Are you planning a trip to Sri Lanka and overwhelmed by the plethora of attractions this island paradise has to offer? Trust me, I’ve been there too! It’s not easy planning an itinerary for Kandy – a city known for its UNESCO World Heritage sites, captivating landscapes, rich history and culture.
However, in this comprehensive guide on “Top 15 Must-See Attractions and Activities in Kandy”, I’ll unveil some hidden gems and timeless classics that are sure to enrich your travel experience.
Buckle up – the adventure begins here!
- Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage is a great place to see elephants up close and learn about their care.
- The Temple of the Tooth Relic is an important Buddhist site with beautiful architecture and historical significance.
- Kandy Lake offers a serene setting to relax, take leisurely strolls, or rent paddleboats for a fun experience on the water.
- The Knuckles Mountain Range provides amazing hiking trails and stunning views of nature’s beauty.
- The Bahirawakanda Temple is known for its giant Buddha statue and offers panoramic views of the city.
- The Royal Botanical Garden in Peradeniya boasts over 4,000 plant species, including rare orchids and palms.
- Must – do activities in Kandy include hiking in the Knuckles Mountain Range, exploring Udawattekele Sanctuary, visiting Millennium Elephant Foundation, touring Ceylon Tea Museum, and enjoying peaceful walks in Wales Park.
- Other must – see attractions in Kandy are CommonWealth War Cemetery, Horton Plains National Park Ohiya, Lankatilaka Temple,
Must-See Attractions in Kandy
Kandy offers a variety of must-see attractions that are sure to captivate any visitor. From the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage to the Temple of the Tooth Relic, there is something for everyone in this beautiful city.
Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage
I went to the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage. It is a spot near Kandy. This place helps elephants that need care. You can watch the elephants here up close! Some even play in water and mud.
I saw how they feed baby elephants and give them baths too! If you love animals, this is a great place for you to see in Kandy.
Temple of the Tooth Relic
One of the top attractions in Kandy, Sri Lanka is the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic. It’s a very important place for Buddhists because it houses a tooth relic believed to be from Buddha himself.
The temple is considered sacred and holds great significance in Sri Lankan culture. As an adventure traveler, you’ll have the chance to see this historical and religious site up close.
You can explore the temple complex and admire its beautiful architecture, which reflects traditional Kandyan design. Inside the temple, you’ll find various golden shrines and statues, as well as intricate wall paintings that depict stories from Buddhist mythology.
Kandy Lake, also known as Nuwara Wewa, is a beautiful and serene spot in the heart of Kandy. Surrounded by lush greenery and scenic views, it’s the perfect place to relax and enjoy nature.
Adventure travelers can take a leisurely stroll around the lake or even rent a paddleboat for a fun experience on the water. The lake is especially breathtaking during sunset when the sky is painted with vibrant colors, creating a picturesque scene that shouldn’t be missed.
It’s an ideal spot to unwind after exploring other attractions in Kandy and soak in the peaceful ambiance of this enchanting city.
Knuckles Mountain Range
The Knuckles Mountain Range is a breathtaking destination for adventurous travelers. It offers amazing hiking trails and stunning views of the surrounding landscapes. As one of the top attractions in Kandy, this mountain range provides an opportunity to explore nature at its best.
With its diverse flora and fauna, it’s a paradise for nature lovers. Hiking through the Knuckles Mountain Range allows you to witness its beauty up close and personal. So put on your hiking boots and get ready for an unforgettable adventure in this magnificent mountain range!
If you are visiting Kandy, one of the must-see attractions is the Bahirawakanda Temple. This temple is known for its giant Buddha statue, which stands tall at 88 feet. You can climb up to the top of the temple and get a panoramic view of the city.
It’s a peaceful place where you can relax and enjoy the tranquility. Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture the stunning views from this beautiful spot in Kandy.
Royal Botanical Garden
The Royal Botanical Garden in Peradeniya is a must-visit attraction in Kandy, Sri Lanka. It’s a beautiful and peaceful place where you can explore nature and see a wide variety of plant species.
The garden covers over 60 hectares and is home to more than 4,000 species of plants, including orchids, palms, and giant bamboo. You can take a leisurely walk through the garden and admire the colorful flowers and lush greenery.
Don’t miss the famous Avenue of Palms, which features rows of towering palm trees that create a majestic sight. The Royal Botanical Garden is also known for its stunning collection of orchids, including rare and exotic varieties.
Must-Do Activities in Kandy
When in Kandy, don’t miss out on these thrilling activities that will immerse you in the beauty of nature and culture: hiking in the Knuckles Mountain Range, exploring the Udawattekele Sanctuary, visiting the Millennium Elephant Foundation, taking a tour of the Ceylon Tea Museum, and enjoying a peaceful walk in Wales Park.
Hiking in the Knuckles Mountain Range
Let’s go hiking in the Knuckles Mountain Range! It’s a popular activity for adventure travelers in Kandy, Sri Lanka. Here’s what you can expect:
- Explore the beautiful and rugged terrain of the Knuckles Mountain Range.
- Enjoy breathtaking views of lush green valleys, cascading waterfalls, and misty mountains.
- Challenge yourself with different hiking trails suitable for all levels of fitness and experience.
- Encounter diverse flora and fauna along the way, including rare species found only in this region.
- Learn about the local culture and traditions from friendly villagers you may meet during your hike.
Exploring the Udawattekele Sanctuary
The Udawattekele Sanctuary is a must-visit spot in Kandy. Here are some exciting things you can do there:
- Go on a nature walk through the sanctuary, surrounded by lush greenery.
- Discover various species of flora and fauna, including rare orchids and colorful birds.
- Visit the meditation caves used by Buddhist monks for peaceful reflection.
- Enjoy panoramic views of Kandy from the lookout points within the sanctuary.
- Spot monkeys swinging from tree to tree and playful squirrels hopping around.
- Take a leisurely stroll along the well – marked trails and connect with nature.
- Learn about the history of the sanctuary, which was once a royal pleasure garden.
- Capture beautiful photos of the serene landscapes and wildlife you encounter.
Visiting the Millennium Elephant Foundation
When you’re in Kandy, don’t miss the chance to visit the Millennium Elephant Foundation. Here’s why:
- Get up close and personal with elephants – At the Millennium Elephant Foundation, you can interact with these majestic creatures and learn about their conservation efforts.
- Enjoy an elephant ride – Experience the thrill of riding an elephant through the scenic countryside of Kandy.
- Learn about elephant care and welfare – The foundation is dedicated to providing a safe and nurturing environment for elephants, and you can learn about their rehabilitation programs.
- Support a good cause – By visiting the foundation, you are supporting their efforts to protect and preserve elephants in Sri Lanka.
- Capture unforgettable memories – Take amazing photos with these incredible animals and create memories that will last a lifetime.
Taking a tour of the Ceylon Tea Museum
When visiting Kandy, adventure travelers should definitely take a tour of the Ceylon Tea Museum. Here are some reasons why:
- Learn about the history of tea: The Ceylon Tea Museum offers an insight into the rich history and heritage of tea production in Sri Lanka. Adventure travelers can explore the museum’s exhibits and learn about the origins of tea cultivation in the country.
- Experience a working tea factory: The museum is located in an old tea factory, allowing visitors to witness the tea production process firsthand. Adventure travelers can observe the machinery and techniques used to transform freshly picked tea leaves into the aromatic beverage enjoyed worldwide.
- Taste different varieties of tea: At the end of the tour, adventure travelers have the opportunity to sample various types of locally grown teas. From black tea to green tea, they can savor different flavors and understand how factors like elevation and processing methods influence taste.
- Enjoy scenic views: The Ceylon Tea Museum is situated amidst lush greenery, providing breathtaking views of rolling hills covered in vibrant tea plantations. Adventure travelers can immerse themselves in this picturesque setting while learning about one of Sri Lanka’s most iconic industries.
- Support local communities: By visiting the Ceylon Tea Museum, adventure travelers contribute to sustainable tourism practices that benefit local communities involved in tea production. It’s a chance to support local farmers and workers who rely on the industry for their livelihoods.
Enjoying a peaceful walk in Wales Park
Wales Park is a tranquil spot in Kandy, Sri Lanka. Here are some reasons why adventure travelers will love taking a peaceful walk in Wales Park:
- The park offers a serene atmosphere where you can escape the hustle and bustle of the city.
- You can stroll along the well – maintained pathways and admire the beautiful greenery.
- Be on the lookout for a variety of bird species that call the park home.
- There are benches scattered throughout the park where you can sit and relax.
- Enjoy breathtaking views of Kandy Lake from certain areas within the park.
- Take some time to connect with nature and recharge your energy before continuing your adventures in Kandy.
Additional Must-See Attractions in Kandy
In addition to the main attractions, Kandy offers more must-see spots such as the CommonWealth War Cemetery, Horton Plains National Park Ohiya, Lankatilaka Temple, Hanthana Mountain Range, and Degaldoruwa Temple.
CommonWealth War Cemetery
The CommonWealth War Cemetery is an important historical site in Kandy. It is a place where soldiers from different countries who fought in World War II are laid to rest. This peaceful cemetery serves as a reminder of the sacrifices made by these brave men and women.
As you walk through the rows of white gravestones, you can’t help but feel a sense of gratitude for their service and dedication. The Commonwealth War Cemetery is not only a place for reflection, but also an opportunity to learn more about the history of Sri Lanka’s involvement in the war.
It’s definitely worth visiting if you’re interested in paying your respects and understanding the impact of past conflicts.
Horton Plains National Park Ohiya
Horton Plains National Park in Ohiya is a must-see attraction in Kandy, Sri Lanka. This national park is known for its breathtaking landscapes and rich biodiversity. Adventure travelers will love exploring the park’s hiking trails, which lead to stunning viewpoints like World’s End and Baker’s Falls.
The park is also home to unique wildlife species like sambar deer and purple-faced langurs. Don’t forget to bring your camera because you’ll want to capture the beauty of this natural wonder.
Lankatilaka Temple is one of the must-see attractions in Kandy, Sri Lanka. It is a beautiful and ancient temple that offers a glimpse into the rich history and culture of the region.
The temple is known for its impressive architecture, featuring intricate carvings and exquisite artwork. Inside the temple, there are statues of Buddha and other deities, as well as colorful frescoes that tell stories from Buddhist scriptures.
The Lankatilaka Temple provides a serene atmosphere for visitors to explore and reflect upon the religious significance of this sacred place.
Hanthana Mountain Range
The Hanthana Mountain Range is a must-visit attraction in Kandy for adventure travelers. This majestic mountain range offers breathtaking views and exciting hiking opportunities. You can explore the lush greenery, discover hidden waterfalls, and witness diverse wildlife along the trails.
The Hanthana Mountain Range is perfect for outdoor enthusiasts who want to immerse themselves in nature and experience the beauty of Sri Lanka’s landscapes. Don’t forget to pack your hiking boots and camera when you visit this amazing destination!
The Degaldoruwa Temple is a historical site in Kandy that is worth visiting. It is an ancient Buddhist temple known for its beautiful cave paintings and intricate artwork. The temple dates back to the 18th century and offers a glimpse into Sri Lanka’s rich cultural heritage.
Inside the temple, you can admire stunning frescoes depicting scenes from Buddhist mythology and learn about the history of Buddhism in the region. It’s a peaceful place to explore and soak up the spiritual atmosphere.
Adventure travelers will appreciate the unique blend of art, history, and spirituality that makes Degaldoruwa Temple a must-see attraction in Kandy.
Tips for Visiting Kandy
When visiting Kandy, it is best to plan your trip during the dry season from December to March for ideal weather conditions.
How to reach Kandy
To reach Kandy, adventure travelers have a few options:
- By Air: The nearest international airport to Kandy is Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo. From there, you can take a domestic flight to the nearby Kandy Polgolla Reservoir Airport.
- By Train: Taking the train is a popular and scenic way to reach Kandy. The journey from Colombo to Kandy takes around 3-4 hours and offers breathtaking views of the Sri Lankan countryside.
- By Bus: There are regular bus services from major cities like Colombo and Galle to Kandy. The bus journey usually takes around 4-5 hours, depending on traffic conditions.
Best time to visit Kandy
The best time to visit Kandy is during the dry season, which runs from December to April. This is when the weather is most favorable for outdoor activities and sightseeing. The temperatures are pleasant, ranging between 25-30 degrees Celsius (77-86 degrees Fahrenheit), making it comfortable to explore the city and its attractions.
It’s important to note that Kandy experiences a monsoon season from May to September, with heavy rainfall and higher humidity levels. During this time, some attractions may be affected by closures or limited accessibility.
Therefore, if you want to make the most of your visit and avoid disruptions due to rain, plan your trip during the dry season.
Recommended duration of stay
I would recommend staying in Kandy for at least 2 to 3 days to fully explore and experience all that this beautiful city has to offer. This will give you enough time to visit the top attractions, take part in activities like hiking in the mountains, and immerse yourself in the local culture.
During your stay, make sure to visit must-see attractions like the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic and Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage. Also, don’t forget to spend some time enjoying a peaceful walk around Kandy Lake or exploring the Royal Botanical Garden Peradeniya.
With a few days in Kandy, you’ll be able to create unforgettable memories and truly appreciate this enchanting city.
Where to stay in Kandy
When visiting Kandy, there are several options for accommodations that will provide a comfortable and convenient stay. One popular choice is to stay near the city center, where you can find a range of hotels and guesthouses to suit different budgets.
These accommodations offer easy access to the top attractions in Kandy, such as the Temple of the Tooth Relic and Kandy Lake. If you prefer a more serene environment, you can also consider staying in one of the beautiful resorts located on the outskirts of Kandy, amidst lush greenery and stunning views.
These resorts often offer amenities like swimming pools and spa facilities, allowing you to relax and unwind after a day of exploring. Overall, whether you choose to stay in the city center or opt for a peaceful resort setting, you’ll have plenty of options when it comes to finding accommodation in Kandy.
In conclusion, Kandy, Sri Lanka offers a wide range of must-see attractions and activities for adventure travelers. From the famous Temple of the Tooth Relic to the breathtaking Knuckles Mountain Range and the peaceful Royal Botanical Garden, there is something for everyone in this beautiful city.
Don’t miss out on exploring the rich culture, historical sites, and natural wonders that Kandy has to offer. Plan your visit today and experience the beauty of this unique destination firsthand!
1. What are some must-see attractions in Kandy, Sri Lanka?
Some must-see attractions in Kandy, Sri Lanka include the Temple of the Tooth Relic, Kandy Lake, Peradeniya Botanical Gardens, and Bahirawakanda Buddha Statue.
2. Are there any activities to do in Kandy besides sightseeing?
Yes, besides sightseeing, you can also enjoy activities such as attending a cultural show at the Kandyan Art Association & Cultural Centre or exploring traditional tea plantations.
3. How can I get around to these attractions in Kandy?
You can get around to these attractions in Kandy by hiring a tuk-tuk (three-wheeled vehicle), taking a taxi or using public transportation like buses.
4. Are there any local markets or shopping opportunities in Kandy?
Yes, there are several local markets and shopping opportunities in Kandy where you can buy souvenirs and traditional handicrafts. Some popular ones include the Central Market and the Laksala Craft Center.
Melanie Cho is a passionate traveler, storyteller, and cultural enthusiast with a heart that bridges the landscapes of Korea and Sri Lanka. As a 28-year-old Korean woman who spent her formative years splitting time between these two captivating worlds, Melanie’s unique upbringing ignited her love for exploration and connection. Her intimate knowledge of both cultures enables her to share authentic insights, captivating stories, and practical tips that inspire fellow adventurers to embark on unforgettable journeys.