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Exciting day excursions from the best in the field

A Packed Kandy Tour 

Take the morning train to Kandy; its the best and most enjoyable way to get there. You know you are close to your destination when the train heaves and snakes upwards along the mountainside, going through a series of dark, smoky tunnels. The air turns chilly - Kandy city is close by. 

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Places to see in Kandy

If you opt to see the Peradeniya Botanical Gardens, you can get off at the Peradeniya Railway Station which is the town before Kandy (make sure you check that the train makes a stop there). From the station, the Gardens are less than 2 kilometres away and there are tuk tuks parked outside. Look out for those that come with a metre (my advice wherever you go) so that prices don’t have to be wrangled over.  

Kandy’s 60 hectare garden has an impressive orchid collection, majestic palm trees, and the iconic giant Javan fig tree which stands on the great lawn with an astounding spread of branches. There’s also a suspension bridge at one end which crosses the Mahaweli river  - for those who dare.

Food and drink are available inside the Gardens, as well as washrooms. 

G. Malaviarachchi

From here, Kandy city is about 6 kilometres away and you will know you are in the heart of Kandy city when you see the Kandy Ismail Clock Tower. 

The Temple of the Tooth Relic is central to Kandy city. The temple has daily rituals which can be observed. The temple has some intricately crafted chambers to see and there is also the inner chamber where the sacred tooth relic is kept.

It is required that clothing must cover the shoulders and knees to enter the premises.

St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Red Mosque and the Pillaiyar Hindu Temple are all significant places of worship with unique architectural features. They are all found within Kandy city and keep in mind, the layout of Kandy town is compact, so you can easily walk to all these locations.

Of course, a Kandy city tour cannot happen without going to the Kandy Lake. With mountains in its background, it is nice to walk around the Lake or sit and take in the view - especially at sunset, when birds make it to the island in the middle of the Lake, and the street lights bejewel the Lake right round. The generally cool climate is even more pleasant at this time of the day, with the breeze that comes across the Lake.

 Kandy Lake

 

Places to Eat in Kandy

Take any street in Kandy and you will be spoilt for choice, with Sri Lankan food and other cuisine to be found within the same vicinity.

‘Foodlands’ serves tasty Sri Lankan food, from crispy short eats, koththu to rice and curry, ‘White House Restaurant’ has a nice lay out on two floors with a choice of short eats, cakes to Fusion, Chinese, Indian and Sri Lankan cuisine. I in particular like White House as it is an airy and spacious, plus its in a central location to reach sites to see, the bus halt, railway station, etc..

But if you are looking for a sumptuous buffet, I recommend Cinnamon Citadel Kandy or Mahaweli Reach. The food, service and the ambience overlooking the Mahaweli River is excellent. Both hotels are close to Katugastota town, within 5 kilometres of Kandy town.

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Things to do in Kandy

The Esala Perahera is an annual event that happens around July-August with an amazing procession of dressed up elephants, Kandyan dancers and artisans. It is fantastic to watch if you are on a Kandy city tour around this time. But if you want a good view, you will require either getting to the free seating alongside the roads really early, or booking through your travel agent. 

Udawatte Kele, is a 100 hectare forest reserve, which isn’t far from Kandy town.  It is a sanctuary to birds, animals and diverse flora and is great for birdwatching and enjoying a moderate nature trail.There is also the Senkada Cave you can check out, where a hermit once lived. The Park is open on all days and requires an entrance ticket.

The Kandy Museum has interesting artefacts dating from the Kandyan Kingdom. Sceptres, weapons, spears and bows, jewellery, coins, masks, and traditional costumes, are just some of the things on display. An impressive highlight is King Rajasinha II's golden crown. Unfortunately, poorly labelling and lighting takes away from the richness of the exhibits.

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If you want to get an awesome view of Kandy, head to Wales Park, again just a few minutes away from Kandy Lake. It’s a hilltop park with lovely pathways and gardens with one standout: a Japanese field gun (captured by the British in Burma during World War II and presented to the city of Kandy). This park has lovely elevated views of Kandy city, the nearby hills dotted with houses and the prominent Buddha statue located in Bahirawakande. This park is nice to take children to as well.

The Natha Devala, considered the oldest structure in Kandy is found close to the Temple of the Tooth, has beautiful and intricate woodwork and stone carvings, if you have a penchant for such.

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The Kandy City Centre, is Kandy city’s mall with numerous stores including a pharmacy and a supermarket, plus a roof top food court which is quite popular. A good place to stop if you need a breather, washroom and to get any essentials and food.

 
Places to stay in Kandy

I have stayed at the main hotels in Kandy. The first two are located near the Kandy Lake and so you get a fantastic view of Kandy town. They have lovely wooden flooring and offer comfortable rooms, swimming pool facilities and good cuisine. The recently refurnished hotel near Katugastota  has facilities that feel more modern and their food and beverages are impressive. Of course the former two hotels are more central to Kandy city and can be more convenient when you have things to do in Kandy.The latter being further away can be difficult to reach in the evenings, due to traffic congestion. 

Of course there are plenty of bed and board, hostels and serviced apartments online to find.

Kandy is a small city but its packed with so much to do and see!

Izhara Huzair

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