Kandy, the upcountry capital of Sri Lanka is surrounded with rolling hills, cascading waterfalls, Tea gardens, terrace rice fields and patches of forests. The picturesque city is endowed with an array of one day tours, from beautiful mountain scenery to wildlife teeming national parks to beautiful gardens pouring with multiple colour flowers. There is a high demand for day tours from Kandy because Kandy attracts a large number of travellers every year.
What are the 5 most popular day tours from Kandy
Located at the heart of central mountain range of Sri Lanka, Kandy is a perfectly located hub for exploring surrounding beautiful mountains peaks, valleys, tea gardens and historical monuments. The rolling hills of hill-country capital of Kandy are endowed with a wide range of easily accessible day tours, from charming mountain villages to cascading waterfalls, green-capped mountain peaks, all just a few hours’ drive away. Here is the list of the most popular trips from Kandy.
- Visiting Nuwara Eliya
- Visiting Sigiriya
- Visiting Tea Museum
- Kandy walking tour
- Visiting Pinnawala elephant orphanage
Day tours from Kandy: Visiting Nuwara Eliya
Nuwara Eliya is the most popular mountain resort on the island and included in most Sri Lanka trips such as 5 days Sri Lanka tour to the hill country and classical tour. Nuwara Eliya sits 1800 meters above sea level, which I the most popular health resort of Sri Lanka. Just 90km from Kandy city centre, Nuwara Eliya was largely unexplored until early 18s. Nuwara Eliya was developed as a holiday destination with the advent British colonial rulers, over the last few centuries it has gathered some genteel atmosphere as an upmarket holiday destination and peaceful city amidst pristine the tea plantations.
Nuwara Eliya is a popular trip place in Sri Lanka and the healing climate is the biggest draw of Nuwara Eliya. But this hill country resort offers a lot more than that, Gregory lakes with watersports, parks and gardens, trekking and hiking sites, rolling hills, cascading waterfalls are few other important places to explore in Nuwara Eliya.
Gregory is a lovely place and surrounded by a large number of visitors at any time of the day, it is best for a peaceful stroll and the lakefront garden is spacious, laid with a well-maintained grass layer. It is never being a daunting task to tame a kid here because many dozens of interesting activities readily available for little ones such as pony riding, boating, train rides.
Take the trail to the top of the Pidurutalagala for a breathtaking view of Nuwara Eliya city, Gregory lake and Surrounding tea gardens. On nice sunny days, you will be able to explore the Horton plains national park, which is one of the last remaining cloud forests in Sri Lanka.
Near the Gregory, the lake is the Galway forest, which is a patch of forest with a large number of resident birds as well as few animal species. Victoria Park, which is an inheritance from the British colonial rulers is another popular family outing place in Nuwara Eliya. Victoria Park is very attractive especially in the month of April, May and June during which the park is beautified with various colourful flowers such as rose, Dalian, Canas.
Near the southern border concerning Gregory lake is the Sita Amman temple, which is one of the most ancient temples on the island, dating back to more than 7000 years. It had been the place where the queen Sita was accommodated after abducting by King Ravana.
- Places to visit in Nuwara Eliya
- Ten best things to do in Nuwara Eliya
- 48 hours in Nuwara Eliya
- Sri Lanka hill country tour
- Horton Plains national park
- Lovers leap waterfall
Day tours from Kandy: Visiting Sigiriya
Some of Sri Lanka’s important historical marvels are located only 1 hour’s drive north for Kandy, in the heart of Sri Lanka’s north-central province. Sigiriya rock fortress, with a landscaped garden, has a lot of similarities to the hanging bridge of Babylon.
This UNESCO world heritage site dates back to 5th century AD and one of the oldest landscaped gardens in the world. Many thousands of visitors gather to Sigiriya rock fortress every day and most of them are foreign travellers. However, on holidays and weekends, it can be extra crowded due to the influx of local travellers.
Sigiriya is surrounded with many other important historical monuments such as Dambulla cave temple, Ibbankatuwa burial ground and Pidurangala temple. Therefore, if you venture on the one-day trip to Sigiriya from Kandy, don’t forget to stop at least at the Dambulla cave temple and Pidurangala temple. It is very easy to visit Ibbankatuwa Megalithic tomb on this one-day trip, which is located on the main road from Kandy to Sigiriya. Visiting Ibbankatuwa Megalithic tomb is a perfect opportunity to learn about the tombs’ construction and civilization.
AT Ibbankatuwa the visitors can witness 42 clusters of tombs. These tombs believed to be the final resting places of a group of people lived in the areas back in 700 – 400 B.C. During the excavation the archaeologists have been able to discover many important artefacts at the megalithic burial ground such as Clay pots, iron, copper, necklaces, gold artefacts.
Day tours from Kandy: Visiting Tea Museum
The tea museum is located in the charming village of Hanatana and at the foothills of Hanatana mountain range. The tea museum is just a few minutes’ drives away from Kandy city.
Scottish planter James tailor is the “The Father of Ceylon Tea Industry”, who arrived on the island in 1852 and started the first tea plantation in Loolcondera Estate. The tea proved to be very successful against the fungus battered coffee and more and more planters attracted to the lucrative tea industry, making the Tea one of the most successful crops on the island until today.
The tea museum takes the visitors to many hundred years back to memorize the beginning of tea industry on the land. Tea is the most flourishing export agricultural product of Sri Lanka and it helps the island to earns a considerable portion of Sri Lanka’s foreign currency.
The museum is accommodated in a 4 storied building, designed by a British planter and it had been used as a Tea factory in the past. The building has been restored while some parts of the building are upgraded with a small twist, the interior decor only hints at its former English grandeur. The Tea museum is surrounded by lush gardens that commands a clear view of the Hantana mountain, lush green tea plantations, beautiful Hunasgiriya, Knuckles Range and the Matale range of hills and surrounding countryside.
The visitors required to purchase an entrance ticket to visit the Museum, which is the US $5 per person. However, I feel it is worth of allocating your valuable time to visit it. Sri Lanka produces the best Tea in the world, under the brand of “CELON TEA”, however, this is the only museum which is dedicated to this important industry to the island.
Each floor of the museum is designed with clear motives E.g the ground floor and the second floors are the essence of Tea museum, dotted with various machinery and equipment that had been used for Tea manufacturing in the good old days.
The third floor is a well-stocked Tea shop, selling popular varieties of black and green tea. The fourth floor is a tea cafe. The fourth-floor command a breathtaking view over the surrounding area and you can see the beautiful Hunasgiriya, Knuckles Range and the Matale range of hills as well as Kandy from the fourth floor on days with a clear sky.
You will not regret taking this Kandy day trip to explore the Kandy tea museum and gardens. The tea gardens are crisscrossed with trails for hiking and walking.
Day tours from Kandy: Kandy walking tour
Exploring Kandy cannot be left out from your tour itinerary if you visit Kandy. Kandy has a fascinating collection of Sri Lankan royal monuments, colonial buildings, natural attractions and modern shopping experience. You can have all of them in a few hours’ time. Usually, the Kandy walking tour starts at the Kandy lake near the Queens hotels.
The first stop on your walking tour is the Tooth relic temple, which is the most popular tourist site in Kandy. Afterwards, our guide takes you to many interesting places in Kandy such as Natha Devala, Kandy shopping area, Kandy lake, Kandy viewpoint, Kandy war cemetery, Kandy market etc. The entire walking trip takes around 4 hours, during which you walk around 10 km.
Towards the end of the walking trip, you will be visiting the Udawattakele sanctuary to have a closer look into one of the unspoiled natural habitats in Kandy, where there is a large concentration avian fauna species. Take one of the trails that crisscross the rainforest. The forest also includes many ancient constructions such as a pond, which believed to be used by the Kandyan King. The rugged area of protected upland wilderness with breathtaking heather-flecked moors that shelters rare flora and fauna like wild orchids and junglefowl.
If you wish to buy typical Sri Lankan products such as souvenir, cloth, tea, gems, head on to Kandy city centre or Kandy-Peradeniya-Colombo road, which is lined with a large number of shops specialized in souvenirs, gems, spices, tea, Jewelry, wooden statues as well as many other local goods.
Trek to the Bahirawakande mountain to visit the biggest seated Buddha statues in Kandy, that looks out over the city. This is comparatively new, however, it symbolizes the adherence of Buddhists of the city to the teaching of Buddha. The Giant seated buddha statues are built at one of the highest points in the city, and the Statue can see the entire city due to its high positioning.
Have a stroll around the Kandy Lake, which is home to a large number of bird species as well as animals’ species such as giant monitor lizards, turtles, chameleons, monkeys. The lake built-in 1807 by King Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe. The lake occupies a large area next to the tooth temple, which adds extra beauty to the tooth temple with its shining water surface.
Few kilometres from the Kandy lake is the Kandy viewpoint. From the Kandy viewpoint, located on the nearby mountain, soak up the sweeping views of tooth relic temple, lake and the city.
- Places to visit in Kandy and things to do
- Tooth relic temple Kandy
- Udawattakele sanctuary
- Tea museum Kandy
Visiting Pinnawala elephant orphanage
Pinnawala elephant orphanage is just 40km from Kandy on the Kandy-Colombo main road, westward from the city. Pinnawala orphanage is a breeding ground and research centre, established in 1975, the orphanage draws a large number of visitors every day and most of them are foreign travellers.
Elephant orphanage is rendering a valuable service for the orphan baby elephant and sick animals found in the jungle. Those elephants are being treated and taken care of at the expense of the Sri Lankan government.
The elephant orphanage is picturesquely located next to the Mahaoya, which is a tributary of the Mahaweli River. All elephants at the park have to follow a routine and visitors are allowed enter the elephant park from 06.00 AM onward.