Kandy is one of the most scenic cities in Sri Lanka and lies in the midst of hills. It is the Capital of the Central Province. It is both an administrative and religious city. Kandy is the second largest city in the country and is frequently visited by Buddhists especially of the Theravada School.
Kandy is very famous among tourist for three main reasons: It is home to the sacred tooth relic of the Buddha (Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic; Dalada Maligawa), The Botanical Gardens (Located in Peradeniya) and it always has a special place when it comes to festivities such as the Esala Perahara.
Kandy is a beautiful hill town at the heart of Sri Lanka. It is accessible from all Sri Lankan cities via excellent roadways and is also connected to Colombo via rail. The most common way to reach Kandy is to travel to Colombo by air and then choose either road or rail depending on your comfort. Traveling within the city is no hassle either, there are many taxis and tuk-tuks scouting the city throughout the day.
The airport is about 150 kilometres away from Kandy and takes about 4 hours by road to reach.
By Rail: The Inter-City Express is a cheap and fast way to travel to Kandy. The city has three trains coming in from Badula and two from Colombo. The trains have observational saloons and second-class compartments that require prior booking. The third-class compartments run unreserved. The train passes through beautiful green hills and villages making the journey ever more exciting.
By Road: There are a number of air-conditioned intercity buses and other public and private buses that travel from Colombo to Kandy on a daily basis. Many buses, in fact, have a stop at the international airport. People often hire taxis, as they are easily available and are a safe way to travel even though this can be quite expensive. If you are going as a big group, then there are mini vans that can take you to Kandy comfortably. The journey should take about three and a half hours altogether.
The city of Kandy is not a very large one, so one of the best ways to experience it is by walking or renting a scooty. However, the most popular way of getting around is by tuk tuk taxis. They are fast and cheap and travel to the outskirts of the city as well. You will find some public and private buses within the city limits. There is a bus stand right at the city railway station which will be useful for people arriving by train.
The Sacred City of Kandy is situated in the mountainous interior of Sri Lanka. At such an elevation the temperature usually becomes much more tolerable than other parts of the country. The city is surrounded by tropical rain-forests that also mellow down the temperature. As such, Kandy's weather is luke-warm and the average temperature lies between 23 to 25 degrees centigrade, so the major seasonal change comes with the arrival of monsoon winds. Sri Lanka experiences two monsoon seasons, the Yala Monsoon Season which comes first, lasts longer and is not as heavy as the Maha Monsoon Season. A dry season follows monsoon and is easily the best time to visit Kandy.
The Dry Season (January to April)
The Dry Season is characterized by scanty rainfall and most importantly low humidity. This combination makes it a perfect time to visit the island and enjoy every aspect of it, like trekking, sight-seeing and exploring the city. The temperature can go as low as 18 degrees centigrade to as high as 30 degrees centigrade during the season. But thanks to its height above the sea, it is far more comfortable than the rest of the island.
The Yala Monsoon Season (May to September)
The months of May, August and September see much shorter and lesser rain than the other months in the season. The months of June and July experience long showers and torrential rain making it very hard to do activities like trekking and sightseeing. However, this doesn’t have to stop you from coming here especially if you want to enrol at a meditation centre or explore the cultural aspects of the city. In fact, with tourist traffic out of your way and the romantic monsoon clouds hanging over the city, this may be the perfect time to do so.
The Maha Monsoon Season (October to December)
As the name suggests, the maha (meaning great or large) monsoon season brings with it the most amount of rainfall. This is perhaps the most severe of all seasons and is the most avoided time of the year. Not only is the climate humid, but the instability of the weather makes it difficult to plan anything and can make your trip difficult to organize.
Kandy is an old city in the island of Sri Lanka that is immersed in Buddhist culture. This makes Kandy an important pilgrimage site and a mystical land brimming with stories and legends. Thanks to the tropical forest that surrounds the city and the many parks within, Kandy has a close relationship with nature. There is no better way to soothe the nerves than to spend a few days here, in the cultural capital of the country. Read on to find a list of things to do in Kandy.
Situated in the green interiors of Sri Lanka, Kandy has a number of spots that are truly unique to the area. Udawattakele Forest Reserve is a large area of woodland hanging above the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic. The forest is especially known among bird watchers for the indigenous birds found here. Then, a little away from the city of Kandy is the vast range of the Knuckle Mountains. The range is covered by lush green forests and has some exciting nature trails. Within the city there is the lesser visited Dunumadalawa Forest Reserve which is at the end of the Hanthana range. This range also has some very beautiful hike-able routes.
Kandy is at the centre of many of the historic movements that took place in Sri Lanka. This is why a visit to historic monuments and other cultural sites will prove to be an interesting trip. The Temple of the Sacred Tooth relic always tops the list, with its captivating legends and its stunning architecture and rituals. You can also visit a number of Buddhist temples when you are here, including Degal Doruwa Raja Maha Vihara cave temple and Alut Maligawa.
Kandy also has a large number of museums among which the National Museum and the Ceylon Tea Museum are the most popular. The Loolkandura Estate is the first tea plantation site in Kandy, a tour of the fragrant tea factory here will be both delightful and informative.
Knuckle Mountains have many trekking routes and you will easily find guides to help with treks. There are treks that last from a day to about 3 days. The best part of the trek is the number of wild animals and birds that can be spotted here. The camp sites are located at picturesque hillsides, either overlooking rivers, or valleys. Within the city, a really great trek is up the Secret Walkers Forest. The scene here is incomparable, but make sure you get the municipal council’s permission first. Hanthana Mountain range from the city also has a few routes that should be ideal for a one-day trek.
Meditation and Yoga
Being the spiritual capital of the country and a popular pilgrimage destination among Buddhists, it is no surprise that Kandy has some of the best meditation centres around. Institutions like Dhamma Kuta Vipassana Meditation Centre and Nilambe Meditation Centre offer yoga and meditation courses that usually last about ten days. They are located amidst tranquil environments that inspire spirituality.
The Kandy Esala Perahera is the most important festival celebrated here. They celebrate the Sacred Tooth of Buddha by a series of colourful processions, dances and songs. One of the major attractions of the festival is the Kandyan Dance. The dance is a special art form specific to this region and features percussion, narration of folklore and elaborate costumes, the most noticeable of which is the headdress. The procession is led by an elephant carrying a casket, within which the relic is usually kept.
Being the second largest city in Sri Lanka, Kandy is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. Vibrant markets and bustling cityscapes are what make Kandy such a beautiful city. Not just backpackers and solo travelers, but families are also pretty fond of making a stop here during their Sri Lanka tour. It’s a great place to enjoy some shopping along with the natural beauty. The family hotels in Kandy are a great choice of stay as they have facilities for both kids and adults. One is sure to have an enjoyable time at these exquisite properties.
There are plenty of Kandy family hotels for one to choose from based on their budget and space preferences. Both luxury and budget properties are dotted all around the city welcoming travelers to enjoy a warm and homely stay. Romance Hills Hotel, Mintaas Hotel, and Kandy water are some of the more affordable options while Earl’s Regency Hotel, The Golden Crown Hotel and Amaya Hills Kandy are some of the premium properties. There is no denying that no matter what family hotel one opts for, one will not be disappointed but the unparalleled Kandy hospitality.
The food in Kandy, as it is in all other parts of Sri Lanka, is heavily influenced by its neighbors in South India and South-East of Asia and has also incorporated continental tastes from the colonial times. Along with a delicious variety of sea food and tropical fruits, you will not find it difficult to find food that you love in Kandy. While the staple food of the country, rice and curry is easily available, don't underestimate it for being mundane. Among the more popular street food is hoppers, a sort of fermented bread that is often flavored with sweet or spicy ingredients. The main street of Kandy is lined with food stalls where you can find a variety of such things. Kottu is another popular dish which has shredded bread fried usually with egg or cheese.
Are you looking for one of the best places to eat in Kandy on a romantic evening- You should head to the famous Kandy House? Once the villa of the last Chief Minister of Kandyan Kingdom, the building was converted into a sophisticated designer boutique hotel and restaurant years later. It has a charming garden and a lovely view of the paddy fields. For a romantic dinner, Kandy House restaurant is the perfect spot, especially if you pick the verandah that glows with lights, and lanterns.
Must Try: Beef massaman curry with basmati rice and broccoli, and poached fillet of para fish with jasmine rice
Cuisine: A creative mix of traditional Sri Lankan cuisine and European fusion
Location: Amunugama, Gunnepana, Kandy
Kandyan King Seafood Restaurant
Want to try the seafood in Kandy- There is no better place than Kandyan King Seafood Restaurant. The staff is friendly and helpful, and the restaurant serves some of the most delicious seafood in the whole country. The best part about this eatery is that it is affordable and offers high-quality food at superb prices. Also, it is close to attractions like World Buddhist Museum, Royal Palace of Kandy, Udawattekele Sanctuary, and Temple of the sacred Tooth Relic.
Must Try: Fish and chips, and seafood
Cuisine: Sri Lankan, Asian, and Chinese
Location: 136, DS Senanayake Street, Kandy
When it comes to Indian restaurants in Kandy, there is no place quite like Balaji Dosai. This is a simple, no-frills eatery that serves some of the most delicious Indian dishes in the city. It is affordable and has a welcoming, helpful staff, so service is always great. If you have a liking for authentic Indian food and are searching for amazing Indian vegetarian restaurants in Kandy, Balaji Dosai is the place to be.
Must Try: Paper dosa, cheese dosa, and Ulundu vadai
Cuisine: Indian, and Asian
Location: No. 09 Peradeniya Road, 09 D.S. Senanayake Veediya, Kandy
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There are numerous places to visit in Kandy on a single day trip. Some of the places to visit in Kandy in one day are Temple of the Tooth Relic, Royal Botanical Garden, Kandy Lake and more.
The city is known for being the last capital of the ancient Sri Lankan era of Kings. It is the religious as well as administrative city of Sri Lanka. It is famous for the Tooth Relic, which is considered to be one of the holiest places in Buddhism.
Yes, Kandy is worth visiting. Not only is it Sri Lanka’s second-largest city, it is also a great place for shopping for local spices and souvenirs. You can also visit the famous tea plantations and go to the beach while you’re here.
There are a range of things you can do in Kandy, like embark on a peaceful retreat to Ashburnham Estate, visit the famous Dambulla Cave Temple, and meditate at Nilambe Buddhist Meditation Centre, among other things.