From Negombo, we went to the famous Sigiriya Rock. This is a large rock surrounded by trees and mangroves. It's an impressive sight to see with some fascinating history. There used to be a castle on the top and the defences below with a crocodile-infested moat.
We noticed pretty quickly that not many tourist sights have much information readily available. Yes, you can go online and learn but different to other places we've visited, there was nothing available to read. There were a few Sri Lankan young men hanging about offering to act as tour guides for a small fee. We decided to explore Sigiriya on our own. Once you pay the entrance fee, you enter the palace grounds and then walk up 1,200 concrete and iron steps. There are no refreshment kiosks inside so arm yourself with plenty of water. Note, there are no toilets either other than those found next to the ticket office.
We set off in the mid-afternoon because we wanted to get to see the sunset from the peak. Here I am making it sound like a mountain. Haha. There are about 100 stone steps to the first iron walkway, then a spiral staircase to see some frescos. This can't be avoided. Once you have a look, you go down the staircase to the next walkway and past the 'Mirror Wall'. More walking up steps to reach an open area with a giant claw carved out of the stone.
There's a medical tent here and a water tap. Saw dogs and monkeys here. Then a climb up a rickety set of iron steps attached by rods to the rock face. It's quite an adventure. Then we 'summitted' and saw a spectacular view of the surrounding jungle. After taking many photos and just soaking in the view, and witnessing an amazing sunset, we made our way back down. There are no lights to guide the way and the route back is different. Down steps and a gravel path.
We stayed at Hotel Zinc Journey Sigiriya and it was the best place we stayed on our trip. We were very impressed. When it came to reviewing, we gave 10/10. We thought it better than some four or five-star places we've stayed in before.