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Updated by Joanna James on Jul 13, 2023
Headline for 9 Best Things To Do in Kandy, Sri Lanka - Discovering the cultural capital of Sri Lanka
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9 Best Things To Do in Kandy, Sri Lanka - Discovering the cultural capital of Sri Lanka

Kandy is a charming city nestled in the hills of central Sri Lanka. With a lot to see and do, it can be overwhelming to plan a trip to Kandy, so here are the nine best things to do in Kandy during your holiday visit.

1

Visit the Temple of the Tooth

One of the most important religious sites in Sri Lanka, the Temple of the Tooth houses a sacred relic - the tooth of the Buddha. Visitors can admire the intricate architecture and explore the temple's various chambers and courtyards. Plan your visit during the annual Esala Perahera festival, a spectacular procession of dancers, musicians, and decorated elephants.

2

Explore the Royal Botanical Gardens

Located just outside of Kandy, the Royal Botanical Gardens is a stunning display of Sri Lanka's flora and fauna. The gardens feature over 4,000 species of plants, including rare orchids, towering palm trees, and colourful water lilies. Take a leisurely stroll through the gardens, stop for a picnic, or visit the onsite Aviary for a chance to see exotic birds up close.

3

Learn about Sri Lankan tea at a plantation

Sri Lanka is famous for its tea, and a visit to a tea plantation is a must-do in Kandy. The Ceylon Tea Museum offers guided tours of a working tea estate, where visitors can learn about the history of tea production in Sri Lanka, see how tea is harvested and processed, and sample some of the best teas in the world. Also, you can try a cup of tea at properties like Hunas Falls Hotel Kandy often regarded as the best hotel in Kandy to experience this right in your room.

4

Take a scenic train ride

The train journey from Kandy to Ella is one of the most scenic train rides in the world, taking you through lush forests, tea plantations, and misty mountains. The journey takes approximately seven hours and offers breathtaking views of Sri Lanka's natural beauty.

5

Hike to the top of Adam's Peak

Located about two hours from Kandy, Adam's Peak is a sacred mountain that attracts pilgrims from all over the world. The hike to the summit takes about four hours and is best done in the early morning to watch the sunrise. At the top, you'll be rewarded with stunning views and a sense of accomplishment.

6

Discover the ancient city of Polonnaruwa

Polonnaruwa was once the capital of Sri Lanka and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The ancient city features well-preserved ruins of palaces, temples, and statues dating back to the 12th century. Rent a bike or hire a guide to explore the site and learn about the rich history of Sri Lanka.

7

Take a dip in a waterfall

Kandy is surrounded by stunning waterfalls, and taking a dip in one of them is a refreshing break from the city's heat. Some of the most popular waterfalls to visit include Ramboda Falls, Devon Falls, and St. Clair's Falls.

8

Explore the Kandy Lake

Located in the heart of the city, the Kandy Lake is a tranquil oasis surrounded by lush greenery. Visitors can take a stroll around the lake, hire a paddleboat, or visit the nearby tea museum.

9

Experience the Kandyan Cultural Show

The Kandyan Cultural Show is a vibrant display of traditional Sri Lankan music, dance, and costumes. The show takes place every evening at the Kandyan Art Association and Cultural Centre and is a great way to learn about the local culture and traditions.

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