Widely regarded as the cultural capital of Sri Lanka, beautiful Kandy is one of the most captivating towns in Sri Lanka. It is home to an array of renowned cultural sites, natural attractions and occupies a spot on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Do venture out of your private Kandy villa to explore the scenic sights of a serene lake surrounded by lines of emerald tea plantations. Another site that draws hordes of visitors is the Royal Botanical Gardens of Peradeniya, a charming, expansive garden stretching over sixty hectares.
Top things to do in Kandy
One of Kandy’s most popular attraction, the Temple of the Tooth hosts a sacred and highly revered Buddhist object, the Tooth Relic.
Red-roofed temples within the complex flank Kandy Lake. The non-descript exteriors of the temple belie its richly decorated interiors. Adorned with wood, ivory and lacquer, the interiors also contain beautiful and intricate carvings. Do not expect to view the tooth, for it is kept in a gold casket crafted in the form of a stupa.
The complex houses a number of temples and museums. Key attractions to visit include the Alut Maligawa, Audience Hall and World Buddhism Museum.
The Royal Botanical Gardens, once reserved only for royalty, is an impressive landscape home to more than 4000 species of orchids, spices, palms and medicinal plants.
Set aside a few good hours to explore the enchanting grounds of the garden. Be wowed by the sight of vibrant, blooming orchids, a magnificent, century-old Javan fig tree, and the quirky Cannonball tree.
The Sri Maha Bodhi Maha Viharaya is perched atop the Bahirawa Kanda Mountain in Kandy. Villa travellers will set sight on the impressive and towering Buddha statue at the peak of the mountain upon entering the compounds of the temple.
Visitors can enjoy a stunning, sweeping view of the city from the top of the mountain, and view elaborate carvings on the walls of the temple.
Also known as the Royal Forest Park of Kandy, the Udawattakele Royal Forest Sanctuary is located on the hillside close to the renowned Temple of the Tooth.
Nature lovers will enjoy trekking through the paths of this dense forestry. The reserve houses several must-see sites, such as the Garrison cemetery, Senkanda cave and Kodimale Mountain, as well as a number of temples and hermitages.
Situated within the Udawattakele Royal Forest Sanctuary, the Kandy Garrison Cemetery lies on a small, well-kept plot of land, and contains the graves of British citizens.
Gardeners at the cemetery guide visitors along the tombs and regale tales about their lives, making the visit to the cemetery an interesting and moving experience.
Kandy Lake is a charming and scenic sight. Take a stroll along the lake, and enjoy the calm and peacefulness of this place. The best part of the lake to walk along is the section situated close to the Temple of the Tooth.
Make a stop by the Kandyan Art Association & Cultural Centre, and catch the hour-long traditional dance and music performances featured daily. Riveting, energetic and emotional, the show offers travellers with a fascinating insight into the traditional arts and culture of Sri Lanka.
Attend the Esala Perahera Festival
One of the most vibrant religious festivals in Asia, the Esala Perahera Festival is held in July and August in Kandy yearly.
Grand and splendid, the ten-day festival consists of rituals, ceremonies, traditional Kandyan dances, impressive fire dances and more. The Maha Perahera, or ‘Great Parade’, held on the final day of the festival, is a stunning event that promises to leave villa travellers bedazzled.
Visit the Ceylon Tea Museum
Villa travellers will gain an interesting insight into the culture, history and tea-making processes of Sri Lanka’s renowned tea industry from a visit to the Ceylon Tea Museum.
Knowledgeable guides offer detailed explanations as they show visitors around the museum and its fascinating displays. Travellers will have the opportunity to taste a selection of fine teas at the end of the tour.
Embark on a trek at Knuckles Mountain Range
Outdoor enthusiasts will be enthralled with a trekking trip up Knuckles Mountain Range, an area made of up of dense forest formations. Trekkers are rewarded with splendid views of the scenery, as well as the opportunity to catch sight of a wide range of flora and fauna.
This attraction is well-recommended for travellers with a love for hiking, mountain biking and discovering local villages and settings.
Where to eat in Kandy
Step into Helga’s Folly, and you might think that you have been transported into a magical enclave filled with ornate furnishings and eclectic designs. Highly atmospheric, the restaurant is decorated with antique ornaments, curious art pieces and intricate mural paintings.
The decor is not the only highlight of Helga’s Folly. Enjoying tea or a meal here is a fine experience, with excellent service and delicious food served on beautiful silverware.
The Empire Café occupies a convenient spot close to the Temple of the Tooth, as well as other points of interest.
The eatery boasts a warm and inviting vibe, and serves as a great spot for travellers to stop by for a refreshing drink or a meal in between visiting tourist sites in the area. Diners will find a range of Sri Lankan and Western fusion dishes on the menu.
Make your way up a meandering, uphill road to arrive at Slightly Chilled Lounge Bar. The bar offers visitors with a lovely view of the surrounding Kandy town and lake, and serves as a perfect spot to catch a gorgeous sunset during the evening.
The staff provide friendly and amiable service, and the owner is attentive and welcoming. Hungry diners may satiate their hunger with the array of Chinese dishes and Western fare available.
Honeypot Restaurant welcomes diners with friendly service, as well as a variety of cuisines, ranging from Sri Lankan and South Asian food, to Western mains. Dining outdoors during the evening time is well-recommended here, for one can enjoy stunning views of the river and windy breezes.
The Kandy Garden Cafe is a no-frills, casual eatery dishing up a wide array of authentic Sri Lankan fare. The eatery is frequented by locals and tourists alike, and is extremely busy during the evenings. Diners can expect to feast on tasty food, served in generous portions at affordable prices.
A stop by at The Natural Coffee offers a welcome respite after the hustle and bustle of visiting the nearby tourist attractions.
The cafe serves a range of fair trade coffee produced in Sri Lanka, alongside a small selection of sandwiches, cakes, pastries, Belgian waffles and ice cream. Diners have made special mention to the excellent service provided by the staff here.
The Mlesna Tea Centre houses a cosy tea lounge. It is a pleasant spot to stop by and relax during a leisurely afternoon. Guests will find a selection of delicious sandwiches, cakes and high quality Ceylon teas on the menu.
Situated in the heart of Kandy town, Delight Bakers and Sweet House is worth a stop by for villa travellers in search of traditional Sri Lankan cakes and pastries. Visitors will discover a range of local treats, such as kawum, kokis, rulan and more. The eatery also offers a selection of hot meals and refreshing beverages.
Best bars in Kandy
Knox Lounge boasts a fine setting and ambience, and offers a wide selection of food, ranging from snacks and nibbles, to mains and desserts.
Come by on Saturday evenings, and enjoy your meal while a live band plays in the restaurant. On clear nights, guests may even dine under the moonlight, as the staff draw back the retractable sun roof to reveal a starry night sky.
Step into the atmospheric, retro-looking bar with jazz tunes playing softly, and you may think that you have been transported back in time. Enjoy a round of cocktails in the pretty courtyard, or dine in the fine restaurant located on the second floor.
Best accommodations in Kandy
Ellerton Bungalow is a charming colonial estate with a rustic and cosy vibe, with tasteful and elegant furnishings adorning its interiors. The grounds of the villa presents a spacious infinity pool that overlooks the surrounding valleys and Ulagulla Mountain, as well as an enchanting tropical garden.
Taylors Hill sits prettily in a picturesque setting, enveloped by well-manicured lawns and gardens filled with blooming florals. Guests at the sprawling villa are treated to lovely views of the Nuwara Eliya countryside.
The interiors of the villa are equally captivating. Modern design elements blend in seamlessly with the ornate furnishings, creating an air of grandeur and elegance in the residence.
Villa Brockenhurst, a well-maintained colonial house, sits in a pretty garden and welcomes guests into its dreamy and comforting landscape. Step into the four-bedroom abode, and you will undoubtedly be charmed by its warm and homey interiors.
Take a look at our villas in Kandy!
Featured image by Dananjaya Chathuranga Photography via Flickr