Things to Do in Kandy

Experiences Sightseeing

Sprawled atop a plateau amidst mountains, tea plantations, waterfalls, and biodiverse rainforests, Kandy is a prominent Sri Lankan city famous for pilgrimage, rich cultural heritage, and eco-tourism. (Read More) It is in this city that one can find UNESCO-listed Buddhist and Hindu temples, churches, historical monuments, colonial buildings, as well as modern shopping complexes and magnificent gardens.

Here is the list of 15 Things to Do in Kandy

1. Visit the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic

Visit the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic
4.2 /5

Sri Dalada Maligawa is the Sinhalese name for this holy shrine. Famously called Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, it is touted to be the most sacred Buddhist temple in the whole world. It houses the tooth of Buddha nestled in a golden chamber and is within the premises of the royal palace complex (formerly a princely state). Kandy is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it is said that whichever state holds the tooth relic, maintains an essential place in the governance of the country.  

Timings : Sun - Sat 05:30 AM - 08:00 PM: Puja Timings: Morning: 5.30 AM -6.45 AM, 9.30 AM-11:00 AM; Evening: 6.30 PM -8:00 PM

Entry Fee : Foreigners LKR 1500.00; SAARC Countries LKR 750.00

2. Interact with Elephants at Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage

Interact with Elephants at Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage
4.5 /5

Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage was launched to provide shelter and nourishment to abandoned, injured and maimed elephants. The ideology behind this project revolves around the care of abandoned baby elephants, who cannot survive without their mothers.

Timings : 8:30 AM - 6:00 PM (Ticket Counter shuts at 5:30PM)

Time Required : 2 hours

Entry Fee : Locals: Adult - LKR 110
Children - LKR 30
SAARC Countries: Adult - LKR 2800
Children - LKR 1000
Foreign Tourists: Adult - LKR 1400
Children - LKR 700.

3. Take a Day Trip to Sigiriya

Take a Day Trip to Sigiriya
4.2 /5

The ancient rock fortress of Sigiriya is only a bus ride away from Kandy, with direct buses taking only an hour to make the journey. The Sigiriya Rock is 650 metres high, and visitors can climb two of the rocks at this fortress. Lion’s Rock is a UNESCO world heritage site, and the gorgeous view atop the Rock is well worth the Rs 4,500 entrance fee. Pidirunga Rock is much cheaper to enter, at Rs 450, and offers excellent views of Lion’s Rock and the mountains around Kandy. Visitors can also check out Sigiriya museum’s exhibits on the excavation of the citadel.

4. Explore the Spice Gardens in Kandy

Explore the Spice Gardens in Kandy

Sri Lanka is known as the land of spices, and Kandy is home to its two most famous spice gardens - the Ranweli and New Ranweli Gardens. They sport over twenty species of well-kept, diverse medicinal plants and herbs, such as turmeric, pepper, cardamom, nutmeg and mace. They also provide information about the age-old spice industry. In addition, visitors can take home freshly harvested organic spices.

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5. Hike to Alagalla Mountain Range

Hike to Alagalla Mountain Range

Regarded as the best hiking destination in the country, Alagalla Mountain Range was once the Kandyan empire’s stronghold. This 3-hour hike begins from Pilimathalawa Tea Factory, and two trails finish with a rocky climb. From the 1,140-metre-tall peak, hikers are rewarded with panoramic views of the eastern countryside, mountains like Bible Rock, Devanagala, Bathalegala and Knuckles Mountain, and Kandy city. Overnight camps are available.

6. Watch a Kandyan Dance Performance

Watch a Kandyan Dance Performance

Kandyan dance is a traditional art form peculiar to central Sri Lanka that has flourished since the 16th century. Kandyan dance often depicts elegant moments of birds and animals and is accompanied by fire acts, ritual dances and acrobatics. Watch Sri Lanka’s best male and female dancers performing in their skirt-like garments and silver regalia at shows such as the Kandy Lake Club Dance Show, Kandy Cultural Centre, and “Dances of Sri Lanka” at Red Cross Hall.

7. Enjoy a Safari at Horton Plains National Park

Enjoy a Safari at Horton Plains National Park
4.6 /5

Known For : Horton Plains World’s End Gommolli Kanda Ohiya

Located at an elevation of 2,300 metres, Horton Plains National Park in Sri Lanka’s central highlands encompasses montane grassland and cloudy forests. It is a government-protected area which is home to many endemic flora and fauna species, with spectacular jungles and mountains on one side and a plateau on the other. The park is popular for housing the famed ‘World’s End Cliff’, a long, steep plunge of 880m where the plateau comes to a dramatic stop.

6 Horton Plains Attractions

8. Trek through Udawattakele Sanctuary

Trek through Udawattakele Sanctuary
4.4 /5

The Udawatta Kele Sanctuary is an important bio-reserve located on a hillside beside the Dalada Maligawa and spans 257 acres. Trekking through the forest’s dense and diverse vegetation, tourists can visit three Buddhist monasteries here. Wide varieties of orchids grow in the forest, as well as several indigenous species of trees and shrubs. The toque macaques, barking deer, and slender loris are only some of the animals visitors can come across, while around 80 species of birds make this a birdwatcher’s paradise.

9. Take a Train Ride from Kandy to Ella

Take a Train Ride from Kandy to Ella
4.6 /5

The 7-hour train ride from Kandy to Ella takes tourists through the most scenic route Sri Lanka has to offer. The open doors and windows of the old-fashioned train mean travellers can literally experience the wind in their hair as they take in the green rolling hills, tea farms, waterfalls and hilltop villages. The train stops at hilltop towns like Haputale and Nuwara Eliya, and tourists can explore the tea plantations there.

10. Watch a Match at Pallekele Cricket Stadium

Watch a Match at Pallekele Cricket Stadium
4.5 /5

Almost synonymous with cricket, Sri Lanka has eight stadiums all over the country. The Pallekele cricket stadium, capable of hosting 35,000 spectators, was established in 2008 and is half an hour’s drive to the east of Kandy city-centre. It was built for the 2011 Cricket World Cup and hosts both test and one-day international matches. Visitors could catch an international match here or watch the local Kandurata cricket team play. It is open from 8 in the morning to 6 in the evening.

11. Visit the World Buddhist Museum

Visit the World Buddhist Museum
4.7 /5

The International Buddhist Museum or World Buddhist Museum is the first of its kind in the world and is in the cultural and administrative capital of Sri Lanka Kandy. It is nestled in the complex that once served as the King’s residence along with the National Museum and Temple of the Tooth, hence its structure exhibits royalty, grandeur and elegance at its best. It compiles Buddhism, the extensive history of its teachings and depth of knowledge through scrolls, artefacts and souvenirs from all over the world. 

Timings : 9:00 AM - 7:00 PM

Time Required : 1.5 hours

Entry Fee : LKR 1250

12. Enjoy Leisure Time at Wales Park

Enjoy Leisure Time at Wales Park
4.1 /5

Wales Park, also known as The Royal Palace Park, offers majestic views of Kandy Lake and the city. Tourists can walk through the walking trails and the woodlands and check out the Japanese field gun on show. Lord Mountbatten had presented this field gun to the city of Kandy, and it is on display under a pavilion guarded by statues of lions and separated from the main walkway by a moat.

13. Do Some Shopping in Kandy

Do Some Shopping in Kandy

Kandy is famous among tourists and shopaholics for its unique silk fabrics, traditional fashion and plethora of souvenirs. Featuring state-of-the-art architecture, restaurants, department stores and entertainment areas, Kandy City Center is the best shopping destination in Kandy for designer wear, boutique accessories and apparel, handicrafts and books. Contrastingly, selling everything under the sun for Kandy’s locals and visitors, the Main Market is a must-visit for bargain-hunters and street food lovers.

14. Visit the Ceylon Tea Museum

Visit the Ceylon Tea Museum

Among the many names given to this island country like Lanka, Lakdiva, Serendib, Sri Lanka was also named Ceylon - during British Colonialism - reminding us of the famous Ceylon tea that origins in Sri Lanka. Situated at Hantana, 3 KM away from main Kandy city, Ceylon Tea Museum was structured in 1925 as the former Hantana Tea factory. Later in 1998, this tea factory was converted into the famous Ceylon Tea Museum.

Timings : Tuesday - Saturday : 08:30 AM to 03:45 PM; Sunday : 08:30 AM to 03:30 PM; Closed on Monday

Entry Fee : Adult is 800 LKR; Child is 400 LKR; Guided Tour: LKR 650 per person

15. Explore the Many Waterfalls in Kandy

Explore the Many Waterfalls in Kandy

Being a hilly region with lush tropics, Kandy is home to scenic hidden waterfalls perfect for hiking, family picnics, and escaping city hustle. Ramboda Falls is the most beautiful, with multiple cascades, standing 109 metres tall. Tucked in a small village, Hunas Falls is a honeymoon paradise. Adventure lovers can also enjoy hiking and camping at St. Claire’s Falls, Rathna Ella, Nagasthenna Waterfall, and Kadiyanlena Falls.

This post was published by Joysurjya Hagjer

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