Kandy in Sri Lanka

Kandy in Sri Lanka: The Ultimate Travel Guide

Kandy, the last royal capital of ancient Sri Lanka, is a beautiful city nestled in the hills of the country’s central province. These are the same hills where The Second Jungle Book: Mowgli and Baloo, was shot. 

Known for its rich heritage, stunning natural beauty and iconic landmarks, Kandy is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Sri Lanka.

Kandy really gives you a glimpse into what life in Sri Lanka is really like. It’s definitely a place less traveled, which makes it an even better destination to visit.

In this guide, you will get some ideas and recommendations on how to spend your time in Kandy, Sri Lanka. Read on to find out the best that this vibrant Sri Lankan city has to offer. 

Disclosure: please note that some of the links below may contain affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you make a purchase. 

Kandy in Sri Lanka
Kandy Lake in Sri Lanka

How many days should you spend in Kandy?

I would suggest spending 2 to 3 days in Kandy during your travels in Sri Lanka. In this way, you will be able to have enough time to explore what Kandy has to offer.

How to get to Kandy?

The main airport of Sri Lanka, called Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo, is around 100 kms away from Kandy. However, there are several ways to get to Kandy: 

Train

One of the most popular ways to reach Kandy is by train. The city is connected to major cities such as Colombo, Galle, and beautiful Ella by a scenic train route that passes through the lush green hills and tea plantations of Sri Lanka’s central highlands.

You can book train tickets online or at the train station, but it’s recommended to book in advance as trains can get crowded during peak season. 

Bus

Kandy is also well-connected by road, with frequent bus services available from major cities such as Colombo, Galle, and Matara. 

Taxi

you can also get a taxi to Kandy from your previous destination. Personally, we got a private taxi from the underrated city of Negombo which took us 3 hours and cost us 10600 Sri Lankan Rupees in total (around 28-29 euros).

We used the taxi app Pickme for this (which is like a version of Uber in Sri Lanka). I highly recommend using this app, as it makes getting a ride a lot easier and hassle-free.

I recommend putting in a request for a long ride to your next destination the evening before your departure.
Kandy

Where to stay in Kandy?

There are a couple of excellent accommodation options in Kandy. I highly recommend staying at one of the following places:  

Fox Kandy by Fox Resorts: for incredible scenery

If you want to stay in a peaceful resort with a swimming pool and delicious breakfast included, I highly recommend staying at Fox Kandy by Fox Resorts. Click here to check out their prices.  

Madulkelle Tea and Eco Lodge: for sustainable luxurious travel

This accommodation lies in the heart of the tea plantation Madulkelle. Just have a look at this amazing swimming pool and see for yourself why this accommodation is truly a hidden gem. Check out the latest prices here.  

The Flame Tree Estate & Hotel: for a slice of paradise

This 5* hotel is set in a beautiful location, has a swimming pool and delicious breakfast is included in your stay. If you’re a nature lover, you will especially love this place. Click here for their latest prices and more.  

Hanthana Boutique Villa: for a place of luxury

Another great choice of accommodation in Kandy would be Hanthana Boutique Villa. The service here is outstanding, again breakfast is included in the price, and the surroundings are incredible.

If you’re looking for an unforgettable experience in Kandy, choose to stay at Hanthana Boutique Villa. For more information click here.

What to do in Kandy?

There are many things to do in Kandy, Sri Lanka. To get the most out of your time in Kandy, I recommend visiting the following places: 

Visit the Sacred Tooth Temple

The Sacred Tooth Temple, also known as Sri Dalada Maligawa, is a must-visit while you’re in Kandy! The area is really beautiful and I would highly recommend going here.

The temple is believed to house the relic of the tooth of the Buddha, which is considered to be one of the most sacred objects in Buddhism. 

Do keep the following mind: if someone inside of the temple suddenly starts talking to you and gives you information about the temple itself, you’ll be expected to pay them at the end. 

This is what happened to us, and when we gave the person money at the end, he told us we had to double it (3000 Sri Lankan Rupees is quite a lot in Sri Lanka). We we’re a bit flabbergasted after this, although we had also been a bit naive of course.
Sacred Tooth Temple Kandy
Temple Kandy

Wander around Peradeniya University

Established in 1942, Peradeniya University is one of the oldest universities in Sri Lanka and is considered to be a leading institution of higher education in the country.

The campus is spread across a beautiful and lush green landscape, covering an area of over 700 hectares. 

It’s really peaceful and is home to many beautiful gardens, historic buildings and museums. This area is vastly different from the rest of Kandy, which is why I recommend visiting Peradeniya University during your stay here.
University in Kandy

Walk around the Royal Botanical Gardens

Another great place to visit in Kandy are the Royal Botanical Gardens. They are located 5.5 kms away from the city centre of Kandy.

These beautiful gardens are actually situated very nearby Peradeniya University, so you could easily combine a visit to the two.

It’s lovely to have a walk here for a couple of hours. At the time of writing, an entrance ticket to the Royal Botanical Gardens as a foreigner costs 1500 Sri Lankan Rupees. 

Shop at Kandy Municipality Central Market

If you don’t mind a little chaos, head over to the Kandy Municipality Central Market. This is a local market where you can buy fresh products, spices, clothes, shawls, teas and much more. This place is ideal if you’re looking to buy some souvenirs.

However, don’t expect this place to be the cleanest, do expect a more authentic and local experience. 

Walk around Kandy Lake

Kandy Lake is definitely one of the highlights of your trip to Kandy. It’s a beautiful lake located in the heart of the city. The lake is also known as Kiri Muhuda or the Sea of Milk and was built in 1807 by King Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe.

It’s situated nearby the Sacred Tooth Temple, which makes it ideal to go for a stroll along the lake after you’ve visited the temple. You can also go on a short boat trip around the lake.

Kandy Lake is a very serene place to visit, hence I highly recommend a visit during your stay in Kandy.
Kandy Lake in Sri Lanka

Where to eat and drink in Kandy?

There are lots of places to eat and drink in Kandy. A couple of places which I highly recommend visiting in Kandy, are: 

Mandiya: for authentic Sri Lankan cuisine

For authentic Sri Lankan cuisine in a cosy setting, definitely head over to Mandiya. This place is owned by a brother and sister and they make really delicious food at very affordable prices. I would highly recommend visiting this small restaurant during your stay in Kandy.

It’s a bit hidden, but you have to walk through the building to get there (you will know what I mean when you’re at the place in question).
Mandiya Kandy
food in kandy

Slightly Chilled: for a great view of Kandy

I would especially recommend visiting Slightly Chilled if you’re into having a nice view of Kandy. This rooftop bar is a good place to hang out for a couple of drinks after exploring Kandy. Besides, they offer a range of cuisines here. 

Balaji Dosai: for delicious vegetarian / Indian meals

Another great place to eat is Balaji Dosai. This restaurant only serves vegetarian meals. It’s a popular restaurant in Kandy amongst the locals. It’s located nearby the Sacred Tooth Temple, which makes it an ideal place to have something to eat after your visit there.
Balaji Dosai Kandy

Hideout Lounge: for a laid-back atmosphere

The Hideout Lounge is definitely one of my favorite places in Kandy. It really offers a place to relax amidst the busy streets of Kandy.

Here you will find great cocktails and delicious Western food as well as Sri Lankan cuisine. Prices are a little higher, but in return you also get very high-quality food and drinks.
Hide Out Kandy
Kandy in Sri Lanka

In conclusion

Kandy is a must-visit destination during your travels in Sri Lanka. It’s a city known for its rich cultural heritage, Sacred Tooth Temple and its serene Kandy Lake.

Wander through its Royal Botanical Gardens and visit the Peradeniya University to see a different side of Kandy. Also explore its authentic cuisine and shop at its local market.

There are so many exciting things to do in Kandy. From history buffs to nature lovers, there is something in Kandy for everyone. 

Have you ever been to Kandy in Sri Lanka or are you thinking of going there? Let me know in the comments!  

Away with Danae
Kandy in Sri Lanka

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5 Comments

  1. These are the kinds of tips I really like to see in an article! How not to get ripped off and what to really expect in a place. Thanks for the good advice! The natural beauty of this area is what drew me in.

  2. Kandy looks lovely, so lush and green! I love visiting this kind of area where you get a better feel for the local way of life.

    The only part that would be a bit annoying is the guide at Sacred Tooth Temple demanding money. It does sound a bit like a scam! I would find it pretty odd if someone affiliated with the temple behaved in that way!

  3. i haven’t been to Sri Lanka but I have heard it is a very interesting and beautiful place to visit. Thanks for all the first-hand advice, it will definitely help everyone with Sri Lanka on their radar.

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