From Kandy we took a bus to Dambulla for 200 rupees which took just under 2 hours. It was a lovely journey past lots of spice gardens. At Dambulla we changed buses and took a local one towards Sigiriya, we disembarked the bus at Kimbissa and took a tuk tuk the last 2-3 km down a track to our accommodation at Sigiriya Lake Paradise.  This was a wonderful relaxing location which you can read more about in a separate blog post.IMGP1904 coDuring our full day in this area we hired bikes from the accommodation and decided to explore. We cycled back along the track where we’d arrived to the main road.  We nearly got caught up in a bicycle race, we almost blended in on our fancy bikes!IMGP1905 copWe cycled about 2-3 km along the road where we reached an ancient stupa on the right hand side. We stopped to have a look at this incredible piece of history.  We then followed a turning on the left hand side of the road signposted towards Sigiriya.  You are able to cycle round the external area of the site and only need tickets to go into the main gardens.IMGP1909 coThere is a moat which goes around the outside of the gardens and this is very pretty to cycle round and gives good views of the rock.

Before arriving we had made the decision to bypass Sigiriya as the entrance fee was quite high.  Instead we followed clear signs to Pidurangala along more tracks.  We were able to leave our bikes at the bottom of the hill and bought bottles of water at the cafe/shop at the entrance, this is definitely a must as it is hot!  The tickets to enter Pidurangala cost 500 rupees each (about £2.50).

At the start it is important to cover your legs and shoulders to enter the cave temple as it is considered a holy site. The temple is incredible with amazing buddha statues and beautiful carvings.IMGP1913 co

IMGP1914 coFrom the cave temple you can begin the ascent, there are lots of steps which are hard work in the heat.IMGP1915 coAbout half-way up you are rewarded by a large reclining Buddha in the rock face and small lily ponds.IMGP1916 coThe last part of the climb involves clambering over rocks, you should definitely ensure you wear decent footwear for this. We didn’t and had worn flipflops, we quickly decided it was much safer barefoot!20160407_111946

20160407_112024When you reach the top you are rewarded by a wonderful view of Sigyria. You can see the rock clearly and all of the hundreds of tourists climbing the steps at the side. This made us glad to have chosen Pidurangala instead where we saw hardly any other tourists. IMGP1918 co

IMGP1919 coIf you explore the peak of Pidurangala you can get the most incredible 360 degree views of the whole area.IMGP1925 co

IMGP1926 coAfter the descent from the peak we hopped back on our bikes and cycled around the area for approximately 3 hours. It was great fun exploring the small roads and tracks.

As we cycled we went past local houses and villages where local people and children ran out to say hello (or goodbye) as we cycled past. We saw children in tuk tuks hanging out to greet us, and some who cycled along with us chattering away.

The local area is very peaceful with rice paddies, local/traditional buildings, farming, lakes and wildlife including monkeys hanging out of trees.IMGP1923 coExploring by bike was one of the highlights of the trip as we got to see the ‘real’ rural Sri Lanka.