Hiking destinations in Kandy

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Top 6 Hiking destinations in Kandy

Kandy is among the most popular cities on the island and is visited by thousands of holidaymakers every day. Most travellers visit Kandy in order to visit teh tooth relic temple, which is one of the most sacred Buddhist temples in the world. Apart from the tooth relic temple, Kandy is home to a large number of ancient temples and monuments. This hill country holiday destination also inherits a large number of natural tourist attractions such as mountain peaks, waterfalls, rivers, rock formations, patches of forests, and tea plantations and they are very suitable for hiking and trekking. Many travellers enjoy hiking in Kandy and here are some of the best Hiking destinations in Kandy. Kandy is the cultural essence of Sri Lanka (about Sri Lanka), where the typical Sri Lankan customs, traditions and festivals are most alive.

Kandy is a city with a rich historical past, which is dating back many centuries. Apart from the historical and cultural tourist attractions, Kandy has many green attractions such as Udawattakele forest, Hantana, Royal botanical garden and many many more. All these green attractions are considered to be good places for trekking in Kandy.

There are many attractions in Kandy that are essentially attributed to the British colonial administration. There is a large number of building built after British architecture. Most of them are located in the city, which is a part of the UNESCO world heritage site. A most important attraction in Kandy with historical and religious importance is Dalada Maligawa or better known as the temple of the tooth. There are hundreds of cultural, historical and religious attractions in Kandy. Most travellers think that Kandy is only a place to explore Sri Lanka’culturere and history but they are totally wrong because Kandy is a city with a large extent of green cover and has many important natural attractions such as Udawattakele sanctuary within its borders.

Following are the top-notch green attractions in Kandy and these places also function as the best Hiking destinations in Kandy.

Hiking destination in Kandy-Peradeniya botanical garden

Perhaps there is no other better place to see rich tropical vegetation not only in Kandy but also in the whole central province. This beautiful botanical garden is a gift from the British-Ceylon rulers, who were here in the early 1900s. Today it has a large collection of tropical plants and trees from Sri Lanka as well as most other tropical countries. The number of flora species in botanical gardens exceeds 8000 and it spreads over 6 hectares. The botanical garden is about 5 kilometres from the Kandy city centre and the journey takes about 15 minutes to go there.

Peradeniya botanical garden is one of the most important tourist places in the central province of Sri Lanka. Peradeniya botanical garden is one of the best-hiking destinations in Kandy and the hike through the botanical garden takes around 1 -2 hours. This beautiful botanical garden is located about 500 meters above sea level.  The botanical garden is picturesquely located bordering the longest river in Sri Lanka, known as the Mahaweli River. 

The botanical garden of Sri Lanka is ranked among the best tropical gardens in the world. And it is visited by hundreds of thousands of travellers every year. The botanical garden of Peradeniya is the biggest of all three botanical gardens in Sri Lanka.

The history of Peradeniya botanical gardens is going back to the Kandyan period in Sri Lanka. It was first used as the pleasure garden of the Kandyan king in 1371. 

There had been a palace and a temple within the borders of the park in the early days of the Kandyan period. During the British colonial period, it was functioning as the research ground for many agricultural crops such as cinchona, tea etc.

Later around 1900, the British administration decided to develop it into a botanical garden with the introduction of other national and foreign tropical plants and trees. Today this beautiful garden accommodates more than 8000 plants and trees and is spread over 60 hectares.

A slow stroll in the garden gives you access to many thousands of different plants and trees. Take a walk along the river bank and see the different species of bamboo, Boganvilia, and many other flowering plants. Taking a walk over the hanging bridge would be a lifetime experience for you. The hanging bridge at the far end of the botanical garden is dating back to the early days of the 1900s. Following are some of the beautiful photos of the Peradeniya botanical garden.

Orchid House, herbal gardens, bamboo collection, palm collection and rose garden are some of the interesting corners of the garden. The orchid house has an interesting collection of orchids numbering many hundreds. Here, one can see the beautiful flowers of orchids throughout the year, due to the very suitable weather for orchids.

How to go to Peradeniya botanical garden

Peradeniya botanical garden lies on the Kandy-Colombo main road,  and it is a short distance away from Kandy city the drive lasts around 20 minutes, on the Kandy-Colombo new road but if you take the Kandy-Colombo old road the journey might be prolonged as much as 30 minutes due to the traffic congestion.

Hiking destination in Kandy-Udawattakele sanctuary

Kandy is an all-around tourist attraction in Sri Lanka as well as a popular place for trekking in Sri Lanka. Whether you are interested in culture, history, or nature you get something to enjoy here. Kandy is the only city, which is bestowed with a rainforest within its border. Udawattakele is a valuable asset of Kandy city and heaven for nature lovers. Udawattakele helps the city to keep the balance between nature and history.

Udawattekele is a patch of rainforest essentially attributed to the Kandyan King. This nature reserve is located near Kandy city, right behind the tooth relic temple. The park occupies a huge land with very high commercial value, which spreads over 257 acres. Udawattekele had been the official residence of a Brahmin known as “Senkada”, who lived in a cave located in the forest. The Kandy King made it his royal garden.

The biodiversity of the forest is deteriorated over the last several centuries mainly due to human activities such as illegal logging and hunting. The forest is a protected area since 1856 and is under the purview of the forest department.

The dominant colour of Kandy is green because of its pristine vegetation. High rainfall is very essential to maintain the greenish vegetation of the city and Udawattekele seems to have taken over the responsibility of watering trees and plants of Kandy.

The city is endowed with very high rainfall due to the presence of this rainforest within its borders. Kandy Lake or better known as “Kiri Muhuda” largely benefitted from the perennial waterways of Udawattakele sanctuary. Kandy lies 500 meters above sea level which is one of the reasons for its mild temperature another reason for its cool climate is the Udawattakele sanctuary because trees and plants in the forest absorb much of the greenhouse gas of the city.

If you have enough of history then you can go to the Udawattakele and enjoy the rich natural vegetation of a tropical rainforest. You will also be able to see a large number of animals, birds and butterflies here.

These are the important places that you encounter in the forest

Lady Horton’s Road
Royal Pond
Giant Bamboo
Senkada Cave
City View Point
Information Centre
Hermitages and Caves
Kodimale (Flag Point)
Pus-Wel (Giant Liana)
Iron Wood Forest

How to go to Udawattakele sanctuary

Udawalttekele is a popular hiking destination in Kandy and it attracts a large number of nature lovers. Udawattekels is not only considered one of the best-hiking destinations in Kandy but also one of the best places in Kandy for bird watching. A large number of birds are freely residing in the jungle. This is another popular place for trekking in Kandy and it will take around 20 minutes from the city of Kandy to Udawattakele. Udawattakele lies right behind the tooth relic temple. The cost of the entrance ticket is around 1100 Rs (can be varied due to the exchange rate)

Hiking destination in Kandy-Tea plantation

Kandy is one of the best places in Sri Lanka for tea plantation tours. Kandy is situated about 500 meters above sea level. This is the beginning of tea growing region on the island. If you further travel in the direction of the mountains, you will encounter large tracts of tea plantations and tea factories. Well-maintained tea plantations give you awe-inspiring scenery, with a mountainous background. Tea plantations are very popular among adventure holiday lovers for trekking and walking. Some of the tea plantations around Kandy make some of the best hiking destinations in Kandy.

Where do I Find a Tea plantation for hiking?

Kandy is surrounded by a large number of tea plantations and it is highly advisable to have a local guide as you trek in the tea garden.

Hiking destination in Kandy-Knuckles

Knuckles forest is the most popular hiking destination in Kandy. The knuckles mountain range is declared as a natural world heritage site by UNESCO. This is one of the last remaining patches of forest in the central mountain range. Knuckles is the largest forest in the central province of Sri Lanka and it is included in many Sri Lanka nature tours, hill country tour itineraries as well as Sri Lanka adventure trips.

The rugged terrain of Knuckles is covered by a large number of indigenous flora species. Knuckles forest harbours many species endemic fauna and flora of Sri Lanka and it has one of the highest Biodiversity in Sri Lanka. Knuckles forest is not only one of the best places for trekking in Kandy but also one of the best places for nature exploration.

As the name suggests “Knuckles mountain range”, is a range of mountains with the shape of a knuckle, when you look at it from the distance. This mountain range is comprised of 9 mountains and peaks ranging from 1220 meters to 1900 meters above sea level.

The highest point of the mountain range is known as “Gombaniya” and it is located 1906 meters above sea level. The knuckles mountain range is another important catchment area on the island where the rainfall varies between 2500mm to 5000mm, for instance, the eastern part of knuckles receives about 5000mm of annual rainfall while the northern part receives around 2500mm of annual rainfall.

Knuckles mountain range feeds several major rivers with its rainwater and Mimura Oya, “Kalu Ganga” or Black river and Kote Ganga are heavily dependent on the waters of these tributaries.

Knuckles mountain is very suitable for nature exploration and you are rewarded with some of stunning scenery. There are several popular Sri Lanka trekking sites can be found here and a large number of local and foreign trekkers arrive at the sites every day. Most of the tracks are well maintained and accommodated with campsites.

Pitawala Pathana nature trail, mini world end track, ash cave trail, Knuckles summit nature trails, and Nitre cave trail are some of the popular paths in the Knuckles mountain range. Apart from the earlier mentioned tracks, there are dozens of miniature footpaths for an exciting and enjoyable short trek in nearby villages.

How to reach Knuckles mountain trek

The trekkers can reach Knuckles mountain range by bus or any other private transport. There is a huge time gap between buses that ply towards Knuckles, therefore it is best to use private transport.

The distance from Kandy to the starting point of Knuckles mountain is 40km and it takes around 2 hours on the steep curved rich road. It is best to have a 4-wheen drive vehicle for the upward journey and it might be difficult on this rough terrain with a low-profile vehicle.

Hiking destination in Kandy-Spice garden

Unlike all other green attractions, spice gardens are man-made green attractions and it is a good place for trekking in Kandy. Kandy and the surrounding area are popular for spices and spice gardens are the best places to grow varieties of spices.

The travellers get the opportunity to see trees and plants of different spices here. These gardens are maintained by private organizations and access is free of charge.

Spice gardens are maintained by various individuals with the intention of selling their products. The spice gardens are maintained for marketing purposes of their products. Usually, the visitors are taken around the spice garden by a guide giving information on the trees and plants of the garden.

Most of the trees and plants at the spice garden have medicinal value and are used in Ayurveda medicine (what is Ayurveda). Some of the plants and trees have commercial vales in the form of spices.

There is a very interesting description of the Ayurveda healing system for every visitor to the spice gardens. The description is presented in many languages and highly trained people are employed for it. The travellers have the option to select the desired medium of language for the guided tour of the spice garden.

You have the opportunity to see hundreds of plants, trees and climbing plants that are been used to prepare various medicines. Same time your guide explains to you, how they are been used in Ayurveda. During the guided tours in the garden, you have the opportunity to see various other plants and trees such as spices, fruits, and vegetables available in Sri Lanka.

The visitors are allowed to try the products available in the spice gardens free of charge and every spice garden has its own shop selling various spices and herbal medicines, where people can make purchases of unblended spices, tea, and Ayurveda products

Health tourism is another integral part of Sri Lanka’s tourism industry. Unlike earlier, the number of people who spend holidays with a combination of health practices and beach stays is on the rise.

Ayurveda is the main healing practice used in the tourism industry and Ayurveda courses with beach holidays are offered by many Ayurveda beach resorts. There are a number of Ayurveda hotels catering to health-conscious travellers in the coastal areas.

Ayurveda hotels are usually more expensive than the average beach hotels and they can be booked through the travel agents such as Seerendipity tours, hotel websites or through the reservation departments of the hotels.

Where do I find a spice garden?

A large number of the spice gardens are concentrated on the Colombo-Kandy Main road at Mawanella and Kegalle area.

Hiking destination in Kandy-Hantana

Kandy is a popular destination not only for cultural tours and leisure holidays but also for adventure tours. E.g Kandy is included in Sri Lanka 5 days adventure tour. Hantana mountain range, which is a few kilometres away from Kandy provides the best setting for trekking, mountain climbing, rock climbing and walking. Hantana is one of the best Hiking destinations in Kandy and is suitable for a hike while enjoying fascinating landscapes and beautiful countryside.

The Hantana has a spellbinding natural beauty even the local songwriters have lyricised the scenic beauty of the Hantana mountain range. Hantana mountain range is one of the best places for trekking in Kandy if you look for a light adventure activity. Hantana is very popular among travellers, who like to go trekking in Kandy, bird watching and camping. Hantana is one of the best places to enjoy nature as you enter this upcountry kingdom of Kandy.

Hantana mountain range lies at the height of 1240 meters above sea level which is well 700 meters above the Kanday plateau and it is one of the best places for trekking in Kandy. Hantana mountain ranges stretch between Kandy and Galaha. Hantana mountain range is an important catchment area in the mountain and receives a very high early rainfall which is above 3500mm. Hantana is the home of a large number of perennial waterways and some of them feed important rivers of Sri Lanka, for instance, one of the important tributaries of the Mahaweli river starts here. The elongated lowlands between mountains make their way to these tributaries.

Trekking in Kandy at Hantana can be done on two paths, one path starts from the Peradeniya University and the other trek starts at 4th-milepost Hantana, the difficulty of both tracks is moderately difficult. It is suitable for any age as well as moderate mental and physical fitness is appropriate for this hike. This is a very popular trekking site in Sri Lanka and attracts a large number of university students from nearby Peradeniya University. The site is visited by many foreign travellers too.

If you start the trek at the 4th milepost, you can drive up to the 4th milepost by vehicle (the road is very steep) and the trek starts at “MOUNTAIN RANGE VIEWPOINT AT HANTHANA 4TH MILEPOST”, here you get a signboard with this text. The distance covered from Kandy to Hantana is 5 KM and takes around 20 minutes with your private transport.

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