Places to visit in Sri Lanka within one day, Sri Lanka Adventure Tour

10 Places To Travel In Kandy City Tour

Explore Sri Lanka’s rich culture and heritage as you travel to Kandy on 3 days tour. Set in a mountain guarded valley at an altitude of 1800 meters above Sea level—to taste world-renowned Ceylon tea, traditional dance performances, wildlife, shopping and the sacred left eyetooth of Buddha. Kandy is known as one of the most beautiful cities on the island settled amid beautiful mountains; venturing on a Kandy city tour is the best way to explore the city.

Table of Contents

What are the 10 Places To Travel In Kandy In 3 Days

  • Temple of the tooth relic
  • Kandy museum
  • Galmaduwa temple
  • Degaldoruwa temple
  • Gangarama temple
  • Royal botanical garden
  • Embekke temple
  • Pinnawala elephant orphanage
  • Udawattekele sanctuary
  • Digana

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Itinerary for 3 days in Kandy in a nutshell

  • Day 1 of 3 days in Kandy. Morning Temple of the Tooth Relic and Museum
  • Day 1 Kandy City Tour. Afternoon the Galmaduwa, Degaldoruwa, Gangarama temple
  • Day 2 Kandy City Tour. Morning the Royal Botanical Gardens
  • Day 2 Kandy City Tour. Morning Embekke Temple (after botanical garden)
  • Day 2 Kandy City Tour. Mid-afternoon-Pinnawala orphanage
  • Day 3 Kandy City Tour. Morning Udawattakele
  • Day 3 Kandy City Tour. Midday-Digana

We are writing a lot about travel in Kandy because Kandy is the cultural heart of Sri Lanka. Recently a reader of our blog questioned me “Can we have 3 days on the Kandy trip?” We are very familiar with this kind of request and we often get emails from customers with similar kinds of requests such as “We like to travel in Kandy for 3 days“, “We need Sri Lanka 4 days trip with Kandy“, “Can you plan a Kandy city tour for 3 days?” etc.

If you are also looking expect to travelling to Kandy in the future, you have stumbled upon the right blog post. This article serves the travellers, who are expecting to travel to Kandy.

It is impossible to think of a trip to Sri Lanka without travelling to Kandy—Sri Lanka’s cultural heart. There is no shortage of travel companies on the island that offer interesting sightseeing tours to Kandy promoting Eat, Drink, Prey “experiences”, however, there is a lot more in Kandy than Tea plantations, rice paddies and spirituality.

Usually, the Sri Lanka trips that we organize for our customers around the world include only a few days of travel in Kandy (1 or 2 days) unless you have the luxury of endless time. For that purpose, below is an itinerary for 3 day trip to Kandy.

Travel in Kandy and settle in

If you travel to Kandy directly from the Katunayake international airport, Colombo, it is advisable to hire a taxi. A one-way trip to Kandy from the airport cost around 40,000 rupees (US$ 115) and the chauffeur will take you straight to the hotel or guesthouse of your choice. When it comes to accommodation in Kandy, the choices are endless, whatever the accommodation type you prefer there is a place for you.

The cost of accommodation varies from a few US$ to few thousand US$ a night, giving the travellers a wide range of options when it comes to the money factor. However there are few popular choices for most repeated travellers, who come by this fascinating city, those places are affordable, clean and provide some killer views over the city.

Kandy is known as one of the most beautiful cities on the island settled amid beautiful mountains; therefore most travellers look for a photogenic view from their room. Knowing the fact most hotels add a supplement for the view and usually the rooms with Mountain views and River views are pricier than the rooms with city views. 

Travel in Kandy day 1: getting a feel for the place

Downtown Kandy is the tourist part of the city, where hundreds of shops, hotels, and restaurants are lined up along the roads. There is a high possibility of encountering touts and hawkers here, especially foreign travellers, offering tours, excursions or entry to their shops. It is best to be relaxed while interacting with them –they just try to make a living, they just leave you alone when you politely refuse their offer, if it seems to be things getting a bit overwhelming, try to avoid the scene and leave the place.

Travel in Kandy and visit places

Head to the Sacred tooth relic temple located towards the eastern corner of the city, just in front of Kandy Lake better known as “Kiri Muhuda” or Milk Sea. Tooth relic temple is the most sacred Buddhist temple on the island and is frequented by a large number of foreign and local travellers. It is one of the most visited Buddhist temples in Sri Lanka and therefore most visited tourist attraction in Kandy. The best time to visit the tooth relic temple is in the morning, afternoon and evening, during the Pooja hours, thousands of travellers gather at the temple to make offerings. During the weekends and holidays, the number of visitors to the temple is increased by a large number due to the pilgrims, who make trips to the temple from faraway cities on the island. The tooth relic temple is a popular Buddhist pilgrimage site and is included in Buddhist tours in Sri Lanka.

Try typical Sri Lanka food in Kandy Gannoruwa Agri farm restaurant

You should try to eat at the Gannoruwa Agri farm restaurant, which is by far the best restaurant in Kandy to sample typical Sri Lankan food, the food is served on nature-friendly reed plates. The Agri farm restaurant sits near the Mahaweli River, within the borders of the Gannoruwa Agriculture research centre. The food is handled very hygienically and served fresh; most food is prepared just before the customers.

Many dozens of food stalls selling different food varieties are arranged in a buffet type of display, each stall run by a local family and prepare one or a few varieties of local food. Only vegetarian food items are sold in the restaurant and typical local food items such as Wade, milk rice, hoppers, string hoppers, and many other food varieties of food are been sold here along with herbal soup, fruit juice, tea and coffee. The restaurant is under the purview of the Gannoruwa agriculture research centre and runs solely as a welfare project to serve the people.

Kandy is a city that attracts a large number of foreign as well as local tourists every day; therefore, Kandy has no shortage of delicious food, which is offered by hundreds of restaurants in the city. If you wish to gobble down European, Indian, or Chinese food it is best to drop into one of the tourist restaurants, which are specially prepared to cater to foreign travellers. These restaurants also serve popular local food items such as rice and curry as well as seafood specialities.

Shopping in Kandy Sri Lanka

Kandy is considered the cultural hub of Sri Lanka. The typical Sri Lankan culture, arts and crafts are still very much alive here and it is an integral part of Kandy. A large number of families in Kandy are actively engaged in various traditional Sri Lankan crafts and they supply various items to the Sri Lankan market. Some of the important products include wood carving, mask making, drum making, mat weaving, handlooms, lac-work, rush and read products etc. The Kandyan kings had supported the development of these traditional industries, which included the formation of guilds, standardization of payments and even the imposition of penalties for bad work. The traditional skills have been preserved with their purity, resulting in the continuance of the characteristic identity of Sri Lanka handicrafts.

Kandy is considered one of the best places for shopping in Sri Lanka, therefore, the Kandy city tour includes a shopping tour. On every Kandy city tour, you are able to visit shops that sell handicrafts such as statues, gems and jewellery. A large number of souvenir shops are lined along the main road allowing you to shop for handicrafts. Kandy city tour is a perfect opportunity to buy antique jewellery, masks, batik, silk, handicrafts, tea and silver belts. Make sure to bargain! The state-run Laksala located on the west side of Kandy Lake showcases arts and crafts.

Kandyan cultural show

Kandyan cultural show is a popular and very attractive spectacle. The Kandyan cultural show is visited by a large number of travellers every day. The Kandyan cultural show is unique to the city of Kandy and the travellers will not get this opportunity anywhere else on the island. The Kandy cultural show is organized in several places in Kandy. The Kandyan culture is part of the Kandy city tour and it is a 1-hour performance. These travellers can witness the spectacular dance, acrobatics, costumes and music. the cultural show depicts various forms of Kandyan dancing which was once native to the area but has now spread to different regions of the island. Originating from a dance performed by Indian shamans who came to the island, Kandyan dancing plays an important role in Sri Lankan culture and is a much-anticipated event during peripheral processions. During the show, you will see several dances which depict the graceful movements of birds and animals, which trace their origins back to the ancient ritual known as the Kohomba Kapkariya, as well as energetic acrobatic performances where the men perform a series of leaping pirouettes and stunts such as plate-spinning and the dramatic ‘ fire walk’ which ends the show

Travel in Kandy Day 2: cultural bliss

Sri Lanka is a country with one of the oldest cultures in the world and the richness of Sri Lanka’s culture is duly manifested in the various dance forms available on the island of Sri Lanka. The Kandyan cultural show is a great opportunity for travellers to experience the rich culture and tradition of Sri Lanka, which is a unique and very vibrant performance to showcase the Sri Lankan dance forms.

Rejuvenate yourself in a spa

Visiting a spa is one of the best ways to unwind after long days of work and there are many spas and Ayurveda treatment centres in Kandy. Most hotels are equipped with Ayurveda spa centres and provide various massage treatments such as full body massage and scrubby luxuriant in a rose petal herbal bath, to the in-house as well as outside customers. Usually, it is essential to make an advanced booking to get a seat at the spa centres but the hotel or the travel company that arranges your tour can make it for you.

Walking in the Udawattakele forest reserve

A lush green forest reserve, just behind the sacred Tooth relic temple, is full of cheeky macaques all looking for your attention (and food). Usually, the monkeys are always in search of food, if they smell food or fruits they will be behind you until they get the treat, so check your bags and pockets before entering the forest reserve. Udawattakele forest reserve is one of the best places to spot many species of avian fauna species and visitors can find about 80 species of different birds in the forest.

Some of the birds visible in the forest are very rare and endemic such as Layard’s parakeet, brown-capped babbler and, Yellow-fronted barbet. Three-toed kingfisher (Ceyx erythacus), which is one of the rarest birds has been spotted in the park often. Some of the regular birds occurring in the forest are the blue-winged leafbird, Golden-fronted leafbird, Common hill myna, emerald dove, spotted dove, white-rumped shama, Tickell’s blue flycatcher, brown-headed barbet crested serpent eagle, Crimson-fronted barbet, and brown fish owl. Apart from the bird many species of mammals, as well as vertebrates, also can be spotted here.

If you wish to have a walk on your Kandy city tour, Udawattakele is the best option for you. This forest is situated southward of the Temple of the Tooth relic, which was a forbidden forest by the kings of Kandy. But today it is a great attraction for tourists especially, those who look for adventure. Udawattakele is particularly popular among bird watchers, while it accommodates a large number of national bird species.

The forest remained impenetrable for over many centuries where wild boar, monkey, hare, squirrel, porcupine, reptiles, monitor lizards, tortoise and varieties of birds, worms, and insects live in perfect harmony with nature. One can see a pond, which is in a heart shape and believed to be used for bathing by the queen, the whole area including the pond had been a pleasure garden of the royal family.

The forest cover of the Udawattekele was very useful for the Kandyan king during the invasions of foreign forces. They used the forest to hide from the enemies and launched guerrilla-type attacks on them. Today Udawattekele is one of the best places to spot birds, butterflies and many other animals. Visitors are allowed to enter the site by paying LKR 800 (USD 5) per person

Travel in Kandy day 3: feel the thrill of Adventure

Although Kandy has a reputation for cultural, religious and historical bliss, there are many activities on offer for thrill-seekers. Seerendipity tours offer various activities for the traveller, who looks for adrenaline-pumping activities, from waterfall abseiling to whitewater rafting along the Kelani river, rock climbing, mountain biking and river kayaking, there is plenty of activities to get your heart racing. Those who look for less exhilaration can head to Elephant Park 40km eastward from Kandy.

Day Three: Afternoon winding up a 3-day trip to Kandy

This is the time for you to engage in the last-minute shopping tour and find lucrative deals on gems and jewellery, clothing, handicrafts, and batik. There are many wonderful shops along the Kandy-Colombo main road where you can buy batik sarongs, gems, wooden statues, murals, wall hangings, tea, spices brooches and mementoes of your stay, and reflect on 3 days Kandy trip, you have just enjoyed.

Day 1 of Kandy city Tour: Morning Temple of the Tooth Relic and Museum

Temple of the tooth relic or Sri Dalada Maligawa is the most sacred Buddhist temple on the island and one of the essential parts of any tour in Kandy. Dalada Maligawa is a key tourist attraction in Kandy and attracts thousands of travellers every day.

Visiting tooth relic temple

Hundreds of thousands of Buddhist devotees, as well as a large number of foreign tourists, are heading to this beautiful temple in the city of Kandy. The devotees, especially the local devotees carry lotus flowers, lamps, and incense sticks as offerings. All local devotees are dressed in white, which symbolizes purity. Most devotees gather here in the morning, at noon and in the evening during the pooja ceremony. This temple is none other than the temple of the tooth relic or Dalada Maligawa.

Temple of the tooth also known as Dalada Maligawa is a historical site in the city of Kandy, Sri Lanka. This Buddhist temple is one of the most historical temples on the island, which dates back to the 1300s. The temple houses the most important item for the Buddhist religion in Sri Lanka. The temple is visited by thousands of devotees every day, mostly during the Poojawa or Thewawa.

What is the best time to visit the tooth relic temple?

There are three Poojawas every day Morning, noon and night. Most visitors visit the temple at the night ceremony and which is the most beautiful with the usual performance of drummers. The Pojawa takes place for one hour and devotees are allowed to look into the Wedasitina Malaya, where the tooth relic is deposited. This historical temple is not only important as a Buddhist temple but also as a temple, which is associated with Sinhalese Buddhist culture, tradition, and arts and crafts.

The annual event of the Esala Ceremony is the greatest religious event in Sri Lanka, attracting hundreds of thousands of pilgrims as well as tourists from all over the world. The temple is open from early morning to night. Foreign visitors are allowed to enter the site by paying the entrance fee of LKR 1500 (approximately USD 10) per person. Tourists from SAARC countries should pay LKR 750 (Approximately USD 5) per person.

Visiting Museum on Kandy City Tour

Kandy national museum exhibits a large number of valuable artefacts and it is located next to the temple of the tooth relic. It has been the official residence of the queen and concubines of the Kandyan kings and now contains a cluster of royal and noble relics including thrones, sceptres, and ceremonial swords, dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries. The visitors can enter the Museum with the ticket issued at the temple of the tooth relic. Travellers can visit the site with the ticket issued at the tooth relic temple.

International Buddhist Museum

This is the newly added attraction in the city and is located behind the tooth relic temple. A large number of exhibits are located in a three-storied building, showcasing the Buddhist heritage in several countries. The visitors can enter the site with the ticket issued at the tooth relic temple. No entrance fees for travellers who entered the tooth relic temple.

Day 1 Kandy City Tour. Afternoon the Galmaduwa, Degaldoruwa, Gangarama temple

Degaldoruwa, Gangarama and Galmaduwa are well-known Buddhist temples in the Kandyan kingdom of Sri Lanka. All these temples are located a few kilometres from the city of Kandy. These temples are important historical places in Sri Lanka with a religious background and considered being major attractions in the region. All these temples can be visited without any entrance fee at the time this blog post is written.

Degaldoruwa Raja Maha Vihara

The historical temple of Degaldoruwa is located in the middle of a beautiful area dominated by thick vegetation. The temple is surrounded by patches of forests, coconut plantations and paddy fields. The location of the temple is very close to the Mahaweli River, one needs to cross over the river on the way to the temple from Kandy. The temple is only 10 km from the city of Kandy.

According to historical information, the temple was once renovated under the reign of King Kirti Sri Rajasinghe (1747-1780), as the temple was in very bad condition due to the negligence or destruction caused by the Portuguese forces.  Even though the temple is not very attractive from the outside, it houses a large number of very rare and valuable paintings. These paintings are in existence since the end of the 18th century.

The paintings are depicting the scenes of Jataka stories. Apart from the paintings, there are several Buddha statues in standing, meditation and reclining postures. A secret underground tunnel from Degaldoruwa is believed to be in existence to reach the Temple of the tooth relic. It was intended to use in case of an unsafe condition for the tooth relic due to foreign invasions.

visiting Galmaduwa Vihara on your program of 3 days in Kandy

The temple is located on the Kandy-Kundasale main road, about 6 km from the city of Kandy. Galmaduwa Vihara was also reconstructed under the patronage of King Kirti Sri Rajasinghe (1747-1780). The temple is believed to be constructed several centuries prior to the Kandyan kingdom (18th century).

There are several artefacts discovered at the site, during the excavations, Old dagoba made of clay with an inscription is the most important evidence to decide its historical value. The construction of Galmaduwa Vihara has never been completed due to an undisclosed reason and the temple is still in an uncompleted condition. The temple inherits the characteristics of Sinhalese, Tamil, Muslim and European architecture.

Visiting Gangarama temple on the Kandy city Tour

Gangarama temple is a major attraction within easy reach of the city of Kandy. It is conveniently located near the bridged of Lewella. Today it is under the guidance of the chief incumbent of Malwaththa chapter. According to the stone inscription discovered at the site, the temple was constructed under the reign of King Kirti Sri Rajasinghe (1747-1780).

There is a large number of paintings in the temple depicting the scenery of Jataka stories. These paintings are examples of highly valuable artistic works of ancient Kandyan artisans. These paintings show the characters of the Kandyan style and largely differ from the Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa paintings. Beautifully decorated tiles had been used as the roofing tiles and figures of the lion are embedded in the tiles.

The roof of the temple is intended to be higher than average in order to accommodate a tall standing Buddha statue, which is 27 feet in height. The paintings around the statue are depicting the scenery of Buddha’s life, Jataka stories and other scenes related to Buddhism in Sri Lanka.

Day 2 Kandy City Tour. Morning the Royal Botanical Gardens

Peradeniya Botanical Gardens is located about five kilometres from the city of Kandy. It is the largest botanical garden on the island. This place is popularly known as Peradeniya and is definitely worth a visit, because of its fascinating collection of trees and plants. Entrance fees at the Peradeniya royal botanical garden are LKR 1500 (approximately USD 10) per person.

Day 2 Kandy City Tour. Morning Embekke Temple (after botanical garden)

Three kilometres from the Peradeniya Botanical Gardens is the Embekke Temple. The temple is dating back to the Gampola period and has unique architecture. Adjacent to the main temple is the ‘Digge’ and inside the temple, there is a courtyard in which the hawisi band originally played. There are many legends that tell how the ‘Devala’ or the ‘Devalaya’ came into being.

Day 2 Kandy City Tour. Mid-afternoon-Pinnawala orphanage

Pinnawala elephant orphanage is situated in Rambukkana, North-West of Kegalle. It was established in 1975 with five elephants and today it has the largest elephant herd in the world. The 24-acres facility accommodates orphan, sick and old elephants. Since Pinnawala is a breeding centre the herd is comprised of a large number of elephants born in the orphanage itself. Pinnawala elephant orphanage is opening at 8.30 am and closes at 6.00 pm daily.

The entrance fees for travellers from SAARC countries are LKR 750 (approximately USD 5) and entrance fees for travellers from all other countries are LKR 2500 (approximately USD 17) per person.

Day 3 Kandy City Tour. Morning Udawattakele

If you wish to have a trek, Udawattakele sanctuary is the best option for you. It is very easy to reach the forest from any part of Kandy; you just need to have a few minutes of the walk especially if you stay in a hotel within the city limit. This forest is situated west and north of the Temple of the Tooth relic. The forest was the pleasure garden of Kandy king in the past, which was a forbidden forest by the kings of Kandy. But today it is a great attraction for tourists especially, those who look for a jungle tour and trek. Udawattakele is particularly popular among bird watchers, while it accommodates a large number of national bird species.

The forest remained impenetrable for over many centuries where wild boar, monkey, hare, squirrel, porcupine, reptiles, monitor lizards, tortoises and varieties of birds, worms, and insects live in perfect harmony with nature. One can see a pond, which is in a heart shape and believed to be used for bathing by the queen, the whole area including the pond had been a pleasure garden of the royal family.

The forest cover of the Udawattekele was very useful for the Kandyan king during the invasions of foreign forces. They used the forest to hide from the enemies and launched guerrilla-type attacks on them. Today Udawattekele is one of the best places to spot birds, butterflies and many other animals. Visitors are allowed to enter the site by paying LKR 800 (USD 5) per person

3 days in Kandy – perfect opportunity to do some shopping

There are many shops in central Kandy that sell antique jewellery, masks, batik, silk, handicrafts, tea and silver belts. Make sure to bargain! The state-run Laksala located on the west side of Kandy Lake showcases arts and crafts. If you are interested in ancient temple paintings and statues or even some relatively modern replicas, there are many places to visit on the Colombo-Kandy main road. Those outlets have masks, jewellery, fabric and textiles. The silk garden, which is located on the Kandy-Peradeniya old road near the railway crossing has a large array of stunning silk clothing as well as Batik, and cotton clothes.

Day 3 Kandy City Tour. Midday

The Victoria Golf and Country Resort, located in Digana, offers a splendid and challenging course, with 18 holes – par 73 with a 6945- yard length. The course is rated among the 100 most beautiful courses in the world by Golf Digest. International tournaments are held here, such as The Donald Steel Trophy, The Ebert Pot, and The Pam Fernando Trophy. The location is also a luxurious resort that offers luxurious accommodation choices and amenities. It’s an ideal venue for family relaxation and leisure.

Kandy Nightlife

Kandy does not have too much nightlife, in fact, you hardly have time and energy after visiting many places during the tour in Kandy. Kandy is a relatively quiet and peaceful city. However, there are several popular night-out spots within the city limit.

The OTSC or Old Trinitians Sports Club is an interesting place to hang around on weekends. There are music and dance from 8 pm onwards on Friday and Saturday. This member-only club accepts guests for a nominal fee. They do have a dress code and make sure to have a decent dress. There are many places to hang out and relax in the city. Whether you come for good food, cool beer, free Wi-Fi or to enjoy the magnificent view of the Kandy town, you can have it all.

Other interesting places to visit Kandy City Tour are:

Tea Museum, War cemetery, Gem museum, Asgiriya Monastery, and Gadaladeniya temple.

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