Yapahuwa Rock Fortress: Sri Lanka’s Best Hidden Attraction Yapahuwa Rock Fortress: Sri Lanka’s Best Hidden Attraction

Yapahuwa Rock Fortress: Sri Lanka’s Best Hidden Attraction

Yapahuwa Rock Fortress is historically one of Sri Lanka’s most important sites. The Sacred Tooth Relic of the Buddha was once found at Yapahuwa and transported to Kandy’s Temple of the Tooth. Nowadays visitors from all over the world visit the Temple of the Tooth in Kandy and it is one of Sri Lanka’s largest tourist attractions. Yapahuwa on the other hand just has a handful of visitors per day. A true hidden gem in Sri Lanka!

Visiting Yapahuwa Rock Fortress

Yapahuwa was the former capital of Sri Lanka for a short period of 11 years. Almost identical to the well-known Sigiriya Lion Rock, Yapahuwa also is a massive rock with a fortress built on top. The fort was secured with inner and outer city sections that still have visible traces of battle.

An insanely steep stone staircase that seems never-ending leads you up the Yapahuwa Rock Fortress and is the absolute eye-catcher of the fortress. This spot is very picturesque! 

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Yapahuwa Rock Fortress: Sri Lanka’s Best Hidden Attraction

On top of the staircase is an ancient doorway with two lion statues guarding the treasures. Let’s not forget that the Sacred Tooth Relic of the Buddha was once kept at Yapahuwa!

Yapahuwa Rock sri lanka

Climbing to the Top of Yapahuwa Rock Fortress

The top of the staircase is not yet the final point of the rock fortress. A 20-minute climb via a steep, tricky but doable walking path gets you to the summit where you will be rewarded with a 360-degree view of the entire region!

Take in all the views of green jungles and the sound of the wind gushing along the enormous rock. Unfortunately, there is not much to see on top of the rock itself other than an ancient stupa. 

Keep an eye on the path while following the hike up and wear proper shoes.

Is Yapahuwa Better than Lion Rock?

Although both Lion Rock and Yapahuwa look similar, Lion Rock its history is far more intact and, therefore, still the better choice. However, Yapahuwa has few to zero international tourists, whereas Lion Rock is very busy. You will have it pretty much to yourself, making it a unique experience that not many other travelers will have while traveling in Sri Lanka.

Additionally, the entrance fee to Yapahuwa is 3,50 USD compared to 36 USD at Sigiriya’s Lion Rock.

sigiriya lion rock sri lanka

How to Get to Yapahuwa 

It is located a bit off the usual Sri Lanka travel route in the northwest part of the country. From Kandy, it takes about 2.5 hours by car, and as far as we know, this is also the only way to get there. Yapahuwa is open from 8 AM to 5 PM; however, if you want to get in early, the sight is still accessible. 

It is advisable to rent a car plus a driver for a more extended period and overnight in the area. We spent the night at Yapahuwa Paradise Hotel, pretty much the only hotel in the area, but it was an enjoyable and surprisingly good stay!

11/04/2024 https://www.saltinourhair.com/sri-lanka/yapahuwa-rock-fortress/
Blog comments (2)

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  • Irene

    Hi guys! Congrats for your blog, it’s very usefull and I love your pictures :)
    I’m going to travel to Sri Lanka in few weeks and I was thinking in visiting Yapahuwa Rock Fortress on my way to Siginiya. However, I have a doubt. I’m going to travel with a tuk tuk rented so I don’t know if there is any place in this atraction to keep the baggage safe. Could you help me with that please? Thanks!

    • Salt in our Hair

      Hi Irene, thank you! We aren’t aware of anywhere you could leave your belongings, so we’d recommend taking your valuables with you or leave them with someone you trust. We hope you have the best time!

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