Day trip guide to Kandy, Sri Lanka

A Day Trip Guide To Kandy, Sri Lanka

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Kandy is the second largest city in Sri Lanka and one of the three places that form the Cultural Triangle in the small country. Popularly known for the Buddhist Temple of Tooth, the city resides 500m above sea level and is nestled in the heart of lush central highlands. Pilgrims, tourists, explorers, and wanderers visit the place for its rich cultural heritage and picturesque landscapes. 

In this blog post, we will guide you through the highlights of Kandy, walk you through its iconic attractions, and unveil the best things you can see and do in this enchanting city.

A Day Trip Guide To Kandy

Best Time To Visit

City of Kandy, Sri Lanka

Although you can visit Kandy throughout the year, the best time is between January and March. The weather is pleasant, and the place sees minimal rainfall.

How To Reach?

By Air

Colombo International Airport is the nearest airport (IATA code: CMB, 103 Km). You have to take a bus from the airport to Kandy, which will take around 3 hours.

By Train

Kandy railway station is close to the city premises and has good connectivity to nearby cities and towns in Sri Lanka, including Badulla, Nanu Oya, Colombo, etc.

By Bus

There are frequent buses available from different places across Sri Lanka. You can easily reach the city via public transport.

Transport/Commute In Kandy

Almost all attractions in the city are at a walkable distance from each other. However, the botanical garden at Peradeniya is a little far, so you have to take a tuk-tuk or hop onto a bus to reach the place. We recommend using public transport as it immerses you in the city’s culture, is pocket-friendly, and is quite convenient. 

Note: Uber and PickMe services are available in the region.

Languages Spoken

Most of the local people converse in Sinhala. Very few converse in English.

Network Availability

Kandy has reliable connectivity with both Dialog and Airtel.

ATM Availability

There are many ATMs available in the city of Kandy.

Where To Stay?

Kandy is home to numerous resorts, hostels, and hotels. We stayed at Drop Hostel ($), and our experience was good. The hostel was at a walkable distance from the sites we wanted to see. Here are a few other recommendations for your stay in Kandy:

 

Where To Eat?

Veg and non-veg restaurants are lined up near the Temple of the Tooth, and you can also find franchises such as Pizza Hut. No matter what your palette is, these restaurants offer a variety of dishes for you to choose from. So, you need not worry about your food options in Kandy.

5 Places To Visit In Kandy

You can explore all the below-mentioned places in a single day. However, if you want to pace it out and take your time, stay in the city for a night, and you can cover the places in 2 days instead of 1.

1. Temple Of The Sacred Tooth Relic

Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic

The Temple of the Tooth is the most sacred temple for Buddhists as it is home to the canine tooth of Gautam Buddha. The relic is enclosed in a gold casket shaped like a stupa and comprises a series of 6 dagoba caskets of diminishing size. Thus, you will not be able to see the tooth.

In 1988, UNESCO declared the temple a World Heritage Site as it enshrined Buddha’s tooth. Also known as Sri Dalada Maligawa, the temple is built in Kandyan architectural style and is adorned with intricate carvings using gold, silver, bronze, and ivory.

Usually, the place is moderately crowded, but during festivals and weekends, the crowd size increases drastically. 

  • Timings: 5:30 AM – 8 PM
  • Entry Fee for foreigners: LKR 2000 for adults and free for children
  • Parking: Available
  • Restrooms: Available

Note: Strict dress codes apply. Wear dresses covering your shoulders and knees.

You can also visit several nearby museums, including the Dalada Museum, Raja the Tusker Museum, World Buddhist Museum, Kandy National Museum, and more. However, a separate entry fee is to be paid for each museum.

2. Royal Botanical Garden, Peradeniya

Peradeniya - Royal botanical garden

About 5.5 Km from Kandy resides the largest botanical garden in Sri Lanka. It spans about 147 acres and is bounded by the Mahaweli Ganga on three sides. With a large variety of plants, flowers, and trees, the garden is an abode for rich flora and fauna. One of its major attractions is the giant Javan fig tree that covers 2500 sq. m.

You can rent a guide and a golf cart at the entrance for an additional fee. With these, you can move around with ease. However, ensure you come early since you will have to wait in long queues for the same. If you’re fascinated by plants and flowers and want to experience the garden, the fee will be worth it. The garden also has a cafeteria and a restaurant where you can get snacks and refreshments. But, they are overpriced, and it’s better to stock up on food, water, and electrolytes before you visit the place.

  • Timings: 8 AM – 5:30 PM
  • Entry Fee for foreigners: LKR 2000 for adults, LKR 1000 for children between 5-12 years, and free for kids below 5 years
  • Duration: It’ll take at least 4-5 hours if you explore the garden on foot. So, plan accordingly.
  • Parking: Available
  • Restrooms: Available

3. Kandy Lake

Kandy lake at night

The Kandy Lake is an artificial structure with a circumference of about 3.21 Km. The site is located in the city’s heart and is an excellent place to unwind and relax. At the lake’s center, you’ll see a building with a few ruins, known as Diyathilaka Mandapaya. Although you cannot visit, the place here’s an interesting tidbit. People believe the building used to be a pavilion for kings to relax. You can stroll around the lake or visit a kid’s park nearby. The lake is always open, and you don’t have to pay an entry fee.

4. Sri Maha Bodhi Maha Viharaya

Sri Maha Bodhi Maha Viharaya

While walking along the streets of Kandy, we noticed a tall Buddhist statue with a viewpoint and walked toward it. Unfortunately, we were denied entry as we had to pay a donation of LKR 300 in the name of an entry ticket. This rule was only for foreigners, and the locals could visit the place without fulfilling such demands. We didn’t enter the place since we do not believe in adhering to such practices.

If you visit the place, here’s what you will find. You get an aerial view of the entire Kandy city from the hilltop temple entrance. From the view desk, you might get a clearer and broader view.

Note: Strict dress codes apply. Wear dresses covering your shoulders and knees.

5. Cultural Dance Show

Kandy dance show

A cultural dance show takes place for about an hour at the Kandy Cultural Centre every day at 5 PM. The artists perform traditional folk dances called Kulu Natuma, Ginisisila with Fire, the drum orchestra, etc. They also walk barefoot on fire. The event gets really crowded with tourists during the weekends and holidays, but if you find such events fascinating, you will have a good time.

  • Timings: 5 PM every day
  • Entry Fee: LKR 2000 for adults
  • Duration: 1 hour

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