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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Headline for Best Experiences in Kandy – Hill Country Discoveries
Joanna James Joanna James
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Best Experiences in Kandy – Hill Country Discoveries

The capital of Sri Lanka's hill country, Kandy has a rich heritage and offers much to see and do for intrepid travellers. Here are some of the best experiences one can find here.


Visit the Temple of the Tooth

Steeped in history and one of the most sacred sites in the country, the Temple of the Tooth houses a tooth relic that is believed to be from Lord Buddha. Known as the Sri Dalada Maligawa or the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, this UNESCO World Heritage Site can be easily reached by those staying at a hotel Kandy has to offer in and around its main town area. Exploring this ancient temple offers a unique insight into Sri Lanka's Buddhist heritage. Those visiting during July / August also have the chance to see the famous Esala Perahera (a colourful religious parade) that takes place here.


Explore Kandy Town

The main town of Kandy is a joy to explore; yes the streets are often chockfull of people (both local and foreign) and yes traffic on weekends gets chaotic, but it still has a wonderful atmosphere which blends old world charm with an energetic vibe. Accommodation options such as Kings Pavilion Kandy are located close by and even offer private tours to the best places to see here. From colourful markets to a modern mall and fancy restaurants to charming local eateries, the town area offers plenty to experience.


Trek Through Udawatta Kele Sanctuary

An ancient forest reserve that was once set apart exclusively for royalty, the Udawatta Kele Sanctuary offers the perfect nature escape. Located within easy reach of the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, this forest sanctuary is set amidst age old trees and winding pathways that take one deep into the heart of this lush haven. Endemic flora abounds at the Udawatta Kele Sanctuary and so too does bird life making it an excellent place for bird watching too. Since it is relatively small, you can easily trek one of the marked routes in about two to three hours though there are shorter routes as well.


Relax at the Royal Botanical Gardens

The ideal place to unwind with family or enjoy a romantic stroll, the Royal Botanical Gardens in Peradeniya, Kandy is the largest of its kind in Sri Lanka. Bordered by the Mahaweli River, these gardens were originally created in the 14th century during the reign of King Wickramabahu III. Today, this site features thousands of plant species both endemic and from other countries around the world. Highlights include the orchid collection, the royal palms that line a particular avenue and the colossal Javan fig tree. When the flowers are in full bloom, the Royal Botanical Gardens becomes even more enchanting and is the perfect setting for a relaxed day out.


Walk Around Kandy Lake

In the heart of the main town area, you will find the Kandy Lake. This tranquil lake is bordered in parts by pedestrian walkways as well as huge trees that offer ample shade. As the day draws to a close, taking a walk around Kandy Lake soaking up the charm of this ancient hill country city makes for an unforgettable experience.