Getting there & away
Dambulla is 72km north of Kandy on the road to Anuradhapura. The Colombo to Trincomalee road meets this road 2km north of the cave temple, then splits off from it a couple of kilometres further north, leading to Sigiriya and Polonnaruwa. Because Dambulla is on so many major routes, plenty of buses pass through with varying frequency. However, the nearest train station is at Habarana, 23km to the north, from where you can catch a Kandy-bound bus to get to Dambulla.
By bus it takes 1½ hours to get to Polonnaruwa (Rs 40, 66km), two hours to Anuradhapura (Rs 40, 68km), and two hours to Kandy (Rs 40). There are buses to Sigiriya (Rs 14, 40 minutes) roughly every 30 minutes. Touts will tell you otherwise to get you into a three-wheeler. The bus takes four hours to get to Colombo (normal/air-con Rs 85/170).
You can flag buses plying this busy route to go between the two parts of Dambulla, or take a three-wheeler for Rs 50.