Visiting the ancient city of Anuradhapura
The whole site is much too big to cover on foot, and it’s far easier to explore by bicycle.These can be hired from virtually all the town’s guesthouses for Rs.300–400 per day, though bear in mind that bikes (or indeed any other type of vehicle) aren’t allowed anywhere near the Sri Maha Bodhi.
Guides around town are likely to offer their services;if not, you should be able to pick one up either at the or at the crossroads next to the Ruvanvalisaya. If you go with a guide, you might like to check their accreditation (they should be in possession of a Sri Lanka Tourism site guide’s licence for Anuradhapura) to make sure you’re getting someone genuine.Most of the sites at Anuradhapura are covered by the book, which can be bought at the Jetavana,Abhayagiri and Archeological museums, plus at the ticket office at the northern entrance to the Jetavana dagoba. Tickets are only valid for one day at each site, so if you want to explore properly you are obliged to shell out around US$25 on a fresh ticket each day, though the site is open access and in practice ticket checks are rare except at the three museums. Most visitors in any case tend to cram it all into a day, which really isn’t long enough to get the full flavour of the place.
A couple of sites – the Isurumuniya and Folk Museum – aren’t covered by the CT ticket, while access to others, such as the Sri Maha Bodhi and the Western Monasteries, is free. The logical thing to do would be to visit these on a second day; you’re allowed to go through the Sacred Precinct to reach these places even if you don’t have a CT ticket.Visitors are increasingly being asked for additional donations at some sites, but given how much foreigners already pay to visit the place there’s no reason why you should hand over even a single rupee more.