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Ok, so I cheated a little on this one because this was a family trip – sort of. My mother suddenly decided on a road trip and took my brother (currently home for the summer holidays) and me along for the ride.
Therefore transport expenses are nil here. For me.
We left Kandy around 6.20am because we wanted to get on the road before traffic started. Small roads, plenty of hills with bends and curves and a bunch of schools starting at 7.30. Result: traffic jam (traffic is worse in Kandy on Saturdays btw). We avoided all that and actually arrived in Namal Uyana by 8-ish.
If you can afford to hire a vehicle, great. The cost varies according to vehicle (car, van or tuk) and distance (from Kandy, Colombo or somewhere else). An up-and-down journey costs anywhere from LKR 6000-7000 for an A/C van from Kandy. Derana cabs has a great offer for an A/C van for LKR 6500 both ways.
If you are taking the bus it costs approx. LKR 450 from Kandy to Dambulla, while Colombo to Kandy costs LKR 285-300 on an A/C intercity bus. There are other route combos too, but these are the easiest and cheapest.
The route we took was Kandy-Katugastota-Matale-Madawala-Naula-Dambulla-Madatugama. You have to turn left onto the Kandy-Jaffna highway from Dambulla; the right-hand road takes you to Trincomalee. When you get to Madatugama, there is a ‘Dissanayake Wine Stores’ on the left and a road leading to Namal Uyana just after that, also to the left. There is a sign, but it may be hard to find so just ask someone on the road and they’ll point you in the right direction.
Parking costs LKR 50 at Namal Uyana and if you are a local, you walk in free. There is a paved road into the sanctuary that leads deep into the forest, going past ancient ruins and Na trees until it finally emerges at the base of the pink marble rock mountains. The mountain range is huge and has a killer view from the top.
The mountains are no longer completely pink because of exposure to air and rain, but you can still see bits of pink here and there.
Take your own water, hats and caps and sunglasses and avoid going there in the rainy season. There are plenty of monkeys there too, so don’t keep your bags open and definitely do not have food in your hands. These fellows are not shy about grabbing.
(Approx) Total Time Taken : >5 hours
(Approx) Total Cost : >LKR 3000
Satisfaction : 4.5/5