When Is the Best Time
The temple is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. but the last ticket gets already sold at 5 p.m. To avoid the crowds and the heat as well visit the caves early in the morning or late afternoon. Dambulla gets busy with pilgrims, locals, and tourists throughout the year, especially at weekends. It's a steep walk to the top with hundreds of concrete steps and without any shelter. The walk takes at least 10 minutes but it depends on your fitness level. It's a strenuous climb up but you get rewarded with a spectacular view from the top.
Tip for the Entrance: When you enter the cave area, you have to remove your shoes and walk barefoot. The stones are hot most of the day. It's advisable having a pair of socks to protect the feet from burning heat and sharp rocks.
Showers can occur throughout the year. During May decreasing rainfall while June to September are the driest months. Therefore, it's often overcast from June to August. It's a tropical climate with humidity around 80 % most of the time. Most precipitation from October until December. January to April it's frequently sunny. Dambulla is a year-round destination; usually the most pleasant weather conditions between January and September with showers or even downpours just for an hour.
Average Monthly Temperature and Rainfall for LKA at location (7.88,80.65) from 1991-2015
Where and Tips
Dambulla also called the Golden Temple is the largest and best-preserved cave temple in Sri Lanka. It is more than 2000 years old. The temple complex consists of five caves which contain more than 150 statues of Buddha, ancient kings, Vishnu and Ganesh. The walls and ceilings have been repainted over the centuries by the monks. Start with the farthest and walk back to see the most impressing cave at the end.
When you enter the cave, you have to remove the shoes. Either you put them in your bag, or you leave them for a small fee. The only thing you have to beware of are monkeys they will grab any food and even bags.
What to Bring and Consider
- A pair of socks to protect your feet from burning heat and sharp rocks.
- Water for your visit.
Wear clothes to cover your shoulders and below your knees.
No entrance fee to Dambulla Cave Temple requested.
Dambulla is located within the cultural triangle. It is formed by Anuradhapura and Mihintale in the north, by Polonnaruwa and Sigiriya to the south-east with Dambulla in the middle and to the south by Kandy and Matale Vihara. The triangle includes five of the eight world heritage sites in Sri Lanka. Dambulla is a 20 km, 30 minutes drive from Sigiriya. We combined the Tooth Temple Ceremony in Kandy the day before with Dambulla the next day in the morning, Sigiriya in the afternoon, and the day after Minnerya and Polonnaruwa. We enjoyed these days full of culture. It was easier than we thought to get to all these famous sights.
Tooth Temple Ceremony in Kandy
There are plenty of guesthouses and hotels in Dambulla. (Bookmark the link for the best deals) We'd chosen the Golden Rainbow Guesthouse just within walking distance to the temple. Therefore, we could visit the Dambulla temple early and continued traveling to visit Sigiriya already in the afternoon.