Discover colonial-era relics and Sri Lanka’s most revered religious site at this romantic city nestled amid the undulating landscapes of the Hill Country.
Famous for its illustrious Buddhist temple, lively arts scene and lingering aura of colonialism, Kandy is one of central Sri Lanka’s most rewarding destinations. Kandy sits amid the cool climate of the Hill Country, a picturesque region of mountains and valleys clad in lush tea plantations. Once the capital of the Sinhalese kingdom, the nation’s second-largest city was colonized by the British in 1815. Today join pilgrims and tourists in Kandy looking for an escape from the sweltering coastal towns.
The UNESCO-protected city center stands on the northern shore of Kandy Lake with an attractive collection of temples and palaces. Visit the venerated Temple of the Tooth, which guards a tooth of the Lord Buddha. See exhibits about Buddhist practices throughout the world at the World Buddhism Museum. Admire the 19th-century St. Paul’s Church and spot colonial tombs at Kandy Garrison Cemetery. Learn about the Sinhalese kingdom and British rule at the National Museum, housed in the Royal Palace.
Explore handicraft shops and browse artisan markets while wandering the streets of the commercial district. Walk uphill to see the imposing Bahirawa Buddha Statue. Nearby is Asigiriya Stadium, where fans come to cheer on Sri Lanka’s Lions, the national cricket team.
Stroll along Kandy Lake’s shores or join a boat cruise at Kandy Lake Jetty. Mingle with monks and devotees at Malwathu Maha Viharaya temple. Relax in pretty Wales Park and enjoy superb city views at Kandy View Point.
Hike through thick forests, breathe in crisp mountain air and spot myriad birdlife at Udawattakelle Sanctuary. Catch a bus or rickshaw to Peradenuya, home to the Royal Botanical Garden. See orchid houses, orderly gardens and spice plantations, among other features.
Reach Kandy by taking a scenic train journey from either Colombo or Ella. Stay overnight at hotels tucked away in the city’s surrounding hills. Come in summer and join in the flamboyant events of Kandy Esala Perahera, a 10-day pageant that celebrates the sacred tooth of Lord Buddha.