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Kandy Tourism And Travel Guide
19.5° C / 67° F
January to April
3 to 4 Days
Bandaranaike International Airport (150 kms)
Kandy Railway Station
Lying in the centre of Sri Lanka, high on a plateau and in the midst of the thick tropical forests and tea plantations is the city of Kandy. Kandy offers not just the soothing atmosphere you are hoping for when you go on a vacation, but also all the intriguing cultural aspects of a city with a very rich history. Amidst the old temples and palaces, parks, lakes and rivers, life goes on as it does in any other city in the country. Here is a tourism and travel guide to Kandy, to make your planning easier and much more informative.
How to Reach
Kandy is connected to Colombo by road and rail, so the first step to getting to Kandy would be to travel to Colombo. This will not be difficult as it is connected to the rest of the world by a series of regular flights. From Colombo the journey to Kandy is quite fascinating as it passes through villages and lush green vegetation. Once within the city, you will find commutation is nothing to fret over as they have buses and tuk-tuks, taxis typical to Sri Lanka, doing rounds.
By Air: The Nearest Airport is Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo. The airport is connected to major cities in Asia by Sri Lankan Airlines and other airline services.
By Rail: Kandy is connected to Colombo and Badula by the Inter-city express. This train ride is best known for its scenic view as it passes through tea plantations and rural Sri Lanka. The Railway Station is right in the city, making it very convenient for travelers.
By Road: Colombo is connected to Kandy by road as well. There are buses right outside the airport that can get you to Kandy. Alternately you can arrange for vans or taxis which should be faster. The journey should ideally take a maximum of four hours.
Weather and Best Time to Visit
Kandy has a pleasant climate compared to the rest of Sri Lanka thanks to its elevation above the sea. It experiences three major seasonal changes, two of them have to do with the arrival of the monsoon.
The Dry Season (January to April): The dry season is arguably the best season for tourism. The temperature is moderate and the humidity is low, creating a very encouraging atmosphere for outdoor activities.
The Yala Monsoon Season (May to September): The long rainy season is avoided by most tourists as the weather is not suited for sight seeing and other outdoor activities. But it is always a good time to enroll for yoga and meditation programs.
The Maha Monsoon Season (October to December): This is the season with the most rainfall. There are torrential rains almost throughout the day making it impossible to travel.
Things To Do
Kandy offers a variety of activities to do, you can either fashion a cultural trip and go temple hopping or stay close to nature and go trekking into its forests or mix and match.
Temple Tour: Kandy has a number of temples worth visiting, the most important of which is the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, where legend has it that a tooth was taken from the pyre of Buddha and was transported to Sri Lanka and it now resides in the sacred temple complex. Besides this, there are cave temples like Degal Doruwa Raja Maha Vihara that have beautiful rock paintings and sculptures.
Museum Tour: To explore Kandy's culture and history, a trip to its many museums would suffice. The National museum with its display of artifacts from before the British rule should serve as a good reminder about the history of the country. There are a couple of Tea tours that are quite insightful as well. The Ceylon Tea Museum for instance used to be a functioning tea factory that now displays old machinery and other items of interest. Loolkandura Estate, the first tea estate is another site to see.
Trekking and Nature Trails: Kandy is a city surrounded by nature. Right behind the temple complex is the Udawattakele Forest Reserve that is a great spot for bird watching or just being in the lap of nature. The most popular trek routes are found in the Knuckle Mountain Range. The treks can last a couple of days and involve camping in picturesque locations. Besides these forest covered areas the city also has parks; the park by Kandy lake is very popular for strolls among both tourists and locals.
Meditation and yoga: A good number of people who come to Kandy are here on pilgrimage. Besides the temple tours people also come here to enroll in meditation sessions and there are quite a few meditation centres in Kandy. Nilambe Meditation centre and Dhamma Kuta Vipassana Meditation Centre are among the popular names in this regard and they offer a great stay and food as part of the programme.
The food in Kandy, as it is in all other parts of Sri Lanka, is heavily influenced by its neighbors in South India and South-East of Asia and has also incorporated continental tastes from the colonial times. Along with a delicious variety of sea food and tropical fruits, you will not find it difficult to find food that you love in Kandy. While the staple food of the country, rice and curry is easily available, don't underestimate it for being mundane. Among the more popular street food is hoppers, a sort of fermented bread that is often flavored with sweet or spicy ingredients. The main street of Kandy is lined with food stalls where you can find a variety of such things. Kottu is another popular dish which has shredded bread fried usually with egg or cheese.
Kandy City Centre is a very large shopping complex that is sure to house almost all the shops you had hoped to find. Equipped with food courts and a mini gaming zone, the mall is worth a visit. Laksala is a state run handicraft store that has beautiful hand carved statues, paintings, jewelry and tons of other souvenirs. A trip to Kandy would be incomplete if you don't buy some of Kandy's exotic tea. Laxapana Stores is known for their good quality tea leaves. A trip to Kadugannawa tea factory would serve as an informative trip and will also help you get your hands on some great tea!