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Introducing Habarana

The highlights of this small village are a small tank and its central location between all the main sites. It is also a good base for visits to the Minneriya and Kaudulla National Parks, and has a midrange to top-end group of hotels principally aimed at package tourists. Habarana has the nearest train station to Dambulla and Sigiriya.

Elephant rides around the tank can be arranged for a pricey US$20 to US$30 per person per hour. If you’re spending the night here, the only free entertainment is to wander along the tank bund spotting birds.

One of the more reliable outfitters for an organised national park trip (which is the only way you can visit the park) is Piya Special Green Track Elephant & Jeep Safari(086-227 0225; Dambulla Rd).