The Dambulla Cave Temple, officially called Jumbukola Vihara, is the largest and best-preserved temple cave complex in Sri Lanka. It is one of the eight UNESCO attractions that Sri Lanka has to offer. To be honest, before we went to the Dambulla caves, we weren’t that excited. If you’ve traveled for months through Asia like us and you’ve seen many temples, it feels like ‘just another pretty sacred place’. But, the Dambulla Cave Temple is something different. The details and artwork here are super impressive, and the paintings on the walls and ceiling are so detailed and beautiful! Absolutely worth a visit if you are in Sigiriya or Dambulla.

Book here your Dambulla Cave Temple and Village All-Inclusive Tour

Best Sigiriya tours

If you’re planning to explore the best of what Sigiriya and surroundings have to offer, then these are the best guided tours. All of these tours include air conditioned transport with hotel pick up and drop off, certified guides and sometimes also lunch and the entrance fees. You can reserve now and pay later, with cancellation up to 24 hours in advance to receive a full refund.

How to get to Dambulla Cave Temple

The Dambulla Cave Temple site is located just a little bit outside of the city of Dambulla. If you stay in Sigiriya you can get a Tuk Tuk to bring you there. We rented a scooter for 2000 rupee so we had the freedom the drive around in Sigiriya and Dambulla.


Entrance fee

The entrance fee for the Dambulla Cave Temple is 1500 rupee per person. Be aware that the ticket office is at the bottom of the hill. So, if you get to the top and you don’t have a ticket you need to come right back down.

The opening times are from 7AM – 7PM.


What to expect at Dambulla Cave Temple

Sitting on top of a 160 meter high rock, the Dambulla Cave Temple consists of 5 caves with Buddha statues, each with a different interior and statues. Beautiful wall and ceiling paintings make these caves very unique. This is some of Sri Lanka’s most important and evocative religious art. At the bottom of the Dambulla Cave Temple is The Golden Temple which is a huge Buddha and also has a museum which you can check out.

It is assumed these caves were homes to pre-historic locals dating back around 3000 years, because there were human skeletons discovered in the local area. The caves were restored and re-painted as they’re part of the Kingdom of Kandy since the 18th century.


The view from the top of the rock is beautiful. Facing West, you can watch a beautiful sunset here. It’s actually the best place to watch the sunset in Dambulla! It takes 364 steps and around 15-20 minutes depending on your pace. It is advisable to go in the morning or afternoon considering the heat during midday. Before you enter the caves, you have to take off your shoes and cover your knees and shoulders. You can rent a sarong at the entrance, but better is to be prepared before your visit.


Overall this is something you can’t miss when you’re in the Sigiriya or Dambulla area. It’s a perfect morning or afternoon activity and even if you’ve already seen loads of temples or caves like us, this is a very unique one! And when you’re interested in history and art this is a definitely a must do. Take the time to really absorb the wall and ceiling paintings, and if you like photography you can make some really nice long exposure shots here!


More Sri Lanka travel guides

I hope you enjoyed this complete guide about Dambulla Cave Sri Lanka.

For more Sri Lanka inspiration, head over to these blog posts:

20 best things to do in Sri Lanka – The Ultimate Guide

11 best Sri Lanka beaches – The Ultimate Guide

14 best waterfalls in Sri Lanka – The Ultimate Guide

Best things to do in Nuwara Eliya – The Ultimate Guide

Sigiriya best things to do

11 best things to do in Trincomalee

Best things to do in Galle – The Complete Guide

15 best things to do in Ella – The Ultimate Guide

Best things to do in Kandy – The Complete Guide

Lion Rock hike – The Complete Guide

Sri Lanka Safari – The Ultimate Guide

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  1. Ronald en Marjoleine says:

    Hi Ilse, thank you for sharing the information about this impressive Dambula Cave Temple in Sri Lanka.

  2. Jacobine Timmer says:

    Oh, wouw, beautifull foto’s of the cave temple in Dambulla! Beautifull paintings and budda’s. And the vieuw: amazing! I love to read your blogs. Your style is enthousiastic and easy to read. Thanx for sharing your foto’s and information.

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