Sigiriya - Lion Rock
Sigiriya refers to a site of historical and archeological significance. The main feature of this area is a huge rock, almost 200m high. Between 475 - 495, there was a palace built on the top of the rock and we were told that the king never left the rock.
The entry fee is 3500RP a head to enter the site. Unless, of course you’re Sri Lankan, you’ll only pay $0.40. We understand charging locals less than tourists, but the difference is just outrageous. Yes, we understand that foreigners might earn more money than Sri Lankans, but 75 times the price? The biggest insult comes when you learn that Sigiriya is mostly funded by UNESCO and other foreign entities. So foreigners are already paying for the maintenance and running of the site, and then they’re charged 75 times the normal entry fee. It’s insulting. There is even a big sign warning tourists that if you get stung by wasps (there are large nests on the rock) and you can't climb the rock, you are not entitled to the refund. On top of the entry fee, there are local guides around offering their services for the "mere" 20USD. And then there are donation boxes on each corner... Entrance fees to all tourists attractions in Sri Lanka are very high and according to us not justified.
To get to the top of the rock, you have to climb hundreds and hundreds of very steep stairs in hot and humid temperatures. This climb should be done only very early in the morning as it is very strenuous and exhausting. It takes about an hour to climb to the top.
Sigiriya Rock Paintings or Frescoes are painted on a Western Rock face cavity about 100 meters high from the rock base. There are around 21 paintings of Sigiriya Damsels left but it is believed that there was more than 500 paintings on the rock.