Price list for the most common full day tours by tuk-tuk starting in Dambulla
I have been living in Dambulla for nearly 9 years now and ran a guesthouse here for 5 years. I have met and seen many tuk-tuk drivers. And I got feedback from our guests. Some drivers are just after the tourists’ money. Many drivers are nice, good guys. But a few drivers stand out, they are special.
Over the time I selected just a few drivers, that I send our guests with. Because the guests love them. They will go far out of the normal way to make sure the tourists are fully satisfied. They take scenic roads (even when it takes longer), show some additional spots which offer beautiful views, provide some extra information and stop along the way to let you experience Sri Lankan food, goods and culture. They don’t mind if the tour takes them an hour or two longer. For them it only matters to let their guests have a memorable day. They offer far more than pure transport. They represent Sri Lankan hospitality at its best.
So if you are interested in a tour here in the cultural triangle, I can set you up with one of my favourite tuk-tuk drivers! For that or any more information simply contact me via the contact form or WhatsApp (+94778442908) and I will answer quickly.
What does the day tour prices include?
The price per day tour includes a pick up and drop off in your accommodation in Dambulla, Sigiriya, Habarana or wherever you stay and all the transport, i.e. to the sights and, for Polonnaruwa and Anuradhapura, driving you around the attractions and showing you everything.
The price does NOT include entrance tickets. And our tuk-tuk drivers are not allowed to do the guiding at the attractions. A special license is required for tour guides. They will provide you with background knowledge here and there, but usually, they just wait in the tuk-tuk while you explore a site.
Most common day trips in the cultural triangle
The exact details for all tours including the number of kilometers, duration of the trip and the best time to start will follow as soon as possible (my toddler daughter is challenging and wants lots of attention 😉 ).
Polonnaruwa – Rs. 5500
The distance from Dambulla to Polonnaruwa is about 68 km (one way). The road is often lined by little stalls selling local goods. The ride goes along the main road, but offers beautiful views of paddy fields, jungle, a lake and other natural surroundings. In the late afternoon there is a good chance to spot wild elephants along the road.
The whole round trip usually takes 7 to 8 hours. You will have plenty of time for exploring the attractions of Polonnaruwa’s ancient city and the museum. The tuk-tuk will drive you around the ancient city to all the places to see and let you explore freely. No rush. Anyhow, exploring the ancient city of Polonnaruwa usually only takes 2 to 4 hours. After all, these are ruins of a small town some hundred years ago – and not of a modern mega city 😉
You can start your day trip as you prefer: anytime between 7am and 11am is a good time to start. If you leave early morning, it won’t be too warm and crowded. But if you leave late morning you will get a chance to see wild elephants on the way back to Dambulla (they come to the road between Polonnaruwa and Habarana late afternoon, 1 to 2 hours before sunset.)
Bring enough sun protection and a pair of spare socks with you – believe me, you don’t want to walk barefoot on those hot, black old rocks that feel like coals in this heat…
Sigiriya or Pidurangala and Polonnaruwa – Rs. 6500
It is about 22 km from Dambulla via Kandalama Lake Road to Sigiriya Rock or Pidurangala mountain and from Sigiriya to Polonnaruwa about 55 km.
You can choose between visiting Sigiriya Rock (or Pidurangala) either early morning or late afternoon, that means either before or after Polonnaruwa. If you want to do Sigiriya first – in order to beat the heat and the crowds – the best time to start in Dambulla is 6.15 am (be at Sigiriya Lion Rock at 7 am when it opens). After a good morning climb up the Sigiriya Rock (or Pidurangala) you will drive on to Polonnaruwa and explore the ancient city. You’ll be back in your accommodation by 4-5 pm usually.
The other option would be climbing Sigiriya Rock/Pidurangala in the afternoon, maybe even for sunset. In this case you don’t want to arrive in Sigiriya too early. Leaving Polonnaruwa by 3 pm is probably a good time. So starting this tour at 10 am is recommended. Only if you are veeery slow at sightseeing maybe consider starting at 9 am. You’ll be back at your accommodation at 7 pm.
Sigiriya or Pidurangala and Polonnaruwa and Jeep Safari in Minneriya or Kaudulla National Park – Rs. 7500
Minneriya and Kaudulla National Park are afternoon safaris. The logical tour would therefore be: Sigiriya/Pidurangala – Polonnaruwa – Jeep safari. Early start at 6.30 am to Sigiriya is highly recommended. That will provide you with enough time to see all the places without the feeling of rushing it.
You’ll be back at your accommodation by 7 to 8 pm.
Anuradhapura – Rs. 5500
It is about 64 km from Dambulla to Anuradhapura and to visit historical places it is better to leave early morning which makes you not so warm while your visits.
Anuradhapura with all sights along the way (Aukana, Isurumuniya) – Rs. 6500
More tour details to come.
Anuradhapura with all sights along the way (Aukana, Isurumuniya) and Mihintale – Rs. 7500
Long day. Early start recommended in order to see all places of interest without rushing it too much
The price list for half day tours you’ll find here.