Polonnaruwa 

A highlight of a trip to Sri Lanka will likely include Polonnaruwa. This ancient city is part of the cultural triangle and is a World Heritage Site. You’ll find many dagoba’s here which are the Singhalese term for a Buddhist stupa.

How to explore the site:
Remember whichever your choice, always negotiate the price.

Bicycle or Scooter
It’s all about the weather with this choice. I am all in for cycling around ruins. It gives you the freedom to go at your own pace.  Take photos of the vehicle you’re renting. This will help you in any situations where the rental shop may accuse you of damaging the vehicle.

Tuk tuk
For those unable to ride a bicycle or scooter, hire a tuk tuk. As I travelled in the rain season I opted for this option as well. We could hide out in the tuk tuk while it rained. Luckily there weren’t any major downpours.

My Favourite Spots

Sacred Quandrangle – Vatadage

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Sacred Quandrangle

Royal Palace

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Royal Palace

Rankot Vihara
This is the largest dagoba at Polonnaruwa and the fourth largest in the country.

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Rankot Vihara

Lankatilaka
This Buddha statue is impressive because of the massive 17m high walls surrounding it.

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Buddha statue at Lankatilaka

Audience Hall
Climbing up the beautiful stairs with lions frame at the entrance.

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Audience Hall

Tips

Wear sandals – most temples require you to remove your shoes. Wearing sandals will be faster

Go early – as with any sites like Polonnaruwa it gets very hot and there is very little shade. Head out early to avoid being exposed in the peak sun

Avoid the entrance fee – for those of you wanting to save a few dollars there is a way to skip paying the entrance fee. Hire a tuk tuk driver to take you through the back roads. I heard other travellers doing this but didn’t do it myself.

Pick highlights – do you really want to see every site or are you short on time? Make a list of the highlights in case it rains or your tired from wandering all day. At least you’ll know which sites you want to see.


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