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One Day in…Kandy, Sri Lanka

One Day in…Kandy, Sri Lanka

Traveler Profile: Katie, UK

Location: Kandy, Sri Lanka

Time of Year: Spring

Travel Goals: Magic, adventure, exploring, photography

Kandy is a jewel in the heart of Sri Lanka known for its rich history, vibrant culture, and stunning natural beauty. In this guide, I’ll lead you through a meticulously planned day from sunrise to after dark, ensuring you experience what this UNESCO World Heritage-listed city offers.

Kandy served as the last capital of the ancient kings of Sri Lanka and holds significant historical and cultural importance. It was the last bastion of local rule against colonial forces, finally falling to the British in 1815. Sri Lanka has a rich history, with evidence of prehistoric human settlements dating back over 100,000 years. This island nation has seen various kingdoms and empires rise and fall, contributing to its diverse culture and heritage. 

Sunrise at Bahiravokanda Vihara Buddha Statue

Image Credit: Shutterstock / saiko3p

Begin your day by witnessing the sunrise at the Bahiravokanda Vihara Buddha Statue, an iconic landmark that overlooks Kandy. As the first rays of sunlight bathe the city in a warm glow, you’ll be treated to breathtaking panoramic views. This serene start sets the tone for a day of exploration and wonder. The Bahiravokanda Vihara Buddha Statue is a short drive from the city center or an invigorating walk for those who prefer a morning hike.

My Insider’s Tip

Arrive early to secure a prime viewing spot, and don’t forget your camera to capture this magical moment.

Breakfast at Empire Café

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Lazhko Svetlana

For breakfast, indulge in a delightful meal at the Empire Café, a charming colonial-era eatery. Enjoy a selection of Sri Lankan and international dishes while surrounded by the café’s historical ambiance. Their breakfast menu offers a perfect blend of flavors to kickstart your day.

Visit to the Temple of the Tooth Relic

Image Credit: Shutterstock / saiko3p

After taking in the sunrise and a hearty breakfast, head to the Temple of the Tooth Relic, also known as Sri Dalada Maligawa. This sacred site houses a relic believed to be a tooth of Lord Buddha, making it one of the holiest places in Buddhism. The temple’s stunning architecture and serene surroundings create an atmosphere of tranquility and spirituality. The Temple of the Tooth Relic is located in the heart of Kandy, within walking distance from most hotels in the city center. To avoid crowds, visit early in the morning or late afternoon. The temple is particularly vibrant during the Esala Perahera, a grand annual procession held in July or August.

My Insider’s Tip

Plan your visit during a daily pooja (worship) ceremony to witness the rituals and immerse yourself in the local culture.

Lunch at Theva Cuisine

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Santhosh Varghese

For a taste of authentic Sri Lankan flavors, savor lunch at Theva Cuisine, a renowned restaurant known for its delectable dishes. Enjoy a variety of traditional Sri Lankan curries, rice, and other culinary delights in a beautiful setting overlooking the city.

The Royal Botanical Gardens

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Solarisys

Next, embark on a leisurely visit to the Royal Botanical Gardens, Peradeniya, located just outside Kandy. This lush oasis showcases an impressive collection of orchids, palms, and other exotic flora, set against the backdrop of the picturesque Mahaweli River.

My Insider’s Tip: Stroll along the avenues shaded by towering trees, and don’t miss the famed Cannonball Tree, known for its unique fruit. The Royal Botanical Gardens are a short drive from Kandy, and tuk-tuks or taxis are readily available for transport. The best time to visit is during the dry season (December to April) when the flora is in full bloom.

My Insider’s Tip

Stroll along the avenues shaded by towering trees, and don’t miss the famed Cannonball Tree, known for its unique fruit.

Dinner at Slightly Chilled Lounge Bar & Restaurant

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Thoom

For sunset drinks and dinner, head to the Slightly Chilled Lounge Bar & Restaurant, a cozy establishment offering a variety of cuisines, including Sri Lankan, Indian, and Western dishes. The restaurant’s relaxed ambiance and delicious food make it a perfect spot to unwind after a day of exploration.

Evening Entertainment at Kandyan Dance Show

Image Credit: Pexels / Kanishka M Gunathunga

To conclude your day in Kandy, don’t miss the opportunity to witness a traditional Kandyan dance performance. These captivating shows feature drummers, dancers, and fire-eaters, showcasing the region’s rich cultural heritage.

My Insider’s Tip

Arrive early to secure good seats, and consider booking in advance during peak tourist seasons.

How to Get There

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Soloviova Liudmyla

Kandy is easily accessible by train, bus, or car from major cities like Colombo and Ella.

When to Travel

Image Credit: Shutterstock / tonyzhao120

The best time to explore Kandy is during the dry season, from December to April, when the weather is pleasant and conducive to outdoor activities.

The Bottom Line

With its mix of spirituality, history, and natural beauty, Kandy promises a memorable day of exploration. Whether you seek cultural insights, serene moments, or simply a beautiful sunrise, Kandy delivers an experience that lingers in your heart and memories. Engage with locals to learn more about Kandy’s history and cultural significance, as they are proud of their city’s heritage.

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The post One Day in…Kandy, Sri Lanka first appeared on The Green Voyage.

Featured Image Credit: Pexels / Dinuka Gunawardana.

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