Sigiriya the guide for awesome Sri Lanka Holiday Packages

So you are planning your Sri Lanka holiday package and wondering what sites are worth a visit. You can never say you experienced a killer Sri Lanka tour package if you didn’t visit this one place. I’m going to unravel all the important titbits so that you, my friend, will know everything you need before visiting this world-famous historical city in Sri Lanka: Sigiriya.

You will know why you MUST include Sigiriya in your Sri Lanka Holiday Package, its history in brief, how to get there, and the best things to do in Sigiriya while on a Sri Lanka tour- all in one quick read.

The dramatic history of Sigiriya

About 2500 years ago, when Sri Lanka was a land of Kings, two royal brothers fought for the throne. Prince Kasyapa illegally took the throne from his half-brother Prince Moggallana, who was the rightful heir to the throne. 

As Prince Moggallana fled to India, King Kasyapa moved the then capital city Anuradhapura to Sigiriya. To keep safe from an invasion from Prince Moggallana, King Kasyapa built a fortress in Sigiriya on a humungous rock that used to be a monastery for monks.

Later, Prince Moggallana defeated King Kasyapa in war and made Anuradhapura the capital city again. The royal palace in Sigiriya became a Buddhist monastery again but later was abandoned. Decades later, the Sigiriya rock fortress became a known secret among Sri Lankans until Europeans discovered it in 1831.

Why Sigiriya rock fortress should be in your Sri Lanka tour package

It proudly rests in the middle of the Central forest of Sri Lanka. What was once a powerful fortress in Sri Lanka, today is a UNESCO world heritage worthy of your Sri Lanka holiday packages. Did you know that it is literally a shame for a local to say they have never visited this aesthetic historical site?

Sigiriya (Sinhagiri) which is translated as ‘lion’s paw’ has the carving of a rock in the shape of a lion’s paw as its entrance in its mid-terrace which includes the famous mirror wall and the frescoes of the King’s damsels. Its upper terrace is where you would discover the upper palace.

You are extremely lucky if you include this site in your Sri Lanka Holiday Package. Why? Ever seen a 5th-century pleasure garden with water-retaining structures that still work? Exactly. It’s the sophisticated first-millennium technology for me! You will also have a romantic walk along through the many royal gardens in Sigiriya.

How to get to Sigiriya

Colombo to Sigiriya

The ancient city of Sigiriya is located near Dambulla town in the Central province of Sri Lanka. The distance from Colombo to Sigiriya is 150km. I guarantee that your Sri Lanka holiday package will be exceptional if you go on a train ride to Sigiriya passing picturesque views. – Oooo that insta-worthy photo you’d take!

Dambulla to Sigiriya

You might also be in an awesome Sri Lanka holiday tour package traveling from Dambulla to Sigiriya. For you, it will only be around 17km to reach Sigiriya. You guessed it right; there is a scenic route to arrive Sigiriya from Dambulla too.

Pass golden paddy fields, the breezy village, and even stop by at a local kiosk to have an evening cup of tea. This option will be quite expensive for your Sri Lanka holiday package if you are traveling alone. With a local travel agency, this route is a free add-on. 

To reach the Sigiriya rock fortress, you will climb about 1200 steps starting from the base: the lion’s paw. This is where you will thank yourself for following your heart and adding this historical site to your Sri Lanka holiday package. Along the way to the top, you will encounter the ancient royal gardens and pools to stop by and admire. 

Once you get to the top of the Sigiriya rock fortress, you will be rewarded with a mind-blowing view of the emerald greenery and a 360-degree view of the entire royal terrace around you! It’s unbelievable how ancient architecture and technology were so sophisticated! 

Pidurangala rock

From your Sri Lanka holiday package, you might get to see the breathtaking view of the Sigiriya ruins and the surrounding from Sigiriya, and what’s similarly awesome? Sightseeing Sigiriya from an incredible viewpoint! 

An extra flavor for your Sri Lanka holiday package is a hike to the Pidurangala rock. This is possible if you allow your Sri Lanka Tour Package to be open for another exciting hike! 

As your Sri Lanka holiday package unravels you to this amazing hike, you will sightsee its own cave complex. Be sure to climb in the sunrise or the sunset because the views are too unearthly to miss! 

For those who are on a tight budget, adding a hike at Pidurangala rock for your Sri Lanka tour package would give similar awe-striking views of the forest as one who would experience at the top of Sigiriya.

Sigiriya archeological museum

There’s so much more than what meets the eye in the ancient ruins of the Sigiriya rock fortress. If you are visiting Sigiriya, you must include the Sigiriya museum in your Sri Lanka holiday package. Enter into the world of Sri Lanka’s archeological treasures. Jewels, sculptures, ancient art, photographs, tools used by ancestors, and even skeletons found from excavations are preserved for you to explore! 

Visiting Sigiriya itself would take about two days from your Sri Lanka holiday package and I tell you; follow your heart.

The takeaway

If you ever visit Sri Lanka, you should know that to discover the whole of this enchanting pearl of an island, you need the perfect Sri Lanka itinerary of at least 8 days. 

You still can experience an amazing vacation from a Sri Lanka Holiday Package of less than a week. But I’m talking to the daring adventurers, nature lovers, soul searchers, and all the travelholics who have the habit of exploring with a passion! While you are on the hunt for picturesque views and the rustic ancient ambiance from your Sri Lanka holiday package, don’t miss Sigiriya!

Wilpattu National Park – Best Wildlife Experience

Wilpattu national park is one of the most unique and the largest national parks of Sri Lanka. The park is filled with natural lakes scattered throughout the park. These natural sand rimmed water basins are filled with rainwater, attracting many wild animals to satisfy their thirst. Wilpattu national park is located in the dry zone of Sri Lanka. If you are travelling from Colombo it is approximately 180 km north from Colombo. But if you are already visiting the cultural triangular during your Sri Lankan tour, this national park is only 30 km west of Anuradhapura.

Where is Wilpattu and how to reach there? 

When you travel to Wilpattu the most practical access is from Colombo is through Negamobo, Chilaw and Pullatam. The scenic route and the quick change of climate tells you the many different climatic zones you can experience on the small island of Sri Lanka. The park office is along the Puttalam Anuradhapura road and you need to obtain your permits to visit the national park there. The place you are staying sometimes organize the tour for you. But if you are willing to do this all by yourself guides are available at Hunuwilgama, 8km from the turnoff to the park.

The most remarkable feature of this park is the focus on smaller natural lakes within the park. In Sinhalese these are called “Villu”, thus giving the national park its name “Willpattu”. The western part of the park is a deeply forested area and in certain places, you may see thorny bushes reminiscent of the southern forests of Sri Lanka. If you have toured Yala National Park before, these thorny bushes won’t be new to you. But in Wilpattu you can see age-old magnificent trees covering a vast area of the park. Some of these trees are unique to south Asia filled with various fruits that you’d only taste in a country like Sri Lanka.

What to expect in Wilpattu? 

The main attraction in Wilpattu is the Sri Lankan leopard and sloth bear.You’ll be amazed to know that the national park preserves the highest number of South Asian leopards found in a single territory. You can also catch a glimpse of barking deer. Wilpattu is boarded to the north and south by 2 main rivers of Sri Lanka that feeds the forest and the surrounding area, the Modara Gamaru River towards the north of the park and the Kala Oya to the south of the park.

Wilpattu is not only famous for its wildlife but also its archaeological and historical importance. The legends say indigenous people of Sri Lanka lived in the North of the forest near the beach When the legendary Prince Vijaya landed in Sri Lanka. Mesmerized by the beauty and the pleasing nature of the bronze beach he landed on he named the island “Thambapanni”, the land of the bronze sand. Archaeologists still do research on this early history of Sri Lanka with runs back to the 5th century B.C. Your guide will narrate to you many fascinating stories of the legends of  your Sri Lanka Trip

Experience the Wildlife 

You are most likely to witness The Sri Lankan Leopard as they rest in the sand or as they drink water from one of the sand basins. Sri Lankan Leopard or “Kotiya” is a recognized subspecies of the Indian Leopard and is currently the largest species of leopards living in Asia. The Wilpattu National Park is famed for the opportunity it offers you to film and photograph this wonderful animal. Whether you are a professional photographer or not you are sure to capture that insta-worthy click of a leopard in a tropical Asian forest. Since there are many Leopards in this national park they are often seen lying near the Park’s many villus or enjoying the sun. In addition, Wilpattu is also home to Sri Lankan Sloth Bears, who are highly threatened with less than 1,000 numbers currently living in the wild. These bears are not as big as those seen in the west, but once irritated, they can be as aggressive as any other bears. Sloth Bears love to eat the specific type of fruits called Palu that is often seen in the park. These enormous trees hold the most delicious and sweetest of Asian fruits that attract many wild animals. From June to July when these trees bear fruits, sloth bears become their most frequent visitor. Observing such endangered animals in the wild is an amazing experience that you must include in your Sri Lankan Itinerary. This National Park offers you an expedition to an untouched and undisturbed forest where its wildlife is treasured and protected. 

On a Wilpattu Safari, you have the chance of encountering 31 species, of which 4 are threatened. These are the Sri Lankan Elephant, Sri Lankan Sloth Bear, Sri Lankan Leopard and the Water Buffalo. Other animal species that can be seen on safari drives are the Sambar and Spotted Deer, Mongoose, Mouse Deer, and Shrew.

If you love to watch birds, there’s no better place for you other than Wilpattu. Many species of Owl, Tern, Gull, Eagle, Kite and Buzzard along with the Painted Stork, Sri Lankan Junglefowl and the Little Cormorant can be found at the Wilpattu National Park. Wetland birdlife includes the Garganey, Pintail, Whistling Teal, Spoonbill, White Ibis, Large White Egret, Cattle Egret and Purple Heron.

Not only of the Mammals and the birds, but the national park is also a paradise for the different species of reptiles including Monitor Lizard, Mugger Crocodile, Common Cobra, Rat Snake, Indian Python, Pond Turtle and the Soft Shelled Turtle which reside in the villus. Your travel guide will give you specific precautions concerning stepping out of your vehicle as the forest and the thorny bushes are the kingdom of these venomous snakes.

Best times to visit Wilpattu National Park

This National Park can be visited throughout the year. But for the best safari experience, a visit during February and October is recommended as the rainy season is passed during this time.

Wilpattu experiences an extensive drought from May until early September and massive rains from September till December. The temperature of the forest is naturally high marking an average of 27’C. During your excursion wear simple cotton clothes and bring a hat or a cap.

Where to stay in Wilpattu? 

An excursion to this national park of Sri Lanka is an incredible experience for you. The place where you stay will make the experience even more enthralling. Many hotels and villas are available in the area which will organize this engaging tour. If you are daring enough, you can always decide to spend the night in Wilpattu. Safari Camps allow you to spend the night in a forest filled with wild animals. Luxury camps of Wilpattu that are provided by many hotels and tour organizers will guarantee your safety while giving you a feel of the wild. Depending on your needs you can choose from traditional hotels to luxury tents to stay in Wilpattu.