Kandy is the second largest city in Sri Lanka, about a 3-hour drive from Colombo. Surrounded by beautiful tea plantations and mountains, full of cultural sights Kandy is a must, while you visit the island country.
↠ If you’re visiting Sri Lanka you can check if you’re gonna need a Visa and get one from here. For me, the easiest and cheapest way was to get it online from iVisa and I strongly recommend you to do the same if you’re going to need one.
How to get there
We arrived first at Colombo airport and decided to relax in the capital for the day. I recommend staying at OZO Colombo. The hotel is in the heart of the city, close to many bus stations and with a speechless view to the ocean. It has the best rooftop pool with a mind blowing 360° panorama view to the city. I totally loved staying at this place and can’t recommend it enough!
↠ Check available dates and book your stay at OZO Colombo here.
On the next day after breakfast, we headed to the rail station which is a 30-40 minute bus ride or 20 minute tuk-tuk ride and took the train to Kandy. It is a very beautiful 2-3 hours ride through the jungle and hills of the central part of the island. This train ride was absolutely amazing and I totally recommend it! There weren’t many tourists, we bought our tickets from the day before for the first class for about 650 rupees, but you can also go on the same day 30 minutes before the train ride and always find tickets for the 2nd and 3rd class, which is also very good and even cheaper – 400 and 300 rupees. Another way to reach Kandy from Colombo is by bus or tuk-tuk.
Watch our journey and see how we got from Colombo to Kandy
What To Do In Kandy
1. Explore the Royal Botanical Gardens in Peradeniya, near Kandy
The Royal Botanical Gardens near Kandy, Sri Lanka is a place not to be missed. They are so many flowers, wild animals such as monkeys, flying foxes, butterflies and also palm trees alleys high as skyscrapers. Many young people visit the park and we enjoyed visiting this place so much. Famous people such as Queen Mary or Gandhi have planted trees in the Memorial Garden.
It is easy to reach the place by a local bus from Kandy’s clock tower and the ticket costs only 40 rupees one way. Another option is to catch a three-wheeler from Kandy for about 400 rupees one way. The Royal Botanical Gardens Peradeniya entry fee is 1500 rupees.
2. Visit the Temple of the Sacret Buddha Tooth
The Temple of the Tooth, also known as Sri Dalada Maligawa, is a beautiful Buddhist Temple in the heart of Kandy, very close to the lake. Monks daily visit the temple and many rituals take place throughout the day starting from early in the morning.
You can see the tooth box behind a glass window. Recommended time for visiting is around 9 a.m. in the morning after the first rituals for the day are finished or afternoons between 4 and 6 p.m. Entrance fee is 1000 rupees.
3. Visit Bahiravokanda Vihara Buddha statue
This place is not only one of the biggest Buddha statues of Sri Lanka but also an incredible view point. If you climb up the stairs on the back of the statue you’ll have an even better panoramic view of the city. We went there around 5 pm and there were almost no people, the sky was incredible, because the sunset was happening right behind the statue so it’s the perfect time to go. Entry fee is 300 rupees.
4. Walk around Kandy Lake
Kandy Lake is the most iconic place in the entire city. It’s located in the heart of Kandy, next to the Temple of the Tooth. The scenery is pretty, there are plenty of birds, fish and there are several peaceful spots where you can just sit and enjoy the views. We even saw a varan few times!
5. Visit Kandy Central Market
We went on a walk at the center of the city and easily found the central market. There were plenty of colorful fabric, fruits and spice shops and there’re so many activities happening. We loved talking with the locals at one of the many fruit shops – they were so friendly, give us mango to taste and of course we went with few kilos of fresh tropical fruits back at the hotel.
6. Eat great food in Kandy, Sri Lanka
Here are some of my favorite cafes and restaurants ordered by tasty(⋆) rating:
Balaji Dosai ⋆⋆
7. Take one of the world’s most beautiful train rides
From here you can take the train through the green tea plantations to Nuwara Eliya or Ella. A ticket to Nuwara Eliya will cost you around $2,50 / 400 LKR. The ride to Nuwara Eliya takes 4 to 5 hours and 7 hours to Ella. The train ride has been considered as one of the most beautiful train routes in the world! Unfortunately we didn’t do that, because our route was different and after Kandy we visited Sigiriya, followed by Trincomalee and Arugam Bay, so we took a bus from Arugam Bay to Ella and didn’t got on that train ride.
Where to stay in Kandy, Sri Lanka?
We stayed at OZO Kandy, which is a very nice hotel in the heart of the city with a speechless view to the lake. The rooftop pool and bar are famous as the best view in the town, from where you can even spot the Temple of the Tooth! Our room has the same view and every morning started with a peaceful yoga practice overlooking the lake and with the sound of the birds, followed by a good breakfast. So peaceful and lovely!
The property is located in the best place of the town and most of the highlights are on a walking distance. We barely used any kind of transport, but we just really love to walk. Anyway – the temple of the tooth is less than a 1,5 km and the Buddha Statue is around 2,5 km from OZO Kandy. The center was around 1 km far and there is a bus stop on the main road in front of the property.
We absolutely loved our stay here and can’t recommend it more!
Watch our experience from Kandy:
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Special thanks to OZO Colombo and OZO Kandy for hosting us during our stay. As always, all opinions expressed are entirely my own and I only ever recommend brands and properties that I personally love and believe this community would love too!