Sigiriya rock fortress, Sigiriya or Kandy

This blog post will be beneficial to many individuals, as it addresses a common question among travelers: should they choose Sigiriya or Kandy? Understanding Sigiriya and Kandy thoroughly is not a trivial matter. Whether you visit Kandy or Sigiriya primarily depends on your preferences. However, there are numerous similarities and differences between the two locations. Many tours, including the 5-day Sri Lanka Cultural Triangle Tour, include both cities as popular tourist places in Sri Lanka. If at all feasible, I advise you to visit both locations.

Sigiriya and Kandy are both significant historical and cultural sites in Sri Lanka and popular destinations for day trips.However, many tourists, particularly those who are visiting the island for a short time, prefer not to have a packed itinerary and spend their vacation exploring a significant portion of the island. Even now, there are still some travelers who would rather spend as little time traveling and sight-seeing as possible and as much time relaxing instead. We need to arrange a vacation that requires the least amount of travel in both situations.


How to go from Sigiriya to Kandy

The distance between Kandy and Sigiriya is only roughly 100 kilometers, and both locations are well-connected to the nation’s top roadway, the A9. It won’t take longer than one hour and thirty minutes to get from Sigiriya to Kandy. Because Sigiriya is situated on the A9 road, there are numerous transportation choices available to bring you from Sigiriya to Kandy.

What factors should be taken into account when choosing between Sigiriya and Kandy?

When choosing which place to explore—Kandy or Sigiriya—there are a few things to take into account.

  • The types of attractions that are offered
  • The price of the sights and activities
  • The cost of lodging
  • The similarities and contrasts between Sigiriya and Kandy
  • the distance to be traveled
  • The weather pattern

Attractions in Kandy and Sigiriya

Firstly, I would like to talk about the attractions that are offered in both locations in this chapter. By the time you finish reading it, I think you will feel very comfortable choosing between Kandy and Sigiriya because activities and attractions are important considerations when choosing a destination. I’ve seen firsthand that most tourists have very specific tastes in attractions. There are many similarities between Sigiriya and Kandy in terms of tourist attractions. When I visit locations in Sigiriya and Kandy, nevertheless, I feel like Sigiriya has a more tranquil atmosphere.

What are the main points of interest in Kandy?

  • The most revered Buddhist shrine on the island, the Tooth Relic shrine, is accessible and easy to explore—there are no stairs to climb, unlike Sigiriya. For the finest experience, visit the temple during the ceremony hours; nevertheless, be prepared for crowds during this time.
  • Take a leisurely stroll through the Peradeniya Botanical Garden, which is home to the orchid house and is regarded as one of Asia’s most beautiful gardens.
  • Tea factory: You can purchase and sample Ceylon tea, as well as watch the process of making tea. The only tea museum in Sri Lanka is located in Kandy.
  • Shopping: There are stores where you may purchase apparel, souvenirs, jewelry, and gems.
  • Udawattakele Forest: This rain forest offers hiking opportunities and a variety of bird watching opportunities.
  • Boating on the Kandy Lake and looking at birds of prey as well
  • Several Buddhist religious sites, including Natha Devala and Kataragama Temple: Kandy is home to numerous old Buddhist temples that you may spend weeks touring.
  • Watch traditional dance and music performances by Sri Lankan artists at the Kandyan cultural display. Every day, cultural entertainment is arranged, especially for visitors from abroad. Every day from 5:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

What are the must-see locations in Sigiriya?

  • One of the world’s oldest designed gardens is the Sigiririya Rock Fort. It’s a somewhat strenuous task to ascend 1200 steps from the surrounding flatland to the summit. The hike is not advised for elderly or pregnant women because to its potential for difficulty. A strong physical foundation is necessary to ascend the mountain. The ascent takes around an hour, while the descent takes about half an hour. The stunning views of the surrounding lush green low-land vegetation from the summit are the best reward for your difficult task. The Kandy tooth relic temple is not nearly as valuable historically. There’s a wide spread of visitors and outdoor activity.
  • Pidurangala Temple: Dating back to the fifth century AD, this Buddhist temple is among the island’s oldest. Buddhist pilgrims continue to visit the temple, which is built in a naturally occurring granite cave.
  • The 1st-century BC Dambulla Golden Cave Temple is another UNESCO World Heritage site. Hundreds of statues and paintings can be seen within one of the island’s largest cave temples.
  • There are many chances to see wild creatures, such as elephants, in the surrounding wildlife reserves (Kaudulla Wildlife Reserve, Minneriya National Park, and Hurulu Park). Here, visitors can see big groups of wild elephants while on a jeep safari. The afternoon is the ideal time to visit the park.
  • Shopping: The traveler can buy a variety of goods, including apparel, souvenirs, wood sculptures, jewelry, and gemstones. at Sigiriya.
  • Hiriwadunna Village Tour: This excursion, which is available to guests from Sigiriya and Dambulla, entails boating in the village tank, touring a rural village, seeing farming, and enjoying a native meal while taking a cookery class.
  • Elephant ride: This is a great way to explore the rural hamlet and its birds. On the elephant ride, a large jumbo marches through the forested areas of Habarana accompanied by his mahout.

Variations in admission and activity fees in Sigiriya and Kandy

In Sri Lanka, the majority of tourist attractions are often pricey, with cultural sites and wildlife reserves consistently commanding higher prices.

The entry fees listed below are subject to change based on the provider.

The Tea factory, Natha Devala (free of charge), Udawattakele Forest (USD 8), Kandy-Tooth Relic Temple (USD 10 P.P.), Royal Botanical Garden (USD 10 P.P.), and Kandyan cultural show (USD 10 P.P.) USD 35 for Sigiriya Rock; USD 50 for Minneriya National Park (including entrance and jeep hiring); USD 10 for the Hiriwadunna Village Tour; USD 3 for Pidurangala Temple; USD 10 for the Dambulla Golden Cave Temple; and USD 10 for the Elephant Ride.

Cost of lodging:

While there is a far more demand for lodging in Sigiriya than in Kandy, Sigiriya offers lodging at somewhat lower costs than Kandy. The main reason for this is Sigiriya’s profusion of lodging options. Travelers can discover opulent lodging options in both locations, from reasonably priced dorms to five-star luxury resorts. The cost of lodging is roughly 10% less in Sigiriya than it is in Kandy.

The length of time and distance traveled to Kandy and Sigiriya

The aspects pertaining to the journey from your beginning point are the focus of this chapter. It is far more convenient to travel to Kandy from the west and south coasts than it is to travel to Sigiriya.

  • From Sri Lanka’s west and south coast, the journey to Sigiriya takes four to six hours. 177 kilometers to 277 km, depending on where you start, is the distance to travel.
  • Traveling to Kandy from the west and south coasts takes roughly 3–4 hours, with a distance of 122–222 kilometers.

The tour of Sigiriya is significantly more convenient and shorter if you stay on east coast beaches like Pasikudah and Aru Gam Bay than if you travel to Kandy.

  • The journey to Sigiriya from the east coast takes roughly three to five hours, and it takes 150 to 250 miles to get there.
  • The journey to Kandy from the east coast takes approximately four to five hours, covering a distance of 200 to 250 km.

How to travel to Sigiriya from the airport in Colombo

There are two options if you want to go from the airport to Sigiriya. Using a cab or other private vehicle is option number one; using public transportation is option number two. It’s really convenient if you can travel by taxi. You may drive directly from the airport to Sigiriya, and the trip should take about four hours. However, if you want to use public transportation, you must first travel to the major bus terminal in Colombo, which would take around an hour. After that, you must board a bus from Colombo that is headed to Polonnaruwa or Trincomalee and get off at Inamaluwa; this leg will require at least an additional six hours of travel time. You have to travel roughly 10 kilometers more from Inamaluwa to Sigiriya.


You can go to Kandy via car, train, or airplane. The center of Sri Lanka’s road system, Kandy has excellent connections to all of the country’s major cities. Although Sigiriya is a well-known location, it is not well connected to the rest of the nation. Sigiriya can be reached by plane or road; train transportation is not a practical choice.
One day trip from Colombo to Minneriya Elephant Safari with Sigiriya Lion Rock is highlighted

Similarities between Kandy and Sigiriya

Both Sigiriya and Kandy are UNESCO World Heritage Sites and significant historical locations. Both are popular tourist destinations, and a lot of people visit them each day. Since Kandy and Sigiriya have flourishing tourism industries, there are many alternatives available to visitors for places to stay, places to dine, things to do, and places to shop. There are natural, religious, historical, and cultural attractions at both locations.

Distinctions between Kandy and Sigiriya

One factor that significantly separates the two locations is the weather, for example. Sigiriya is situated in Sri Lanka’s dry zone, where it receives all of the country’s dry climatic attributes, including high temperatures, high humidity, and little annual rainfall. In Sigiriya, the annual average temperature is about 35 °C.
Because Kandy is 500 meters above sea level, the weather is slightly milder than Sigiriya’s. Geographical distinctions between Sigiriya and Kandy include elevation and placement inside the central mountain range, which have a significant impact on the two locations’ climates. During the day, Kandy’s temperature is recorded to be between 27 and 30 °C.

Kandy is located in Sri Lanka’s wet zone, with an estimated yearly rainfall of 2,500–5,000 mm. Kandy’s climate, with its high annual rainfall, is ideal for trees and plants, which is why the city has a robust forest cover and is well-designed. Tea farms and verdant mountains encircle Kandy. Easily accessible green attractions in Kandy include Hantana, Knuckles, the Royal Botanical Gardens, and the Udawattakele Forest

Sigiriya is a tranquil community that has been spared from the bustle of larger towns. However, because the majority of the lodging options are located in the city, visitors must embrace some aspects of hectic city life as Kandy is a very crowded area.

For those seeking a little adventure, Kandy offers a plethora of trekking destinations; in contrast, Sigiriya offers very few trekking spots.
If you love doing wildlife tours, I highly suggest visiting Sigiriya, as it is bordered by a number of well-known wildlife reserves, including Kaudulla, Minneriya National Park, and Hururlu Eco-Park, which are excellent locations for Sri Lankan jungle tours. One of the best locations to see wild elephants is Sigiriya and its environs.

Sigiriya offers an intriguing combination of historical and natural significance. With its abundant greenery and thriving natural ecosystem, Sigiriya is among the greatest locations in which to take in the natural world. Sigiriya and its environs are well-known for their bird-watching opportunities, offering visitors the chance to see a variety of bird species.

Comparison on Kandy and Sigiriya

Both Kandy and Sigiriya are thrilling vacation spots with a wealth of significant historical and natural sites to see. Both are appropriate for personal vacations and family vacations.
Based on the aforementioned information, we can conclude that historical structures in Sigiriya are roughly a millennium older than tourist destinations in Kandy. Travelers can visit two UNESCO World Heritage Sites while in Sigiriya; however, only one UNESCO World Heritage Site can be visited while in Kandy. You have to climb a rock in Sigiriya, which is a strenuous task that requires physical and mental preparedness.
However, Sigiriya is not a good choice for city dwellers who enjoy spending time in cities since, despite its retail opportunities, it is not as well-developed as Kandy. It is only in Kandy and not in Sigiriya that hundreds of shops are arranged in a line along the roads.
Sigiriya is a relaxed forest village with serene surroundings and a laid-back way of life for its residents. However, Kandy is being overtaken by urban life and exhibits all the traits of a bustling, raucous city.
I think you can now decide whether to travel to Sigiriya or Kandy based on the information provided above. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us if you need more information to plan your trip to Sigiriya or Kandy; our staff will be pleased to help.

This website focuses on travel to Sri Lanka. As seasoned travelers who have visited much of the nation in the past ten years, we at Serendipity Tours (Private) Limited are trying to share our invaluable knowledge. We are using our travel knowledge and experiences to assist our esteemed readers in organizing their fantastic trip to Sri Lanka. Do not hesitate to contact us at

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