How to spice up your Sri Lanka trip with a visit to Kandy


Where is Kandy? Kandy, a popular city listed in your Sri Lanka Trips itinerary, is situated in the central hills of Sri Lanka and is preceded by stories of interesting historical accounts and unique cultural anecdotes. Ever wondered how to explore this fascinating city? Well, welcome to your guide to Kandy!

The colourful Kandy Perahera

You are lucky to be in the tropical paradise of Sri Lanka. But if you happen to travel to Kandy in July or August, it is either because you know exactly what you are doing, or you are insanely lucky!

July and August are auspicious months for Kandyans and Buddhists across the country. This is when the “Esala Perahera,” the festival where Buddhists pay homage to the tooth relic of the Lord Buddha takes place. The Perahera culminates in the carrying of the relic which is accompanied by colourfully adorned dancers, Kandyan officials, elephants draped in glamorous capes, drummers, and flag bearers. Thousands from around the country and the world watch the parade from either side of the streets. This ceremony is a reflection of Sri Lanka’s vibrant culture and attracts tourists around the world!

A visit to the temple of the Tooth

A visit to the glorious temple where the tooth relic resides (Sri Dalada Maligawa) can make your Sri Lanka trip that much blessed! The Temple of the Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha is located in the Royal Palace complex belonging to the ancient kingdom of Kandy which was the capital of Sri Lanka many centuries ago. This temple is a popular landmark in the itinerary of tourists who are interested in exploring local culture. It is not only significant as a UNESCO world heritage site and revered by Buddhists around the world but also known for its unique Kandyan architecture.

Trek through the Udawatta Kele Sanctuary

One of the best things to do in Kandy during your Sri Lanka trips is to trail through the Udawatta Kele forest reserve. Perched on a hill behind the Temple of the Tooth lies this sanctuary, also referred to as the Royal Forest Park of Kandy. Find endemic fauna and flora including fishing cats and palm-squirrels in this verdant forest. Walk through tall tree-canopies to catch a sight of colourful birds. Udawatta Kele is a nature lover’s paradise that also features scattered temples, water ponds, mountains, and mysterious caves from the time of the kings.  

What are the best hotels and resorts in Kandy?

Every Sri Lanka Trips itinerary includes a few days of stay in Kandy. Kandy deserves to be explored slowly, with ample time to uncover its mysteries. Choose from a list of resorts and hotels in Kandy that best suit your budget and requirements. Here are a few suggestions that will make finding accommodation in Kandy simpler for you.

Earls Regency Hotel –A classic, colonial-style hotel with stunning views of tea gardens. 

Queen’s Hotel Kandy – Originally a governor’s mansion, this hotel is now a British Colonial style luxury hotel that offers spectacular views of the Kandy Lake.

Cinnamon Citadel, Kandy – A truly enticing hotel with royal heritage, Cinnamon Citadel is surrounded by emerald hills and bordered by Sri Lanka’s longest river.  

Golden Crown Hotel, Kandy – Just a 10-minute drive away from the Temple of the Tooth Relic, this is a 5-star hotel situated amidst lush paddy fields.

OZO Kandy – A playful space with a rooftop swimming pool and bar, this Hotel features rooms with city, garden, and mountain views and is nestled amidst misty mountains and tea plantations.

Where to shop in Kandy?

Shopping in Kandy is one of the most satisfying things to do when on a Sri Lanka trips. There are many authentic Sri Lankan arts and handicrafts boutiques that cater to tourists here. Pick out colourful batik clothing in one of the stores in the city; batik has become a chic hallmark of Sri Lankan fashion.

Walk into the main Kandy market at the heart of the city where locals and tourists can find affordable souvenirs, or shop in boutiques like LUV SL by ODEL, Jayamali Batik Studios, and Selyn for equally authentic and well-crafted souvenirs.

Royal Botanical Gardens in Kandy

Once the pleasure garden of the Kandyan queen, the Royal Botanical Garden, also known as the Peradeniya Botanical Garden, displays over 4 000 different species of plants which are regarded amongst the most superior in Asia.  

Renowned for its collection of orchids and the long, palm framed pathways, the garden is spread over 60 hectares of sublimely designed lawns, pavilions, and plant houses, and is a fragrant and colourful treat to the senses. 

Tour around Kandy by cycling!

One of the fun things to do when you travel to Kandy is to rent a bicycle, cycle freely through the bustling streets, and stop by roadside shops to try delicious street food. Sri Lanka trips are absolutely amusing when you cycle through its cities! Stop at historically significant sites such as the ‘Bahirawakanda Vihara Buddha statues’ and ‘Embekke Dewalaya’ to learn about Sri Lankan culture and to experience the diversity of its people. A dip into the Kandy Lake, locally known as ‘Kiri Muhuda’ is also recommended.

As the sun sets, enjoy a drink of ‘Thambili’ (king coconut, a tropical fruit drink in Sri Lanka) to quench your thirst as you listen to the hymns of the ‘Dalada Maligawa’ and make conversation with the locals.

The iconic train ride from Kandy to Ella

Do you know the best way to leave Kandy? By train, course! This could be your favourite part of the Sri Lanka trips. Witness scenic beauty swishing past you as never before in visions of verdant forests, charming tea plantations, and misty mountains!

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