Sigiriya Rock Fortress – The Wonder of Asia

We are here to brighten your Sri Lanka tour itinerary, ensuring that your trip to the beautiful island of Sri Lanka is one that is truly memorable. That being said, this blog is to give you a peep into one of the most magical sites of the island; none other than the awe-inspiring Sigiriya Rock Fortress. 

A truly majestic wonder that is home to one of the most astounding histories of the tiny island calls out to be explored. Once, long ago this archaeological monument was home to King Kashypa who on top of this gracious rock, erected his castle and adorned with strikingly beautiful frescoes. After King Kashyapa, dynasties rose and fell, their fortunes shaped by internal power struggles and conflicts between native Sinhalese and outside invaders from India.

A Buddhist monastery was founded at Sigiriya rock fortification in the third century BCE and so far, thirty cave-shelters with drip-ledges that is believed to have been home to monks have been located near the base of the huge rock. Details of donations to cave shelters have been engraved in Brahmi script on eight of them, giving visitors an insight into the vast and mysterious history of ancient Ceylon and the majestic kingdom of Sigiriya. Following King Kashyapa’s dynasty, by the 6th and 7th century A.D., Sigiriya had lost its political status and had once again become the home of Buddhist monks. During this time, the cave-shelters with drip-ledges from the previous monastic epoch were improved. Additional shrines were built, including a stupa, image house, and bodhi tree shrine. This second stage of monastery growth lasted until the 12th and 13th centuries A.D.

At present day, the historical Sigiriya stands proudly as a UNESCO world heritage site; located in the northern Matale District of Sri Lanka’s Central Province, near the town of Dambulla and has proudly taken its place as the 8th wonder of the world. 

Head towards the picturesque small town that yet beholds one of the grandest sites in the country and be amazed by all the mysteries it has to offer. The ruins of the ancient capital lie at the summit of the rock, renowned as the Lion’s rock, dominating the luscious green town. 

As you step foot on the enthralling site, the extensive collection of fortifications, vast gardens, ponds, canals, alleys and fountains are surely set to mesmerise you alongside the truly unique harmony between the nature and human imagination that it exuberates. The main entrance is located in the northern side of the rock, intended in the form of a huge stone lion, whose feet have survived up to date, giving evidence to the intricate architectural efforts put into the designing of the ancient kingdom. The Western wall on the other hand is sure to capture your eyes with its many frescoes painted each depicting a story of its own. The enthralling frescoes that depict paintings of nude females are considered to be either the portraits of the king’s wives and concubines or priestess performing religious rituals. Despite the unknown identity of the females depicted in the frescoes, these unique ancient paintings are celebrating female beauty and have incredible historical significance. Another substantial feature of the monument is the famous mirror wall, painted inscriptions and poems written by the visitors of Sigiriya. Take a peep at it on your way to the very top of the rock and get lost among the riveting history the mysterious Sigiriya has to offer. 

Visitors to Sigiriya are treated to magnificent buildings rooted in history and culture. But there’s a lot more to the remains of the old Lion Rock fortress than meets the eye. If you’re interested in learning more, a top by the Sigiriya Museum is a must. 

Apart from visiting the renowned Lion’s rock, there are abundant other activities that you could enjoy during your stay in Sigiriya from visiting the local handicraft shops that surround the site to participating in sacred ‘Pansil’ ceremonies, enjoying delectable local meals and taking in the serene beauty of the tranquil town by either a long stroll or exciting cycle ride around the historical monument of Sigiriya. Visit the secluded sunset royal cave known famously as Pidurangala; an ancient Buddhist monastery and learn of the mysterious history of Ceylon and enjoy a serene lunch or dinner by the Kandalama Reservoir. Created by kings of long-gone times in order to provide water for farming irrigation, the location is the ideal intimate gate away.

Sigiriya is also known for its breath-taking sceneries and local village life. So, it is only right that you visit a local paddy field and interact with the farmers, even enjoy a delectable meal with them, in your Sri Lanka Trip. Friendly smiles and chitter chatter!  

At night, you can also enjoy a serene candle lit dinner by the Kandalama Reservoir. Created by kings of long-gone times in order to provide water for farming irrigation, the location is the ideal intimate gate away. Thriving in biodiversity, Sigiriya is also renowned as a home to the famous night loris. The nature trail at Sigiriya appears to be the most reliable spot in the country for watching these elusive creatures, where several loris have been recorded and sightings can be obtained on almost every night. So, get your night lights and gear on and be on the lookout. 

Indulge in a luxurious spa treatment and get lost in a blissful haven as you enjoy a series of signature ayurvedic spa treatments. Ayurveda: the science of life’ is an ancient, holistic form of healing that promotes total wellbeing and harmony within you in balance with nature and the environment. With knowledge honed over thousands of years, it is a practice that considers your whole being and emphasises on the prevention rather than cure of symptoms. At the blissful town of Sigiriya, you can partake on a spiritual cleansing by visiting one of the many Ayurveda Spas that surround the tranquil haven. Here, you will be under the care of highly qualified Ayurvedic Physicians who will spend time in consultation to evaluate your physical health and understand your individual needs prior to prescribing treatments or packages best suited to you.

During your trip to Sigiriya you can also visit the truly serene town of Dambulla and step into the midst of the famous Dambulla cave temple. A sacred pilgrimage site for 22 centuries, the Dambulla cave monastery, with its five sanctuaries, is the largest, best-preserved cave-temple complex in Sri Lanka, and explore them in your Sri Lanka Itinerary. The Buddhist mural paintings and 157 statues that the cave is home to are sure to leave you amazed!

Enjoy your stay at one of the many luxury villas that encapsulate the beauty of Sigiriya and explore the mouth-watering local flavours. Treat yourself to the tongue-tangling local cuisine and even enjoy a meal by the lushes’ paddy fields of the city.

7 Best Locations for Your 2 Weeks Sri Lanka Itinerary

Planning a 2-week Sri Lanka tour itinerary can feel like tackling a massive jigsaw puzzle. The island that offers a myriad of experiences with great diversity can overwhelm you if you don’t have a plan or research to back you up.

In this article, we share the best locations to include in your Sri Lanka tour itinerary.


If you are spending two weeks in Sri Lanka, Polonnaruwa is a location you don’t want to miss. The second capital of Sri Lanka in a past era, Polonnaruwa is famous for its royal ancient city of old stupas and historic ruins. Explore the city on a bike or by foot wandering around the massive constructions of yesteryear. Get on a boat for a ride in a nearby man-made lake blooming with waterlilies and thronging with wildlife such as water monitors, birds, and other small reptiles. Known as the Parakrama Samudra, this lake is an oasis of tranquillity. 

For those who love fishing, make sure to add freshwater fishing to your two-week Sri Lanka tour itinerary so you can enjoy an unforgettable fishing trip in a traditional catamaran. Whilst offering some of the best historical and cultural moments, Polonnaruwa also promises luxurious accommodation options. Let us help you experience a luxury hotel stay while you explore this fascinating city.

7 Best Locations for Your 2 Weeks Sri Lanka Itinerary Polonnaruwa


The 8th wonder of the world, Sigiriya is an ancient rock fortress (a UNESCO world heritage site) with history that dates back to the fifth century B.C. Built on top of a rock, the fortress is a must-visit site during your two-week Sri Lanka tour— as no Sri Lanka tour is complete without visiting Sigiriya. Take the 1200 step staircase to reach the top and you won’t be disappointed by the magnificent view. The ancient ruins of the palace, the evidence of architectural brilliance with its advanced irrigation systems, water gardens and moat will blow your mind. The murals of naked damsels are one of the highlights of the fortress that showcases the excellent artistic skills from years bygone.

Sigiriya is also close to other attractions such as the Pidurangala rock which can be explored on a hike, and the Dambulla cave temple which is also a UNESCO world heritage site.  History, nature, adventure, and scenic beauty combine in Sigiriya, making this an interesting addition to your Sri Lanka tour.

7 Best Locations for Your 2 Weeks Sri Lanka Itinerary Sigiriya


If you are interested in exploring the culture of the locality, Kandy is a place that must be included in your 2-week Sri Lanka tour itinerary. The sacred Temple of the Tooth where Lord Buddha’s tooth relic rests is a significant landmark in Sri Lanka that lets you explore stories about ancient royalty and Buddhism in the country. Learn about rituals from bygone years, and traditions and customs that have been followed for centuries to experience the rich culture of Sri Lanka. Discover architecture, woodwork, and stone carvings from the time of the Kandyan kings.

The beautiful city of Kandy is also home to many other exciting attractions and activities that you can include in your Sri Lanka tour itinerary to spice up your holiday. If you are visiting Kandy in August, you are in for a treat as the extravagant and vibrant Kandy perahara is held annually in August. The colourful cultural festival features traditional dancers, fire-breathers, drummers, and lavishly dressed elephants. The Peradeniya Botanical Garden, gem factories nearby, Bogambara lake, and the spice garden are some of the other attractions you can explore on a Kandy city tour.

7 Best Locations for Your 2 Weeks Sri Lanka Itinerary Kandy Esala Perahara


Being an island blessed with nature, Sri Lanka has many locations around the country that present you with unforgettable retreats in nature. Among them, Ella always captures the interest of travellers from around the world. This beautiful small village tucked away in the hill country of Sri Lanka is surrounded by mountain ranges and tea plantations inviting travellers for an undisturbed holiday in nature. 

The best way to travel to Ella is by train. This train ride is known as one of the most scenic journeys in Sri Lanka offering some of the best views of mountains, waterfalls, and tropical greenery. Once there, you can get lost in nature and spend a relaxing holiday or visit the top attractions in the area, including the steel-free nine arch bridge built during the British colonial era according to the plan of a local, Little Adam’s Peak, and the Ella Rock.  These attractions can be reached via hiking and reward you with panoramic views along the way and especially when you arrive. For the full Ella-experience, wind down with a cold Lion beer in the evening and enjoy the vibrant nightlife facilitated by little bars and cafes in the town.

7 Best Locations for Your 2 Weeks Sri Lanka Itinerary Ella Sri Lanka


A safari ride in the Yala National Park is an adventure that excites adults and children alike. Yala is home to many animals including elephants, leopards, crocodiles, wild boars, jackals, fishing cats, peacocks, monkeys, deer, moose, and a variety of endemic bird species, and offers ample opportunities to witness untamed wildlife at close quarters.  

While in Yala, opt for a camping experience in the thick jungle to enjoy river lounging by day and BBQ dinners at night.  


The Sinharaja Rainforest offers trekking adventures for nature lovers. A UNESCO World Heritage site, Sinharaja is known for its rich biodiversity and is home to many endemic flora and fauna. Disconnect from the hustle and bustle of the city when you explore the jungle, hiking through small trails that snake past hidden waterfalls, natural pools, and streams. If you are a bird lover, pack your binoculars, as you’ll be treated to a colourful flurry when you least expect it. Seasoned adventurers can also opt to camp out in this rainforest. Before you leave, try some coconut toddy, a locally produced liquor famous in the locality.

7 Best Locations for Your 2 Weeks Sri Lanka Itinerary Sinharaja Rain Forest


Sri Lanka is known for its beautiful beaches and quaint little coastal towns. Bentota, one of the more famous beaches in the country deserves to be listed in your Sri Lanka tour package itinerary. From secluded tropical experiences to adventurous water sports, luxury resorts, and raving beach parties, Bentota has it all. Go surfing, diving, jet-skiing, windsurfing, kayaking, and fishing, while on your dream beach escape here. If you are feeling lazy, slip into a hammock with a book in hand and sip on a tropical cocktail.

7 Best Locations for Your 2 Weeks Sri Lanka Itinerary Bentota Beach

Plan your two-week Sri Lanka tour itinerary with us

Deciding on the locations to visit is just one part of itinerary planning. There’s much more to figure; such as transportation, accommodation, activities, and route maps. Planning your Sri Lanka tour is much easier when you have a professional by your side. Let our experienced tour planners help you plan your 2-week tour in Sri Lanka.

Best Things to do in Mirissa

When you dream of kicking back while swaying in a hammock on a pristine beach under the shade of rustling coconut trees with your favourite drink in your hand, you are dreaming of nowhere else other than Mirissa, Sri Lanka. The area has it all, beautiful Sri Lankan beaches, huge curling surf waves, whale watching, and thriving bars and restaurants.  Mirissa is one of the most popular beach hotspots of the island and a must visit on your Sri Lanka Tour itinerary.

The charming rustic roads and quiet glistening sands sprinkled with bars and surf rentals serenaded by the rustle of the coconut trees and enchanting whispers of the ocean, inundated by a truly relaxed vibe, Mirissa is the embodiment of a tropical paradise. In helping you make your Sri Lanka trip one that is truly memorable, we at Olanka are letting you in on our secret of the best things to do in Mirissa.

Visit Secret Beach

Once a secluded secret that is not so much a secret anymore, is the pristine Secret beach; a truly magical escapade during your stay in the tropical island of Sri Lanka. The main attraction is the small pool created by the surrounding rocks that protect the beach from large swells and rough waters, making it the perfect calm place for kids to swim and adults to relax. There are a few restaurants and bars at the beach to quench any of your cravings, and you can also rent a sun-bathing chair for the day.

Mirissa Coconut Tree Hill

Located near the Mirissa beach is the popular Coconut Tree Hill, a beautiful place full of perfect coconut trees and a strikingly beautiful ocean view. The stunning setting makes it the perfect spot to shoot a few tropical photos that will definitely compliment any Instagram or social media profile.  It is the perfect place to watch a sunset in Mirissa, but as with any popular spot, it does get crowded, whereas sunrise is the least busy time, and if you can get there before 7am, you could be lucky enough to get Coconut Tree Hill all to yourself. Just be sure to watch out for falling coconuts!

Visit Parrot Rock

The much talked about Parrot Rock is a large rock that sits at the end of the Mirissa Bay. Climb to the top of the rock and catch a glimpse of the magnificent views of the Mirissa beach or spend some time in the rock pools below. These pools provide a great calm area to both swim and snorkel. It is a completely free thing to do and access to the rock is easy from the main beach. Being so convenient and close to town it’s definitely something you should do.

Visit the snake farm

Just 20 minutes from Mirissa, the farm rescues the snakes form local houses and rehabilitates them. Watch as the handler brings out a huge range of snakes during the tour, including vipers and three types of cobras. You can even test your own courage by handling a few of the non-venomous snakes such as pythons and tree snakes by yourself. It is truly a one of a kind experience available in Mirissa.

Visit the Sea Turtle hatchery

Located halfway between Galle and Mirissa are two turtle hatcheries, where they protect the turtles and their eggs until they hatch and can be released into the wild. The hatcheries also look after injured or rescued adult turtles. At the hatchery, you can get involved and hold some of the older turtles as well as learn about the five species of turtles in Sri Lanka. A visit to one of the hatcheries is super fun and all the funds raised go into ensuring the survival and conservation of this beautiful species. This is a must do for any animal over visiting Mirissa.

Whale watching

From May to November, the southern coast of Sri Lanka becomes the best place in the world to whale watch. There are a few different species of whales you can spot including Humpback Whales, Sperm Whales, and the most coveted Blue Whales. A truly once in a lifetime experience that is definitely worth checking off your bucket list, during your stay in Mirissa.

Deep Sea Fishing

Mirissa is considered as one of the best locations to go deep sea fishing in Sri Lanka. An experienced and knowledgeable fishing guide will be on hand to lead and guide you through the process of deep sea fishing. As you go deeper towards the shelf, Sail fish, Blue or Black Marlene, Tuna, Wahoo and a few more rare species could be hooked during the exhilarating excursion into the deep open ocean.

Water sports

There is a huge range of water sports to revel in at Mirissa. On the beach you can head over to one of the water sports operators and take a ride on a jet ski or have them tow you on either a wake board or tube among an array of other exciting water sports on offer. Each designed to get the adrenaline pumping through your veins.

Go Surfing to Weligama

The surf at Mirissa is very good, but for many budding surfers, it can be a little too rough. Luckily, Weligama is only a few kilometres away and is perfect for learning to surf. On the beach, there are plenty of board rental shops and surf schools with licensed and experienced instructors. Regardless of your experience level Weligama is a great place to learn or improve your surfing skills.

One day trip to the Galle Fort

The Galle Fort is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and holds a lot of history for the Sri Lankans. It was built by the Portuguese in 1588 and thereafter heavily fortified by the Dutch in the 17th century and is the best-preserved colonial fort in Asia. Just a 45-minute drive from Mirissa, the cobblestoned pathways are lined with whitewashed Dutch style shops, houses, galleries, boutique hotels and a museum. There are only very few places on earth that can match the beautiful settings of this colonial walled city.

Visit the Dewndara light house

The Dondra Lighthouse is another attraction located around 19km from Mirissa. It is situated at the southernmost point of Sri Lanka and is surrounded by beautiful beaches and coconut trees. Once at the top you can enjoy picturesque views of the endless horizon and mesmerising sunsets. The lighthouse also makes a lovely spot with a beautiful setting to take some iconic pictures.

One day trip to Madolduwa and Koggala

Sri Lankan author Martin Wickremasinghe’s beloved children’s novel “Madol Duwa” makes a visit to this little island in the middle of Koggala Lake a must for everyone who has read the book and an exciting adventure for everyone who hasn’t. Discover all the beloved landmarks from the book and relive the story yourself. A trip by boat to this island takes about 20 minutes, and the island can be explored in about the same time. There are other islands to visit and view nearby, including Cinnamon Island, where you can buy organic cinnamon products and visit a fish Spa. Enjoy a short adventure in Koggala which is always a good way to keep things interesting on a slow day.

Rent a tuk tuk or scooter for a city tour

Rent a tuk tuk or scooter and ride with the fresh ocean breeze brushing through your hair, as you maneuverer your way through the bustling roads and narrow streets while taking in all the wonderful colours, smells and sites Mirissa has to offer. Mirissa isn’t a small town, so renting your own ride would not only be the cheaper option, but also gives you a lot more freedom to get around to many of the places to visit in Mirissa which are mentioned on this list, at your own leisure. If driving in Sri Lanka is on your bucket list, there is no better way to do it than this.

Mirissa Hotels and Resorts

Book your beachfront resort in Mirissa with us at Olanka and enjoy a truly heavenly island getaway. The town of Mirissa is renowned for its many beautiful hotels and resorts that are ready to welcome you with friendly smiles and warm hospitality.

Experience seafood restaurants

Sri Lanka is renowned for the freshest and tastiest sea food, and it’s no different in Mirissa. Mirissa offers an array of delectable and charming restaurants serving a huge selection of scintillating and succulent traditional local seafood specialities as well as delicious global sea food cuisines. Your trip would not be complete without treating your palate to the exquisite seafood at Mirissa.

Beach parties, BBQ nights, Pubs and Bars

Experience the vibrant island night life and mingle with fellow travellers and locals at the numerous beach parties that will be constantly raging on throughout the night. Along the Mirissa Beach there is a huge selection of exhilarating bars and restaurants all offering their own drink specials and happy hours. Bar-hopping in Mirissa is the perfect way to end your day in paradise.