Travel Guide to Polonnaruwa

The complete tour guide to Polonnaruwa, find information about the city's famous attractions, a list of things to do and much more. Book hotels at the best price and reserve your table at the top restaurants.

Polonnaruwa Overview

Images of Polonnaruwa

About Polonnaruwa

Polonnaruwa is known as the second most ancient kingdom in Sri Lanka and like Anuradhapura is filled with monuments that speak of lifestyle and culture of its time. The city was first declared as the capital by King Vijayabahu I in the 11th century AD, till the 13th century.

It’s beautiful ruins, and long standing structures gives one a glimpse into the past and what it may have been like during the early centuries. The treasures of the city were declared as valuable and was included in UNESCO’s World Heritage List. The city not only consists of monuments from the past, it’s also central to a few national parks such as the Gal Oya National Park.


Getting into Polonnaruwa

Polannaruwa is located about 216 km away from Colombo and is easily accessible by either train, bus or a private vehicle. A private vehicle is the easiest as you can travel through towns and cities, enjoying the scenery at your own pace. You can also take a train from the Colombo Fort railway station to Kaduruwela station at Polonnaruwa. The journey is about 8 hours but is quite comfortable. There are intercity buses that take your directly to the city and leave from the Pettah Bus stand in fort (close to the Colombo Fort Railway station).

If you are going to Polannaruwa directly from the airport then it's easier to hire a taxi from the airport itself. Check more information on rates.


Getting around Polonnaruwa

Most Sri Lankans travel around cities and towns by tuk tuk aka three wheelers. Note that it's a rule of thumb to fix the price before getting into a tuk tuk to avoid paying more than required unless of course the tuk has a meter. It will also help if you can ask locals how much it’s to get to your destination just to be sure you are paying the right amount. Having said that you can also travel by bus which is the most affordable way and you can ask locals to help you. The bus conductors will also be able to help you in any way that they can. Make sure you have small change in the form of coins and notes when going by bus instead of large notes. For example Rs.50, 20, 10 and a few coins.

Tip: Travellers recommend a bicycle to see the city


Where to go and things to do in Polonnaruwa

From the statue of the great King Parakramabahu, to the magnificent temples and palaces there is much to see and explore within the ancient city of Polannaruwa. Scroll above and click on our 'What to see' section to discover and explore more of Polannaruwa.