The bustling hill-country capital of Kandy is the gateway to Sri Lanka’s breathtaking mountain scenery. But there is much to see in Kandy before you head further into the hills. The town’s temperate climate, rich history and has made it a favourite haunt for travellers.
A visit to the Temple of the Tooth has long been acknowledged as one of the most unmissable experiences in Kandy. Tradition tells that a sacred tooth relic of the Lord Buddha was brought to Sri Lanka in 4th century A.D. and was enshrined within the Temple, a striking building with a golden roof.
In August each year, the spectacular Esala Perehara – one of the finest festivals in Asia – enlivens the streets of Kandy. For ten nights under the moonlit sky, Kandy dazzles. Musicians, dancers, Kandyan chieftains and hundreds of finely-dressed elephants move to the rhythm of the Kandyan drums. Reels of white carpet are laid on the roads for one special elephant, the temple tusker that bears the tooth relic of Lord Buddha encased in a golden casket.
If you are not in Kandy during the Perehara, take the chance to see a Kandyan dance show. These high-energy, spectacular theatrical dances take place to the sound of beating drums and involve the wearing of traditional masks or elaborate costumes.
Peradeniya Royal Botanical Gardens is the largest botanical garden of Sri Lanka and the finest in Asia. Why not explore these gardens with the help of an expert who can bring the experience to life? An activity in Kandy cherished by many.
Kandy’s war cemetery, which honours more than 200 people from many nations who died in the Second Worlds War, is a meaningful place for many. It is in a very serene spot and immaculately maintained by the War Graves Commission.
Explore Kandy with the help of a guided walk, tailored to your specific interests. This guided walk can be anywhere between thirty minutes and two hours.
Sri Lanka has long been known for its spices, which Sri Lankan people use liberally in their dishes. Be warned that rip-off trips are not uncommon. We recommend a visit to a spice garden in Matale to see how some of them are grown and processed.
Beyond Kandy, there are also great things to do. The Victoria Golf & Country Resort is one of the most beautiful golf courses in Asia. Kandy also has a fine international cricket stadium, Pallakele, which stages both one-day matches and Test cricket.
JK can also offer either a day-trip to the Knuckles area where hill-country walking is at its finest. More serious walkers might also like to look at our specialist walking holiday.
Canoe down the Mahaweli River and spend two nights campoing under the stars in this magical four-day expedition
Discover Kandy’s rich history which includes incredible art and architecture, Buddhism, British colonial rule, and its vibrant multicultural present.
Explore a working fruit and spice farm in Matale with a local planter and learn about the various trees and crops grown here and their use in traditional Sri Lankan cuisine. End with an authentic lunch.
After visiting the vibrant Kandy Market, journey along towards a secluded rural village and learn how to make a variety of traditional Sri Lankan dishes in the cool of a wattle-and-daub hut. .
The Peradeniya Royal Botanical Gardens is the largest of its kind in Sri Lanka and the finest in Asia. Explore the beautiful surroundings with an expert, or simple enjoy a relaxed stroll in the sun.
Join an expert in exploring one of the most revered temples in the island, housing a relic of the Lord Buddha. Witness rituals performed daily and learn about the history behind this place of worship that is a haven to many a Buddhist.
Praised as one of the most beautiful rail journeys in the world, the train ride winds out of Kandy and up through the Hill Country, providing panoramic views of the spectacular tea-covered hills
Trek through the Knuckles Mountain Range, named thus because of its resemblance to a clenched fist, five mountain peaks spanning 155sqkm which host a wide range of rare endemic flora and fauna.
Learn about the key role elephants play in Sri Lankan culture and issues which arise from this. Accompanied by an expert, walk with, bathe and feed the elephants that are looked after here.
Kandy is a vibrant town with a fascinating mixture of cultures and religions. Walk from the bustling market to the majestic Temple of the Tooth, and finish with tea at the historic Queen’s Hotel.
Delve into the most revered temple in the island as your host takes you through the Kandy city and the Temple of the Tooth. Discover the relatively new café culture hitting the Kandy streets and then head to the local market for a final feast for your senses.
Stemming from various ancient dance rituals, Kandyan dancing became widespread across the island and is now a core part of Sri Lankan culture. It is a highly-theatrical, thrilling show to see.
Tradition relates that a sacred tooth relic of Lord Buddha was brought to Sri Lanka in 4th century A.D. and has been enshrined in the Dalanda Maligawa, or Temple of the Tooth, since the late 1500s.
Sri Lanka resonates to the sound of drumming, and with the help of Red Dot, a teacher from a long line of professional drummers can reveal the basics of how to play as well as understand the history and importance of drums in Sri Lanka.
There are golf courses that are scenic, but the Victoria Golf and Country Resort is simply spectacular. Even non-golfers will love it here, as a range of other activities are on offer.