It is a city that will surely exceed your expectations. Kandy is a beautiful city, a little smaller than Colombo, but not quite a village like Ella.
Want an adrenaline rush, panoramic views, magnificent temples, lovely lakes, direct contact with wildlife, local rituals and dances and lots of good food? Kandy has all of that.
Embark with us on this trip to Kandy, a place that will surely mark your life in every way!
- Where is Kandy in Sri Lanka?
- Places to visit in Kandy?
- 1. Temple of the Tooth in Kandy – Dalada Maligawa
- 2. Maligawa Dalada Museum
- 3. Kandy Lake
- 4. Bahirawakanda Vihara Buddha Statue
- 5. Udawattakele Forest Reserve in Kandy
- 6. Kandy Municipal Market
- 7. Waterfalls in Kandy
- 8. Giragama Tea Plantation Factory in Kandy
- 9. Kandy Botanical Garden
- 10. Spice Garden in Kandy
- 11. Dance in Kandy
- 12. The Commonwealth Cemetery in Kandy
- 13. Elephant Orphanage in Kandy – the place not to visit
- How to move around Kandy?
- What are the best restaurants in Kandy?
- Places to stay in Kandy
- The weather and the best time to visit Kandy
- How many days you should stay in Kandy?
Where is Kandy in Sri Lanka?
Kandy is close to Ella in central Sri Lanka and is a bridge for a revealing journey into the hills of the teas. There are truths in these paths that we discovered and revealed to you in this article: Kandy to Ella: Know all the facts hidden in this lovely adventure.
But, Kandy is much more, and we will reveal why she is so revered by Buddhism fans and tourists from all over the world.
Kandy is one of the largest cities in Sri Lanka. It is a busy city with about 125 thousand inhabitants.
It is a similar city Columbus, but it gains the prominence by its mountains and by being known worldwide as the heart of the Buddhism.
Places to visit in Kandy?
With so many attractions in Kandy, it is impossible to list them all. Feel free to relax in a stupa or watch a performance filled with magic and excitement. Welcome to Kandy a city that has all the sensations for you to feel.
With that in mind, we prepared the best attractions and stay tuned for the last one. It is a complaint. Be careful not to be deceived by what appears, because it has an obscure end!
1. Temple of the Tooth in Kandy – Dalada Maligawa
The Temple of the Tooth is one of the most important shrines not only of Kandy but of Sri Lanka. During the year he receives many visits for devotees to worship Buddha’s Tooth.
They take advantage of the on-site ceremonies and appreciate the ivory statues that adorn the Temple.
The Temple has been redesigned, and you will be impressed with the modern structure that the Temple presents, beginning with the beauty of the garden just outside the entrance.
Temple of the Tooth is very close to Lake Kandy and within walking distance of the city center. Because of its location, it is a quiet place that inspires a lot of peace to visitors.
If you want to enter the temple garden, make sure you are in the right attire: shoulders and legs covered.
If in case you are not, in any place near where you will find the stores that sell the traditional sarongs – official dress of the monks.
Even if you are wearing shorts that are allowed, they invite you to buy sarongs at these stores. Maybe it’s a way to increase the sales of the small dealer.
In the garden, you can walk shoes without a problem, but for you to enter the Temple, there you will leave the shoes in an appropriate place. In that case, you will pay about 100 rupees when you get up. If you do not like to walk barefoot, then bring comfortable socks.
Before entering the temple, you have to buy your ticket, at the tourist price, of course, for 1500 rupees. Right next to the ticket office you will find temple guides, available to guide you, for the right price, of course.
Well, ignore them since, in the end, they will charge a high price (about 1500 rupees) for the service they provide. They explain only the translations of the plates and nothing else.
In reality, it does not pay you to pay for a guide, it pays you to go and feel the energy of the environment.
The best time to visit the Temple of the Tooth is at 18:30. It is at this time that the daily ceremony begins, with the drums echoing throughout the temple, and also the moment when the concentration of people is more significant.
The highlight there, as the name says, is Buddha’s own Tooth. It’s tightly locked in a golden vault, inside the temple on the second floor so you will not see it, but you can come up to see the vault.
There is only one way to get to the safe: after passing the crowded room, you will have to enter a narrow hallway full of people. If you’re curious, just look at the line and wait your turn.
Amid a crowd of people lining you, you will be gazed at by the chest that holds the Buddha’s tooth. The passage is fast, and it is expressly forbidden to take photos inside the environment.
Outside of the Temple of the Tooth are other smaller temples including a Buddhist pagoda, very typical in countries like Nepal.
The Temple of the Tooth is the first place for you to meet and relax from the hustle and bustle of the trip.
2. Maligawa Dalada Museum
The Dali Museum Maligawa is one of the places that most portray the history and evolution of Buddhism in the country.
It is close to the Temple of the Tooth and not visiting it is a mistake.
You will be able to know the different philosophies of Buddhism and how these teachings have been expanded all over the world.
If you like culture and history this is a place you should visit as soon as possible.
3. Kandy Lake
Lake Kandy is nearer or better, its waters protect the Temple of the Tooth. It’s in a quieter area, maybe this attraction is one of the best of your trip.
It pays to stop to feed the migrating birds, enjoy the fresh air because of the lush planting and stroll the pond feeding the ducklings.
Lake Kandy is a lovely place, and from the pictures, you can see the tranquility of the site. But it was not always so…
In the eighteenth century when the ruler of Kandy determined that the lake was created, many people opposed it. These people were slain in the middle of the lake.
4. Bahirawakanda Vihara Buddha Statue
The Bahirawakanda Vihara Buddha statue stands next to the tea plantations being a pilgrimage spot for Buddhists.
This statue is giant and noticeable from any point in Kandy, Sri Lanka. If you walk, prepare to climb the steep stairs, it will take about 30 minutes. If it is tuk-tuk is faster.
Anyway upon arriving you will be rewarded with a beautiful view of Kandy. Also, while visiting the place, relax listening to the typical Buddhist singing.
At any moment the statue is lit up being the stage of worship and reverence by the Buddhists. It has a new look because it is always retouched to maintain brightness and vivid color.
Again remember to go in proper attire and do not take selfies offshore for the statue.
When you return, rest assured that within a maximum of 15 minutes you will be back down to Kandy, Sri Lanka.
5. Udawattakele Forest Reserve in Kandy
The Udawattakele Forest Reserve in Kandy is home to several species of mammals.
This park is about a 20-minute walk from Temple of the Tooth. The park entrance is on the right side of the Tapovanaya Monastery. They charge a fee to visit the place.
In ancient times, this forest reserve was once the refuge of the kings of Kandy. Today it is a quiet place with essential points for meditation and relaxation.
As you stroll through the park, you will see various information boards explaining the diversity of animal and plant species. A real jungle in the heart of Kandy.
6. Kandy Municipal Market
The Kandy Municipal Market is a place where several shops sell clothes, accessories, jewelry, handicrafts, typical and imported fruits.
This market is close to the train station and on the way to the Udawattakele Forest Reserve.
The fruits they sell are more expensive than the other trades in the city. Because of this, we recommend that before you buy, ask the price first and try to negotiate.
You can take advantage to buy some fruit of your choice to eat during your trip to Kandy.
7. Waterfalls in Kandy
There are 4 waterfalls in Kandy that are close to each other.
These beautiful places are close to the Knuckles Mountain range outside of Kandy and still little publicized.
The waterfalls stand on top of the hills, and you can imagine the visibility it offers!
Enjoy to relax, dive or merely to see the tea plantations.
8. Giragama Tea Plantation Factory in Kandy
The Tea Factory is a place for you to see up close the cultivation of the teas and how they are prepared because they will be tasty and are the best in the world.
The Chás Factory is located far from Kandy and has beautiful plantations that will fill your eyes with such beauty.
At the top of the Hills and outside of Kandy, meet the tea plantations. You will see the cultivation and how this process is done until it is prepared and served to the visitors.
At the end of the tour, you can buy the best teas they produce. We suggest you purchase traditional green tea without the exotic flavors they sell. Natural green teas are more delicious.
9. Kandy Botanical Garden
The Botanical Garden of Kandy is a place marked by tall green trees. It is worth spending to relax and take beautiful photos.
This garden is outside the city, and according to reports, it was created so that royalty could enjoy.
It pays to reserve an hour that is enough to see the trees, the birds and the rare collections of orchids.
By being a quiet environment, you will always find monks with their habits.
10. Spice Garden in Kandy
The spice garden is a place where they plant and cultivate the plants that give rise to the most famous spices in the country.
It is about 20 minutes from Lake Kandy and right next to the botanical garden. The tour to know is free.
The traveler walks through the trees, and the guides teach the processes of extracting some plants.
There is a traditional shop selling spices such as the “Salacia reticulata wight” bark efficient in glycemic control. The prices that they usually charge are well above the normal ones check well if it pays to buy.
Some travelers get a massage, but make no mistake they are usually expensive and fast.
11. Dance in Kandy
The dance and drums show in Kandy is an impossible ritual to resist. The dance itself is very energetic, vibrant and full of movements.
Men and women in colorful clothes dance and dance to the drums.
These dances are not at all conventional. They dance imitating the peacock’s movements, balancing the drums, jumping through the air.
You can watch any such presentation in the following locations:
- Kandyan Art Association & Cultural Center: on the north side of Lake Kandy.
- Kandy Lake Club: Located near Sanghamitta Mawatha.
- Mahanuwara YMBA: near the southwest region of Lake Kandy.
12. The Commonwealth Cemetery in Kandy
The Commonwealth Cemetery is a memorial regarding the English men who died during World War II and even some of World War I.
The site is well-kept, the tombs are well-kept and surrounded by grasses and flowers.
Being a quiet place, it is much sought after by the travelers of the world who pay homage and revere these warriors.
This is one of several well-tended cemeteries in Sri Lanka with economic support from the British.
13. Elephant Orphanage in Kandy – the place not to visit
Do you remember that obscure place we mentioned at the beginning of the article? Well, it’s the Kandy Elephant Orphanage, a home where many elephants live outside of their natural habitat, and nothing is as it seems.
An elephant orphanage is a place where many elephants live in unconventional ways.
This place is an abuse, and we will explain why. It is located in Rambukkana and was formerly under control of the Sri Lankan government.
In fact, it all started when the country’s government came up with the idea of creating an orphanage to house the elephants who lost their herd during the war against the Tamil Tigers.
But the good intentions stayed with the days counted and began the greater open exploration of elephants in Kandy.
Because these elephants are brought from the jungle, taken from their herd and, are locked and exposed to a scorching sun poorly fed. They only get food when the gates open, and the uninformed tourists have fun feeding them with crumbs.
Unfortunately, this orphanage is not the only one, there are many other explorers, and they compete with each other. They are almost all in the same area of Kandy, suggesting incredible moments like an elephant walking, but have no doubt that these animals are suffering, a lot.
Do not be fooled by this video recorded there.
Such as those who are on the road, stuck in the sun for all to see, especially tourists. But they could not be doing worse to this noble animal.
We recommend that you do not go to this orphanage and report these mistreatments.
How to move around Kandy?
Kandy, it’s a small town so you’ll save money on transportation to see the main attractions, especially when they’re nearby.
The Temple of the Tooth, the lake of Kandy, the Natural Park, the Municipal Market, and the train station, you can go on foot.
Now to climb the hill and see the Buddha statue, elephant orphanage and tea factory the best solution is the tuk-tuk. Although the prices are not so abusive, the ideal is to negotiate.
And speaking of displacement, check out our full article on transportation in Sri Lanka and learn how to dodge charlatans.
What are the best restaurants in Kandy?
Have you noticed that Kandy is such a city, right? Do not stop there …
Check out a list of the best restaurants and bars and savor the best of local cuisine as well as have the opportunity to experience the typical dishes of other countries with a distinctive Sinhalese flair.
Siri Ramya Restaurant, Kandy
The local Siri Ramya restaurant is quiet, and tourists rarely go there.
This restaurant serves typical Sinhalese, Chinese, and even Thai foods. They also serve Kothu, the typical dish of the country.
Restaurante Devon Place
The Devon Place Restaurant is a restaurant serving mostly Indian and Chinese foods.
Close to the Temple of the Tooth, in this Indian restaurant, you will be able to taste some Indian food, serving with the mildest flavor of India.
Try the curry, with chicken, fish, and vegetables is a dish they do not abuse in the seasoning. But, always confirm the menu before choosing your food.
Café 1886 by salgado
Café 1886 by Salgado is a charming, two floors cozy restaurant well known by locals and tourists.
This restaurant is more touristy and very well referenced on the nomination sites: TripAdvisor and Lonely Planet. They serve various types of food from salad to more spicy and spicy foods and the famous Kothu (fried rice, egg, chicken, fish, seafood).
The Pub is a bar serving various types of drinks such as the typical Sinhalese Lion beer, whiskey, gin, and others.
Try to go at night, but do not go past 10pm to sit in the outside area and to the sound of a music watch the movement of the street.
Places to stay in Kandy
In the next few lines, you will see our suggestion of the best hostels and hotels suggested and reviewed by travelers on TripAdvisor and Booking.
Feel free to choose the accommodations according to your commercial availability and expectation for your trip in Kandy.
The Clock Inn Kandy is a more modern hotel, and it is close to the city center and the Buda statue.
And a very comfortable hotel the rooms have air conditioning and options for bunk beds or beds.
The difference is that it serves a complimentary breakfast. Also, you’ll find there free wifi and free parking.
The Kandy City View Hostel is a simple yet comfortable place.
It is close to the National Museum and the Malwathu Maha Viharaya Temple.
The atmosphere is pleasant, and you will find other travelers like you to make friendships and exchange experiences.
The rooms have simple ventilation and modest facilities with an option to choose between bunk beds or double beds.
The differentials of this hostel are that it offers a picnic area and swimming pool for recreation.
Sharon Inn is a hotel with an elegant entrance it is located next to the Temple of the Tooth, a dance club of Kandy and the Kandy Cemetery.
The hotel facilities are modest but charming. They serve breakfast, they provide laundry services.
If you want an exclusive room for non-smokers and air conditioning, you will like the Sharon Inn.
Viyana Boutique Hotel is a luxurious and comfortable place.
It is close to the Temple of the Tooth and the lake of Kandy. How about waking up, looking out the window and contemplating the view and the pure air of nature is the maximum, right?
The wood-fired facilities and furnishings add a unique and sophisticated touch to the hotel.
If you are willing to pay a little more and enjoy amenities like hot tubs and surreal views, the Viyana Boutique Hotel is your place.
The Elegant Hotel goes by the same budget level as the previous one. The hotel is very charming and offers you a private relaxing area.
Well, the Elegant Hotel offers this and more. It is located next to the Kandy Botanical Garden.
In addition to the sophisticated facilities, the hotel serves breakfast with a variety of Sinhalese, Indian and Thai dishes.
The weather and the best time to visit Kandy
The weather in Kandy warm during the 12 months and the temperatures rotate around 15º to 35º, never goes beyond that.
Kandy always suffers from monsoon seasons. Avoid going between April and September and in October and November, when the Maha monsoon occurs.
These monsoons occur in various parts of Sri Lanka and bring natural disasters such as floods and windstorms.
The best time to visit in Kandy is between mid-December and mid-March. Want to know more about the monsoons and what parts of the island does it reach? Check out this full article on the climate in Sri Lanka.
How many days you should stay in Kandy?
As we have seen, Kandy is a lovely city and worthy of your visit. It is not just a bridge to travel by train to Ella.
Kandy is a city that deserves to stop you and according to your mood choose from the main attractions of the busiest parties to the most relaxing places.
Schedule yourself to stay for 3 days, and we assure you that it will still be insufficient.
The attractions are so vibrant and exciting that it is impossible to describe all the feelings. As you have seen, religiosity, culture and environmental preservation are standard features in Kandy.
This place reveals a unique culture, and it is no wonder that Kandy was declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco.
Do you like Kandy Sri Lanka? See how revealing she is and with all her emotions at the same time? Check out the other cities and plot the complete itinerary on your trip to Sri Lanka.