Things to Do in Kandy, An Essential Guide to Kandy
The city of Kandy, situated in the Central province of Sri Lanka is the cultural capital of the island, and is the perfect city to experience the proud Sri Lankan heritage and history, while being packed with things to do.
It is a beautiful town that consists of many old buildings as well as some of the most beautiful tourist destinations on the island, all clustered together in a basin of land surrounded by stunning, mist cladded mountains.
Kandy is the perfect combination of nature, heritage and history, which you can experience on your vacation in Sri Lanka. We have put together 11 things to do in Kandy on this guide, so that you will be able to experience the beautiful city to the fullest.
Sri Lanka’s Historical And Cultural Capital Uncommon Places to Visit in Kandy
1. Visit the Udawattakele Forest Reserve
First up on our list of things to do in Kandy, is visiting the Udawattakele sanctuary. Udawattakele forest reserve is one of the many rain forests situated on the island and it is only a few miles away from Kandy city. It was used as a pleasure garden by the last Kings of Sri Lanka and is located on a hill ridge just near the Temple of the Tooth.
The forest can be magnificently seen from the city and is very rich in flora and fauna, especially when it comes to birds. The reserve is a bird watcher’s paradise, with many small mammals as well as beautiful trees adding to its charm. The forest is only a 15-20 minutes away from the Kandy city, which is highly convenient.
2. Visit Giragama Tea Factory
Kandyan dancing consists of many different dance forms and beautiful, highly decorated costumes that are truly feasting to the eye. Kandyan dancing has a proud past, with its origin running back to centuries of years, but still which is colourful and alive to the fullest.
There are 18 special dances called ‘Vannam’, which pays tribute to many sacred animals and deities, and they are performed by both men and women in colourful costumes. There are many traditional dancing groups in the Kandy area, and you can arrange to see their dances in cultural shows, which are very common and it’s among the very best Things to do In Kandy.
3. Traditional Kandyan Dancing
Kandyan dancing consists of many different dance forms and beautiful, highly decorated costumes which are truly feasting to the eye and seeing them is one of the most exciting things to do in Kandy. Kandyan dancing has a proud past, with its origin running back to centuries of years, but still which is colourful and alive to the fullest.
There are 18 special dances called ‘Vannam’, which pays tribute to many sacred animals and deities, and they are performed by both men and women in colourful costumes. There are many traditional dancing groups in the Kandy area, and you can arrange to see their dances in cultural shows, which are very common in Kandy.
4. Visit Sembuwatta Lake
Sembuwatta Lake is a man-made lake that contains natural spring water and it is situated only a few kilometers away from Kandy, at Elkaduwa in Matale district and this visit has taken a spot on our list of things to do in Kandy. The lake is adjacent to a forest reserve named Campbell’s forest reserve, as well as next to a small tea estate.
Alongside the lake, there is a natural swimming pool and the entire area is surrounded by so many beautiful sceneries and misty mountains, making it a perfect place for a picnic or to capture a few stunning photographs. There are locals offering boat rides in the lake at a reasonable price, making the journey more eventful and pleasurable.
5. Take a Stroll Around the Kandy Lake
Kandy lake, also known as the Sea of Milk is an artificial lake situated in the middle of the Kandy city, overlooking the Temple of the Tooth. It was built by the last Sri Lankan king in 1807 and over time, it has become a protected lake with boating and fishing being prohibited.
The lake is surrounded by a small pathway shaded by huge trees and it is the perfect walkway to take an evening stroll or a morning jog and it will be one of the most memorable things to do in Kandy.
The pathway is laid alongside the main road, so it is easily accessible and you will be able to get nice views of the city and many of its popular landmarks during your stroll.
6. Visit the Temple of the Tooth
Temple of the Tooth, which is the resting place of the sacred tooth relic of Lord Buddha, is considered to be the most sacred place for all the Buddhists in Sri Lanka.
It is also the home of the last Sri Lankan king, so it still holds the ancient grandeur and the majestic environment after hundreds of years. It is the most famous landmark in the city of Kandy, and it holds so much value to Sri Lankan heritage and Buddhism alike.
The palace is covered with complex wood and stone carvings as well as beautifully painted pictorial arts, which still remain rich in colour and sharpness. Visiting the Temple of the Tooth is a certain must-do activity from things to do in Kandy.
7. Visit the Big Buddha Statue at Bahirawakanda
Majestically rising up from a hilltop only 2 kilometers away from the city of Kandy, a giant statue of Lord Buddha overlooks the city with a height of 26.83 meters.
This entirely white, beautiful statue was built in 1972 and is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the area. The located hill is known as Bahirawakanda and the visitors can climb this hill for panoramic views of the city and it is one of the most famous things to do in Kandy.
The hill is associated with so many exciting local folklores and you can find out about them on your visit. The best time visit here is at night, so that you will be able to gaze at the stunning Kandy city twinkling with lights.
8. Take a Walk in the Royal Botanical Gardens
The Royal Botanical Garden of Sri Lanka is situated 5.5 kilometers south of Kandy, in Peradeniya, and it consists of 4000 plant species, especially known for its collection of many varieties of orchids.
The garden is spread over 147 acres and it so picturesque that you won’t feel tired even if you walk inside it the entire day. It also holds an extremely high historical value, and you can buy many souvenirs at the entrance to take home with you.
You will be charged a small fee at the entrance to visit the garden, but it will be nothing when compared to the beauty and leisure you will experience once you are inside and it remains one of the top things to do in Kandy from years.
9. Roam the Streets and the Kandy City Center
Kandy is laid with so many streets that run all throughout the city, carrying so many shops that sell various items you can take home as souvenirs and memories.
Since Kandy is a popular tourist location in Sri Lanka, the city’s economy has flourished on tourism selling so many items that depict the heritage of Sri Lanka such as wood carvings, paintings, Sri Lankan clothes, traditional food, etc.
Kandy flea market is also famous to buy fresh vegetables and fruits. Kandy City Center is the shopping mall in the city which carry many international brands and shops.
10. Visit Museums
There are many museums in the city of Kandy which carry items that are extremely significant to the Sri Lankan history as well as to the Buddhist history.
Visiting one of them is a must-do thing in Kandy. Kandy National Museum is only second to the Colombo National Museum and it features so many items that are important to the history of Sri Lanka as well as to the history of Kandy itself.
The World Buddhist Museum, which showcases the history of Buddhism, Ceylon Tea Museum, which features the history of Ceylon tea, Sri Dalada Museum and the Raja Museum, both of which showcase items and traditions that are important to the Sacred Tooth Relic, are a few of the other museums you can explore when in Kandy.
11. Visit the Kandy View Point, Arthur’s Seat
The famous lookout point of Kandy, Arthur’s Seat is located on Rajapihilla Mawatha, approximately 550 meters above the sea level and it provides stunning, panoramic views of the Kandy city below, including the Temple of the Tooth, Udawattakele forest reserve, the many streets of the city as well as the Kandy City Center shopping mall.
The lookout point is very easy to get to, only a small walk away from the city and it is the perfect location to enjoy an evening out sipping a tea while looking down at the city. It will be one of the most mesmerizing things to do in Kandy while you are visiting the picturesque city.
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