Visiting Sigiriya in Dambulla

by May 18, 2016South Asia, Sri Lanka, Travel Tips2 comments

We loved our few days in Dambulla mainly because we had a great place to stay. Sevonrich Holiday Resort was definitely the best place to stay in Dambulla (…and no, they didn’t pay us anything to say that – they were just really good to us and we loved our stay there).

*Update* Sevonrich appears to have added a POOL to their facilities! So they are absolutely the best place to stay – we may need to plan a trip back!

We arrived on an air-conditioned bus from Kandy (which was a bit more of a struggle figuring out than we expected – read our little guide to that here) and we were made to feel at home immediately by our wonderful host.

We hadn’t done much research about Dambulla besides figuring out the two main sights we wanted to see there: Dambulla Caves and Sigiriya. Dambulla is a pretty spread out place for accommodation and restaurants so we thought we’d struggle to get food there. Luckily our host at Sevonrich also had lovely home cooked, Sri Lankan food that we ate both nights there. They cooked us the best Kottu Roti that we had in Sri Lanka (a stir fry dish with cut up bits of Roti).

On both nights we were taken on a little drive up to a huge black rock that looked like it was part of some ancient lava flow to enjoy great sunset views out across the jungle and hills surrounding us. Our first night up there we didn’t get much of a sunset but did get to enjoy a sweet lightning show instead as forked lightning lit up the dusk sky. The next day had more of a sunset to watch. It was such a beautiful, peaceful spot to watch a sunset from with the black rock still warm from the sun.

The black volcanic rock we climbed to see the sunsets also had spots of water and vegetation which this cool looking tortoise had made its home too.

On our first day in Dambulla we were dropped off next door to the Dambulla Cave Temple, the largest and best preserved temple complex in Sri Lanka. After several years of travel, the 3 of us have all racked up more than our fair share of temple visits so we weren’t too in awe of the huge reclining Buddha and painted caves.

My biggest memory from the caves was when we had to take off our shoes at the entry. The burning hot sun had soaked in to the rocks and there was a decent section of hot rock to make it over before we made it to the cooler cave floor. It felt like running over hot coals!

The temple complex is also home to a bunch of monkeys with hilarious looking haircuts (that remind me of Jim Carrey’s character in Dumb and Dumber). They made the most of the few pools of water that hadn’t yet evaporated in the heat.

Walking down from the Caves there was another impressive Buddha at the Golden Temple.

The next day our host arranged for his friend to tour us around on his Tuk Tuk to Sigiriya, an ancient rock fortress and one of the main historic sites to see in Sri Lanka (along with the Dambulla Caves it is a World Heritage Site).

Having an overheating pregnant Dayna travelling with us meant there was no chance we were going to want to try climbing up on top of the rock so instead we toured around it, taking photos from all over. It is a pretty impressive site even without getting a close up view of the frescoes, statues and ancient structures.

We had pretty typical weather whilst exploring Dambulla. It was steamy and hot during most of the day and then in the afternoon or evening it bucketed down rain with lightning and thunder entertaining us. The storm was so big one night that for every flash of lightning the power turned off. For a while there was an old dude whose job it was to stand in a rapidly rising pool of water and flick the power back on at the breakers after each big burst of lightning. Not the safest job. We sat outside just watching the storm for quite a while – we tourists are pretty easily entertained!

We were back on the bus back to Kandy the next day as we headed on to the main Tea Plantation region of Sri Lanka in Nuwara Eliya and Ella.

The Best Hotel in Dambulla

There were a lot of good things about Sevonrich Holiday Resort. Free pickups, drop offs, doing a huge load of laundry for us for £2, tasty and cheap dinners and breakfasts, sorting out tours and travel for us, free sunset trips each day. The best thing was that it was great value for money. A lot of other places we’ve seen and stayed at in Sri Lanka have been over priced but at less than £20 a night for 2 of us, this was a great deal. And they have a POOL now!

Check it out and book it here if you are heading to Dambulla.

*Some of the links used above are affiliate links – there is no difference in cost to you but we do get a small commission if you book or buy through the link. As always, we only ever recommend and link to accommodation that we have stayed at and thought was good or things that we use ourselves.