the crowds.

2. Rainy Season

The rainy season in Sigiriya runs from October to April, with November and December being the wettest months. During this time, you can expect high humidity and heavy rainfall, which can make climbing the rock more challenging.

When Is the Best Time To Visit Sigiriya (Lion Rock)

Tristan Balme 1 2

Now that we’ve covered the weather, let’s dive into the best time to visit Sigiriya based on other factors.

FactorBest Time
Avoiding CrowdsDry Season (May-September)
Opening HoursEarly Morning or Late Afternoon
Best WeatherDry Season (May-September)
Where to StayWater Garden Sigiriya (Luxury), Sigiriya Village Hotel (Mid-Range), Sigiriya Hostel (Budget)
Climbing Time1.5-2 Hours
Entrance Fee30 USD (Foreigners), 15 USD (SAARC Nationals)
What to WearComfortable Shoes with Good Grip, Modest Clothing
HighlightsThe Gardens, The Frescoes, Sigiriya Rock, The Mirror Wall, The Lion Palace, The Monastery
Nearby ActivityHiking Pidurangala Rock
Frequently Asked QuestionsDress Code, Photography Ban, Accommodation in Dambulla

The Best Months To Avoid the Crowds

As mentioned earlier, the dry season is the best time to avoid the crowds. If you’re visiting during the rainy season, try to arrive early in the morning to beat the rush.

The Best Time Of Day (During Opening Hours)

Sigiriya Rock is open from 7:00 am to 5:30 pm. Arriving early in the morning or late in the afternoon can help you avoid the midday heat and crowds.

I’d recommend going first thing in the morning to avoid the crowds, and the heat of the sun. You’ll also see it in all its glory during golden hour.

The Best Time Of Year For Weather

If you’re looking for the most pleasant weather, visit Sigiriya during the dry season.

Where to Stay Nearby

Sigiriya has a range of accommodation options to suit different budgets. If you’re looking for luxury, check out the Water Garden Sigiriya. For a mid-range option, consider the Sigiriya Village Hotel. If you’re on a budget, check out the Sigiriya Hostel.

Checkout my full write up on the best places I stayed in Sigiriya in this article

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