Last updated on August 6, 2023

Kandy in Sri Lanka, located in the central part of the island is a city rich in history, culture, and natural beauty. From ancient temples and royal palaces to lush tea plantations and breathtaking natural scenery. I’ve been traveling to Sri Lanka numerous times and I need to say this – as far Kandy (and the whole country) is a nice place, it cannot be compared to a stunning beauty of other Asian countries like Thailand, Vietnam or Cambodia, not even mentioning Indonesia. It’s a completely different scene, landscape and travel experience. For real taste of Asia you need to explore South-East Asian mainland.

This ultimate guide will take you on a journey through best things to see in Kandy – spectacular sights, which offers a truly unique experience. So follow me for the best of Kandy!

Best things to see in Kandy - Sri Lanka.

Historical and Cultural Significance – Kandy holds immense historical and cultural significance in Sri Lanka. It was once the capital of the ancient Kingdom of Kandy and served as the last stronghold against colonial rule.


ATMs: Available in the city in major squares (near the Clock Tower). In some banks 500 LKR cash withdrawal fee will apply.

SHOPS/LOCAL MARKETS: plenty in Kandy – don’t miss king coconut (100-150 LKR) and fresh fruits. 

TRANSPORT: Be careful with TUK-TUKs in Kandy – a lot of them are scammers! They will rip you off. Agree the price before you get it and devide by two!!

UBER: best option to travel around Kandy is Uber – cheap, comfy and hassle free.

SIGHTS/TEMPLES: Few great ancient temples to visit – info below.

The Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic.

The city’s iconic landmark, the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, is believed to house a tooth of Lord Buddha and is an important pilgrimage site for Buddhists worldwide. 


  • Must-visit evening time for beautiful night illuminations. 
  • Dress properly – the clothing rules are strict.
  • Evening ceremony (there are 3 during a day: 6am, 10am and 6pm) is accompanied by a traditional music.
  • Entrance fee is 2000 LKR + 200 LKH for shoes locker-room (I visited in August 2023).

Also known as Sri Dalada Maligawa is a one of the best things to see in Kandy. The Temple of the Tooth Relic is believed to house a tooth of Lord Buddha, which was brought to Sri Lanka from India in the 4th century AD. The tooth relic has been regarded as a sacred object of worship and protection for centuries. 

The temple is not only a place of worship but also a site for various religious rituals and ceremonies. Daily rituals, known as pujas, are performed to honor the tooth relic and seek blessings. Observing these rituals can provide a glimpse into the religious fervor and devotion of the Sri Lankan people. One of the most significant ceremonies is the annual Esala Perahera, mentioned earlier, where the tooth relic is paraded through the streets of Kandy in a grand procession. This vibrant festival attracts thousands of visitors and showcases the unity and cultural heritage of Sri Lanka.

The temple complex also houses a museum that displays artifacts and historical objects related to Buddhism and Sri Lankan culture. Here, you can learn more about the history of the tooth relic, the rituals associated with it, and the significance of Buddhism in the region. The museum provides a deeper understanding of the temple’s cultural and religious importance.

Spiritual Experience: Visiting the Temple of the Tooth Relic offers a unique spiritual experience. The peaceful ambiance, the aroma of incense, and the sound of devotional chants create an atmosphere of tranquility and reverence. Whether you are a Buddhist or simply interested in exploring different cultures and religions, this temple provides an opportunity for self-reflection and inner peace.


  • Remember to dress modestly and be respectful of the temple’s customs and traditions. Make sure your legs are covered (they are not giving any clothing, so you will be forced to buy and it’s more than 2000LKR). Ideally sleeveless shirts.
  • Taking off your shoes and covering your shoulders and knees are customary practices when entering the temple.
  • Keep in mind that photography may be restricted in certain areas, so be sure to follow the guidelines provided.

The streets of Kandy - the Clock Tower.

Captivating Architecture – Kandy showcases a brilliant fusion of ancient and colonial architecture. Admire the intricate craftsmanship of ancient temples, such as Embekke Devalaya, which are adorned with exquisite wood carvings and vibrant frescoes. Marvel at the colonial-era buildings that dot the city, reflecting the influence of the British Empire. 

The unique blend of architectural styles adds to the city’s charm and offers a visual treat for architecture enthusiasts. The Clock Tower is a centre of Kandy with busy shops and street markets, where you will get most amazing fruits and fresh king coconuts (yellow and green). 

White Buddha Statue.

The Bahirawakanda 88 metres high White Buddha Statue is located alongside the Sri Maha Bodhi Temple. This magnificent statue is a symbol of peace, serenity, and devotion, offering visitors a truly spiritual experience.

best things to see in Kandy Sri Lanka


  • You will be asked to leave shoes and big bags before entering temple area. Keep your socks!! The ground is burning! 😉
  • Entrance fee is 300LKR.
  • If you dont have your legs and arms covered they will give you clothing at the entrance.

Majestic Statue: The Bahiravokanda Vihara Buddha Statue stands tall and proud, crafted out of white concrete, this statue depicts Lord Buddha in a seated position, radiating an aura of tranquility and enlightenment. As you approach the statue, you will be awe-struck by its sheer size and the sense of calm it exudes.

Panoramic Views: Once you reach the top of the hill where the statue is located, you will be rewarded with breathtaking panoramic views of the cityscape below. The Bahiravokanda Vihara Buddha Statue sits on a vantage point, allowing visitors to take in the beauty of Kandy and its surrounding lush hills. It’s an ideal spot to witness a mesmerizing sunset or sunrise, creating a truly magical experience.

Spiritual Significance: The Bahiravokanda Vihara Buddha Statue holds deep spiritual significance for Buddhists and visitors seeking a spiritual connection. It represents the teachings of Lord Buddha and serves as a reminder of the path to enlightenment. Many visitors come here to offer prayers, meditate, and seek inner peace amidst the serene ambiance surrounding the statue.

Natural landscape of Kandy.

Mesmerizing Natural Landscapes – Surrounded by lush green hills, Kandy boasts stunning natural landscapes that will leave you awe-inspired. Take a leisurely stroll around the serene Kandy Lake, a man-made lake that beautifully complements the city’s picturesque surroundings. Embark on an adventure to the nearby Udawattakele Forest Reserve, a haven of biodiversity and home to various species of flora and fauna. Explore the enchanting Peradeniya Botanical Gardens, known for its vast collection of tropical plants and vibrant orchids.

Special Attractions:

Apart from the stunning flora and fauna, the Royal Botanical Gardens offer several special attractions that enhance the visitor experience:

– The Giant Bamboo Grove: Get lost amidst the towering bamboo stems in the Giant Bamboo Grove. This unique section of the garden creates a magical ambiance and provides a perfect backdrop for memorable photographs.

– The Royal Palm Avenue: Admire the regal beauty of the Royal Palm Avenue. With its tall and elegant palm trees, this section exudes a sense of grandeur and majesty.

– The Suspension Bridge: For an exhilarating experience, cross the Suspension Bridge that stretches over the tranquil Mahaweli River. Enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes as you make your way across this iconic structure.

Royal Botanical Gardens.

One of the most spectacular attractions in Kandy is the Royal Botanical Gardens. Spread over 147 acres, these lush gardens are a haven of natural beauty and tranquility.

Breathtaking Flora and Fauna – The Royal Botanical Gardens are home to a diverse range of flora and fauna. With over 4,000 species of plants, including rare orchids, vibrant roses, and towering palm trees, the garden offers a feast for the senses. Take a leisurely stroll along the winding pathways and discover the beauty of exotic plants from around the world. You might even spot colorful birds, butterflies, and other wildlife amidst the greenery.

MUST VISIT AREAS: The garden is divided into different sections, each with its own unique charm. Some of the highlights include:

– The Orchid House: Step into a world of mesmerizing beauty as you explore the Orchid House. Here, you will find a stunning collection of orchids in various shapes, sizes, and colors. Marvel at the intricate details and delicate petals of these remarkable flowers.

– The Palm Avenue: Walk along this majestic pathway lined with towering palm trees. The symmetrical rows create a mesmerizing visual effect, offering a glimpse into the grandeur of the garden.

– The Spice Garden: Delight your senses as you wander through the aromatic Spice Garden. Experience the scents of cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, and other spices that have been grown in Sri Lanka for centuries.

– The Great Lawn: Spread out a picnic blanket and enjoy a leisurely break on the Great Lawn. Surrounded by breathtaking natural beauty, this expansive grassy area is perfect for relaxation and soaking in the serene atmosphere.

Knady Lake & Boat Tours.

Majestic Lake and the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic. From the Kandy View Point, you can admire the breathtaking view of the scenic Kandy Lake and the iconic Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic. The temple, which houses the sacred tooth relic of the Buddha, is a significant spiritual site for Buddhists around the world. The tranquil setting of the lake and the grandeur of the temple create a captivating sight that is not to be missed. There’s an opportunity to take Motor Lake Tour.

Kandy festivals.

Colorful Festivals: Kandy comes alive with vibrant festivals and cultural celebrations throughout the year. The most famous among them is the Esala Perahera, a grand procession featuring beautifully adorned elephants, traditional dancers, and drummers. This ten-day festival honors the Sacred Tooth Relic and attracts thousands of locals and tourists alike. Witnessing the spectacle of the Esala Perahera is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and it’s one of the best things to see in Kandy. The festival showcases the rich cultural heritage of Sri Lanka.

Vibrant Procession: The highlight of the Kandy Esala Perahera is the grand procession that winds its way through the streets of Kandy for ten consecutive nights. Led by a majestic tusker carrying the sacred tooth relic, the procession features a mesmerizing display of traditional dancers, drummers, acrobats, fire breathers, and elaborately decorated elephants. The participants are dressed in vibrant costumes, adding to the spectacle and creating a truly enchanting atmosphere.

Tea plantations in Kandy hills.

Tea Plantations and Exquisite Ceylon Tea – Kandy is located in the heart of Sri Lanka’s tea-growing region, and a visit to this city is incomplete without exploring its lush tea plantations. Embark on a scenic train ride through the misty hills of Nuwara Eliya, where verdant tea estates stretch as far as the eye can see. Discover the tea-making process firsthand by visiting a tea factory and indulge in the aromatic flavors of Ceylon tea.

Trip Kandy is incomplete without experiencing the stunning tea plantations that envelop the landscape. Don’t forget to indulge in a cup of pure Ceylon tea, renowned for its exquisite flavor and aroma, at one of the tea estates or local tea shops.

Check here for some amazing Tea Plantations Tours from Kandy – Tripadvisor.

Museums and Art Galleries.

To delve deeper into Kandy’s history and culture, visit its museums and art galleries. The Royal Palace of Kandy, also known as the Maligawa, offers insights into the royal lifestyle and traditions of the ancient Kandyan kingdom. The National Museum of Kandy houses a wide array of artifacts and exhibits that showcase the city’s heritage. Art lovers can explore the Kandy Art Association and the Arthur C. Clarke Institute for Modern Technologies, which display stunning artworks by local and international artists.

Discover the Tranquil Charms of the Udawatta Kele Sanctuary.

While visiting Kandy, Sri Lanka, make sure to carve out some time to explore the serene beauty of the Udawatta Kele Sanctuary. Nestled in the heart of the city, this lush forest reserve offers a tranquil escape from the bustling streets and a chance to immerse yourself in nature’s wonders.

Pristine Nature: The Udawatta Kele Sanctuary is a haven for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts. As you wander along the well-maintained trails, you’ll be surrounded by towering trees, vibrant flowers, and a symphony of birdsong. The sanctuary is home to an impressive array of flora and fauna, including exotic bird species, monkeys, and even elusive leopards.

Nature Trails and Hiking: The Udawatta Kele Sanctuary boasts a network of well-marked nature trails, making it an ideal destination for hiking enthusiasts. Whether you prefer a leisurely stroll or a more challenging trek, there are trails to suit all levels of fitness and interests. Explore the diverse ecosystems, discover hidden waterfalls, and breathe in the fresh mountain air as you venture deeper into this natural paradise.

Birdwatching Paradise: Birdwatchers will be delighted by the abundance of avian species that call the Udawatta Kele Sanctuary home. The sanctuary’s varied habitats, from dense forests to open grasslands, attract a wide range of birds, including endemic and migratory species. Keep your eyes peeled for colorful kingfishers, majestic eagles, and playful parakeets as you traverse the sanctuary.

Enjoy local cuisine.

After enjoying the views of Kandy you can head to one of the local restaurants nearby to indulge in traditional Sri Lankan cuisine. Treat your taste buds to flavorsome curries, aromatic spices, and delicious street food. The culinary delights of Kandy are sure to satisfy your cravings and provide a memorable gastronomic experience.

Best place to eat in Kandy: 

  1. Hideout Lounge. Delicious food and amazing arrangement. Outside there’s also a concept store LA PAPESSA – nice beauty products and some clothing. (photos below)
  2. Vito Wood Fired Pizza.
  3. Cafe 1886.

Train from kandy to Ella.

Train from Kandy to Ella is probably the most popular attraction and to be honest probably the best in the area! It’s not only a great fun but also amazing adventure through Sri lankans mountain, jungle lanscape and tea plantations. It’s a 7 hours journey, however avoid in weekends and public holidays – the train can be really crowded. 

Pallekele Cricket Stadium!

Cricket is no 1 sport in Sri Lanka. Go and see a game to feel real spirit of cricket. Sri Lankan fans are amazing with their sport celebrations, they dance, enjoy and play music during the matches. You will find lots of PAPARA bands at the stands – very famous dancing music category in Sri Lanka. 

Sassari Sardinia

Hey - I'm Eva!

Hiker, adventurous traveler and the author of this blog. My biggest joy is mountaineering and writing reportage travel stories here on this blog, to help you create a unique travel experience. Traveling is freedom, allows you seeing the world truly, meet communities, grow. Taste it!