Skip to Content

Pidurangala Rock Hike in Sigiriya, Sri Lanka – Ultimate Guide

Sigiriya is one of the most famous and visited attractions in Sri Lanka. Thousands of visitors visit the Lion Rock every day, to discover the local history and hike to an incredible viewpoint.

However nowhere near as many people hike Pidurangala Rock, Sigiriya’s neighbour. The Pidurangala Rock hike was one of the most awesome hikes I did while in Sri Lanka, and I can highly recommend it to everyone.

In this guide I’ve put together everything you need to know about hiking Pidurangala Rock, including how to get there, entrance fees, what to expect, the best time to hike and more. So let’s dive straight in!

Enjoying the view over Sigiriya from Pidurangala rock in Sri Lanka during our 2 week trip

Enjoying the view over Sigiriya from Pidurangala rock in Sri Lanka

About Pidurangala Rock

Pidurangala Rock is a 200m tall rock formation, located right next to the famous Sigiriya Fortress. Sigiriya is an ancient fortress located at the top of a massive column of rock.

Pidurangala also has a Buddhist temple at its entrance, as well as a reclining Buddha half way up the rock, but nothing as big as Sigiriya.

Tourists visit Pidurangala more for the hiking and nature element, whilst Sigiriya is more for culture and history lovers.

Enjoying the sunset over the Sri Lankan countryside from Pidurangala Rock

Enjoying the sunset over the Sri Lankan countryside from Pidurangala Rock

Essential info about the Pidurangala Rock hike

Before we jump into my experience hiking Pidurangala Rock I wanted to go over some of the essential information you need to know about this hike.

Where is Pidurangala Rock

Pidurangala is located in the town of Sigiriya in Sri Lanka, close to Dambulla. You can see the exact location here.

How to get there

The easiest way to get to Pidurangala Rock is by tuk-tuk from Sigiriya. This will cost around 200 LKR. If you’re staying in Dambulla the tuk-tuk journey will be a bit more expensive, around 1,000 LKR one-way.

The easiest and most cost effective way to do this is bargaining with a driver and asking him to wait for you for 2,000 LKR. That way you don’t have to find a new ride for the way back.

You can also get the bus from Dambulla to Sigiriya (around 50 LKR) and then get a tuk-tuk from there.

If you prefer to travel comfortably you can also get a car with driver. This will work out pricier but it will be the easiest and most comfortable way to travel around Sri Lanka and get to Dambulla.

Sigiriya Fortress, or Lion's Rock, as seen from Pidurangala Rock

Sigiriya Fortress, or Lion’s Rock, as seen from Pidurangala Rock

Entrance fee

There is a 500 LKR entrance fee for Pidurangala Rock (approximately 3 USD).

When is the best time to hike Pidurangala Rock?

You will want to hike Pidurangala Rock at either sunrise or sunset. The heat in Sri Lanka can be very intense, and if you hike in the middle of the day you will find yourself hiking under a scorching sun.

We hiked Pidurangala at sunset as we were coming from Colombo and wouldn’t be able to arrive in time for sunrise.

There were other people there but it wasn’t unreasonably busy. Sunrises usually tend to be less busy as many people are reluctant to wake up so early.

Enjoying the sunset from the top of Pidurangala Rock

Enjoying the sunset from the top of Pidurangala Rock

How long does the hike take?

The hike up Pidurangala Rock takes around 30-45 minutes, depending on your fitness level and how much you stop along the way.

There are some very pretty views along the way, as well as a huge Buddha statue so we stopped a few times to enjoy the view and take pictures.

What is the terrain like?

The terrain is a bit challenging, with a lot of rocks and steps in the way. Since it’s a fairly short hike it goes quite steep quite quickly. It’s mostly manageable until the final part of the hike.

To reach the plateau of Pidurangala Rock you will have to properly climb over some boulders. This means you can only go up or down one at a time. It wasn’t an issue on the way up but on the way down we had to wait a bit for our turn.

Hiking up Pidurangala Rock

Hiking up Pidurangala Rock

The final section of the Pidurangala Rock hike where you need to climb a bit

The final section of the Pidurangala Rock hike where you need to climb a bit

Should you hike Sigiriya or Pidurangala?

Personally, if you can only do one of the two hikes, I would recommend Pidurangala. Besides the considerably lower entrance fee (3 USD compared to the 30 USD of Sigiriya) I also think it has better views.

Sigiriya has incredible views over the surrounding countryside, however they will all be fairly similar.

Once you’re on top of Sigiriya, you won’t be able to see the Lion Rock itself, which is what makes the view from Pidurangala so unique and beautiful.

Photographing the sunset from the top of Pidurangala Rock

Photographing the sunset from the top of Pidurangala Rock

I wouldn’t call Pidurangala “off the beaten track” or a hidden gem, however it does see considerably less visitors than Sigiriya. The trail up Sigiriya is quite narrow so they don’t let too many people up at the same time.

In busy times the wait can be up to 3 hours! If you want to enjoy some beautiful views without the crowds, Pidurangala is a better choice than Sigiriya.

Howevera at Sigiriya there is also the ancient rock fortress and cultural element, which Pidurangala doesn’t have. If you have a big interest in history Sigiriya might be better.

View over Sigiriya from Pidurangala Rock in Sri Lanka

View over Sigiriya from Pidurangala Rock in Sri Lanka

Our experience hiking Pidurangala Rock

We spent two weeks in Sri Lanka and had a fairly tight schedule so we only had time to do one hike. We chose to hike Pidurangala Rock.

We set off from Colombo early in the morning and arrived in Sigiriya around 3PM. We had a car and driver for the initial leg of our Sri Lanka trip so he drove us directly to the base of Sigiriya.

We actually took a bit of an unconventional route to get to Pidurangala. We did a tuk-tuk tour around the base of Sigiriya and Pidurangala, which then dropped us off at the base of Pidurangala.

After the hike we met up with our driver directly at the Pidurangala Rock parking area. We paid 1,500 LKR for the tour and it was a pretty fun way to see these impressive rock formations from different angles.

If you have the time I definitely recommend doing it, and then just ask them to leave you at Pidurangala in time for sunset.

The view over both Pidurangala and Sigirya

The view over Pidurangala (on the left) and Sigirya (on the right) during our tuk-tuk tour

We found the hike fairly easy and very interesting. There are some very cool rock formations all throughout the hike, as well as a huge reclining Buddha and an initial glimpse of the beautiful views that await you at the top.

The trail is fairly intuitive, but there are also arrows painted on the rocks that point the right way.

The terrain isn’t smooth but we didn’t find it a challenging hike, except for the final section that required a bit of scrambling. We spent almost an hour at the top of Pidurangala, enjoying the view, the sunset and taking pictures.

We started hiking back down before the sun went down completely as we didn’t want to hike the trail in the dark. All in all it was a very fun experience, that I think everyone should add to their Sri Lanka bucket list.

The view over the Sri Lankan countryside during the Pidurangala Rock hike (that big shadow is Pidurangala Rock!)

The view over the Sri Lankan countryside during the Pidurangala Rock hike (that big shadow is Pidurangala Rock!)

The sunset from the top of Pidurangala Rock

The sunset from the top of Pidurangala Rock

Where to stay to visit Pidurangala Rock

The closest and easiest places to stay to visit Pidurangala are either Sigiriya or Dambulla. Sigiriya is closer but Dambulla is a bigger town with more shops and restaurants if that is of interest to you.

We stayed in Dambulla. Here are a few options for accommodation for every budget.

Budget: New Peacock Resort Hotel – we stayed at this guesthouse in Dambulla and loved it. It was very affordable and welcoming, with spacious rooms and a lovely outdoor area for meals.

Click here to book your stay at New Peacock Resort Hotel!

Enjoying breakfast at the New Peacock Resort Hotel in Dambulla

Enjoying breakfast at the New Peacock Resort Hotel in Dambulla

Medium-range: Sigiriya Village – this lovely mid-range hotel has a pool with view of Sigiriya, the perfect place to rest after a sunrise hike of Pidurangala Rock!

Click here to book your stay at Sigiriya Village!

Luxury: Sigiriya Hotel – if you’re looking for something luxurious and super convenient in terms of position, Sigiriya Hotel is the one for you. Located just next to Sigiriya fortress, you can relax on poolside while admiring Lion Rock from a distance.

Click here to book your stay at Sigiriya Hotel!

the main pool of Sigiriya Hotel - photo by Where Life Is Great

the main pool of Sigiriya Hotel – photo by Where Life Is Great

What you need to hike Pidurangala Rock

Besides the usual clothing and items you will need for your Sri Lanka trip, here are some essentials you don’t want to forget for your Pidurangala visit.

A sarong or scarf to cover your shoulders. The initial part of the Pidurangala hike trail goes past a Buddhist temple. You need to remove your shoes and cover your shoulders for this section.

There are some there available that you can loan but if it’s very busy you will have to wait for someone to come back with theirs before you can start your hike. It’s easier if you have your own.

Watching the sunset from the top of Pidurangala Rock

Watching the sunset from the top of Pidurangala Rock

Comfortable walking shoes that you can quickly take off and put back on again. You don’t want to waste too much time undoing your laces at the initial temple!

A camera to capture the beautiful sunset from Pidurangala!

Sunscreen – even if you visit at sunrise or sunset the sun is very strong in Sri Lanka! You don’t want to get sunburnt.

Sigiriya Fortress, also known as Lions Rock, as seen from Pidurangala Rock, in Sri Lanka

View of Sigiriya from Pidurangala Rock

Final thoughts on hiking Pidurangala Rock in Sri Lanka

There you have it, the ultimate guide to hiking Pidurangala Rock in Sri Lanka! I hope you find this guide useful in planning your Pidurangala Rock hike.

I wanted to make sure this guide included everything you need to know for this hike.

The view from Pidurangala Rock was one of my favourite in Sri Lanka. We went on some awesome adventures also in Ella, hiking Little Adams Peak, Ella Rock and chasing waterfalls, but the view from Pidurangala was special.

Looking for more Sri Lanka travel tips? Check out these guides:

Enjoyed reading about Pidurangala Rock in Sigiriya, Sri Lanka? Pin it!

Collage of Sigiriya as seen from Pidurangala and the sunset from the top of Pidurangala Rock with text overlay saying "the most epic hike in Sri Lanka?"

Sri Lanka tour Dambulla, Sigiriya, Polonnaruwa | Kali Travel

Wednesday 23rd of September 2020

[…] the hike up for the 360º panoramic views. If you have longer in Sigiriya, there’s another hike to Pidurangala Rock, a landmark which can be clearly seen from […]