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Brimming with history, Kandy is the cultural heart of Sri Lanka

The last capital of the Sinhalese Kingdom and Sri Lanka’s second-largest city, Kandy is the undisputed cultural centre of the island.

Hidden away in the hills, Kandy is surrounded by tropical rainforest and tea plantations, offering a pleasantly cooler climate. This is a bustling city with a small-town atmosphere, where honking tuk-tuks zip through narrow roads and sidewalks are dotted with colourful silk saris worn by local women.

The humming streets are lined with a charming mix of colonial-era and Kandyan architecture, all laid out around the city’s centerpiece, the picturesque Kandy Lake.

The ancient city is a trove of tradition, home to the Temple of the Tooth Relic (Sri Dalada Mailgawa), the country’s most sacred Buddhist shrine, said to hold Buddha’s tooth. It also holds the vibrant Esala Perahera festival, held in July and August, where the city comes alive with a ten day parade of golden caskets, dancers, drummers and elephants.

The vibrant Kandyan culture can be found all year round. Roam the magnificent Old Royal Palace Compound where you’ll see the quarters of the royal concubines and the old royal palace.

Take a private tour with a local botanist through the stunning Royal Botanical Garden in Peradeniya, the largest botanical gardens in Sri Lanka.

Get to know where the famous Sri Lankan tea comes from with a tour through the country’s first tea factory. Breathe in the heavenly scents of the sprawling fields as you observe the process from tea leaf to steaming brew.

No trip to this city is complete without a visit to the Big Buddha, an ancient temple at the top of a hill. Here you’ll find the most impressive view over Kandy, complete with the sparkling lake and twisting hilltops.

Kandy is the place to pick up a memorable souvenir. Explore the thriving downtown markets, where you’ll find an array of artisan jewellery, wood carvings, fabrics and crafts.

In the evening, experience a cultural show of traditional Sri Lankan dancing, drumming and fire walking. Or, head off to the Victorian golf course for a few relaxing rounds.

Kandy is a feast of Sri Lankan culture and history and with so much to see and do, it’s easy to see why this city is a highlight for any trip to Sri Lanka.

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Best times to visit Kandy

The best time to visit Kandy is the dry season between December and April, when temperatures are mild and pleasant. The beginning of March rings in the flower season with the trees surrounding the picturesque Kandy Lake erupting in pink blossoms. The favourable weather conditions of the dry season bring a higher number of visitors, so if you prefer to avoid the larger crowds, visit between May and November.

The wet season falls between May and August, while October brings a second monsoon season. Pack a raincoat as the wet season is still a great time to visit with a packed calendar of cultural events. One of Sri Lanka’s oldest and most spectacular festivals is held in Kandy during July or August every year, lasting for ten days. Other great festivals include Poson Festival and Duruthu Perahera, both held in June.

Month to month weather chart for Sri Lanka

Featured Holidays

Most of our luxury tours to Sri Lanka include time in Kandy, the cultural hub of the country. The highlight of any trip to Kandy is a visit to Sri Dalada Maligawa, the Temple of the Tooth Relic. Highlights of Sri Lanka features a tour of Sri Lanka’s first tea factory, Loolecondera Tea Factory, while the Sri Lanka Family Tour includes a private tour with a local botanist around the Peradeniya Royal Botanical Gardens.

Call us on 0203 143 4293 to start planning your holiday, we’re
looking forward to hearing from you.

or

Accommodation

In Kandy, we work with The Kandy House, located on a stunning six-acre estate. This former manor house was originally built in 1804 and housed an aristocratic Sri Lankan family. The hotel offers a boutique luxury experience and with only nine rooms, this charming property feels like a stay in a private house rather than a conventional hotel. You can lounge by the pool, enjoy cocktails on the verandah or roam the surrounding countryside with bicycles.

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