Kandy’s neighboring city, Colombo, is the largest city and the capital of the country. However, we can immodestly say that Kandy provides even better and more exotic experience for tourists. Kandy may be smaller than Colombo but it’s still the second largest city in the island. It definitely has its charms, especially when it comes to diverse culture and delicious cuisine. UNESCO confirmed this in 1998, when this pleasant city tucked between the hills of Central Sri Lanka was declared a world heritage site.
Sights in Kandy
The Temple of the Tooth (Sri Dalada Maligawa)
Kandy is an important religious place in Sri Lanka, so you should not miss the holiest temple in the city. The Temple of the Tooth is the core of both culture and religion of Kandy. It is the home for the Lord Buddha’s tooth. To enter the temple and watch the ceremonies and prayers, you’ll have to have your knees and shoulders covered.
Costs of the visit: International tourists should pay the ticket – LKR 1000. If you don’t dress up properly, you will need a shawl. People at the entrance can give it to you for LKR 150 to LRK 200.
In the center of the city, near the Temple of Tooth, Kandy Lake is a perfect getaway from city rush. If you’re looking for the serenity and peace that can be provided only by the intact nature, Kandy Lake is a great option for you. Surrounded with the verdancy, with a beautiful islet in the middle of the lake, Kandy Lake will enchant you. Don’t miss reserving a boat and having a relaxing ride on the lake.
The Tea Museum
Lovers of tea will be thrilled to wander around the old tea factory converted into an interesting museum, located around 15 minutes from Kandy, and listen to the stories about tea production through the history, especially because they’ll be able to check out the old machinery used during the production process. During the tour lasting a bit longer than half an hour, you’ll be invited to have a cup of tea as you listen to the guide. You can also buy some souvenirs in the museum, as well as different types of tea.
Costs of the visit: Entrance ticket – LKR 500
The Elephant Orphanage Pinnewala and the Millenium Elephant Foundation
If you are a lover of animals, you are going to be overwhelmed while visiting these places and you can easily visit both of them by taxi or by bus, since they are located in the same spot, on the road from Kandy to Kegalle. The bus ticket will cost you around LKR 40, and you’ll be able to enjoy the view of the scenic mountainous jungle area during your ride.
At the Elephant Orphanage Pinewala, you can have a great time observing more than 70 elephants kept in this orphanage, and the ticket costs around LKR 2500. The best time for you to explore the Orphanage is during the feeding and bathing time (09:30 AM to 10:30 AM or 01:30 PM to 02:30 PM).
The Millenium Elephant Foundation also offers a great opportunity for elephants observation but in a more adventurous way, and it is pretty cheaper than Pinewala Orphanage (ticket costs LKR 1000), which can be an important fact if you are traveling on the budget. Here you’ll be able to ride the elephants and join people washing them in the river.
The Royal Botanical Garden
If you are looking for some exploration of the Sri Lankan flora, you should catch a bus from Kandy in the direction of Peradeniya, which stops right in front of the Garden, where you will be able to observe the most popular and the best botanical garden in the entire country. The entrance ticket will cost you around LKR 1500, and the bus ticket around LKR 15-20 but it is totally worth it. The Royal Botanical Garden located in Peradeniya is the ancient garden that had its appearance changed many times during the history, every time in order to expand the diversity of plants. Nowadays, the greatest attractions in the garden are the bats, the orchid house, the banyan tree, and the suspension bridge.
Having in mind it’s the second largest city, Kandy has a great transport connection with many other important places in the country. Buses are the best traveling option and cover a large number of routes. Other options are taxis, minivans, and air taxis, operating from Colombo.
When it comes to transport in the city, walking is a popular option in the center of the city since it is not really large, or you can rent a scooter (in average, cost per day is around LKR 2000). If you don’t want to walk and find the rental too expensive, you can catch any of the local buses (all of them go from the Clock Tower bus station) or take a ride in the tuk-tuks (which operate even during the entire night).
Located in the mountainous area of the country, Kandy has a little sharper climate when compared to the rest of the country. That’s why it’s great place to be at when the temperatures in the hottest months, starting from March, go up. On the other hand, January and February are the best months for experiencing the fresh breeze of the hills of Kandy.
Eat and Drink
Being a large tourist attraction, Kandy offers a lot of different cafes and restaurants where you can have really enjoyable meals – ranging from local to international cuisine.
One of the best places for you to refill your energy supplies is Kandy Muslim Hotel, where you can have the tastiest naan and hot curries, as well as samosas and koththu roti.
Another gorgeous option for the lovers of the unusual atmosphere is Helga’s Folly, with the beautiful candelabras, sculptures, and murals.
Interesting Sri Lankan snacks can be found in Bakehouse, while the lovers of the view should also check Kandy House, that’ll make you fall in love with the delicious food and incredible view of rice terraces.
Whatever you do, don’t hesitate to taste the street food! It’s really cheap and exquisitely tasty.
Things to Carry
- Mosquito repellent
- Map of the city
- Clothes appropriate for temple visits
Known as the sacred city and the last capital of Sri Lanka in the era of kings, Kandy represents an incredible mixture of both cultural and natural tourist attractions, lulled between the lush of the rain forests. Its pleasant climate and delicious cuisine are only some of the reasons why tourists choose this destination for their first stop during their exploration of Sri Lanka.