Ancient history and Buddhist/Hindu cultures
If you’re not planning to stay further north, then you may like to know it is perfectly possible to visit the famous attractions of Sigiriya (Lion Rock) and Dambulla Cave Temples in day trips from Kandy. Dambulla is on the way to Sigiriya but we would not recommend trying to squeeze them both into the same day trip. The ‘alternative Sigiriya’ – Pidurangala – is also now very popular for those on a budget. For a much lower price you get the same views as from the top of nearby Sigiriya but you don’t get the history and cultural aspects or the beautiful gardens.
If you’ve been to Sri Lanka before, or just want to get off the beaten track, here are some less well-known (and much less expensive!) historical and cultural attractions you can easily do in a day trip from Jungle Tide. You can easily combine them. The Three Temples, (Embekke, Lankatilleke and Gadaladeniya), an hour away, are a fascinating insight into how Buddhism in Sri Lanka developed. You may also want to visit the nearby Suriyakantha Cultural Centre, a low-key but beautifully curated museum where you can also take lunch (we can book this in advance for you).
Suriyakantha Cultural Centre
On the way to, and near to Dambulla are three less-well-known cultural attractions. The town of Matale has probably the best Hindu temple in central Sri Lanka. A little further on, and off the main road, is the lovely ancient Buddhist Aluvihare temple. Close to Dambulla, and visited by very few foreigners are the graceful ruins of Menikdene.
Hindu temple, Matale