Kandy: 10 Fascinating Things To Do In Sri Lanka's Historical City

things to do in kandy
Sue Anne
Sue Anne 
Published

The historical centre of Sri Lanka, Kandy has been declared by UNESCO to be a world heritage site. So here is one place on earth you’ll breathe in culture and history till you leave. So much to see, learn and experience, Kandy was the last capital reigned by Sri Lanka’s ancient kings and one of the most sacred places of worship for Buddhists around the world. There is no shortage of fascinating places to visit in Kandy.

1. Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic

Posted by Sri Dalada Maligawa, Kandy on Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Locally known as Sri Dalada Maligawa, this golden-roofed temple is one of the holiest places in Sri Lanka and a frequent pilgrimage destination. This is because it houses the only surviving relic of Buddha, a tooth, and people come far and wide to gaze upon the gold casket it is kept in. Every year, it is paraded around the city during the perahera, accompanied by 65 heavily decorated elephants. Also, on Wednesdays, there is a symbolic bathing or Nanumura Mangallaya of the Sacred Tooth Relic with an herbal preparation of scented water and fragrant flowers.

Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic

Address: Sri Dalada Veediya, Kandy 20000, Sri Lanka

Price: from 15 USD

Opening Hours: 5.30am - 8pm. Closed on public holidays.

Contact: +94 812234226

Website: Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic

2. Peradeniya Royal Botanical Garden

Posted by Tracy Ann on Tuesday, 14 March 2017

If you want to see over 4,000 species of plants in one garden, head on over to the Peradeniya Royal Botanical Garden. A hot spot for spice trading 2,000 years ago, Sri Lanka retains its green thumb. You can find hundreds of deliciously smelling spices here such as pepper, nutmeg, cloves and cardamom. This place also grows an amazing selection of orchids that you simply must see while you’re here! Superbly well maintained with some markets within the grounds, don’t be surprised spending hours and hours in this amazing botanical garden!

Peradeniya Royal Botanical Garden

Address: Peradeniya Rd, Kandy, Sri Lanka

Price: from 15 USD

Opening Hours: 7.30am - 6pm. Closed on public holidays.

Contact: +94 812388088

3. Bahiravokanda Vihara Buddha Statue

Bahiravokanda Vihara Buddha Statue
Source: Photo by user Andy Nobes used under CC BY 2.0

One of Kandy’s most notable monuments, this massive Buddha statue, the Bahiravokanda Vihara, sits on Bahivara Kanda Hill overlooking the entire city. Climb up this hill and you’ll get to see a gorgeous panoramic view of Kandy. But note that it’s a one hour climb, and best to be done in the morning to avoid being burnt by the Sri Lankan sun. Make sure to remove your shoes when entering the temple and you’ll see many devotees offering flowers and lighting oil lamps in worship of Buddha. At night, the entire statue is lit up beautifully, casting an enchanting aura onto the city.

Bahiravokanda Vihara Buddha Statue

Address: Bahirawa Kanda Rd, Kandy, Sri Lanka

Price: from 1.5 USD

4. Udawattakele Forest Reserve

Posted by Plz,Take a photo on Thursday, 16 March 2017

Take a breather from civilization and venture into the tropical forest reserves of Udawattakele. Here you can find an abundance of fauna, birds, reptiles, mammals and even a few vital Buddhist meditation hermitages. The park strives to be educational as well. Two offices have been set up by The Sri Lanka Forest Department to display posters and stuffed animals for visitors to learn more about Sri Lanka’s wildlife.

Udawattakele Forest Reserve

Address: Lover’s Walk, Kandy, Sri Lanka

Price: from 4 USD

Opening Hours: 7am - 6pm. Closed on public holidays.

Contact: +94 812232873

5. Esala Perahara

Esala Perahara

You should definitely come to Kandy in July or August. Remember when I told you about the sacred tooth parade that occurs annually? You’ll find this traditional procession extremely fascinating. Besides the colourfully decorated elephants, there will be local dancers, drummers, fire eaters and many more that are part of this parade. The festival begins with a water cutting ceremony by the Mahaweli River. If you’re thinking of joining in this celebration, come early to the Perahera to get a good seat, and note that front row seats may be quite costly, so plan appropriately to fully enjoy this uniquely special event!

Esala Perahara

Price: from 92 USD

Festival Dates: 29th July to 7th August 2017

Contact: +94 112199323

Website: Esala Perahara

6. Dalada Maligawa Museum

Posted by World Buddhist Museum Official on Sunday, 22 January 2017

If you want to learn about the cultural roots of Sri Lanka and begin understanding this country’s identity, this is the place to visit. Dalada Maligawa Museum provides deep insight of the development of Buddhism, a peaceful religion stemmed from the teachings of Buddha in India which spread to groups of followers around the world. It’s the only museum of its kind that houses an amazing collection of relics documenting the spread of Buddhism across Asia and to the rest of the world.

Dalada Maligawa Museum

Address: Sri Dalada Veediya, Kandy 20000, Sri Lanka

Price: from 15 USD

Opening Hours: 8am - 6.30pm. Closed on public holidays.

Contact: +94 812234226

Website: Dalada Maligawa Museum

7. See a traditional dance performance


One of the best things to do in Kandy during an evening is to see a Kandy dance cultural show! Famous for their captivating shows of local art and culture, you’ll learn about Sri Lanka’s traditions throughout the dance. It’s not just educational it’s extremely exciting! You’ll get to feast your eyes and ears on not only dancers and music but also drummers and fire shows during the show! Get ready for the performance of your lifetime!

Kandy Cultural Show

Show Location: Kandiyan Art Association and Cultural Center, Kandy

Price: from 67 USD

Show Hours: Daily at 5pm

Duration: around 1 hour required.

Contact: +44 2032397790

Book Now: Kandy Cultural Show

8. Kandy Lake

Bogambara Lake in Kandy, Sri Lanka Kandy Lake is a lake in the heart of the hill city of Kandy, Sri Lanka, built in...

Posted by Total Travels - Karachi on Tuesday, 31 January 2017

In the middle of a bustling city, the Kandy Lake lies calm and quiet, attracting both locals and tourists to take a stroll along the lake. Artificially constructed in 1807 by the last king of Sri Lanka and Kandy, Wikrama Rajasinhe, there are rumors surrounding this Kandy Lake, that the king installed a secret tunnel from its island to his palace. Today, Kandy Lake is an iconic location to this city and you can appreciate its beauty sitting peacefully on benches around the lake gazing at the water and the beautiful island that floats in the middle of it.

Kandy Lake

Address: 278/1 Thalumbu Ghawatt Akurana, 20000 Kandy, Sri Lanka

Price: Free

Contact: +94 717525646

Website: Kandy Lake

9. Giragama Tea Plantation


One of the world’s strongest importers of tea, it would be a shame to not visit a tea plantation while you’re here in Sri Lanka. Head over to Giragama Tea Plantation where you’ll see the process of tea making up close and marvel at the acres and acres of lush and beautiful tea plants. Situated 613 meters (2,011 feet) above the sea level, this place also has a tea museum where visitors will learn more about the refinery of different tea leaves during the tour and also have a taste of the merchandise at the end of it!

Giragama Tea Plantation

Address: Geragama Estate Rd, Kandy

Price: from 25 USD

Contact: +94 777229911

Website: Giragama Tea Plantation

10. Kandy Garrison Cemetery

Posted by Alan Fairclough on Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Take a second to think about mortality by visiting the Kandy Garrison Cemetery. Home to 163 graves dating back to colonial times, you’ll be surprised to see the amount of young deaths that are inscribed on the tombstones. Those who actually made it to 40 years were the old people of their generation. Makes you appreciate life and all the health advances we’ve made all these years.

Kandy Garrison Cemetery

Address: British Garrison Cemetry, Hemamali Mawatha, Kandy, Sri Lanka

Price: Free

The home of Buddhism

So immerse yourself in Sri Lankan culture while you’re in Kandy! Hopefully this serene place cultivates in you a deep appreciation for Buddhism while you tour around its religious sites. After all, this is the one place on earth that is home to The Temple of the Tooth Relic. It is no wonder people from all around the world come to Kandy to see this historical artifact. So if you’re in Kandy, you’re one of the lucky ones! Go explore all you can!

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Malaysian, fun loving and always eager for a new experience, Sue Anne loves travel as much as she loves food. And they happen to go hand in hand, which is why exploring new places around the world...Read more

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