Are you planning a trip to Sri Lanka? The city of Kandy must surely be on your bucket list since it is one of the most fascinating places in the country.
UNESCO has listed Kandy amongst the world heritage sites, and the entire city is built around Kandy Lake. Sounds interesting, right? If you’re traveling around Sri Lanka, 2 days in Kandy is enough to cover the highlights.
Kandy was also the old capital of Sri Lanka before Colombo. I’m glad I visited Kandy when I travelled to Sri Lanka since it gave me a totally different experience. I spent two days there, which I feel is more than enough to explore most of the places and experience their local culture. If you’re short on time, you can plan your trip for two days and still discover most of the parts of the city. If you have time, explore the Ella to Kandy train (or vice versa) – it is incredible!
So, here’s how I spent my days in this beautiful city.
How I Explored Kandy in 2 Days
There are two ways by which you can explore the city, either hire a taxi or a tuk-tuk. I felt this is one of the best ways to interact with the locals since they give you more information about the place you’re visiting. Some of the places we visited on our arrival since we had hired a cab from Colombo to Kandy. It cost us around 5000 LKR for the entire journey.
The next day, I hired a tuk-tuk for approximately 6 hours per day and it cost me roughly 2500 LKR. The taxi costs almost double the amount of the tuk-tuk, but it all depends on your bargaining skills. I personally preferred exploring the city through tuk-tuk since it gives me that feeling of being a part of the city instead of a traveller.
Also, it’s more fun and cost-effective!
Where to Stay in Kandy
There are numerous places to stay in Kandy depending on your budget. If you’re looking for larger hotels or some of the finest ones, they are mostly near the city centre. But if you’re on a budget, you’ll find hotels and even hostels that are located near Kandy Lake.
I actually stayed at a beautiful resort, Amaya Hills, which, not surprisingly, is on a hilltop some distance away from the city. You can hire a taxi or a tuk-tuk to reach the hotel you wish to stay in. It wouldn’t cost you much. I have a few recommendations of hotels for every kind of budget in case you want to consider them.
1. Budget hotels
Feel Home is one of the best options if you’re on a budget. It’s located within 2.8 km of Kandy railway station and 3.5 km of Bogambara Stadium in Kandy and accommodation includes air conditioning, a toaster, a fridge, a kettle, a bidet, free toiletries and a desk. It has a cosy homestay feel, but with enough privacy.
Enjoy a full English/Irish and Asian breakfast options with warm dishes, fruits and juice. There is also an on-site lounge, and a grocery delivery service and packed lunches are also available upon request.
Many Travel Dudes travelers have booked to stay at Feel Home in Kandy!
2. Mid-range hotels
With a picturesque terrace inviting you to unwind, Hotel Lakefield is your gateway to the heart of Kandy’s cultural treasures. Immerse yourself in the city’s vibrant energy, just moments away from landmarks like Sri Dalada Maligawa, Kandy Museum, and the scenic Kandy View Point.
At Hotel Lakefield, hospitality takes center stage. From personalized room service to a dedicated tour desk, every detail is thoughtfully curated to elevate your stay. Retreat to rooms designed for both comfort and style, each featuring a private balcony, a rejuvenating shower, and complimentary toiletries. Stay seamlessly connected with complimentary WiFi, and indulge in modern comforts like air conditioning and a flat-screen TV.
Embark on a luxurious escape in the heart of Kandy at Mount Blue Kandy. This 4-star gem offers air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi and complimentary private parking, setting the stage for a seamless blend of opulence and convenience. Revel in breathtaking river views from every room, indulge in the outdoor swimming pool, and explore the lush garden—a sanctuary that goes beyond traditional accommodations.
At Mount Blue Kandy, each room is a haven of comfort and sophistication, featuring mountain-view balconies, private bathrooms, flat-screen TVs, and safety deposit boxes. Whether you’re unwinding by the pool or venturing into the city, this urban retreat ensures a memorable stay with airport transfers and a convenient car rental service. Elevate your Kandy experience at Mount Blue—where every moment is an opportunity to immerse yourself in luxury and tranquility.
3. Luxury hotels
Indulge in a regal experience at Kings Pavilion, where world-class service takes center stage. This exquisite Kandy retreat not only boasts free WiFi but also treats guests to a year-round outdoor pool, transcending the ordinary to create an unforgettable stay. Immerse yourself in the lap of luxury as you explore the hotel’s barbecue and sun terrace, savor delectable meals at the on-site restaurant, or unwind with a drink at the stylish bar. Plus, rest easy with complimentary private parking available on-site.
Each room at Kings Pavilion is a sanctuary of comfort and style, featuring a flat-screen TV for your entertainment. Select units go above and beyond with cozy seating areas, offering the perfect spot to relax and enjoy a cup of tea while taking in breathtaking views of the mountains or the inviting pool. The private bathrooms are adorned with thoughtful extras, including plush slippers and complimentary toiletries, ensuring your stay is nothing short of indulgent. At Kings Pavilion, every detail is crafted to elevate your experience, making your visit more than just a stay—it’s a celebration of unparalleled luxury.
Embark on a journey of unparalleled hospitality at The Madulkelle Tea and Eco Lodge, nestled amidst the picturesque expanse of rolling green hills and the enchanting Madulkelle Tea Estate. Immerse yourself in a unique experience with well-appointed tents featuring a terrace, inviting seating area, and en suite bathrooms where hot and cold water flows seamlessly. Stay connected with wired internet access as you soak in the tranquility of this nature-infused haven.
This serene retreat, just a 15-minute stroll from the captivating Hatale Waterfalls, offers a sanctuary away from the city bustle. Explore the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Knuckles Mountain Range, with a mere 40-minute drive. Madulkelle Tea and Eco Lodge go beyond conventional stays, inviting guests to bask in the outdoor pool’s embrace or engage in personalized experiences crafted by the friendly staff—whether it’s a cozy campfire under the stars or an illuminating visit to the nearby tea factory. For the adventurous souls, embark on invigorating treks and curated day trips, creating memories that echo the unique rhythm of Madulkelle’s natural wonders.
Things To Do in Kandy
The city of Kandy has a few popular places to see. Well, I was on a shorter trip, so I spent my time experiencing and exploring some of the best places in the city and skipping the ones I felt wouldn’t interest me.
1. Kandy Lake
Kandy Lake occupies the major part of the city, and you should definitely visit it (and will probably see it a few times during your 2 days in Kandy)! It is one of my favourite places when it comes to Kandy. I walked by the lake early one morning, and it was a very pleasant experience. I came across people who were practising the Buddhist way of meditating in the areas nearby.
The lake runs parallel to the roads, which can cause a bit of chaos during the busy hours of the day, but in the peaceful morning hours, it is one of the best places to spend time with yourself and relax.
2. Bahirawakanda Vihara Buddha Statue
This beautiful Buddha statue is one of the biggest statues in the country, and if you’re visiting Kandy, you must not skip visiting this place. The huge 88-foot-tall statue of Lord Buddha sitting in the Nirvana position is quite a sight to behold. But I climbed to the top of Bahirawa Kanda Hill, and the view from the top was so breathtaking!
I had heard that the statue looked beautiful during the evening, and that’s when I visited. It was fully lit with lights and lamps, and I could see a mesmerising panoramic view of the city from the top.
The place is open 24 hours but the best time to visit is early morning or sunset. Also, it cost me around 200 LKR to see the statue.
3. Kadugannawa Tea Factory
I was surprised to know that Sri Lanka is ranked 4th in the world when it comes to the largest producers of tea! Kandy city has some amazing tea factories and fields, so I thought I would visit one since I’m a die-hard tea lover! I went to Kadugannawa Tea Factory to learn more about the tea-making process.
Embilmeegama is another famous tea factory in Kandy that you can visit. I took a tour around the factory, learned about some machines and their workings, and lastly, had an amazing cup of one of their famous teas. It was interesting to know that the entire procedure of picking up the tea leaves to packing them takes 24 hours, with the majority of work done by machinery. You can visit this place too if you’re a tea lover like me. The visit to the factory is free too!
It’s a must-do on your 2 days in Kandy!
4. Traditional Dance of Kandy
I personally like to learn more about the cultures and traditions of the places I visit, so I went to see the traditional dance show of Kandy. It is known as The Kandyan Dance, which happens in many different places in the city. However, the one I saw was near the Kandy lake, at the Kandy Lake Club, which is ultimately one of the city’s best. It was a great experience to see the colourful costumes and unique Srilankan dance forms! The dance ends with a performance where artists walk on fire!
The show usually starts at 5:30 pm, but I went about 15 minutes early so that I get a seat in the front rows. It lasts for about an hour. Also, it cost me roughly ₹ 500 for the show, but I felt it was worth experiencing once.
5. Sacred Tooth Relic Temple
This is yet another place to visit if you are religious and like visiting temples. I am personally not very religious and was short on time, so I actually skipped this one. But I heard from a local that it is one of the most famous Buddhist temples in Sri Lanka. It is said that one of Buddha’s teeth was taken during his funeral ceremony and is hidden in a golden casket in the temple.
People come to visit the shrine and worship Buddha. The local Buddhists believe that once in their lifetime, they must complete at least one pilgrimage to this temple.
6. Peradeniya Botanical Gardens
Peradeniya Botanical Gardens is one of the biggest botanical gardens in the country. It has a variety of trees and plants and if you like to know more about them you can visit the place. Although the tuk-tuk driver may tell you that it’ll take 4-5 hours to explore the garden, we managed to wrap it up in an hour. It was an ok-ish place and I wouldn’t recommend you visiting if you are on a shorter trip.
Best Restaurants in Kandy
Kandy has a wide variety of restaurants for all foodies (read more about the Sri Lankan cuisine) with so many different dishes and cuisines. Here are some of my recommendations that you can try out to give yourself a treat during your 2 days in Kandy.
1. Café Divine Street
It’s a small café but has decent and cost-effective dishes. You can try the local specialities as well as western dishes here. You get a decent quantity of food and it was good eating here.
Address: 139 Colombo St, Kandy 20000, Sri Lanka
2. Slightly Chilled Lounge Bar
If you’re craving an evening beer, this place is one of the best bars. You’ll get to chill with your glass of beer with a rooftop view of sunset, which is so mesmerising!
Address: Anagarika Dharmapala Mawatha, Kandy, Sri Lanka
3. Cool Corner Ice Cream Parlour
Well, who doesn’t love ice cream? This is one of my favourite places for ice cream because they served me with such huge portions that I found it difficult to finish after a full, heavy dinner! And the menu card contained three whole pages of different ice cream flavours! That is just insane! Also, the price is decent compared to the quantity, so you can give this place a shot for ice cream.
Address: 114 Peradeniya Rd, Kandy 20000, Sri Lanka
Places To Shop in Kandy
Central Market and Kandy City Center are some of the best places to shop if you love shopping. You can also explore the city’s local markets around Kandy Lake, where you’ll find some accessories, handicrafts, designer wear, and so much more!
Kandy is a beautiful place to visit in Sri Lanka if you’re planning a trip to the country. I had an amazing time here, and I’m sure you would have too! You’ll love exploring the place and learning and interacting with the locals; it would be a lifetime experience!