Cover Image Credit: AdamHillTravel for Pixabay
Sri Lanka – the island nation in South Asia – is indeed a pearl of joy shining brightly in the heart of Indian Ocean. The lazy charm clinging on to the hills and floating by the gushing waves makes Sri Lanka a perfect destination to venture, explore, and contemplate. Snuggled between the imposing mountains and verdant peaks are some of the best places to visit in Kandy that are defined by calmness and serenity.
Known for spirituality and laid-back charm, Kandy has everything peaceful and balmy about it. The beautiful Sri Lankan city is also a popular attraction for the Buddhists. There are quite a few temples, meditation centers with dense nature around, and exciting trails. Go around and discover eternal comfort as you plan a much-awaited trip to Sri Lanka.
Best Time To Visit Kandy
March – May: This is the ideal time to visit Kandy when the temperature remains around 26 – 28 degree celsius and conditions are ideal to plan activities and other excursions in and around the city.
December – April: This city has new Beauty to offer, the weather remains cool and satisfactory.Neither too cold nor too hot, absolutely perfect for the travelers to enjoy the climate and the surrounding.
October- November: This span of two months Sri Lanka goes through the intense monsoon phase which is not suitable for visitors to enjoy.
25 Best Places To Visit In Kandy
Wondering what are the best places to visit in Kandy ? Kandy has no dearth of places when it comes to exploring this beautiful hill station. With plenty of attractions and exciting places to visit, here are the top common as well as uncommon places to visit in Kandy. From museums to viewpoints, there is something for all kinds of travelers. Take a look!
- Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage – An Experience Worth Relishing
- Temple Of Tooth Relic – For Spiritual Enlightenment
- Kandy Lake – Best Place To Stroll Around
- Hulu River Waterfall – A Sight To Behold
- Knuckles Mountain Range – Hiking And More
- Bahirawakanda Temple – For Spiritual Seekers
- Ranweli Spice Garden – Natural Surprises
- Royal Botanical Garden – A Colorful Affair
- Udawattekele Sanctuary – More Than Just Greenery
- CommonWealth War Cemetery – Learn The Legendary History
- Millennium Elephant Foundation – An Educational Tour
- Horton Plains National Park Ohiya – Witness The Wildlife
- Ceylon Tea Museum – A Paradise For Tea Lovers
- Wales Park – For A Peaceful Walk
- Riverton Gap – Trekking And More
- Highlands – Lose Yourself Amidst Nature
- Galmaduwa Temple – Witness The Awe-Striking Structure
- Ranawana Purana Rajamaha Vihara – For History Lovers
- Pallekele Cricket Stadium – A Must Visit For Sports Fan
- Giragama Tea Plantations – Absorb The Calm
- Kandy Viewpoint – Be Mesmerized
- Lankatilaka Temple – Marvel At The Structure
- Hanthana Mountain Range – Hiker’s Paradise
- Royal Palace Of Kandy – Legacy & Heritage
- Degaldoruwa Temple – Oldest Buddhist Cave Temple
1. Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage – An Experience Worth Relishing
This one's considered amongst the best places to visit in Kandy for those who are fascinated by the wildlife! Plan a day out with wild Asian elephants at Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage. This is a -popular breeding ground of 90 plus elephants who stay in their natural habitat. Watch these adorable elephants bathe, play around, and feed them fruits. Tourists can see them when they take a tour around the orphanage to see the majestic animals. If you are in Kandy visiting places, then this spot is perfect if you want to have a small picnic along with your friends or family.
Pinnawala is the place where abandoned elephants are raised. Not only orphans but also elephants who are seriously injured or those who get aloof from their group are given proper shelter & care at the orphanage. The place is situated in the Pinnawala village present in the Sabaragamuwa Province of Sri Lanka. The orphanage was started in 1975 by the Sri Lanka Department of Wildlife Conservation. The place has evolved into an amazing tourist destination in recent years. The elephants are kept quite well and you may definitely see that while at this place. The orphanage also accepts elephants that are donated to them and they bring them back to their health. The elephants have mahouts for them who give them baths and proper food on a timely basis. If you’re looking for natural bathing places in Kandy, then this is it!
Prime attraction of Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage: Activities like milk feeding, fruit feeding, and elephant bathing
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2. Temple Of Tooth Relic – For Spiritual Enlightenment
Considered as one of the most important temples of Buddhists in Sri Lanka, the Temple of Tooth Relic is located to the north of Kandy Lake and is one of the most remarkable places to visit in Kandy Sri Lanka. The sacred tooth of Lord Buddha enshrined in the temple makes it one of the popular Kandy tourist places. The room housing the tooth is open to devotees to offer their prayers. However, nobody gets to see the tooth because it is kept in a golden casket inside a stupa-like structure. The temple is housed in the royal palace complex of the former Kingdom of Kandy. One of the best places to see in Kandy, this temple is of great importance due to the belief of the country on the tooth. The temple has rituals thrice a day. The temple was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site 1988. The temple still stands strong even after facing attacks twice.
Along with the outside, tourists need to visit the inside of the temple to actually appreciate the architecture. There are holes in the walls which contain lamps lit using coconut oil. Tourists need to pay the entry fees and they should visit between 5:30 AM and 8:00 PM.
Prime attractions of Temple of Tooth Relic: World Buddhist Museum, Audience Hall, Alut Maligawa – a newer shrine to the rear of the temple with statues of Buddha donated by Thai devotees
3. Kandy Lake – Best Place To Stroll Around
Adjoining most of the popular tourist places in Kandy and eateries with lake view, the Kandy Lake is certainly among the best places to visit in Kandy, Sri Lanka. An ideal place to spend hours during your lazy vacation, the lake offers stunning nature views around it and is a perfect romantic sojourn for a romantic couple visiting the place. The lake, existing since 1807, has a flurry of idyllic places and historical structures around.
The lake is also known as the Kiri Muhuda or the Sea of Milk and is an artificial lake. Being in the heart of the city and beside some of the famous attractions of Kandy, it is a popular tourist site. There is also an island in the middle of the lake. Around the lake is built the Wakulla Bamma or the Clouds Wall which increases the beauty of it. If you are in Kandy visiting places, tourists can also see the Ulpan or Queens Bathing Pavilion which is a party in the Kandy Lake.
Prime attractions of Kandy lake: Temple of Tooth Relic, boat rides in the lake, bird sightings, lizard monitoring, and tortoise spotting
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4. Hulu River Waterfall – A Sight To Behold
30 km from Kandy into the quiet town of Dumbara lies Huluganga Falls on the Hulu River. The river originating from the scenic Knuckles Mountain Range is the perfect escape to leave the onlookers awed. The 75-meter high waterfall, located in the Dumbara town, is a-true beauty enclosed by nature allure. And it’s no wonder that-Hulu is considered as one of the popular Kandy places to visit! The Huluganga falls still maintains its pristine condition because of its natural setting. When visiting places in Kandy, make sure you add this one to your itinerary. Tourists will definitely enjoy the numerous rocks present in the bed of the waterfall. If they are feeling adventurous they can click pictures sitting on them. When looking for places to visit near Kandy, then don’t forget to stop by this majestic waterfall.
Caution: The place experiences sudden and rapid increase in water level. Be wary!
5. Knuckles Mountain Range – Hiking And More
This is one of the top places to visit in Kandy Resembling the shape of a knuckle of a clenched fist from the top, the Knuckles Mountain Range is probably one of the most scenic Kandy tourist attractions. The mountain Range in the region towards the northern end of Sri Lankan highlands (39 km from Kandy) is the place to be. Perfect place to try your hands-on adventure traveling and camping, the Knuckles Mountain Range spans from Matale to Kandy and is a treat for the nature lovers. Look around and embrace the wilderness brought to you by sprawling grasslands, jagged peaks, torrents of streams, and gushing waterfalls. Enjoy the series of painted canvas around.
The best view of the range is the thick clouds that gather in the higher Montane area. Hiking is considered to be one of the best things to do in Sri Lanka. Adventurous tourists can try their hands at hiking to visit the cloud forests which house a lot of the flora and fauna of the place. They are mostly unique to the place and you cannot find them in the rest of the island country. If you want to reach the highest point of the terrain, then you need to climb 1863 m above the sea level.
Another key wildlife attraction of the place are lizards which include the unique Crestless lizard, Kangaroo lizard, and Pygmy lizard. People who want to enjoy serious trekking may take part in the 3-day guided trekking tour which lasts for more than 40 KM and takes them through some of the main areas. This mountain range is undoubtedly considered to be one of the best places to visit in Kandy
The great biodiversity of the Knuckles brings you wild boar, spotted deer, giant squirrel, barking deer, purple-faced leaf monkey, and mongoose.
Prime attractions of Knuckles Range: Mini Worlds End (1192 m) towards the southern end of the mountains, hiking, and wild trekking.
6. Bahirawakanda Temple – For Spiritual Seekers
Just 1 km away from the Kandy city, the Bahirawakanda Temple is a major attraction and a distinct structure. The place is a popular attraction for Buddhists and there are quite a few international Buddhist relations meetings that are carried out here. This makes it one of the popular things to see in Kandy. The magnificent structure is huge and can be spotted from anywhere in the city. The place is also an important monastery where many Buddhist events do take place. The statue was started in 1972 and ended in 1993. You can take the steps to reach the top of the hill or you can take a tuk-tuk ride is all it takes to get to the temple premises. If you are traveling places in Kandy, don't miss this architectural wonder when you are in the city. People may actually see the Buddha statue from all around the city but it is a sight to visit it to see the beauty in an up-close-and-personal way. It takes about 200 LKR to visit the statue. If you are visiting Kandy in August, make sure you add it to your itinerary.
Prime attractions of Bahirawakanda Temple: Exciting city view from the statue
7. Ranweli Spice Garden – Natural Surprises
Enough of talks about spotting wildlife in their natural habitat! Time to spot greenery and exquisite plant varieties in their natural habitat. This Kandy tourist attraction is located in the close proximity of Peradeniya Royal Botanical Garden. Turmeric, Peppercorns, Cloves, Cardamom, Vanilla, Cinnamon, Cocoa, and Aloe Vera are the main plantations that are the-highlights of this place. Visiting this place is one of the best things to do in Kandy for couples.
Learn about plantations, spices, natural products, and various techniques involved while cultivating it. Ranweli Spice Garden is the perfect escape from the hustle of the city life. Vibrant history and lots of surprises await you at the Spice Garden.
Prime attractions of Ranweli Spice Garden: Suspension bridge of Peradeniya Botanical Garden,
8. Royal Botanical Garden – A Colorful Affair
This place is counted as one of the best Kandy attractions. Spanning over 60 hectares, the Royal Botanical Garden is largest and one of the best places to visit in Kandy with a-hidden charm to explore. Situated in Peradeniya, the place is quite close to the Mahaweli River. Along with the most striking orchids, you can find more than 4000 species of plants in this Botanical Garden. You should definitely visit the National Herbarium of Sri Lanka which is attached to this Royal Botanical Garden. Tourists may tour the whole 147 acres of the garden to spend their day. The garden isnt something new as it was created in 1821 when it contained mostly coffee and cinnamon plants. Do check out the Cannonball Tree present in this garden which King George V of the United Kingdom and Queen Mary planted in 1901.
The garden is also an ideal place to plan a picnic with family and friends. However, romantic couples can be mostly seen hanging around the garden area. The cab drivers in Kandy mostly offer to cover Botanical Garden along with Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage or the Kandy temple to make it a Kandy sightseeing tour. The park remains open from 7:30 AM to 5 PM. You can consider this as one of the amazing places to visit in Kandy for couples.
Prime attractions of Royal Botanical Garden: Collection of orchids, royal palms, and Javan fig tree covering 2500 square meters
9. Udawattekele Sanctuary – More Than Just Greenery
Located at the hilly terrains of the temple of the tooth relic, this sanctuary served as the retreat for the Kandyan kings in the older times. Later, converted into a sanctuary, it is an important bio reserve of Kandy. The sanctuary is spread over 104 hectares and is primarily known for the different species of birds residing in it. Offering as many as 80 species of birds and animals like mammals and insects, it is one of the visiting places in Kandy. Along with the wildlife, you can also visit the three Buddhist forest monasteries present at this place. Another attraction is the three Buddhist cave dwellings. Tourists will love the thick forest cover of the area which looks beautiful in the monsoon months. If you are an animal lover and visiting Kandy, you must go here!
Prime Attractions Of Udawattekele Sanctuary: Water pond, Kodimale Peak, Senkanda Cave
10. CommonWealth War Cemetery – Learn The Legendary History
This is one of those tourist places in Kandy that should definitely be a part of your itinerary. This cemetery is maintained by the officers. By maintaining the place they pay tribute to the braveheart soldiers who sacrificed their lives during the Second World War. There are six commonwealth war cemeteries that you must witness during your vacation in Sri Lanka, yet the one in Kandy is notable amongst all because of the praiseworthy scenic beauty.
Prime Attraction: The Kandy botanical Garden
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11. Millennium Elephant Foundation – An Educational Tour
The place is located in Randeniya. This is the only place where tourists can actually ride on the elephant’s back and travel around the place, they are allowed to interact with them.The educational tour conducted by the organization is rendered helpful and amusing for the tourists as they can witness right in front of them the activities of the animal.
This Foundation is established in the estate named Samragyi inherited by the Samarasinghe family.
Prime Attraction: The educational tour conducted by the Foundation which includes the tour in the museum, elephant ride and the bathing of an elephant
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12. Horton Plains National Park Ohiya – Witness The Wildlife
If you want to witness the most majestic wildlife of Sri Lanka, this is the place for you! This national park is a treat to travellers fond of mystical beauty of nature. The valley shadowed by the two mountains Kirigalpotta and Totapola; Sri Lanka’s second and third largest mountains. This place is often stated as World’s end because of the surprisingly formed waterfall, mist-filled lakes and the variety of plants and animals found here. The wide variety of flora and fauna makes the place even more special. The ethereal feeling offered by the place becomes prominent, especially in the morning.
Prime Attraction: The wildlife including the Samba deer, wild boars, leopards, etc and the birds including Bulbul, Ceylon, hawks and many more.
13. Ceylon Tea Museum – A Paradise For Tea Lovers
The museum located in Hantane the 1925 vintage tea museum built on four floors where the first two floors consist of vintage tea making equipment, machinery, libraries, museum. To taste the authentic Sri Lankan flavored tea. Visitors can savor a free cup of the tee to relish the flavor. This is one of the most amazing places to see in Kandy.
Prime Attraction: One can enjoy the view of the mountains with the help of the telescope present here.
14. Wales Park – For A Peaceful Walk
The Wales Park or the Royal Park is known for its majestic beauty and the splendid view of the Kandy lake makes this place very special. For tourists this place is an attraction because of the Beauty and the enjoyment people can indulge in under the lap of Nature. This park is rightly considered to be one of the most beautiful places in Kandy
Prime Attraction: The Japanese War field captured British under Lord Mountbatten.
15. Riverton Gap – Trekking And More
When looking for Kandy tourist places that are ideal for nature lovers and adventurers, a trip to the Riverton Gap is a must! This place is located a few kilometers away from the Matale town.It takes a few hours to reach from Kandy. The main attractions of this place include the scenic beauty and trekking. The two spectacular waterfalls present here, Sera Ella and Bambarakiri Ella. To reach the waterfalls one must trek through the marvelous forest and witness the beauty.
Prime attraction: The two waterfalls present here with its breathtaking beauty.
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16. Highlands – Lose Yourself Amidst Nature
Situated in Nuwara Eliya along with the waterfalls the place consist of the tea gardens. Tea cultivating lands are the major attraction for tourists. Its a few hours journey from Kandy. Travelers could enjoy the flavored beverage and appreciate the authentic taste. When searching for places to visit from Kandy to Nuwara Eliya, then this site can be the best one!
Prime Attraction: Dont miss Hakgala Botanical Garden.
17. Galmaduwa Temple – Witness The Awe-Striking Structure
This is one of the most prominent temples in Sri Lanka. As the Gal Oya development programme commenced nearby Ampara area, the ruined complex of Galmaduwa Temple emerged. It was then that this temple was established again and modernized into Vihara complex. Because of this, you can find various recently constructed buildings here along with some age-old structures like Sandakada Pahana, Chatra stones, Korawakgala, and some giant pillars. This temple is lying on the road that connects Hingurana and Ampara.
18. Ranawana Purana Rajamaha Vihara – For History Lovers
This too is an ancient temple in Kandy known for its glorious historical significance. This temple has been established amidst lush-green natural setting. This temple is considered to be one of largest and beautiful temples of Sri Lanka. Theres a trail running through the temple that takes you to the forest. This temple has been established on the theme of Buddhas life and there are various significant scenarios of his life that have been presented in the forest.
19. Pallekele Cricket Stadium – A Must Visit For Sports Fan
This stadium is considered to be one of the most famous places in kandy. It is also known by the name Muttiah Muralitharan International Cricket Stadium since July 2010 when the Central Provincial Council of Kandy declared the plan of naming it after the amazing cricketer Muttiah Muralitharan. However, the name hasnt yet been officially sanctioned. This stadium was built along Hambantota International Cricket Stadium for the 2011 World Cup. It was inaugurated on November 27th, 2009 and even became 104th Test Venue of the world. For all the cricket lovers out there, this will definitely be one of the best places to visit in Kandy city.
20. Giragama Tea Plantations – Absorb The Calm
Tea plantations are the common things about Sri Lanka. Kandy is no less when it comes to tea plantations and one of the best places to visit in Kandy is Giragama tea plantations. Giragaram is a pretty little town in Kandy that is known for its tea plantations. It offers the much needed peace and tranquility along with picturesque views that will leave your soul stirred. There are estates wherein you can walk and soak the views. Keep this in your list of places to see in Kandy for a refreshing experience.
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21. Kandy Viewpoint – Be Mesmerized
Kandy is the heart of Sri Lanka and watching the gorgeous hill station from a height is not something everyone gets to witness, so don’t miss out on exploring the most beautiful places to visit in Kandy on your vacay. The viewpoint is located at a distance of 1.7 km from the city center and the route to the viewpoint is equally mesmerizing. Carry your camera along for some instagrammable pictures at this point which is one of the best places to visit in Kandy.
22. Lankatilaka Temple – Marvel At The Structure
One of the best places to visit in Kandy is Lanka Talika temple which is very famous amongst the locals as well as tourists. Dedicated to Lord Buddha, the temple is the epitome of rich history and culture of the beautiful city. The architecture is something you can marvel at and it is divided amongst three sections. Make sure you visit the temple as it is one of the most beautiful places in Kandy.
23. Hanthana Mountain Range – Hiker’s Paradise
One of the most beautiful places in Kandy, Hanthana Mountain Range is every nature lover’s paradise. The mountain ranges are located on the outskirts of Kandy city and appeal to tourists as an amazing picnic and hiking spot. One can even enjoy the exhilarating views of the city from top. Declared as environmentally protected areas, the range consists of seven peaks, Uuara Kanda being the highest one.
Prime attractions of Hanthana Mountain Range: Bird-watching, hiking, Mana bushes
24. Royal Palace Of Kandy – Legacy & Heritage
Royal Palace of Kandy is one of the historical kandy tourist attractions that is absolutely mandatory to visit. Located north of the Temple of Tooth Relic, the palace is an exhibit of Kandy’s rich legacy and heritage. It was built by Vikramabahu in the 14th century. It was the last building to be built by a Sri Lankan king before British colonialism took over. You will definitely fall in love with the impeccable architecture.
Prime attractions of Royal Palace of Kandy : Council Chambers, Queen’s Chamber, Armory Section, Concubine’s Quarters
25. Degaldoruwa Temple – Oldest Buddhist Cave Temple
Built by King Rajadhi Rajasinha, Degaldoruwa Temple is one of the oldest Buddist rock temples in Kandy. Undoubtedly, one of the best Kandy attractions, you should definitely make a visit and admire the old colorful frescoes on the wall that tell a thousand stories. The cave inside the temple is excavated out of a rock and is known to be at least 12 m high. You should definitely put this place on your itinerary if you happen to be visiting Kandy.
Prime attractions of Degaldoruwa Temple: Cave, Frescoes
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How To Reach Kandy
By air: Bandaranaike International Airport is the nearest airport to Kandy, located 104 km far. Cabs and buses make the easiest means of transport from the airport to Kandy.
By rail: Colombo Railway Station is the nearest railhead to reach Kandy Railway Station. Colombo to Kandy train ride, offering great nature views, is one of the most scenic rides in the world.
Kandy, being an important spiritual city and a major tourist attraction in Sri Lanka, has a lot to offer; Its beauty has made people remain awestruck and spellbound, looking at the variety it has to offer to the tourists is indeed a serene and beautiful. Only if you are good enough to grab it! What are you waiting for? So, is Sri Lanka trip on the cards already? If yes, then make sure you add the best places to visit in Kandy.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Places To Visit In Kandy
A. Some of the places to visit in Kandy in one day are Temple of the Tooth Relic, Royal Botanical Garden, Kandy Lake and more.
A. The best way to reach Kandy from Nuwara Eliya is by train. The journey from Nuwara Eliya’s Nanu Oya Station to Kandy takes approximately 4 hours. You should ideally sit on the left side of the train to get beautiful views of the hills. There are a range of thrilling things to do in Nuwara Eliya.
A. The city is known for being the last capital of ancient Sri Lankan era of Kings. It is the religious as well as administrative city of Sri Lanka. It is famous for the Tooth Relic, which is considered to be one of the holiest places in Buddhism.
A. Not every train passes through Kandy and therefore Peradeniya becomes the alternative. Peradeniya is at a distance of 7 kilometers from Kandy. You can get down at Nanu Oya which is 8 kilometers from Nuwara Eliya.
A. Yes, Kandy is worth visiting. Not only is it Sri Lanka’s second-largest city, it is also a great place for shopping for local spices and souvenirs. You can also visit the famous tea plantations and go to the beach while you’re here.
A. There a range of things you can do in Kandy, like embark on a peaceful retreat to Ashburnham Estate, visit the famous Dambulla Cave Temple, and meditate at Nilambe Buddhist Meditation Centre, among other things.
A. Reach the bus station in Kandy before 7:30 AM. Ride on a direct bus to Sigiriya from Kandy. The journey will take around 3-4 hours.
A. The Sacred Temple of the Tooth Relic, also known as Sri Dalada Maligawa,is a UNESCO World Heritage site and an important Buddhist shrine. So, yes, it is definitely worth seeing.
A. The best way to reach Ella from Kandy is by train. The train journey will take around 6-7 hours as it takes you through the hill country of Sri Lanka.
A. There are a myriad of fun and exciting things that kids can do in Kandy, like revisit Sri Lanka’s history at Lankathilaka Vihara, marvel at the architecture of St.Paul’s Church in Kandy, and see giant lianas at Udawatta Kele Sanctuary, among other things.
A. Some of the uncommon places to visit in Kandy are Commonwealth War Cemetery, Udawattekele Sanctuary, International Buddhist Museum and more.
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