When should you visit a historic site? Historic sites are locations where pieces of political, cultural, or social history have been preserved. Often due to their cultural value. Historic sites can be temples, whole cities, pyramids, castles, churches or any other kind of buildings.
This is one of the most stunning historical sites of Sri Lanka. It's also very popular and heavily crowded at times. We show you how to avoid the crowds and make the most out of your visit. Also, make sure to read our 7 must-know tips before you visit at the end of the article.
Avoiding the Crowds
It's significantly less crowded in the early morning and in the late afternoon. If you want to avoid midday heat and beat the crowds at the same time, be there at 7 a.m. sharp or visit in the late afternoon. Visiting later in the day (about 2 hours before they close) also gives you the perfect light for a good shot of Sigiriya Rock. Especially the intriguing fresco paintings are at their best in the late-afternoon light. However, for a perfect photo, it needs to be sunny. Avoid weekends and public holidays if possible, as in addition to foreign tourists many local and domestic visitor are there. Overview of public holidays: Sri Lanka Public Holidays. Opening hours from 7 am - 5:30 pm. The entrance fee is costly (30 $ in 2017), and the experience may get spoiled when you arrive at midday while sharing the place with tons of other tourists.
Climate / Weather
'Dry season' in this area is from May to August/September but often overcast from June to August. It's a tropical climate with humidity around 80 % most of the year. October until December are the wettest months. From January to May it's frequently sunny. We spent two days at Sigiriya in January, and the weather was quite nice. Helpful weather overview: Climate - Average Monthly Weather Sigiriya
Sigiriya is a year-round destination. It usually offers the most pleasant weather conditions between January and June. However, showers can occur throughout the year.
To enjoy this beautiful place without crowds, you should be there from spring to autumn either very early in the morning or late evening. It is the most popular place in Saxon Switzerland with around 1.5 million visitors each year. We visited this magic sandstone bridge several times in May. We enjoyed most our visit at 6.30 on a Sunday morning.
The reproduction of the castle is accessible 24/7. From 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. the entrance fee of 2 € has to be paid at a cash desk and afterwards, you are asked to put the fee into a metal box. This is a marvelous opportunity to enjoy this magical place with a view people and photographers only.
Tip for Photographer
Early morning is the best light for a good shot of the Bastei bridge.
To participate in the guard change ceremonies at Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial bronze statue hall which takes place on top of the hour, you should arrive at least 15 minutes before. This will ensure that you may get a place in the first row. Although the hall is open from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm the guard change will happen only 9 times. The first change will be at 9:00 am the last at 5:00 pm. At Chinese New Year's Eve, Chinese New year's day and maintenance days the Hall is closed.
Because this monument and the park around is a key location for tourists and visitor tours, you may always run into many people. Try to get there early in the morning and in general avoid weekends because the location is visited by many local people as well. The Memorial Park opens daily from 05:00 am to 12:00 pm.
Peak season in Taiwan
Avoid the summer months and around Chinese New Year (late January or early February) when prices are on the highest level, accommodations are often fully booked, and many places are overrun.
From April until October temps can be unpleasant hot with high humidity at daytime. In summer day temps are around 30°C and in winter (Dec. to Feb.) around 20°C while nights are cold with less than 10°C. Most precipitation from May to September but a dry season does not exist. The driest months are November to January with rainfall on average less than 100 mm.
The climate is influenced by the northeast and the southwest monsoon. The northeast monsoon season lasts long from October until March and the southwest from May until September. At the monsoon season typhoons occur, and Taiwan gets hit each year frequently from July to September.
The place is usually swarmed with tourists. Sometimes it even becomes difficult to move around. To beat the crowds you need to:
- Avoid weekends, go mid-week.
- Arrive early, if possible between 6 A.M. and 7 A.M.: It's a perfect time to enjoy the magic of this temple in solitude. If you can't make it that early try to be there at least between 7 - 8 A.M when it‘s still relatively quiet compared to later in the day. TIP: Stay at the closest hotel (walking distance) and get there easily first thing in the morning. See our guest house/hotel recommendation below (Where to Stay).
- You could also arrive late, about 1 hour before it closes. Then you may have the last minutes almost for yourself.
Opening Hours (Entrance Fee 300 Yen)
Open year-round from 6:00 .a.m.
Closes at 6:00 p.m. (18:00) or 6:30 p.m. (18:30), depending on the season. More details (and night opening hours) here: Kiyomizudera Opening Hours
Spring and Fall Illumination
18:00 to 21:00 (mid-March until mid-April and mid-November to early December, see details in the link above). It's also crowded during this time but worth it.
Highlights (Cherry Blossoms / Fall Foliage)
Nature's seasonal highlights at Kiyomizu-dera Temple in Kyoto are cherry blossoms in spring and the changing leaf color in autumn. The temple features about 1500 cherry blossoms and 1000 colorful trees with changing leaves.
The temple is one of Kyoto's top cherry blossom spots, with almost 1500 mountain cherry and somei yoshino trees. The blooming season is very short. It only takes about two weeks from the opening of the first blossoms until they are falling from the trees. On average the first blossoms in Kyoto open end of March. They reach full bloom around April 5. However, the start of the blooming season can vary by one week (plus/minus) each year. Generally, your best bet is to visit early April, if you'd like to spot them. A great map and table with dates for Kyoto and other cities: JNTO Cherry Blossoms Timetable Tip: The blossoms are illuminated at night, creating a beautiful romantic scenery. If you don't mind the crowds, visit during the spring illumination.
The leaf changing colors are almost equally beautiful and Kiyomizu-dera Temple is a truly spectacular autumn color spot. Compared to cherry blossoms, the gorgeous leaf colors last much longer: The foliage season in Kyoto lasts from mid-October until mid-December, with a peak in mid-November. Your best bet to spot the beautiful fall foliage is between mid-November and late November. However, any time within the two months is usually worth it. Tip: Like for the cherry blossoms in spring, the fall illumination of the autumn foliage creates a beautiful atmosphere.
Be aware that a visit during sunrise brings a lot of crowds. However, you wouldn't want to miss the scenery - it's just magical. In order to avoid the heavy crowds, arrive in the afternoon, and instead enjoy sunset before the temple closes.
Following the typical weather patterns for much of Southeast Asia, the best time to visit Angkor Wat is during the dry season from late November to early April.
March - November
Best to visit when the weather is warm to experience the atmosphere in the streets.
This city seems to always have people walking around during the summer months no matter what day of the week it is.