Best of Dambulla

Top itineraries and travel advice in and around Dambulla
One of Sri Lanka’s most iconic destinations is this ancient temple complex and UNESCO World Heritage site located near the center of the country. Dambulla features some 80 different caves, some of which contain beautifully carved Buddhist statues as well as murals created more than 2,000 years ago. A sacred site since then, the caves have a hallowed atmosphere, and still attract Buddhist monks who come to pray and meditate.  

On a guided visit through the five caves of the Royal Rock Temple, you can learn about the ancient monastery created here by Valagamba, king of the Anuradhapura Kingdom during the 1st century BCE. Apart from the caves themselves, the natural setting is another highlight. The hilltop location offers impressive views over the countryside, with the rock fortress of Sigiriya looming on the northeastern horizon. You can also combine a cave tour with a visit to Namal Uyana, an ironwood forest sanctuary that was cultivated back in the 10th century. It lies at the base of a pink quartz mountain formed more than 500 million years ago.
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A distant view of  Sigiriya Rock
Discover the Best of Sri Lanka - 5 Days

Experience the natural beauty and fascinating culture of Sri Lanka on this whirlwind 5-day trip around the country's highlights. You'll begin with sightseeing in the historic port city of Colombo; then, you'll venture to the ancient rock fortress of Sigiriya and spend some time exploring the region's rice paddies and green landscapes on a bicycle. Keep your eyes open for elephants on a wildlife safari in Minneriya National Park before you finish the adventure with visits to two of the country's most important temples in Dambulla and Kandy.

Sunrise views over Sigiriya from Pidurangala
Map of Authentic Sri Lanka: Negombo, Dambulla, Kandy & Ahangama - 7 Days
Authentic Sri Lanka: Negombo, Dambulla, Kandy & Ahangama - 7 Days

Get to know Sri Lanka on this week-long exploration of ancient temples, unspoiled countryside, and idyllic beaches. Focusing on the southern half of the "Jewel of the Indian Ocean," you'll check off iconic sites like Pidirungala Rock, Sigiriya, and the Temple of the Sacred Tooth. Immerse yourself in the surrounding landscapes as you cycle through rice paddies and country roads, take a wildlife safari through Minneriya National Park, and tour a working tea farm. After a visit to the fascinating fortified city of Galle, your adventure ends on the sweeping southern beaches of Ahangama.

Sunrise views from the summit of Adam's Peak
Map of Sri Lanka Outdoor Adventure: Dambulla to Unawatuna - 10 Days
Sri Lanka Outdoor Adventure: Dambulla to Unawatuna - 10 Days

On this thrilling 10-day itinerary, you'll hike, raft, and zipline your way across Sri Lanka's most dramatic and diverse landscapes. Explore the fortresses and rock temples of the Cultural Triangle, brave waterfalls and whitewater rapids in the Hill Country, and go off-road to search for elephants in Udawalawe National Park. Your adventure ends on the south coast with some well-earned downtime on the tropical beaches of Unawatuna.

Views across the Sri Lankan city of Kandy
Wonders of Sri Lanka: Negombo to Ahangama -10 Days

From ancient temples to mountain villages and national parks, this 10-day itinerary introduces you to the many wonders of southern and central Sri Lanka. Setting out from the laid-back beach town of Negombo, you'll visit some of the country's most remarkable cultural sites like Yapahuwa, Polonnaruwa, and Sigiriya, and explore the surrounding landscapes with memorable cycling and safari excursions. After a week of discovery and adventure, end your trip with a few days of relaxation on the Indian Ocean beaches of Ahangama.

Spend your first night in Galle facing the sunset on the south coast (and see the traditional fishing methods in action)
Map of Immersive Exploration of Sri Lanka - 11 Days
Immersive Exploration of Sri Lanka - 11 Days

Discerning travelers will love this 11-day itinerary in exotic Sri Lanka. The trip kicks off with a private transfer to Galle on the south coast, where you'll take a guided tour of a peace pagoda. Then make a large loop visiting national parks teeming with elephants, ancient UNESCO-listed sites, hiking trails, and swimming beaches on the east coast before returning to Colombo. Partake in a range of optional activities—like private seafood dinners—or explore on your own for a fully customizable experience.

Take a sunset bike ride in Sri Lanka
Map of Sri Lanka Cycling Expedition - 6 Days
Sri Lanka Cycling Expedition - 6 Days

Embark on a cycling odyssey through Sri Lanka that will take you to some of this island nation's most stunning locales. Over six days, you'll ride all over, from the highland heart of the country down to the lowland coasts. Along the way, you'll pass all manner of landmarks—both natural and man-made—which include forests, fishing villages, golden beaches, ancient temples, colonial fortresses, and more.

Take a safari into Yala National Park to meet its thriving population of Asian elephants
Map of Central & Southern Sri Lanka: Wildlife, Culture & Beaches  - 12 Days
Central & Southern Sri Lanka: Wildlife, Culture & Beaches - 12 Days

This 12-day itinerary combines cultural highlights with wildlife spotting and some low-key beach time for the ultimate introduction to Sri Lanka. Check off iconic highlights like Sigiriya, Dambulla, and the Temple of the Sacred Tooth, then head to the mountains to cool off in the heart of tea country. After searching for leopards, elephants, and sloth bears on a safari through Yala National Park, make your way to the warm waters of the Indian Ocean for two days of downtime on Unawatuna's beaches.

Enjoy the views from Little Adam's Peak, Ella, Sri Lanka
Map of Sri Lanka Summer Tour - 12 Days
Sri Lanka Summer Tour - 12 Days

This 12-day escape combines the best of Sri Lanka, from history and culture to action and adventure. In Colombo, you'll tour historic colonial landmarks before heading into the central highlands to visit ancient temples and romantic waterfalls. Other adventures include train trips through tea plantations, mountain hikes, safaris in national parks, and visiting the mystical rock fortress of Sigiriya.

Other popular travel destinations in Sri Lanka
Kandy · Sigiriya · Colombo · Negombo · Ella · Nuwara Eliya · Yala National Park · Udawalawe · Galle · Tangalle · Wilpattu · Anuradhapura · Bentota · Pasikudah · Mirissa · Habarana