Anuradhapura (Sri Lanka): tourist information

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Travel information about Anuradhapura

Ступа Джетавана, Анурадхапура The Jetavana Stupa

Anuradhapura (Anuradhapura, Anura) – large by Sri Lankan standards, the city, the capital of North Central province of Sri Lanka. The population of 63,000 people. Anuradhapura on the map of Sri Lanka

This is the first ancient capital of the Sinhalese Kingdom that once existed on the island. The first mention of the settlement in this place belong to the 6th century BC. And it has been the capital in 377 BC. Then the city was called Anuradha. It was a very developed city, but in the 9th century it was destroyed yuzhnoindijskoj invaders. After that, the capital was moved to Polonnaruwa.

Today, Anuradhapura is a popular sightseeing destination among tourists, but also very meaningful and very popular among Buddhist pilgrims. Tourists are attracted by numerous ancient monuments (most of them, unfortunately, are restored), inscribed on the world heritage list of UNESCO. Basically it is an ancient bell-shaped stupa called in Sri Lanka Dagoba (Shrine which holds the particles of the Buddha), statues, temples, palaces, artificial lakes. The special attraction and place of pilgrimage is the Mahabodhi tree, one of the main symbols in Buddhism. Overall Anuradhapura is one of the most interesting from a sightseeing point of view of cities in the country.

Дворец Исурумуния, Анурадхапура Palace, Isurumuniya View photos in 3D

Very close to Anuradhapura is another remarkable place - Mikindani. This is the ruins of ancient temples located on the mountain. Mikindani at least in scale and much inferior to Anuradhapura, but no less interesting. Be sure to visit Mihintale, if you find yourself in these places.

If you have limited time, you can briefly explore the city's attractions in a single day, as does most independent travelers or tourists in the tour. To see all the sights in the city and County, it is recommended that two full days plus a half day at Mihintale. But it is worth saying that if you are a passionate lover of the ancient sights of a religious nature, after examination of several monotonous stupas and temples, you just get bored. So one day for most tourists really enough. To hold in Anuradhapura entire period of stay in Sri Lanka cannot be considered. Recommended maximum stay is 2 days.

The city has minimal tourism infrastructure for short stay. Here, of course, no beaches (the nearest beach is very far away), the entertainment and night life, but the necessary minimum of the hotels and guesthouses are. A separate tourist area there. Food for tourists is mainly concentrated in the hotel restaurant, and find something to eat in the city is difficult. To go in the evening there's nowhere even to just walk around. By nightfall, everyone here is fast asleep, and after nine o'clock almost the entire city falls asleep and the darkness.

The city is divided into two parts: old town and new town. All residents from the territory of the old city, where all the sights, in 1950 was relocated by the government into a new place in a new city. Now, the whole infrastructure and transport is located in the new town and old town you can go only for sightseeing.

How much is a visit to Anuradhapura

Ступа Тхупарама, Анурадхапура

Sightseeing of Anuradhapura – pleasure not cheap. A single ticket for sightseeing the complex of the Abhayagiriya (Abhayagiri) costs $ 25. The rest of the old town (and a large part of it) free, but in some places have to pay extra.

But there is an opportunity to save money. Some tourists refuse to buy a ticket and ride the attractions on their own, without entering the territory of Abhayagiri, and visiting only free. In principle this is a good option because of paid and free Dagoba generally monotonous, and you will most likely get bored after the third or fourth. At the same time, it is very easy to be deceived. Often the local tuk-tuks offer to mess with tourists on the complex by the standard for these places for hiring a tuk-tuk price to 40-50 dollars, and promise that will take tourists to pay a part of the free, allegedly in collusion with local security. We have very little doubt that these tuk-tuks are really taking tourists paid. According to our information, they're just wheeling unsuspecting tourists for free and give all this for the paid area. Read more about how and what to see in Anuradhapura, see the sights of Anuradhapura.

And finally, one tip: during the inspection of the temples will be very common to remove your shoes and walk on the burning sun plates. But socks can help out, they will not be so hot.

Weather, tourist seasons in Anuradhapura

Visit the ancient capital at any time of the year, it is always warm and cozy. However, during the rainy season when the sky pours out a huge amount of rainfall, it is likely that instead of sightseeing, you'll have to hide from storms. The wettest months are October-December and April.

Seasons in Anuradhapura months*

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

* best time to visit;
appropriate time to visit;
not a recommended time to visit

Current weather in Anuradhapura and forecast

How to get to Anuradhapura

To reach from other cities Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka by bus, train or rented transport.

If, immediately upon arrival in the country through Colombo international airport Katunayake you want to get to Anuradhapura, you can take a bus or taxi.

How does a transfer bookingDetails >
Поиск трансфераFind the right route
Бронирование онлайнBooking a transfer online
Встреча водителемThe driver meets you at the airport or at the station

Buses run frequently, so if you arrive by plane in the morning, will be in place on the same day. Will have to go with transfers, but it will be inexpensive, but the route can be done in six hours. But, if you arrive at the airport after about 15 hours, it is better to spend the night in the nearest town, for example in Colombo or Negombo as the night buses don't run and you can not manage to transfer to one of the buses and getting stuck somewhere in the Outback.

The route from the airport to Anuradhapura will look something like this: after leaving the airport need to get to the bus station to the airport. This can be done by tuk tuk or on foot (see Colombo airport). Direct bus service from this station to Anuradhapura no, but from there you can get to Colombo and from there catch the direct bus (No. 5).

Another option is to drive to the bus station in Negombo, and from there catch a bus to Anuradhapura or to Kurunegala (Kurunegala) where you can again transfer to another bus. A direct bus goes via Puttalam (Puttalam). You can also get a transfer through Kandy, Matale, Kurunegala (Kurunegala).

More comfortable you can get a transfer to Colombo by train. For this you will need to drive to the railway station, Colombo Fort and there take the train. Tickets for the lowest classes you can always buy on the spot before the departure of the train. The cost from 160 to 520 rupees. 4-5 hours. Departs daily 7 trains, including one late night at 20:15. Train timetables can be found here:,

The town has two railway station, Anuradhapura (on the map) and Anuradhapura New Town (on the map). Different trains stop at different stations of these two.

And here is the schedule of trains and other transport to Anuradhapura available for online booking:

Transport, to move around Anuradhapura

New city easily explored on foot, and you won't need transport. Yes, and walk to the new town there's no need, there is absolutely nothing to do. But the old town where all the sights, much more. Usually tourists hire a tuk tuk for a trip through the old town, which is quite reasonable. Rent a tuk-tuk for the day for sightseeing tour costs about $ 20.

Another option is to move to a rented transport. In the city you can easily rent a Bicycle or motorbike (scooter).

A short trip by tuk-tuk around the city, for example, in search of the hotel on arrival, cost 100-200 rupees (refer to the currency of Sri Lanka, the exchange rate).

Find car rental in Sri Lanka

Anuradhapura hotels, where to stay

As already mentioned, the city is divided into old town (on the map) and new town (on the map) separated by a river. All hotels and tourist infrastructure are located in the new town. There you can find it is budget accommodation at affordable prices. A double room with minimum facilities will cost $ 15. Normal room with air conditioning and Breakfast can be obtained from $ 30 Yes two.

The location does not matter, as long as it was within the new town near the center.

Find and book accommodation in Anuradhapura can on these sites or via the search form. All sites have Russian interface and Russian-speaking customer support, numerous real guests reviews. And in Agoda and Booking are bonus system:

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Comments / recent posts on the topic on the forum
admin 30 November, 2017
The site presents guides to Central cities and sites of Sri Lanka:
The cultural triangle
Adam's Peak
Forest Sinharaja
Nuwara Eliya
The guides will be supplemented.
In this topic you can ask questions and discuss travelling to these places. Changes to the guides are appreciated :SUPER ...
Competent 5 January, 2018
Correct though Pinnawella at Pinnawala. In English, too. ...
admin 5 January, 2018

Thanks for noticing. As it turns out, the first time for you to remember and pronounce then. It was also with Polonnaruwa-Polonnaruwa for a long time myself retrained. ...
AMN Oct 10, 2018
Assalamu Alaikum.
I would like to ask. can I find in Sri Lanka Halal food
thank you.
and sorry for the mistakes ...
admin October, 10, 2018

Hello! Yes, I can, but this kitchen is not very widespread. Looking for Muslim hotels, if they operate such restaurants. ...
Павел112244466 11 November, 2018
Here you write "you can still get from Matara to Bandarawela" what kind of bus? What's the number? As he goes ?? If you write a guide, write all the information or just certain. ...
helka November 19, 2018
Good day, tell me whether in Polonnaruwa storage or where to leave bags if you arrive there in the morning, walk around the Ancient city, and then go by bus to Kandy. ...
admin 19 November, 2018

Not sure what injury is there. Rather rather sure that they are not, because there is the entrance and ticket control on-street storage no. Maybe there is something in the office selling tickets, but it is unlikely that the Sri Lankans before this would have thought of. If you really look for a place where to leave things, it is best to railway station so should be storage, as on all other stations. Well, in case you can try to negotiate for a nominal amount of staff offices for the sale of tickets or to go into the first hotel and the clerk to negotiate. The last version working and tested 100%.
And generally I on your place would think if you can master this route without lodging. I can understand if it's a tour or car with driver. But to come in a new strange city, to find a place where to leave your Luggage, find the cashier, to get to the entrance, navigate through the vast territory... besides, you need something to get around distances. Will have to find a tuk-tuk for the whole day. IMHO, knowing how difficult travel in hot countries, I would come in the evening, slept, and bright and early the next day I began to explore the Park. ...
helka December 2, 2018
Thank you very much for the reply. The fact that we were coming and so in the morning, so will spend the night in Dambulla, and was planning to rent a tuk tuk for the whole day.
About things have already booked a cheap guest house, where they leave it at that. )) And I hope the night will be in Kandy, because if you come to Polonnaruwa in 10 hours then to 16 hours the time I think that would be enough to see the most important thing, especially on a tuk tuk. ...
admin December 2, 2018

Well, in principle Yes, 6 hours on a tuk-tuk. Determine for yourself the most important thing to look at. I hope our guide to Polonnaruwa read. ...