This is the last kingdom of the country. Since it was conquered by the British only around 1815 you can still see the living traditions. Kandyans are usually proud of their heritage. Since the western elements has played a comparatively little role in the city most Kandyans uphold Buddhist values. Since it is in the cultural triangle the authorities try to retain this values as much as possible. Situation had changed recently because of many immigrants coming from other parts of the country. So don't expect to find the honest Kandyans they describe in the colonial literature now. Be careful with your belongings and the people whom you associate with. But this is a peaceful city compared to most other parts of the country with a lesser crime rate.
- From Colombo Bus No.1, more than 70 per day, 3 ¼ hours.
- Intercity air-conditioned bus (from Colombo) is the next best option to the train. If you are female and travelling alone it is best to either sit next to another female or try to sit as close to the conductor as possible (i.e. up front) to avoid any unnecessary surprises.
- Bus from the airport. Take the free shuttle bus to the bus terminal, where the friendly locals will direct you to the bus to Kandy (3.5h, 150 LKR as of January 2013).
From Dambulla bus station, you'll get the direct bus for Kandy. No train run on this route. A non-air-con bus will cost you Rs. 100 and take some 3 hours. Air-conditioned buses are also available on this route but they stop only briefly in Dambulla and they usually stop somewhere outside the bus station.
From Colombo - Intercity express train are hassle free and scenic, 2.5 hours. Reservation are needed for these trains, it can be done just before the departure depending on the period but is best done in advance especially if you are travelling on a weekend or holiday. There is a great observation saloon (first class) in this particular train. Other trains are overly crowded and late. The trip from Colombo costs 220 LKR in second class. First class tickets are 1,250 LKR each way.
If you're just arriving in Sri Lanka, heading for Kandy, you can hire a taxi from one of the stalls in the arrivals hall at Colombo airport for about R6,000/-. The journey takes about 3 hours. This saves the hassle of going into Colombo, and is a lot quicker and easier.
By hired mini-vans
Hired mini-vans with a driver are available from Colombo through travel agencies and hotel concierges. The road to Kandy is astonishingly chaotic and frightening even for seasoned travellers. Be prepared for a long slow slog in traffic, or, if your driver decides to make the journey at a more practical speed, a hair-raising adventure replete with passing around blind corners and games of chicken with the ubiquitous intercity buses. A day trip from Mt. Lavinia to Kandy, including seeing the sights in Kandy, costs around LKR 10,000 [May 2011].
Air Taxi (from Colombo) is the latest option to travel to Kandy. The De Havilland Twin Otter float planes operated by Sri Lankan Airlines leave Colombo at 09:00 (currently from Kelani River) and touch down at Mahaweli River in Polgolla, Kandy at 09:30 The travel time between Colombo and Kandy is just 30 minutes. It costs Rs. 4,900 one-way fare and Rs. 9,800 for a return.
- The local "Three-Wheelers" ('Tuk-Tuk) are an amazingly cheap and exciting way of seeing the city, and they run virtually all night long.
- Walking is also recommended - the centre is not that large - as a way of seeing temples, shops, shopping area and other sights around the lake and You can visit the Temple of the Tooth by on foot as well but you'll have to ask for directions.
- The Temple of the Tooth, ☎ +94 812234226, fax: +94 8112236201, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. The temple is open from dawn to dusk. locally, this temple is known as "Sri Dalada Maligawa". It houses a tooth relic of the Lord Buddha, and is consequently considered one of Sri Lanka's most holy shrines. Although you may not view the actual tooth itself, the casket within which it is said to be is displayed twice a day. The best time to view this ornate casket is around 18:30. The entrance fee to the temple is LKR1,000 for foreigners and LKR500 for South Asian passport holders..
- University of Peradeniya, the second university of Sri Lanka, established in 1942 in affiliation with former 'The University of Ceylon'. This has the largest university library in South Asia which is seven storyed. Tremendous beauty of this university has been appreciated over decades. Off the university bounds, Hanthana mountains can be hiked. On the opposite side, largest river of Sri Lanka, the River Mahaweli flows. The beauty of site can be markedly seen in March–April season.
- The Pinnewala Elephant Orphanage has about seventy semi-tame elephants roaming freely around this wonderful sanctuary. Feeding and bathing times are especially enjoyable. You can either hire a taxi to take you there or, if travelling on a budget, get a bus to Kegalle (about an hour away) for about R40/-, asking the driver to drop you off at the turn for Pinnewala which is 3 miles or so before you reach the town, and catch another local bus for the last 6 km or so. Definitely worth the trip especially if you have children.
- The Royal Botanical Garden in Peradeniya is the best botanical garden in Sri Lanka and one of the best in the region. It dates back to the ancient kings of the country although the British changed the look of it. The British are said to have used the gardens to grow trees that could not be grown at Kew gardens. The large banyan tree, the orchid house, the suspension bridge, and the bats are some of the main attractions. Foreigner entrance: 1,100 LKR. Drive there through the University of Peradeniya the most scenic and the largest university in the country.
- New Ranweli Spice Garden. Located in close proximity to Peradeniya Royal Botanical Garden is a place to see and learn about Sri Lankan spices and herbs. After seeing around the garden,spices can also be purchased as a souvenir,but there is no obligation to buy.(Entrance free/free pick up service from any destination within kandy and peradeniya for foreigners)/T.P +94 77-1351931
- National Museum (just behind the Temple of the Tooth), ☎ +94 81 2223867. Houses an interesting collection of Sri Lankan relics. It is usually quiet and the museum workers are more than happy to provide a free tour. 500 LKR, with an optional 250 LKR photography permit.
- The Kandy Garrison Cemetery is located a literal stone's throw below the National Museum, just out of view of the Temple of the Tooth. Here lie the remains of several dozen, mostly British, soldiers who died from various causes during the colonial era. The cemetery is extremely well-maintained by its caretaker, who will gladly complement some of the more fascinating tombstones with a little back-story. Entrance is free.
- Bahirawakanda temple. The ominipresent Buddha statue seen from everywhere in Kandy city. Take a tuk tuk ride to the Temple or walk, just 1 km away from the Kandy city. The way to the temple may not be easy to locate, you might have to take a three wheeler or ask a local, when in doubt just walk up and follow the colourful Buddhist flags over the road. Entrance fee 200 LKR. This Buddha statue is best viewed from far away. Once you get onto the premises it is no longer easy to see. Plus it is not a very peaceful place as temples go.
- The Tea Museum, Hantane. The ancient Tea Factory of Hantana Estate has been converted into a museum dedicated to the history of Sri Lankan tea, run by the Sri Lanka Tea Board.
- Udawattakele Royal Forest Sanctuary, the forest located "in the Kandy city", was planned and maintained as the part of the Royal palace complex of the Sinhala Kings. A patch of tropical rain forest still survives and if you don't come across it, it is still a wonderful walk. You are guaranteed to come across plenty of monkeys and some tranquil ponds. Wear long trousers after rain, and take some salt as there are lots of leeches about.
- Temples situated around Kandy are some other popular tourist attractions. The most famous temples are: Gadaladeniya, Lankathilaka Viharaya, Embekke Devalaya, Dodanwala Devalaya, Degaldoruwa, Hindagala Viharaya, Madawala Viharaya and Galmaduwa Viharaya.
- Visit Athur's seat for a panoramic view of Kandy.
- Commonwealth War Cemetery is located at Deveni (2nd) Rajasinghe mawatha down by the Mahaweli riverside. Formerly known as Pitakande Military Cemetery, it is one of the most beautifully landscaped and maintained war cemeteries in the world. There is one Commonwealth burial of the World War I and a further 196 Commonwealth burials of the World War II commemorated in the cemetery. In addition there are four Foreign National and two non world war burials. The range of nationalities laid to rest comes from the records of the War cemetery, and include 107 Britons, 35 East Africans, 26 Sri Lankans, 23 Indians, six Canadians, three Italians and one Frenchman.
- Kandyan Art Association., No. 72, Sangaraja Mawatha (The Kandyan Art Association is almost at the rear end of the Maligawa – Temple of the Tooth Relic and can be reached by walking along the lake road from the “Ulpenge” situated at the Southern entrance.Only five minutes walk from the Temple of the Tooth, Kandyan Art Association is definitely worth a visit when you are in Kandy.), ☎ 094 81 2223100. from 09:00 to 17:30. Visitors can see how these articles are made. This is a centre for traditional arts and crafts with a government-sponsored sales room and fixed prices. Entrance free.
- Perahera is the most famous festival in Kandy usually in August. It's a pageant where many elephants participate. You can buy expensive seats or can see it with the crowd. Buy a seat from the Queens hotel, which costs around $US40. Buy the tickets from the officials as otherwise through middlemen you will be paying exorbitant prizes.
- Kandyan dancing you can see this traditional form of dancing in the "Kandyan Cultural Centre" near the Kandy lake.
- Buddhist Publication Society this is located near the lake. You can participate in discussions about Buddhism, meditation or you can buy some introductory materials about Buddhism.
- Nilambe Meditation Centre. Have to take a "Galaha" bus passing Peradeniya (Get down from Nilambe "office junction". Is a Buddhist retreat which offers experiences of a monastic lifestyle. You can engage in daily activities including yoga classes, meditation and discussions.
- If there's a cricket match on, spend a day at the Asgiriya Stadium, possibly the world's prettiest test match venue, and certainly the only one that for most of the year is simply a school sports ground (Trinity College).
- Within the Kandy city the short walk of Asgiri Maha Viharaya via Bahirawakande hill is an interesting.
- Udawattakelle forest reserve (Udawatta Kele (Udawatta Forest, උඩවත්තකැලේ )) in within the city limit, gives valuable walking in nature.
- The secret Walkers Forest upper Hantane trek is on special permission from the Municipal Council of Kandy.
- The famous Western Shrines of Kandy Gadaladeniya, Lankathilake temples and Embakke shrine are connected by a very scenic footpath.
- Other part of the west of Kandy, a part of Portuguese War Route, via Ihalakotte railway station to Dodanwala Devale shrine is passing forest reserves, Alagalle Mountain, tea estates and kandyan traditional villages.
- East of Kandy city the temples Gangaramaya, Galmaduwa, Degaldoruwa temple are well known for paintings, sculptures and architectural techniques.Knuckles mountain range and its forest trails are the most suitable for trekking in Sri Lanka. It has many nature trails cleared trough the forest by forest department with campsites. For example Mini world’s end trails in the west and east, Pitawala pathena trail, Ash cave trail, Nitre cave trail, Knuckles summit trail are exciting. Also there are interconnected footpaths of cardamom planters, toddy tappers, tea plantation workers, farmers and villages.
- Traditional villages of the Knuckles foothills with so mach of treks and short walks such as Last King of Kandy, Sri Wikrama Rajasinhe’s (1798-1815) hideout place, Rathna water fall trek, Sitakotuwa limestone cave and waterfall trek, etc.South of Kandy the longest rice field scenery of the island, Lamasuriyagama the rice field was belonging to royal court of Kandy a spectacular trek. It is undisturbed from electricity wires for photographs and with terrace rice fields by a Loggaloya river with watch huts of farmers. Loggaloya riverine forest trail to Victoria – Randenigala – Rantambe sanctuary is also a very interesting trekking
- Laksala is the state owned handicraft shop. You will be able to buy a lot of genuine handicrafts made by traditional artisans (don't be deceived by the fake products available with most tourist shops). Laksala is by the lake.
- Kandy City Centre opened in 2009. It is an ultra modern shopping complex with space for over 400 shops. By the time of its opening it is the country's most modern and biggest shopping complex.
- Waruna Antiques, 761 Peradeniya Rd (10 minutes from Kandy, Old Peradeniya Road), ☎ +94 777710013. 09:00. Kandyan masks, jewellery, coins, plates, textiles, etc.
- Upali Jayakody Batiks, No.192/2, Dharmashoka Mawatha, Lewella, ☎ +94 777833938. High quality modern batik.
- Central Market, open only on Fridays. Stocking the same range of foods, spices, herbal tonics, crafts, textiles and factory-reject designer-brand clothing, it caters to the locals and is government run so there is one price and it is 200-300% cheaper than the tourist shops. Sri Lanka is known for its fabulous spices in diversity, quantity and quality. Cardamon and cinnamon, nutmeg and chili, pepper and turmeric and amazing smelling vanilla.
- White House, opposite the Bakehouse (below) for Sri Lanken short meals. Good quality food and inexpensive.
- Bakehouse, for snacks or traditional Sri Lankan meals. Scenic view of the City, from its first floor balcony, where they serve a Sri Lankan buffet, but this tends to sell out by about 19:30.
- Devon Restaurant is famous for quality snacks. Captain's table is at Upstairs of Devons. Good Sri Lankan and South Indian food.
- Avanhala, is just in front of the Kandy lake. Good food and best scenery.
- Sriram Indian Restaurant in the Colombo Street offers nice south Indian food.
- The Flower Song Chinese Restaurant on Kotugodelle Vidaya is just north of the town centre. It sells excellent Chinese food - with huge portions of rice or noodles. It's clean, air-conditioned, and serves beers and wines.
- Dog Lovers - Good quality Western short meals available here with fair prices and high quality. Located in Peradeniya Road Kandy, just off Hindu Vidyalaya.
- Dinemore - Just opposite to the Anniewatta tunnel. On the top of Nihal's Super. Good quality Mid-Eastern and South-Indian food for affordable prices.
- Lyons restaurant located in front of the Hindu Kovil. Serves good quality food, both Western and Eastern.
- There are two popular bars on the main street (Dalada Vidaya), The Pub and The Pub Royale. The former serves quite good (but pricey, perhaps R700/-) meals, has a large screen for sports inside and a 1st floor outside verandah.
- There are a number of cheap bars (R100/- or less for a 650 ml bottle of beer) scattered throughout the sidestreets near the town centre. They can be rather seedy and unaccompanied women could be made to feel very uncomfortable. (Usually Local women do not drink)
- Victory Hotel, 79 Colombo Road This bar is a great way to see real Sri Lankans and what they do, downstairs is full of locals knocking back Arrack the atmosphere may be less than salubrious, in fact it gives the Sidney Hotel, Galle a run for its money, but the people are friendly. Upstairs is slightly less dingy as it serves food, Arrack starts at 700 lkr, beer 195 lkr and a cigarette from a waiter 30lkr
There are many hostels, budget, midrange and splurge hotels in Kandy, where you can stay the night and rest easily.
There are lots of cheapish guest houses to the south and east of the lake, all an only a short walk from the town centre, and generally clean and friendly.
- Rosendale Villa, 85/A Upul Mawatha,Primrose Gardens, ☎ +94 771015665, e-mail: email@example.com. In a secluded area of Kandy, Rosendale Villa offers a unique experience where you can relax, in true up country style. The climate which is cool mornings and evenings, with fairly warm day times offer a splendid environment to enjoy the calm ambiance at the Villa and explore the surrounding sites and other places of interest. Located on the Primrose Hill with a panoramic view of the famous Mahaveli River and close to Kandy. Serves breakfast, lunch & dinner. Offers WiFi, laundry, tuk tuk rides, telephone, hit water etc. Room from 4,500 RS.
- Burmese Rest. The cheapest option in the cityThe Buddhist monks are friendly and the building is a quiet retreat from Kandy's noisy streets. You'll find it after one kilometre on the right hand side, on the road which begins at the Tooth Temple, leading away from Kandy Lake. Room from 300 RS.
- Kandy City Mission, 125, DS Sennanayake Veediya, ☎ +94 77 2 203040 (Contact Tobi), e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00. The cheapest, safest & best en suite accommodation in the centre of Kandy managed by some of the members of the churches of Kandy. US$5 to 10 person.
- Kandy Cottage, 160 Lady Gordon Dr, ☎ +94 77 2 203040 (Tobi), e-mail: email@example.com. Eco-friendly retreat for writers and artists, but it also welcomes general holiday makers with facilities from laundry to laser printing. Although it nestles in a little hollow adjoining a tiny virgin forest 'Udawatta Kele Royal Forest Sanctuary' - it is only ten minutes' walk from the city centre. It has two double rooms and one family suite, all of them enabled with broadband internet. Rates from US$22 to 40 per person, accompanying children free if under 12. Half rate after the second week..
- Peace Haven Guest House, 47/10 Louis Pieris lane and other entrance 44 firstlane Dharmaraja mawatta (near the north-east corner of Kandy Lake), ☎ +94 812232584. Located a pleasant 20 minutes stroll by the lakeside from the centre of town. The owners, Mr & Mrs Atapattu, are friendly, knowledgeable and helpful. Breakfasts include heaps of fresh fruit, all the toast you can eat and good rich tea. Rs1250/ to Rs1500room only.
- Golden View Rest, Saranankara Rd, ☎ +94 81 2239418, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. View on the lake and a part of the city. Hot water and very clean rooms. Air-con and non air-con rooms. The breakfast is not included in the price if not asked. Beware of the owner's "free" tuk-tuk scam-- your driver will demand an extortionate sum of money once you arrive at your destination. Room from 1,500 LKR.
- Hill Top Hotel, 200/21, Bahirawakande Peradeniya Rd (about 2 km to the city centre), ☎ +94 81 2224162. Two star hotel. 73 standard rooms. The onsite restaurant serves a variety of local and international dishes. $US53-60(2014).
- McLeod Inn, 65A Rajapihilla Mawatha, ☎ +94 81 222 2832, e-mail: email@example.com. The couple who run the place are all smiles and very helpful. Rooms are sparkling clean, comfy beds, en suite with hot and cold water. Some beautiful views across Kandy from their balcony and from a couple of rooms, room 6 especially has floor to ceiling windows. No air-con, but you do not need it. 1,300-1,700 LKR.
- Queen's Hotel, 124 Srimath Kuda Ratwatte Mawatha (in the middle of the city beside the Temple of the Tooth Relic and the Kandy Lake), ☎ +94 81 81 2233026 / 81 5627620-4. One of the oldest hotels in Kandy. Offers ideal geataway spots to watch the Maligawa Perahera (the procession). Non-air-con:sgl./dbl. 40-60/45-80USD; Air-con:79-94/92-122 USD..
- Riverdale Hotel, 32, Aniwatte Road, Kandy, Sri Lanka. From 42$.
- heavens holiday resort, 23/a arangala nattharanpotha kandy, ☎ +94 755915211, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Heavens Holiday Resort is a nice clean guest house with situated in near the Kandy city. They have 3 rooms and 3 bathrooms. One room has a private balcony and others with public balcony. Home made foods are offered the 1st floor restaurant. Non-air-con:sgl./dbl. 15-20/15-20 USD; Air-con:30-40/30-40 USD..
- Amaya Hills Kandy, Heerassagala, ☎ +94 81 4474022/8+94 77 77772237. , 100 rooms. - All rooms and suites have private balconies overlooking the sweeping valley or lush mountainside. Offers Ayruvedic spa treatments From 120$.
- Chaaya Citadel Kandy, 124 Srimath Kuda Ratwatte Mawatha, ☎ +94 81 2234365. Offers a stay that takes you back in time. The four star hotel is away from the hustle and bustle of the city but near enough to access the cultural marvels that Kandy has to offer. From 110 $ (2014).
- Earl's Regency, 84 Tenna Kumbura (4km from Kandy), ☎ +94 81 5873305 - 7. This 100 room five star luxury hotel has restaurants with a variety of international cuisine, 24 hour room service, a coffee shop, Ayurvedic health centre, shopping arcade, a sauna and wedding, conference and banquets facilities. Evening entertainment includes disco, karaoke, live bands, oriental bands, bingo and cultural shows. 80-210 $.
- Forest Villa, 185 B, Rajapihilla Mawatha, ☎ +94 81 2234107. Forest Villa provides the comfortable amenities of an urban lifestyle. It offers rooms equipped with bathroom amenities, Welcome pack (water, tea, coffee or fruit juice) and coffee/tea maker. Some of its facilities and services are Restaurant, dining areas, business centre, housekeeping and 24-hours back-up power supply.
- Hunas Falls by Amaya, Elkaduwa (about 26 km away from Kandy), ☎ +94 81 4940320. The hotel is in a breathtaking setting overlooking the Hunas Falls. The hotel has nine superior rooms, 19 deluxe rooms and suites. Room facilities include a mini bar, satellite TV and IDD telephone. All rooms are centrally air conditioned. The hotel offers conferencing and banqueting facilities. From 133 $ (2014).
- The Kandy Samadhicentre, Kukuloya Rd Narampanawa (passing Digana), ☎ +94 777710013. Nature resort. Double with hot water B&B from US$95 (2014).
- Mahaweli Reach Hotel, 35, P.B.A. Weerakoon Mawatha (a few minutes away from the city), ☎ +94 81 4472727. Five star hotel. sgl./dbl. 125-180/140-200$, suites: US $ 3,000 -5,000.
- Randholee Resort, ☎ +94 81 2217741. The panoramic view from this resort is one of the better ones in the area, decked in Kandyan décor, all rooms do not have its own private balcony and bathrooms. sgl./dbl. 170-240/170-300 $.
- Suisse Hotel, 30, Sangarajah Mawatha (right beside the historic Kandy Lake), ☎ +94 81 81 2233024-5. Colonial hotel. 93 rooms. 110-160 $.
- Swiss Residence Kandy Hotel, 23 Bahirawakanda Ln (1 km to the city centre). 40 rooms. 70-170 $ (2014).
- Hotel Topaz, Anniewatta Circular Rd, මහනුවර, ☎ 94 81 7 389000. 77 tastefully furnished air-con rooms with piped music and hot and cold running water. 40 of them include a TV, a mini bar and bath. From 100 $.
- The Tourmaline Hotel, Aniwatte (Few miles up Aniwatte road), ☎ +94 817-389000-6. Four star 29 deluxe room hotel. From 120 $.
- Tourmaline Hotel, 55, 2nd Lane, Pushpadana Mawatha, ☎ +94 81 4473551-5. The hotel has 29 furnished rooms with modern amenities.
- Holiday Bungalow, Haragama (11 km on Rajamawatha), ☎ +94 777-426321. 6 deluxe rooms. Ideal for family holidays who like to stay in a relaxed and peaceful area
List of Major Hospitals and health care centres:
- General Hospital Kandy, ☎ +94 81 2222261.
- Teaching Hospital - Peradeniya, ☎ +94 81 2388001.
- Sirimavo Bandaranaike Specialised Children's Hospital - Peradeniya.
- Suwasewana Hospital, 532, Peradeniya Road, ☎ +94 81 2222404, fax: +94 81 4476763.
- India, High Commission of India, No. 31, Rajapihilla Mawatha, PO Box 47, ☎ +94 81 2222652, +94 81 2223786, fax: +94 81 2232479.
- Dambulla is 60 km north of Kandy and air-con buses to Dambulla costs 150 LKR. With a driver it is possible to do a day trip to Sigiriya (2.5 hour from Kandy)- Dambulla - Matale.