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Best things to see in Anuradhapura

Best things to do in Anuradhapura

Anuradhapura is Sri Lanka’s ancient capital and recognized as a UNESCO heritage site.  It is one of the sacred cultural .  triangle of Sri Lanka along with Sigriya, Dambulla and the Sacred Tooth Relic in Kandy.  The city features numerous sacred and historical architectural figures, devotedly visited by tourists and Buddhist alike. Below are some tips and recommended sites you can consider if you’re planning to visit Anuradhapura.

Best Time to Visit Anuradhapura

While Anuradhapura is pretty humid due to Sri Lanka’s location near the equator, its year-round weather is pretty bearable at most. But if you’re not a fan of walking around under the 29-33 heat, then it’s recommended that you avoid visiting between March to May, since it’s when the hottest season of the city.

How Long Do You Need to Stay in Anuradhapura

To determine the length of stay you’ll need in Anuradhapura depends on the number of sites you’ll be visiting. If you only have a few on your checklist then a day is enough, but if you want to fully enjoy and visit all of the major sites then staying . overnight would be good. 

How to get to Anuradhapura From Colombo

By Train

Estimated Travel Time: 5 and Half hours


Fee: 80-270 rupees

By Bus


· You need to transfer vehicles after reaching Putlam before reaching Anuradhapura

Fee: 200 Rupees

By  Taxi

Estimated Travel time: 4 hours


  • Fully air-conditioned
  • Ideal for those who are carrying a lot of baggage

How to get to Anuradhapura from Kandy

By Bus


 You need to take a bus to Dambulla and then transfer and find another bus to Kandy but they happen pretty often so you are fine. 

How to Get Around Anuradhapura

Tourist spots in Anuradhapura have some distance between them; therefore it’s recommended to choose your mode of transportation to help you get around the place.


If the weather is tolerable for you, then renting a bike is recommended.  If it wasn’t too hot during our time of visit, I would have loved this. 


Since a tuk-tuk is rented per day, it’s practical if you plan on going from one place to another, multiple times. Saving you the hassle of looking and waiting for a vehicle to transport you.

Places to See in Anuradhapura

Abhayagiri Dagoba

Abhayagiri Dagoba

Giant Temples



This massive Dagoba is heavily guarded by numerous stone elephants, place around the area. As Ruwanwelisaya is a place of worship, the temple always emits a serene feeling which can help in relaxing after going around Anuradhapura. It’s best to visit the place around afternoon since many of the rituals done in the temple take place during that time, making it worth-while to see the temple itself and the practices performed within the temple.

Mirsawetiya Stupa

If you want to visit a temple with the same serene environment as Ruwanwelisaya, but with less crowd, then Mirsawetiya Stupa is a recommended place. It has the same white dome-shaped architecture, a beautiful backdrop to take pictures, and as a bonus, it’s near the Archeological Museum.

The Twin Ponds

Twin Ponds Anuradhapura

Twin Ponds Anuradhapura

The lack of architectural and engineering education in ancient Sri Lanka civilization did not hinder the citizens of Sinhalese to create the beautiful large twin bath known as the Kottum Pokuna or the Twin Ponds.

The Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi Tree

jaya sri maha bodhi

The Bodhi tree is recognized as the oldest living tree in the world. Located within a temple, the place attracts Buddhist and other tourists alike to visit the sacred place where people come to pray and marvel at one of the earliest known symbols of Buddhism.

Ratna Prasada Guard Stone

Ratna Prasada Guard Stone

Crying and Smiling Buddha


This buddha, when you look at one side, it’s smiling and the other side it’s crying. It shows both sides of life. 

Pond Things to see in Anuradhapura Things to see in Anuradhapura

Tips on Visiting Anuradhapura

Dress decently

Choosing clothes which cover arms and legs are important, specifically if you’re planning to visit the temples.

Tour Guides

It’s best to hire a tour guide if you want to be immersed further on the historic background offered by Anuradhapura.






Best things to do in Anuradhapura

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