Visit Kandy: top 3 to see and to do

Updated on 10.06.2018

Kandy is the sacred city of Sri Lanka and the emblem of the cultural triangle. Founded in the 14th century, it is mainly known for the Temple of the Tooth, a Mecca of pilgrimage for Buddhists. The ramparts of the The former royal palace and the artificial lake overlooked by green mountains give the site a certain charm....

Kandy Lake in Sri Lanka

Temple of the Tooth, Sri Dalada Maligawa

The Temple of the Tooth is Kandy's flagship site and the most important Buddhist site in the country as it houses a first-rate relic: a Buddha tooth. The story of this tooth is rather tumultuous and the authenticity of this relic is historically questionable. The temple remains an important place of pilgrimage.

To get there you have to go through a security check (the place was attacked in 1998) and then walk along the wall to buy the entrance ticket (1000LKR). Count 25LKR additional for the guard of shoes. The entrance gives access to the temple precinct, the audience hall and the Elephant Museum (Raja Tusker Museum). It takes a total of 30 to 45 minutes to visit.

Nearby there is the Kandy National Museum, an archaeological museum and a garden with temples. Do not miss the lakeside, the Queen's Baths.

Attention, some tuk-tuk drivers will drop you at the box office of the dance show to have their commission.

Temple of the Tooth (Sri Dalada Maligawa) temple wall in Kandy, central Sri Lanka

Offerings inside the Kandy Tooth Temple in Sri Lanka

The Kandy Lake

To admire Kandy Lake, it is better to take the height, preferably on the southern slope. You can also walk around (one hour) or take the boat.

Kandy Lake in Sri Lanka

Kandy Bonatical Garden

Located slightly out of the city, Kandy Botanical Garden (Royal Botanic Gardens Peradeniya) is a must. Imagine a beautiful landscape set consisting of 4,000 species of trees and flowers, where hundreds of monkeys roam freely. The site was created in 1371 and really took off in the 19th century.

The entrance costs 1100LKR. Count between two and three hours for the visit. Do not miss the palm avenue and the suspension bridge and the lake.

Giant flower at Kandy Botanical Garden in Sri Lanka

Palm alley in Kandy Botanical Garden, Sri Lanka

Location of Kandy Botanical Garden, Sri Lanka ©OpenStreetMap contributors

Kandy, practical information

Kandy Station is located very close to the city center and the lake. If your hotel is on the heights, count between 500LKR by taxi (the tuk-tuk is not suitable with luggage). Otherwise a tuk-tuk will charge you between 150LKR and 300LKR.

For shopping and restaurants, head to the main street (the one along the lake from the Queen's Pavilion, westbound).

We advise you to take a hotel on the heights overlooking the lake (the North side allows you to see the temples) and dinner at the hotel.

Apart from the tourist sites described above, the city is of little interest.

Location and maps of Kandy

Location of Kandy City, Central Sri Lanka ©OpenStreetMap contributors

Map of Kandy City Center, Sri Lanka ©OpenStreetMap contributors

Very detailed shot of the temple of the tooth in Kandy, Sri Lanka ©OpenStreetMap contributors

Questions & answers

How long does it take to visit Kandy?

One day is enough to visit Kandy: a few hours to the temple of the tooth and the edge of the lake, and half a day to go for a walk to the botanical garden located back from the city.

From Colombo, is it better to take the road or the train?

The road and train offer breathtaking scenery. The advantage of the train is to be independent, but if you have several private road transport with a driver, it might not be much more expensive when you sum up all transportation costs. The advantage of passing by the road with a private vehicle is to stop at the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage. On the other hand the train is faster.

How long does it take by road between Colombo and Kandy?

It takes almost 4 hours from downtown Colombo (depending on traffic jams), and about 3 hours from Colombo airport, and little more from Negombo.

How long is the journey from Kandy to Sigiriya by road?

The drive from Kandy to Sigiriya Lion Rock takes about 2.5 hours.

How long does it take to travel from Kandy to Anuradhapura?

It takes about 3h30 to connect Anuradhapura to Kandy by road.

How long is the journey from Kandy to Nuwara Eliya by road?

The road between Kandy and Nuwara Eliya is very hilly. It will take you almost 3 hours. The road allows to visit the tea plantations. It is also possible to travel by train.

What is the most luxurious hotel in Kandy?

There are many good hotels in the Kandy area, but little in the heart of the city. If you are looking for the best 5-star accommodation in the city, go for a look at the hotel The Elephant Stables

What is the best hotel in Kandy for less than #cur:100USD#?

A little away from the city center to the south, the Villa Shenandoah offers a good value for money, and will be your base to visit the city of Kandy, its botanical garden or the orphanage of Pinnawala Elephants.

Notes and references :