Kandy is the heart of Sri Lanka that every dedicated, passionate traveler must visit. It is not merely a World Heritage City; you also have plenty of great things to do in this enchanting hill country. So, in this post, we will be covering some of the most exciting things to do in Kandy that could make your stay here an exceptional experience!
Surrounded by a breathtaking mountain range that overlooks the city, Kandy is no short of places to visit and things to do, such as:
- Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic (ශ්රී දළදා මාලිගාව)
- Esala Perahera (ඇසළ පෙරහැර)
- Royal Botanical Gardens of Peradeniya (රාජකීය උද්භිද උද්යානය, පේරාදෙණිය)
- Hanthana Mountain Range (හන්තාන කඳුවැටිය)
- Ambuluwawa Tower (අම්බුළුවාව)
- Kandy lake round (නුවර වැව රවුම)
- The cultural shopping experience in Kandy
- The food experience in Kandy
- Udawatta Kele Sanctuary (උඩවත්තකැලේ අභයභූමිය)
- Kandy View Point
- Ceylon Tea Museum (තේ කෞතුකාගාරය)
- Embekke Devalaya and Lankathilaka Viharaya (ඇම්බැක්කේ දේවාලය/ ලංකාතිලක විහාරය)
- Bahirawakanda buddha statue (බහිරවකන්ද විහාර බුද්ධ ප්රථිමාව)
- Digana Victoria Golf Park (දිගන වික්ටෝරියා ගොල්ෆ් පිටිය)
- Kandy to Ella train tour
- Seaplane tours from Kandy
- Night Camping in Kandy
17 Great Things To Do In Kandy That’ll Make Your Stay Amazing!
Anyone who visits Sri Lanka undeniably gets dazzled by Kandy’s titillated beauty and tranquility. This enchanted hill country is enriched with plush vegetation, mountains that stand high, and waterbodies that rejuvenate the soil. At the same time, it also holds prominence as a significant cultural and religious hub accountable for the country’s proud heritage.
You could get to Kandy by using public or private transport. And if you are using public transport, getting by bus or train would be the best choice. So, let’s track down what exciting things you can do and places you could visit once you come down to this beautiful hill city.
1- Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic (ශ්රී දළදා මාලිගාව)
Known as the holiest and most sacred religious site of the Sri Lankan Buddhists. This world-renowned place is where the sacred tooth of Gautama Buddha is enshrined. The temple of the Tooth Relic holds tremendous cultural and religious importance, making it a must-visit place during your stay in Kandy.
You could visit this place with your whole family to experience the magnificent architecture on this site which is worth seeing as it is of extraordinary Kandyan architectural technique with a blend of the distinctive style used to build “Dalada Mandira,” the shrines which accommodated the Sacred Tooth Relic earlier in other kingdoms. You’ll find intricate, vibrant, and exquisite graffiti art and carvings inside the temple done using gold, silver, ivory, and bronze.
A moat encompasses the temple complex, and it is bordered by white carvings of elephants. You could capture some great family photos backing this short fence outside the palace, but photography inside is not allowed. You could also visit the four main Devalas (temples of Gods) fronting the temple complex and The Sri Dalada Museum.
2- Esala Perahera (ඇසළ පෙරහැර)
One who visits Kandy should never miss out on this enchanted procession that dynamizes the entire city. Esala Perahera, or Kandy Perahera, is considered one of the most significant and grandest Buddhist festivals held for thousands of years in Sri Lanka.
The procession features a vibrant combination of skilled dancers, whippers, jugglers, musicians, amazing fire breathers, and extravagantly embellished elephants and tuskers. Get your family to witness this magnetic moment by reserving front-row seats in a hotel around the streets so that you can enjoy it closely.
Esala Perahera is hosted by The Temple of Tooth Relic and Sathara Maha Devalas to pay tribute to the Sacred Tooth Relic and the four ‘guardian’ Gods. The event typically takes place every year in August and lasts for up to ten days.
3- Royal Botanical Gardens of Peradeniya (රාජකීය උද්භිද උද්යානය, පේරාදෙණිය)
This site is located in Peradeniya, about 5-6 km away from the main Kandy city. You could capture some great portraits on the most famous highbrow Avenue of Palms, which gives a dignified countenance to the Botanical gardens. And the most popular element is the orchid house which has a splendid collection of orchids and is especially noted for the multifarious range of orchids grown in the greenhouse.
This is also a great place to pack up a picnic, and there’s a huge ground area covered in soft green grass where your kids can play and enjoy. A cafeteria and bathroom facilities are available for your convenience. The massive, lush, and green garden spans over 145 acres and is home to more than 4000 species of exotic plants, including orchids, palm trees, spices, and medicinal plants.
4- Hanthana Mountain Range (හන්තාන කඳුවැටිය)
Popular Hanthana mountain is renowned as a hikers’ paradise, becoming one of the most sought-after destinations to visit in Kandy, Sri Lanka.The place is dense with several water bodies, exotic hillside fauna, flora, wildflowers, birds, and insects, and you could get some great photos and videos for your social media feed. In addition, you’ll discover dozens of colorful, elegant butterflies all over the way up to the mountain.
It would be best to have a local tour guide to direct you throughout the hike. You could get to the Uuru Kanda peak, the highest peak of Hanthana, which is the most visited spot, along with six other peaks located in the same range. This place is located towards the southwest of the main Kandy. Local hikers, along with tourists, especially students, have made it a habit to climb Hanthana.
5- Ambuluwawa Tower (අම්බුළුවාව)
This site is located about 27 km away from the main city of Kandy, over 1000 feet above Gampola Town. This is the best place in Kandy for all challenge-loving souls since the narrowing spiral staircase is an adventure that’ll last for a lifetime! You’ll be rewarded with a 360° view of the surroundings once you climb to the top of the tower.
The area is lavishly diverse, with evergreen forests, flourished flower plants, creepers, and about 200 different plant species, including medicinal plants. You’ll find a viewing platform behind the tower, and make sure to stop at regular intervals to capture the breathtaking views as you climb up.
Safety and security: We do not recommend taking your kids to climb the Ambuluwawa Tower as it could not be so safe since the ascending way gets narrower and windier. Make sure to carefully handle your devices, like phones and cameras, as they could topple down while you use them.
6- Kandy Lake Round (නුවර වැව රවුම)
Kandy is obviously one of the best places in Sri Lanka to stroll around to explore beautiful things. A calm walk, especially during the sunset, indulging in the sounds of nature is a superb way of coming close to the environment and relishing the euphoria. If you plan to visit the Temple of Tooth Relic on an evening, you can take the walk on the lake round right after your visit to the Temple.
The lake is bordered by a beautiful white, brief fence known as the “Walakulu Bemma.” The pavement alongside the lake runs all around it so that you can have a peaceful, safe walk while enjoying the surrounding beauty, including the duck and geese who hover around freely. Moreover, there’s a boating service station where you could hire a boat to get an adventurous boat ride on the lake.
Kandy lake is an artificially made waterbody that lies by the side of the Temple of Sacred Tooth Relic. This lake steals away our hearts with its cascading beauty, complementing big time to the charm of Kandy city.
7- The Cultural Shopping Experience In Kandy
Although Kandy is not the primary commercial hub in Sri Lanka, you could experience a unique cultural shopping venture across the city and beyond. The town area is no short of a variety of different shops located on streets like Dalada Veediya, Raja Veediya, and Yatinuwara Veediya that feature a myriad of shops.
Stores such as Laksala sell antiques, Kandyan-style handcrafts, arts, and fabrics, including handloom, Batik, etc. You could also visit some elegant gem shops to buy stones or gem-studded jewelry.
Once you move a bit out of the main city towards Peradeniya, Pilimathalawa, and Kadugannawa, you can find more gems and antiques, along with some great places where you can purchase handmade brassware and silver goods.
Moreover, within the Kandy city limit, two main shopping malls (Kandy City Center and Mahanuwara Commercial Center) within the Kandy city limit offer you a high-end shopping experience with prestigious internationally and locally branded flagship stores.
8- The Food Experience In Kandy
Kandy is the perfect spot for a foodie to enjoy multicultural foods. You’ll find a bunch of great cafes, restaurants, and hotels to enjoy the taste of hill country cuisine that particularly serves authentic Sri Lankan spicy food.
You could have a unique food experience in restaurants such as Balaji Dosai to indulge in pure vegetarian Indian food. In addition, there are a few more restaurants that offer Chinese, Japanese, and Italian food as well.
In addition, if you visit the Kandy City Center Mall (KCC), you’ll find a grand restaurant, The World Spice, that features multi-cuisine foods and beverages. If you cook for yourself, you could discover excellent spice shops and vendors who sell fresh local fruits and vegetables, meat, fish, and seafood inside and outside the Kandy Central Market.
9- Udawatta Kele Sanctuary (උඩවත්තකැලේ අභයභූමිය)
This location is a historic forest reserve on a hill peak in the city of Kandy. You’ll be able to experience the amazing environment switch since it takes only a few minutes to get to serene Udawatta Kele from the busy and buzzing main city of Kandy. Click some great pictures as you walk through the park but be careful as the monkeys can be mischievous little guys who are tricky to steal things from your bags!
In addition, the sanctuary possesses a zoological diversity with small mammals, numerous types of snakes, and other reptiles. This site is located close to The Temple of Tooth Relic and has been a great local and tourist attraction as you will get around 5 km to stroll through.The sanctuary is renowned for its abundant avifauna. The reserve also holds a significant variety of plant species, especially shrubs, lianas, and small trees.
Trekking along the serene trails of Udawatta Kele will be a lifetime experience for you. So, if you are interested in obtaining more information about this forest park, click on this link and refer to our post.
10- Kandy View Point
Being another popular tourist attraction within the city itself, Kandy View Point (Arthur Seat) is another must-stop whenever you visit the hill country. Kandy View Point is popular among locals and tourists for the panoramic view you can get once you visit there.
The first thing that’ll catch your eye is how the street alongside the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic (Dalada Veediya) runs all along straightly towards the Katugastota area. The sight of the entire town, surrounding mountains, and the dense forest. The view is simply breathtaking at night as the town is lit up and the twinkling lights will look like a reflection of the starry night! And it is fascinating to watch how vehicles ascend the narrow roads towards the Bahirawankanda hill and Udawatta Kele area.
This is basically a viewing platform located in the Rajapihilla Mawatha that can be reached within a few minutes from the main city. You can take a tuk-tuk from Kandy town to reach this destination, and we need to mention that the area is a utopia of excellent hotels, villas, resorts, and Ayurvedic spas. The platform is secured with a railing, but be careful when you reach the edge (especially with kids) if in case you need to take photos.
11- Ceylon Tea Museum (තේ කෞතුකාගාරය)
If you are a top fan of the world’s best tea- Ceylon tea- then the tea museum is another must-visit location that you should never miss during your stay in Kandy. This vintage tea museum is the only tea museum in Sri Lanka, and you can reach the destination within a matter of a few minutes ride to Hanthana.
There is an exquisite restaurant where you can relish a free cup of tea along with the enchanting surrounding view of the hill country from the top. The third floor consists of a sales unit where you can purchase a variety of Ceylon tea. You could find old machinery, a dedicated library, and an auditorium from the ground floor to the second floor of the old museum building.
12- Embekke Devalaya And Lankathilaka Viharaya (ඇම්බැක්කේ දේවාලය/ ලංකාතිලක විහාරය)
Embekka Devalaya and Lankathilake Viharaya hold much religious and historical importance to Sri Lankan Buddhists, which also showcase the brilliant craftsmanship of the ancient Sri Lankans.
Embekka Devalaya is a place that exhibits craft expertise featuring Sri Lanka’s best mesmerizing and intricate wood carvings. You could capture some beautiful portraits backing these wood carvings and the traditional antiquity of this place will provide the perfect backdrop for your photos.
On the other hand, Lankatilaka is a most impressive structure in itself, having been built entirely atop an irregular rock surface and rising up to a height of eighty feet. The construction showcases the incredible skillfulness of Kandyan architecture. Both the destinations are located close to each other so that you can explore them both in a single visit. The sites are situated about 10-12 km away from the main city of Kandy.
13- Bahirawakanda Buddha Statue (බහිරවකන්ද විහාර බුද්ධ ප්රථිමාව)
Located about 2 km away from the main city of Kandy, Bahirawakanda Buddha Statue is another astounding site that one must see in the hill city. The statue pictures Lord Buddha seated in the Nirvana posture, reaching a height of about 30 meters, making it one of the tallest Buddha statues in Sri Lanka.
Behind the grand white statue, you’ll find a staircase that enables the visitors to climb higher and see the breathtaking landscape of the Kandy city and the temple’s surroundings. The scenery is so dreamy at night when Kandy city is beamed up by thousands of lights that flicker. The pearly white giant buddha statue shines right on top of the Bahirawankanda hill, which can be caught from almost any point in the city of Kandy.
14- Digana Victoria Golf Park (දිගන වික්ටෝරියා ගොල්ෆ් පිටිය)
Located in Digana, Kandy, the magnificent Victoria golf park can be reached within one hour from the main city of Kandy. This is the right place for you if you need to relax while enthralling in a peaceful yet engaging game like golf.
The golf course includes a Pro Shop that provides all the golfing requirements, and you can acquire the supervision and practice of the golf experts. The course is complete with a professional golf club, a dedicated resort with upscale amenities, a tennis court, a swimming pool, and a restaurant where you and your entire family can experience a fabulous getaway.
In addition, do not forget to take a trip to sightsee the stunning Victoria reservoir and Dam in the neighborhood. The golf course is well-maintained according to international standards, and this award-winning Donald Steele-designed masterwork is set on 500 acres, taking the edge of the island’s characteristic terrain.
15- Kandy To Ella Train Tour
To get the most memorable escapade from Kandy, do not miss out on your chance to take a fascinating train tour to Ella from the Kandy station. We are sure this will be a once-in-a-lifetime journey, as you will get to indulge in the most scenic views you could ever have on the train ride!
The plush tea plantations, misty hills, mountains, locals with warm smiles, cascading waterfalls, and hillside flowers are only a few things you’ll encounter during your ride. So, get a window seat and admire the true beauty of this little island as you click some amazing photos for your Instagram feed and add some wanderlust to your travel journal!
16- Seaplane Tours From Kandy
Domestic flights have been functional in Sri Lanka for a few years, and you can find one major company that provides the seaplane facility initiating from two major hubs located in Kandy.
You could add another indelible adventure by air-traveling across the country, especially when you take your flight from Kandy to Nuwara Eliya, enjoying the panoramic views of the misty hills, verdant vegetations, thick forests, waterfalls, and tea plantations you see down below.
You have the ability to arrange daily flights or charter flights by contacting the relevant company or getting information from your place of accommodation. Things will be much easier if you have a guide for yourself. However, luxury seaplane journeys are hosted to various other parts of the island, primarily from Polgolla and Victoria reservoir.
17- Night Camping in Kandy
A nostalgic camping night right under the stars could be a unique experience that you could get in Kandy. There are a few camping sites around Kandy, including famous destinations like Bellwood and Wewathenna.
Both places are renowned among locals and tourists for trekking, camping, sightseeing, nature exploring, and photography. However, it is essential to get more information and be knowledgeable about these camping sites from the relevant parties before heading to the particular destinations.
Safety and security: It is important that you arrange night camping with proper instructions. Therefore, make sure to get help from an expert tour guide who is well aware of the surroundings.
Where Is Kandy In Sri Lanka?
Kandy, known as “Maha Nuwara,” is situated in the Central Province of Sri Lanka. Kandy is the largest city in the Central Province, boasting immense cultural significance. This area is located towards the northeast of the capital city of Colombo and is designated among hills and thick forests.
What Is The Best Time To Visit Kandy?
Kandy is one of the best regions in the country that has a temperate climate throughout the year. The weather is not harsh: while it rains, you’ll also experience abundant sunshine with a tranquil, cool, calm, and moderate temperature.
Nevertheless, it would be better if you plan your trip to Kandy during the months from December to April since the weather can be much more pleasant and mostly dry during this time. Moreover, if you intend to visit Kandy in August, you’ll get the opportunity to witness the grand Esala Perahera along with the rest of the 16 experiences we have mentioned above.
Kandy- Your Ultimate Destination With A Bunch Of Recollections!
This hill city is a heavenly location you must visit while staying in Sri Lanka. It preserves some of the most beautiful spots on this little island, giving you tranquil, adventurous, and dozens of once-in-a-lifetime memories to cherish. The Temple of Tooth Relic, Esala Perahera, Hanthana Mountain, Ambuluwawa tower, etc., are some of the places that will give you distinctive experiences different from one another.