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The Sri Lankan city of Kandy is the most important religious site in the whole country as it is the home of the Temple of the Tooth Relic. It is located in the Central Province and lies in the midst of hills in the Kandy plateau, which crosses an area of tropical plantations, mainly tea. Getting to Kandy is pretty easy. Depending on where you are coming from, you can easily reach Kandy by taking the train, private taxi or bus. In this guide to Kandy, you’ll find some insight into our lodging, things to do and restaurant recommendations.

Because Kandy is centrally located within Sri Lanka, we stayed here for two separate one night stays in order to go to Dambulla and then to get to Nuwara Eliya. Kandy Blue was a great place to stay and the owner is a really awesome guy. It’s a bit far from the main area (10-15 minute tuk-tuk to train/bus station and Kandy Lake), but it was nice and quiet which is what we were looking for while staying in Kandy. Also, Ubers and PickMe’s are really inexpensive so distance wasn’t too much of an issue. Our room and bathroom were absolutely beautiful and we had a nice view of the river from our balcony. We highly recommend Kandy Blue and we would definitely love to stay here again if we are in Kandy.

If you’re looking for other budget friendly options, check out:

  • La Colina Kandy – $30 per night, no AC, close to Kandy Lake
  • Liyansa Villa – $16 per night, excellent reviews, AC, located a bit far away from everything
  • White Lodge – $20 per night, excellent reviews, and colorful decor

Here are some things to do while in Kandy:

1. Take a walk around Kandy Lake – Kandy Lake is also known as Kiri Muhuda or the Sea of Milk. It is located in the heart of Kandy so you can’t miss it. Definitely a very scenic area worthy of a nice walk or people watching on one of the benches along the edge of the lake.

2. Visit The Temple of the Tooth – It is also known as Sri Dalada Maligawa. This is one of the most sacred places of worship in the Buddhist world since it houses the relic of the tooth of Buddha. It was declared a world heritage site in 1988. Today, it is still a beacon for pilgrims who make their way to the famous Temple of the Tooth. The entrance fee is 1,500 LKR/$8 USD and you should definitely be respectful while visiting and follow the typical rules for temples (appropriate attire, etc.).

3. Stroll through the Royal Botanical Gardens – Located in Peradeniya, which is about 5.5km to the west of the city of Kandy, this botanical gardens are renowned for its collection of orchids. The garden includes more than 4,000 species of plants, including orchids, spices, medicinal plants and palm trees and the entrance fee is 1,100 LKR/$6 USD.

4. Bahiravokanda Vihara Buddha statue – It’s one of the biggest Buddha statues in Sri Lanka and has a great viewpoint as well. The entrance fee is only 200 LKR/$1USD. 

5. Gadaladeniya Temple – This is considered to be one of the largest rock temples in Sri Lanka. The entrance fee is 300 LKR/ $1.50USD.

MUST READ: Check out our ‘Top things to know before traveling to Sri Lanka’ blog post!

If you’re traveling anywhere in South Asia, TripAdvisor is without a doubt the best place to check out the reviews. Dan’s TripAdvisor page has a more robust amount of reviews and pictures of our meal. Here are the places we checked out and our two cents:

Hipsters Hideout Lounge – We weren’t in Kandy for very long but we did check out  to grab a burger and a beer for lunch and it was definitely a cool spot with a good vibe. The doggos were pretty entertaining as well!

Licensed to Grill – We had dinner on this rooftop spot. It is located in a bit of a strange area. There was limited options but decent food.

For our second stint in Kandy, we fulfilled a “taste of home craving” and had some good ‘ol KFC and Pizza Hut! They both did not disappoint.

Unfortunately, we don’t know of any volunteer opportunities in the Kandy area. If you do, we would love to feature it on our page. Reach out to us via email at jetsetforgood@gmail.com or DM us on Instagram (@jetsetforgood). 

That’s our guide to Kandy but like always, all opinions are entirely our own. Above all, enjoy Sri Lanka!

Disclaimer: We have no financial incentive to promote lodging or any other services. This recommendation comes solely from personal experience.

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