Kandy is a busy city in the central province with a lot of places to visit. Its known as a sacred city of Buddhists with a major pilgrimage destination ” The Temple of Tooth Relic”.
How to get there
If you start your journey from Colombo, the easiest way to get there is the train! And the bus also a cheap way of transport to Kandy. You can get Kandy buses easily from Colombo Central bus stand.
The Best Way to explore Kandy
Most of the main tourist attractions are close to the city limits. If you prefer a day tour, you can hire a tuk-tuk or even a small car from Kandy. Just make sure you discuss the prices before getting to the vehicle. And you need to have strong bargaining skills as well.
How Long Do You Need to Explore Kandy
It actually depends on your schedules. But I recommend you to stay at least two days in Kandy to cover up all the main attractions without a rush.
Where to Stay in Kandy
Kandy has a lot of places to stay. If you are a budget traveler like me, there are plenty of hostels in the city limits. Also, luxury hotels and rest houses are also located beyond the city limits. Most of these hotels can arrange your tours as well.
Here are the top 10 things you can do in Kandy!
The Temple of Tooth Relic
This is the most sacred temple for Buddhists in the country. In ancient times its believed the person holds the tooth relic is the king of the country. Now it is safe in a gold casket with the guards. During daily puja times, tourists and pilgrims can visit this special area to offer flowers. Make sure you cover your shoulders and knees before entering this sacred place.
2. The Buddist Museum
Just walk behind the “Magul Maduwa”, the open house of the backyard in the temple of tooth relic. This is the largest collection of Buddhist exhibits in South Asia. You can even get a curator to guide you through this museum. It is not only about Sri Lankan history, more like the evolution of Buddhism in Asian countries.
3. Kandy Lake
The Kandy lake is located in the middle of the town and brings back the cool breeze throughout the day. It has a very long history back to the era of the last king of the country. During that time it was used only for the king’s pleasure and he had a secret tunnel under the water to reach the small island in the middle of that. You can enjoy a boat ride here from local vendors, who operates boat rides here.
4. Udawaththe Kale – A forest in the middle of a city
If you want to get out of noises in the bustling city, this is the best place to do that! It was also the king’s garden, eventually became a forest reserve. This wildlife sanctuary is a home for several mammals and recently I heard that it is home for two leopards as well. In the deep jungle, there are few Buddhist monasteries. So make sure you are respecting the nature and these Buddhist monks as well.
5. Garrison Cemetery
This land of graves are holding secrets under the ground from 1817 with tragic stories of the soldiers died during the colonial era. Most of these graves are from the soldiers and families who died from Malaria. Its located near to the entrance of the Temple of tooth relic from the front road. Worth a visit and explore the graves of these brave soldiers and their families.
6. Bahiravokanda Vihara Buddha Statue
This was my favorite from the trip, seeing the Kandy city from above. You can see a huge Buddha statue from anywhere in the town. It was all worth visit to enjoy the panoramic views and beyond Kandy. Again, make sure you wear appropriate clothing to enter the temple. I suggest visiting here in the evening to avoid hot grounds since you have to remove your shoes before entering.
7. View Point of the city
This was the last destination for the first day, It has breathtaking views all around the day. Especially during the sunset and once the city lit up. You can see all the city limits and the mountains and valleys beyond that.
The second day continues…
8. Peradeniya Botanical Garden
Sri Lanka’s largest botanical garden with a huge variety of flora. Its famous for the collection of Orchids, so make sure you visit the orchid garden. It has a huge area to walk, so if you are too lazy they can arrange you a buggy truck to roam around! And there are hundreds of bats in one area, so get prepared to walk through the canopy of bats.
9. Visiting Kandy City Centre
This is the largest shopping complex in Kandy, You can find more souvenir shops and coffee shops and basically everything here! Perfect for an evening tea or coffee in a cafe of the balcony of KCC.
10. Visit Cultural Shows
A must visit in Kandy if you would love to see a bit of Sri Lankan culture. There are three main shows located around the lake. The cost will be around 4 $ per hour and they will give a leaflet with the explanations as well.
I have listed three of the above with the location. Since they all have evening shows, you can easily spend an evening here and get a good rest after having a wonderful day in this busy city.