During the winter cold, the number of tourists who dream of spending a few days of rest in warm countries increases markedly. Sri Lanka is one of the most sought-after destinations for lovers of the sun, tropical nature and ancient temples. In the center of the picturesque peninsula is Dambulla – a compact city, where a little more than 72 thousand people now live. The number of travelers who come here every year exceeds the local population.
Dambulla: what attracts tourists to the ancient city?
Sri Lanka is a large island, where lovers of the ocean, pristine nature and clean sandy beaches seek to get first of all. Dambulla is far from the seaside resorts. The distance from the city to the international airport in Colombo is 128 km, in Siguria – 15 km. To get from Dambulla to Matale, the center of the district located south of the city, it is necessary to cover a distance of 46 km.
The most suitable time to visit these places is from December to February and from May to September. At this time, precipitation occurs less frequently than in other periods. The air warms up to + 29.0 … + 33.0. Numerous tourists from India, Germany, Great Britain, Russia, France and other countries come to Dambulla for several purposes:
- visiting a complex of cave temples carved into the rocks in the I century BC;
- rafting on fast mountain rivers;
- balloon flights over tropical forests;
- participation in a jeep safari on the territory of reserves located in the vicinity of Dambulla;
- acquaintance with plants, insects and animals living in Pofems Arboretum – a forest nursery;
- excursions to the numerous lakes of the protected area, in the center of which is the city.
More than 160 hotels of different categories are open for tourists in Dambulla. Among them, 11 hotels stand out, about which travelers most often leave rave reviews.
For foreign tourists who dream of relaxing for a few days surrounded by a pristine jungle, the most suitable option would be “Sandaras” – a four-star spa hotel,located 1.1 km southeast of the cave temple complex. The five-storey building of the hotel accommodates 25 rooms of four categories. On the territory of Sundaras there is everything that provides a variety of leisure activities for vacationers:
- a small oval-shaped outdoor swimming pool with a separate area for young hotel guests;
- a spa offering massages, beauty and Ayurvedic treatments;
- recreation area with barbecue area; there are gazebos stylized as huts.
Each room has a spacious terrace from where you can admire the bright colors of the jungle. Next to the outdoor pool there is a small bar. The restaurant, where a saxophonist often performs in the evenings, serves hearty lunches, diet dinners and light breakfasts.
Raisa Voronina, Tambov. We rested in Dambulla with my husband. Hotel “Sandaras” is an amazing place. It seems that we were not in a city hotel, but in the jungle among the thickets of trees and shrubs. The chirping of birds, the bright rays of the sun, hot and humid weather – all this helped us to forget about the cold winter, from which we flew from our native Tambov to Sri Lanka. With the staff we were very lucky. Polite, smiling and friendly people. One of the employees, Monika, originally from the Czech Republic, spoke good Russian. I was surprised that there were flowers in the bathroom. The room is clean. The terrace for two is very spacious. We can recommend the hotel “Sandaras” to anyone who wants to relax from the hustle, bustle and spend a few days among the thickets of the jungle.
8.4 km south of the hotel “Sandaras” there is a complex of cozy villas that will satisfy the desires of tourists who dream of a comfortable stay surrounded by a wild jungle. Liyya Villas are located far from the city center and away from the roads. Future guests are waiting for 20 comfortable villas with spacious terraces and bathrooms. For vacationers there are objects located on the fenced territory of the hotel:
- outdoor swimming pool;
- a small lake;
- picnic area;
- children’s playground;
- swimming pool for young guests.
Meals at Liyya Villas are organized according to the “buffet” system. In the restaurant, two types of menus have been developed for guests: dietary and ordinary. Dishes for children are prepared according to special recipes.
Karina Morozova, Voronezh. Liyya Villas is a place where you can forget about reality. My husband and I spent four great days. The lake, the big bath, the clean pool, the spacious room, the hospitable staff – all this made our stay interesting and pleasant in all respects. The dishes in the restaurant are varied and very tasty. Fornat – the nutrition manager – discussed with us the preferences and recommended what is better to choose. A big plus is that next to the villas there is a lake in which all living things live. At night, you could hear the mysterious sounds made by birds and animals in the nearby forest. Maybe this place can not be called a paradise, but, as one tourist from Australia said, Liyya Villas is a hotel where you can enjoy silence, bright colors of nature and the hospitality of sri Lankans.
Tourists seeking to see the wildlife of Sri Lanka should go southeast of the center of Dambulla. Here, next to the Boulder Garden Nature Reserve, there is a four-star hotel complex Kalundewa Retreat. The hotel consists of 9 spacious villas. The interior design and architectural style of each chalet and cottage is thought out to the smallest detail and is not repeated in anything. On the territory of the hotel (total area – 40,46 hectares) for guests a variety of activities for body and soul:
- bike rides;
- observations of hornbills, peacocks and other birds;
- hiking along forest paths;
- meditation and yoga sessions;
- relaxed rest on the shore of the lake, the surface of which is decorated with lilies;
- massage services; treatments are carried out in the villas;
- master classes on cooking Sri Lankan dishes;
- swimming in private pools located next to the villas.
Guests can enjoy Sri Lankan cuisine at The Tree House Restaurant, located on the shores of a small lake. At the request of vacationers, lunches and dinners can be served on specially equipped outdoor terraces.
Alexandra Zolotova, St. Petersburg. “Kalundeva Retreat” is a great place for absolute privacy, when there is nothing around but a jungle, a lake, exotic birds and unobtrusive hotel employees. We lived in a pretty big villa next to the lake. The view is just fabulous. In the evenings, when the lights turned on, it felt as if we were in the forest, where mysterious creatures live. This impression was created thanks to the sounds of animals and birds that reached the villa from the lake and the jungle. The hotel staff is friendly, always ready to fulfill any request. I loved the restaurant. I was vacationing with my husband, who has been working as a cook for more than 20 years. He praised the local dishes, which happens quite rarely. So from all points of view, Kalundeva Retreat is a great hotel for those who like a relaxed holiday in a secluded place.
Fans of comfortable rest and pristine nature will appreciate the hotel “Atena Lake”, located 9 km north of the center of Dambulla. In the two- and three-storey buildings of the hotel with adjacent walls there are six comfortable spacious rooms. The hotel is located away from highways. Near the territory of the hotel there is a dirt road.
A few steps from the hotel is Lake Randegna Uo, which can be reached via wooden decks. Leisure of vacationers is filled with a variety of activities:
- swimming in the large outdoor pool;
- games on the playground for young hotel guests;
- cycling and hiking on the shore of the lake;
- relaxed rest at the tables in the green area.
Rooms have a spacious furnished terrace or balcony. Guests experience the taste of local dishes in the hotel’s restaurant. At the request of vacationers, Athena Lake employees can organize excursions or jeep safaris to nearby reserves.
Konstantin Voroshilov, Nizhny Novgorod. My wife and I have long dreamed of being as far away from home as possible in the jungles of Sri Lanka. It’s hot, quiet, there are no crowds of talkative tourists, a large lake – we got all this by staying at the Atena Lake Hotel. The wife immediately noted the courtesy of the staff. The move-in went very quickly. Cosy room with a large terrace overlooking the lake and forest. The hotel driver we drove around the neighborhood with talked a lot about the local attractions. Although we didn’t know English very well, we understood a lot of what he was talking about. In the restaurant, the set menu always consisted of two options.
Travelers often want to choose a hotel that is far from the bustling city streets, but close to the sights. Tropical Life – a five-star hotel,located 2.5 km south of the cave temple complex, is one of the best options for this category of tourists. The hotel is equipped with 32 rooms,located in several separate two-storey buildings.
The property is surrounded by rice paddies, dense shrubs and branching trees. There is a river near Tropical Life. A wide range of exciting activities is available for hotel guests:
- archery and air rifles;
- volleyball, cricket and badminton on specially equipped grounds;
- swimming in a compact outdoor pool;
- workouts in the fitness room;
- running on the track;
For younger guests, there is a small playground with a swimming pool. The hotel has a tour desk offering tours to famous places of Dambulla at affordable prices. The hotel has four gastronomic establishments:
- Curry Leaf – the main restaurant of the hotel, where Sri Lankan dishes are served;
- two bars: the pool and the Sky, located on the roof of one of the hotel buildings;
- The Lake View – Chinese and Arabic delicacies are offered here.
Victor Abramov, Chelyabinsk. The name of the hotel Tropical Life is justified by the fact that the hotel is located among untouched nature, where tropical life is in full swing: birds sing, brightly colored butterflies fly, vegetation rages around, insects make sounds. My wife and I were vacationing with our two sons, ages 6 and 9. We visited the cave temple, the city museum, the turtle farm with an excursion. The sons especially enjoyed the jeep safari in the reserve. My wife was initially upset that the hotel did not have a spa. But a host of other activities have filled it and our time. The dishes in the restaurant deserve special praise. Very healthy and healthy food. Desserts were exhibited in a separate room. A big plus is that there is a swimming pool on the territory. In hot weather, it was nice to swim in warm water for at least half an hour.
4.1 km from the city center, if you go by road, there is a four-star hotel “Sigiriana”. The long two-storey building is equipped with 68 comfortable rooms with spacious balconies. Not far from Sigiriana there is a Buddhist temple. On the large territory of the hotel for guests are available facilities that guarantee interesting and useful leisure:
- long outdoor swimming pool;
- recreation area, from where you can see the rice fields located in the neighborhood;
- garden, where there are places for walking and relaxing pastime;
- Ayurveda is a small spa that offers massage services and Ayurvedic practices;
- table tennis court.
Guests can go hiking or join safaris in nearby nature reserves. Sri Lankan dishes are available to visitors of the restaurant, located in a separate building. From the large windows of the gastronomic establishment you can clearly see the garden, the pool and the rice fields.
Stanislav Grigoriev, Novosibirsk. Getting out of frosty Siberia to hot Sri Lanka is, without exaggeration, a great festive event. I was vacationing with two friends in Dambulla. Hotel “Sigiriana” arranged for us to be located almost in the wilderness. Beautiful green area, large swimming pool, delicious food in the restaurant, unusually friendly employees – all this made our stay pleasant and carefree.
About 1 km northwest of the Tropical Life Hotel is the four-star Rangiri Hotel Complex. The busy Kandy Road passes nearby. From the noise of the highway, the hotel is protected by a wall of tropical thickets. Rangiri is an ideal option for tourists vacationing in small companies or in the circle of close relatives.
The hotel consists of 2 cozy villas,18 luxurious Swiss cottages, similar to large comfortable tents, and 6 furnished chalets. The interior design of the rooms is characterized by simplicity and elegance. On the territory of the hotel there are several objects that may be of interest to vacationers:
- a vegetable garden where vegetables are grown for a restaurant;
- well-kept garden;
- outdoor swimming pool;
- walking paths, illuminated in the evenings.
In a separate house there is a cozy restaurant, similar to a large tent with a wooden roof, which is supported by columns. The gastronomic establishment serves Sri Lankan and Indian dishes.
Alina Korableva, Yekaterinburg. My husband and I were staying at the Rangiri Hotel with our British friends, a married couple. They have already been to this place and know some of the employees by name. I personally especially want to note the work of Lahir, who was our assistant in choosing excursions, gave advice on walks and food, told a lot of interesting things about Dambulla and sri Lanka in general. The hotel is in a quiet location. A garden, a small vegetable garden, a well-groomed lawn and slender trees – all this resembled a very expensive summer cottage.
Lovers of secluded pastime and Sri Lankan nature will certainly appreciate the advantages of the five-star hotel “Jetting Lake”. The hotel is located 2.4 km south of the city center. In two five-storey buildings located on the shore of a small lake, 94 spacious furnished roomsare equipped. A variety of leisure activities is guaranteed to guests by a wide range of healthy and soul-friendly activities:
- swimming in a large outdoor pool (length – 71 m);
- board games;
- a sports hall equipped with modern simulators;
- Suwa Arana is a spa complex offering beauty treatments and several types of massage.
In the equipment of the hotel premises, state-of-the-art technologies were used: biogas plants, double-sided solar panels, biofuels and much more. At Lu Lin Restaurant, guests can enjoy Chinese dishes. Refreshing drinks and creative cocktails are served at the hotel’s bar.
Andrey Ignatov, Volgograd. Jetwing Lake is a great place if you want to be alone with nature. We rested here with a friendly company of three colleagues. The peculiarity of the hotel is that it is located on the shore of a beautiful lake. The highway passes not far from the hotel, but this is not felt at all. In the afternoon, when most of the vacationers left for excursions, it seemed that the hotel was completely empty. The staff works very responsibly. Almost all employees speak English as if they were their native language. Colleagues have stayed in other hotels before and noted that Jetwing Lake is the best.
About 8 km east of Dambullah (16.7 km by road) is Kandalama, a picturesque Sri Lankan village. Next to the reservoir of the same name stretches the territory of Aswadduma – a five-star hotel. The hotel complex includes 39 rooms in spacious chalets and several modern buildings. For vacationers, objects are available that provide interesting leisure:
- outdoor swimming pool with a compact children’s section;
- spacious terrace for sunbathing;
- a tropical garden and a small vegetable garden;
- a darts court;
- green area for picnic and relaxed rest;
- hydromassage pool;
- car and bicycle rental.
Meals at the hotel are organized according to the “all inclusive” system. For guests there is a restaurant, which occupies a separate building with high ceilings and panoramic windows. The gastronomic establishment serves Asian, Sri Lankan and European dishes. In a cozy café you can drink 2-3 cups of quality coffee. The stylish bar is sure to satisfy the tastes of lovers of refreshing cocktails.
Egor Zvyagintsev, Oryol. A great place for those who dream of being among the truly wild nature. Hotel “Asvaddum” is surrounded by low mountains, overgrown with dense tropical forests. As the employees told us, the height of the peaks exceeds 600 meters. I was staying in a hotel with my wife and son for 8 years. We consciously searched for a place remote from major cities. Pond, green area, chic chalets, swimming pools, including children’s, delicious dishes in the restaurant, sociable and helpful staff – all this can be called the hallmark of the hotel.
City dwellers often dream of being in a place where there are as few signs of civilization as possible. Arika Villa – a five-star hotel,located 7.9 km south of the center of Dambulla – will certainly suit this large group of tourists. The hotel is a two-storey comfortable villa, “hidden” among tropical trees near the dambulla Oya River.
For vacationers there are 8 spacious rooms with spacious balconies. The leisure of Arika Villa guests is filled with a variety of activities:
- swimming and swimming in the spacious swimming pool;
- cycling on numerous forest paths;
- board games;
- relaxed rest on the common veranda.
Guests of the hotel can enjoy the taste of original Sri Lankan dishes in the cosy restaurant, where local musicians perform in the evenings. At the request of vacationers, breakfast can be served in the rooms.
Tatyana Kovalchuk, Penza. My husband and I have long dreamed of visiting Sri Lanka. Finally we managed to book a room at Arika Villa. This hotel was chosen after a long search on the Internet. Only positive reviews were found about it. After 5 days of rest, we can agree with the enthusiastic assessments. Quiet place. Tropical trees grow near the hotel. The room we stayed in is spacious with a large balcony. Thanks to the beautiful design, the bedroom looks luxurious. The staff fulfilled our wishes as if we were movie stars or millionaires.
1.2 km west of the cave temple complex is the small hotel Simoya Nature Park. So you can translate the name of the hotel, where only two homely roomsare equipped. Hotel Simoya is suitable for tourists who prefer minimal comfort and maximum opportunities for independent recreation surrounded by wild nature.
Products for guests are delivered by employees from the nearest supermarkets. A wooden staircase leads from the hotel to the natural park. There is a clearing for guests to enjoy in the tropical garden. On the spacious balconies you can sit at tables, sunbathe or just enjoy the beauty of Sri Lankan nature. Guests can take a walk in the nearby forest if they wish.
Mikhail Kuznetsov, Stavropol. Me, my brother and our wives chose the hotel “Simoya” for the opportunity to be in solitude on an exotic island. For six days we managed to see almost all the sights of Dambulla. The hotel is close to the city center and the famous temple complex, located in the rock. Clean air, tranquility, cozy room – this was all we needed. As a result, we got what we wanted and are very satisfied with the rest.
Where to stay?
Choosing a hotel for a few days of vacation is always a difficult task. Moreover, these hotel complexes are in many ways similar to each other. If we take into account such advantages as proximity to famous historical and sacred objects, comfortable living conditions and the opportunity to feel like a resident of Sri Lanka at least for a short time, then the most suitable option is Tropical Life. The hotel also gives a great opportunity to merge with the local nature and temporarily forget about the problems.