Some days Kandy’s skies seem perpetually bruised, with stubborn mist clinging to the hills surrounding the city’s beautiful centerpiece lake. Delicate hill-country breezes impel the mist to gently part, revealing colorful houses and hotels amid Kandy’s improbable forested halo. In the center of town, three-wheelers careen around slippery corners, raising a soft spray that threatens the softer silk of the colorful saris worn by local women. Here’s a city that looks good even when it’s raining.
And when the rain subsides – and it does with frequency and alacrity – Kandy’s cobalt-blue skies reveal it as this island’s other real ‘city’ after the brighter coastal lights of Colombo. Urban buzz is provided by busy spontaneous street markets and even busier bus stations and restaurants. History and culture are on tap, and 115km from the capital and at an altitude of 500m, Kandy offers a cooler and more relaxed climate.
Kandy served as the capital of the last Sinhalese kingdom, which fell to the British in 1815 after defying the Portuguese and Dutch for three centuries. It took the British another 16 tough years to finally build a road linking Kandy with Colombo. The locals still proudly see themselves as a little different – and perhaps a tad superior – to Sri Lankans from the island’s lower reaches.
Kandy is renowned for the great Kandy Esala Perahera, held over 10 days leading up to the Nikini poya (full moon) at the end of the month of Esala (July/August), but it has enough attractions to justify a visit at any time of year. Some of the Hill Country’s nicest boutique hotels nestle in the hills surrounding Kandy, and the city is a good base for exploring the underrated terrain of the nearby Knuckles Range.
Things to Do:
Udawattekele Sanctuary / Temple of the Tooth Relic (Sri Dalada Maligawa) / Commonwealth War Cemetery / Kandy Lake / Kandy Garrison Cemetery / Lankatilaka Temple / Bahiravokanda Vihara Buddha Statue / Kandy Town / Royal Palace of Kandy / Ranawana Purana Rajamaha Viharaya / World Buddhist Museum / Raiwal Museum / Magul Maduwa / Temple of the Gadaladenia / Kandy Brasswear Village / Bogambara Prison / Peradeniya Botanical Garden / Kadugannawa Tunnel / Photo Shoots / BBQ Nights/ Kandy City Tour
Approximately Time & Distance from Colombo: 3 h 24 min (137.8 km)
Province: Central Province | District: Kandy District
Luxury Hotels in Area:
Amaya Hills | Approximately Price Range: 130 to 140 USD | Click here to see the hotel
Earls Regent Hotel | Approximately Price Range: 90 to 100 USD | Click here to see the hotel
Normal Hotels in Area:
The Swiss Residence | Approximately Price Range: 70 to 80 USD | Click here to see the hotel
The Mount Royal | Approximately Price Range: 60 to 70 USD | Click here to see the hotel