Kandy, better known as the capital of Sri Lanka’s hill country, has become a must-see tourist destination, and for good reason. The history of Kandy dates back to the 15th century when it was the country’s last true capital. Located only 115 km from Colombo it is the second largest city in Sri Lanka. Kandy has a lot of culture connected to it; The Temple of the Tooth is the area’s most popular attraction. The center of the city is located in a valley 600 meters above sea level. Kandy Lake is an artificial creation of one of the past rulers, and now forms part of the city centre. Kandy, which also has an international cricket stadium, attracts thousands of cricket fans yearly. Sport, religion, history and culture, Kandy has it all! Do not miss out on at least a day in Kanday during your visit to Sri Lanka.
Foodies in Kandy
If you are looking for a place to eat and recharge before setting off to explore Kandy, take a pit stop at the Empire Café. Besides the excellent but typical local fare, they serve a selection of Western meals. If you need a break from the amazing rice and curries Sri Lanka is famous for, mac and cheese, swordfish fillets and burgers are all available here. This may be a welcome brunch after days of rice and curry.
For dinner, check out Sharron Inn where you can partake of a nightly buffet in the relaxed ambience of the rooftop terrace. Another great restaurant is Slightly Chilled, where you can enjoy delicious chicken dishes on the terrace, while looking out over the city. Michael Richardson stumbled on Sri Lanka somewhat by accident in the 1990’s and runs this popular dining spot. Go for the local cuisine choices here as their devilled curries come very highly recommended.
Buddhism is the primary influence on Kandy’s culture. Traditional festivals are organized and celebrated quite often for religious reasons. Navam Perehara, Duruthu Perehera, the Poson Festival and many others bring grand celebrations to the hillside city. The most important festival held here is called Esala Perahera. During this celebration, one of the inner coffin relic’s – Buddha’s tooth – is brought out in public for a procession through the city. Many elephants from across Sri Lanka are brought to Kandy for this elaborate procession. This festival usually attracts large crowds from all over the country and even abroad for this grand event!
Unique Sights for a day in Kandy
Ranweli Spice Garden
Traders from around the world have visited Sri Lanka for it’s spices and herbs. For connoisseurs of flavour, the spices of Sri Lanka are a colorful story and a nice surprise. The variety of spices is almost unparalleled. Kandy’s new herb and spice garden Ranweli is located near the Royal Botanical Garden Peradeniya, and can be easily reached by tuk-tuk or taxi.
Alagalla A Mountain
Alagalla is one of the most important and most beautiful mountains of Sri Lanka. Located in the Kegalle district, the mountain is 1200 meters tall and offers supurb hikes. As you cross Mawanella, you will see the beautiful mountain beside the Colombo-Kandy Road on your right. Luckily this majestic sight can be seen on your way in or out of Kandy, so it won’t take up any additional time to travel there.
Botanical Garden of Peradeniya
No visit to Kandy is complete without seeing the Royal Botanical Garden of Peradeniya, just 6.5km south of the city. The garden consists of nearly 150 hectares dedicated to the flora of Sri Lanka. Visitors can explore the spectacular arboretum containing many endemic trees. Also famous is the collection or orchids that are carefully grown within the gardens. There are more than 110 native plants and more than 200,000 specimens in the herbarium. Curators of the gardens have collected specimens over the 180 years of the garden’s existence.
White water rafting
The most important place on the island for rafting is Kithulgala. Movie buffs may remember the Oscar award-winning movie “The Bride on the Kuwai River” which was filmed on this river. There are also water activities available on local rivers that pass through Kandy. There’s nowhere better to get your adrenaline fix.
The mountainous region around Kandy offers the ideal hiking terrain. Spectacular landscapes, beautiful views and a pleasantly mild climate. Trekking through the Lowlands forests that are rich in wildlife can also be a very rewarding experience. You don’t need to be an expert hiker as smaller treks are available from within the downtown centre of Kandy itself.
As long as you avoid main roads, cycling in Sri Lanka can be a real treat and a welcome change from a crowded car. For serious cyclists, the island’s modest size and diverse landscapes provide the perfect ingredients for a fun two-wheeler trip. Travelling by bike is the easiest way to explore some delightful lanes around Kandy.
These are just a few suggestions of how to experience a day in Kandy, the hills hub of Sri Lanka. We can help customise your day in Kandy to ensure you get the best out of your tour to this hillside city of Sri Lanka.