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Best 19 Things to do in Kandy – 2024 Travel Guide – Sri Lanka

Discover the very best of Sri Lanka’s Kandy, most important cultural, historical, and natural landmarks. We provide you with all the information you need for your planned vacation to this fascinating city in our extensive guide. Kandy guarantees an amazing experience because of its rich history and stunning natural surroundings.


Welcome to Kandy, the vibrant city nestled in the heart of Sri Lanka, boasting a fascinating history, rich cultural heritage, and breathtaking natural beauty. Perched at an elevation of 500 meters above sea level, Kandy boasts a delightful climate year-round, making it a highly sought-after destination for travelers. From ancient temples to scenic train rides, and immersive cultural experiences, this article is your guide to the top 15 must-do activities in Kandy, Sri Lanka, ensuring an unforgettable journey in this captivating city.

Whether you’re interested in exploring ancient temples, enjoying scenic train rides, or immersing yourself in the local culture, Kandy has it all. In this article, we will explore the best 19 things to do in Kandy, Sri Lanka, ensuring you have an unforgettable experience in this enchanting city.

Temple Of The Sacred Tooth Relic Kandy is the most popular tourist destination and best things to do in Kandy Sri Lanka FootSteps Travel

Credit: @kanishka_ranasinghe



Travel Time

3 H 30Min


500 m



Route from Colombo

Colombo > Polgahawela > Kandy(By Train)

Why Visit Kandy – Sri Lanka

Kandy, in Sri Lanka, is a captivating place that attracts travelers with its mix of culture, nature, and spirituality. It is known as the cultural center of Sri Lanka and has many things to see and do for all kinds of travelers.

One of the main highlights is the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, which houses the sacred tooth of Lord Buddha. This spiritual landmark attracts pilgrims and visitors alike, providing an insight into the country’s deep-rooted traditions.

Nature enthusiasts will find solace in Kandy’s picturesque landscapes, from the serene Kandy Lake to the lush Peradeniya Botanical Gardens, boasting a diverse collection of flora. For adventurous souls, the nearby Knuckles Mountain Range offers hiking and trekking opportunities amid breathtaking scenery and abundant wildlife.

Immerse yourself in the vibrant culture during the annual Esala Perahera festival, a grand procession featuring traditional dances, fire performances, and lavishly decorated elephants, celebrating Kandy’s rich heritage.

Indulge in the flavors of Sri Lanka through Kandy’s diverse culinary scene, offering mouthwatering local delicacies such as Kandyan rice and curry, string hoppers, and delectable sweets.

In Kandy, you’ll find a fulfilling travel experience, whether you seek spiritual serenity, stunning nature, or cultural immersion. Explore this captivating city at the heart of Sri Lanka, where history, adventure, and delicious food create a harmonious blend.

Kandy lake and Kandy City, Wolrd famous tourrist attraction city

How to get to Kandy

Traveling to Kandy is straightforward and adaptable, depending on what you like and where you are. You can take public transport, such as buses or trains, or choose to use your own vehicle or rent a car for a comfortable trip.

From Colombo to Kandy

By Bus

If you’re coming from Colombo, taking a bus to Kandy is a convenient choice. You’ll find buses at the main bus station in Colombo, and the ride usually lasts 3 to 4 hours. Don’t forget to enjoy the beautiful countryside views along the way!

By Tuk Tuk / Bike / Car

If you prefer, you can also go to Kandy in your own car. It takes about 2-3 hours to drive from Colombo, depending on traffic. The road is in good condition, and you’ll see stunning mountain and tea plantation views on the way.

Route Map
  • Colombo Fort
  • Travel through
    • Kadawatha > Gampaha > Ambepussa > Peradeniya > Kandy

By Train (Recommended)

Another great choice is to explore Kandy by train. The train ride from Colombo to Kandy is famous for its beautiful views. You’ll see green tea plantations, misty mountains, and lovely villages along the way. It’s a memorable experience you won’t forget.

From Galle or Matara (Southern Province) to Kandy

By Bus

If you’re coming from Galle or Matara, there’s a beautiful route for you. First, take a highway bus to Kadawatha, then change to a bus going to Kandy. The journey will take around 5-6 hours and you’ll see stunning rural areas and hills along the way. You can find the convenient Southern Expressway Bus at the main bus stations in Galle and Matara.

Another choice is to take Galle road buses, which are cheaper than highway buses. This way, you can enjoy the coastal views and feel the refreshing sea breeze during your trip.

By Tuk Tuk / Bike / Car

For those who prefer to drive, you can also travel to Kandy by personal vehicle from Galle or Matara using Southern Highway. The drive takes approximately 5 – 6 hours, depending on the route you choose. The roads are well-maintained, and you can enjoy the scenic beauty of the countryside along the way.

Southern to Kandy Journey Recommendations

When you travel from the southern province to the mesmerizing city of Kandy, going directly might take you around 5 to 6 hours, covering an average distance of 300km. Instead of heading straight to Kandy, consider making a delightful itinerary to the picturesque towns of Ella and Nuwara Eliya before reaching your final destination.

Starting from the southern province, you can first head to Ella, a charming hill station known for its stunning views, waterfalls, and trekking trails. Ella offers a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle, allowing you to immerse yourself in the beauty of nature.

Next, make your way to Nuwara Eliya, often referred to as “Little England” due to its colonial-era charm. Here, you can experience the refreshing climate, explore tea plantations, and indulge in some of the finest Ceylon tea. The serene ambiance and scenic beauty of Nuwara Eliya will surely captivate your heart.

After enjoying the delights of Ella and Nuwara Eliya, continue your journey to Kandy. Not only you will appreciate the cultural significance of this ancient city, but you’ll also feel refreshed by the fantastic memories from your travel.

Tuktuk ride is a highly recommended way to travel to Kandy.

Best way to travel around Kandy

When you want to explore Kandy, you have many ways to get around. Here are some of the best options for transportation in the city:

Explore Kandy with these transportation options:

1. Rent a bike or moped:

If you’re traveling alone or with a companion, renting a bike or moped is a fantastic choice. It lets you discover Kandy’s hidden treasures at your own pace.

2. Drive your own tuk-tuk:

Tuk-tuks are popular in Sri Lanka, and you can easily rent one in Kandy. Driving yourself gives you the freedom to visit attractions whenever you like.

3. Rent a car:

For a comfortable and convenient ride, consider renting a car in Kandy. You can drive it yourself or hire a driver to take you around.

4. Hire a tuk-tuk with a driver:

Another option is to hire a tuk-tuk with a driver, which is common for tourists. Just remember to discuss the price and route beforehand.

5. Budget travel by bus:

If you’re on a budget, take advantage of Kandy’s well-connected bus network. It’s a cost-effective way to explore the city and its surroundings.

6. Get a professional travel guide:

For a hassle-free and informative experience, hire a professional travel guide. They’ll show you the best places and share valuable insights about Kandy.

In Kandy, how you travel depends on what you like and how much you want to spend. You can rent a bike, drive a tuk-tuk, or hire a car. There are lots of choices to make your exploration fun and easy!

Tuktuk ride is a highly recommended way to travel arround Kandy.

Is Kandy safe to Travel?

Kandy is a beautiful city in Sri Lanka that is safe for travelers. It has a rich culture and many exciting things to see and do. You can visit ancient temples and try delicious local food at the markets without any worries. While it’s always good to be careful, Kandy is known for its friendly people and lots of tourists, so you can enjoy your trip without any safety concerns. So, come and have a fantastic time in Kandy, where you can make special memories in a safe and welcoming place.

Facts That Prove Kandy is Safe

Safety concerns are valid, but it’s essential to look at the facts that support Kandy as a secure travel destination. Sri Lanka, in general, has made significant strides in improving its safety measures and infrastructure for tourists. The country has experienced a boom in its tourism industry, with millions of visitors exploring its wonders without major incidents.

Avoid Solo Traveling at Night:

While Kandy is considered safe overall, like any other city, some precautions are necessary. It’s advisable to avoid solo traveling at night, especially in poorly lit or secluded areas. Instead, stick to well-populated and well-lit places or explore the city’s nightlife with a group of fellow travelers.

Few things to note on ensure your safety

01. Accommodation Safety

Look for reputable and secure accommodations with positive reviews from previous guests. This will ensure a comfortable and safe stay during your visit.

02. Travel Insurance

Purchase comprehensive travel insurance that covers medical emergencies, trip cancellations, and any unexpected incidents. This will provide you with peace of mind throughout your journey.

03. Local Customs and Etiquette

Familiarize yourself with the local customs and etiquette to show respect for the culture and avoid unintentional misunderstandings.

04. Emergency Contacts

Save important local emergency numbers and the contact information of your embassy or consulate in case you need assistance during your stay.

Kandy lake and Kandy City, Wolrd famous tourrist attraction city

The best time of year to visit Kandy in Sri Lanka

The best time to visit Kandy is during the months of December to April, which is considered the dry season in Sri Lanka. During this time, the weather is pleasant with warm temperatures and minimal rainfall. This makes it ideal for exploring the city and its attractions without any interruptions.

However, it is important to note that Kandy experiences a relatively mild climate throughout the year, thanks to its higher altitude. Even during the rainy season, which occurs from May to November, the rainfall is usually short-lived and doesn’t hinder outdoor activities.

If you are interested in witnessing the famous Kandy Esala Perahera, a grand cultural festival held in July or August, then planning your visit during this time would be ideal. The festival showcases traditional dances, music, and a grand procession of elephants, making it a truly unique and vibrant experience.

Overall, Kandy can be visited year-round, but the dry season offers the best weather conditions for exploring the city and enjoying its attractions to the fullest.

What is the weather like in Kandy

Kandy, Sri Lanka, boasts a pleasant and temperate climate that adds to its allure as a captivating destination. Located in the central highlands, Kandy enjoys a tropical rainforest climate with distinct wet and dry seasons. The weather in Kandy is characterized by warm temperatures throughout the year, ranging from 25°C to 30°C, making it an ideal escape from the scorching coastal heat.

During the wet season, which typically occurs from May to November, Kandy experiences occasional heavy rainfall. This brings lush greenery to the surrounding landscapes and adds to the enchanting ambiance of the city. The dry season, from December to April, offers clearer skies and a perfect setting for outdoor exploration.

With its pleasant weather, Kandy provides a year-round opportunity to explore its cultural and natural treasures. Visitors can enjoy strolls around the scenic Kandy Lake, explore the lush Peradeniya Botanical Gardens, and immerse in the city’s rich heritage at the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic.

Whether you’re seeking a cultural journey, nature escapades, or simply wish to relish the pleasant climate, Kandy has something to offer for every traveler. Its inviting weather and charming ambiance make it an ideal destination to experience the best of Sri Lanka.

The Queens Hotel is an iconic Landmark in Kandy.

You must add these top 19 nearby / things to do in Kandy Sri Lanka to your bucket list!

The Sacred Tooth Relic, Kandy

Kandy Lake Round

Peradeniya Botanical Garden

Kandy Lake Club - Cultural Dance Show

Ambuluwawa Tower

Market Streets Of Kandy Old Town

Gadaladeniya Raja Maha Viharaya

Embekke Rajamaha Wiharaya

Sri Lankathilake Rajamaha Viharaya

Bahirawakanda Vihara Buddha Statue

Ceylon Tea Museum

Hanthana Mountain View Point

01. Visit Temple Of The Sacred Tooth Relic, Kandy

One of the most important Buddhist sites in Sri Lanka, this temple houses the sacred tooth relic of Lord Buddha. Visitors can explore the intricate architecture and learn about the religious and cultural significance of the tooth relic.

02. World Famous Kandy Perahara

If you're lucky enough to visit during the month of August, don't miss the Kandy Perahara, a grand cultural procession featuring traditional dancers, musicians, and beautifully decorated elephants. It is one of the most spectacular festivals in Sri Lanka.

03. Walk Picturesque Kandy Lake

Take a leisurely stroll around the picturesque Kandy Lake, located in the heart of the city. Enjoy the tranquil surroundings, spot wildlife, and take in the stunning views of the surrounding hills.

04. Visit Royal Botanic Gardens/Peradeniya Sri Lanka

Spread over 147 acres, these botanical gardens are a paradise for nature lovers. Visitors can stroll through the beautifully landscaped gardens, admire the diverse collection of plants and flowers, and even enjoy a picnic by the river.

05. Enjoy Kandy Cultural Dance Show

Immerse yourself in the vibrant culture of Sri Lanka by attending a traditional Kandyan dance performance. Watch as skilled dancers perform acrobatic moves and intricate footwork, accompanied by traditional music and drumming.

06. World Famous Kandy To Ella Train Ride

Embark on a scenic train journey from Kandy to Ella, considered one of the most beautiful train rides in the world. Marvel at the lush tea plantations, misty mountains, and picturesque villages as the train winds its way through the scenic countryside.

07. Climb Ambuluwawa Tower, Gampola

Located near Kandy, the Ambuluwawa Tower offers breathtaking views of the surrounding hills and countryside. Visitors can climb to the top of the tower and enjoy panoramic views, or explore the beautiful gardens and religious monuments at the base.

08. Explore Market Streets Of Kandy Old Town

Get a taste of local life by exploring the bustling market streets of Kandy Old Town. Browse through colorful stalls selling spices, fruits, vegetables, and handicrafts, and soak up the vibrant atmosphere.

09. Visit Gadaladeniya Raja Maha Viharaya

This ancient Buddhist temple is known for its unique architecture, blending South Indian and Sinhalese styles. Visitors can explore the temple complex, admire the intricate carvings, and enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.

10. Visit Embekke Rajamaha Wiharaya

Another architectural marvel, this temple is famous for its intricately carved wooden pillars. Each pillar features a different design, showcasing the skill and craftsmanship of ancient Sri Lankan artisans.

11. Visit Sri Lankathilake Rajamaha Viharaya

This historic temple is known for its stunning frescoes and intricate stone carvings. Visitors can explore the temple complex, learn about its rich history, and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere.

12. Visit Bahirawakanda Vihara Buddha Statue

Standing at a height of 88 feet, this towering Buddha statue offers panoramic views of Kandy city. Visitors can climb to the top of the hill and admire the statue up close, while enjoying the breathtaking scenery.

13. Visit Ceylon Tea Museum

Learn about the history and production of tea in Sri Lanka by visiting the Ceylon Tea Museum. Explore the exhibits, watch demonstrations, and even enjoy a cup of freshly brewed tea.

14. Take Day Trip To Sigiriya & Dambulla

Explore the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Sigiriya and Dambulla on a day trip from Kandy. Climb the ancient rock fortress of Sigiriya and admire the stunning frescoes, and visit the Dambulla Cave Temple with its impressive collection of Buddhist statues and paintings.

15. Hike Hanthana Mountain

Adventure enthusiasts can hike up Hanthana Mountain, located just outside of Kandy. Enjoy panoramic views of the city, explore the lush forest trails, and discover hidden waterfalls along the way.

16. Narampanawa Bathing Place

Narampanawa Bathing Place is a calm and beautiful spot near Kandy, Sri Lanka. It has natural water pools where you can relax and swim. Surrounded by greenery, it's a peaceful place to enjoy nature.

17. Arthur's Seat View Point, Kandy

Arthur's Seat View Point is a place in Kandy with amazing views. It's on top of a hill, and you can reach it by hiking or driving. From there, you can see the mountains, valleys, and the city. It's a favorite spot for taking pictures and enjoying Kandy's beauty.

18. Ranawana Purana Rajamaha Viharaya

Ranawana Purana Rajamaha Viharaya is an old Buddhist temple near Kandy. It's famous for its beautiful carvings and paintings that tell Buddhist stories. People visit the temple to see the ancient art and feel the peaceful atmosphere.

19. Nelligala International Buddhist Centre

Nelligala International Buddhist Centre is a peaceful place in the hills of Kandy. It's a place for meditation and has caves and a big golden Buddha statue. The gardens around the center are lovely, making it a great spot for meditation and enjoying nature.

These are just a few of the best things to do in Kandy, Sri Lanka. Whether you’re interested in history, culture, nature, or adventure, Kandy has something to offer for every traveler.

All other nearby places

  • Wales Park – 1.2 km
  • Old Royal Palace – 1.5 km
  • Raja Tusker Museum – 1.5 km
  • Sri Maha Bodhi Maha Viharaya – 1.5 km
  • Udawattakele Sanctuary – 2.0 km
  • Kandyan Art Association – 3.6 km
  • Kandy National Museum – 3.7 km
  • British Garrison Cemetery – 3.7 km (Temporarily Closed) 
  • World Buddhist Museum – 3.8 km
  • Commonwealth War Cemetery Kandy – 4.7 km
  • Galmaduwa Rajamaha Wiharaya – 8.4 km
  • New Giragama Tea factory & Restaurant – 13.2 km
  • Hunnasgiriya Water Fall – 24.3 km
  • Teldeniya Old Town – 25.2 km
  • National Spice Garden – 27.9 km
  • Huluganga Falls – 30.0 km
  • Heeloya Tourism Village – 33.2 km
  • Jodu Ella Waterfall – 35.6 km
  • Kalabokka 360 Upper Division View Point – 36.7 km
  • Sirilak Spice and Herbal Botanical Garden – 38.1 km
  • Purana Kadadora Viharaya – 38.1 km
  • Asupini Ella Falls – 38.2 km
  • Saree Ella Waterfall – 39.0 km
  • Sudugala Falls – 39. 6 km
  • Kabaragala Peak – 40.2 km
  • Rangala Natural Pool – 40.5 km
  • Raksagala – Kinihira Kanda – 43.4 km
  • Victoria Dam – 45.3 km
  • Kadiyanlena waterfall – 45.8 km
  • Monara Gala Mountain (Peacock Hill) – 50.3 km



Cultural heritage and the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic.


During the dry season, December to March.


Modest attire, cover shoulders and knees at religious sites.




No need to avoid. Any where you can travel freely.


Kandy is important for its rich history and scenic beauty.


Visit Kandy for its cultural landmarks and stunning landscapes.


Tap water isn’t safe to drink, use bottled water.


Stay 2-3 days to explore Kandy fully.


Travel to Kandy by bus, train, or private vehicle.


Yes, Kandy is a popular hill station in Sri Lanka.


Kandy is cooler than Colombo due to higher elevation.


Depends on personal preferences, both offer unique experiences.


Absolutely, Kandy’s cultural and natural treasures are worth it.


Royal Botanic Gardens / Peradeniya Kandy most popular tourist destination in Sri Lanka FootSteps Travel


Kandy Sri Lanka Details

Country Sri Lanka
Province Central province
District Kandy
Road details Kadwatha > Ambepussa > Peradeniya > Kandy (By Bus)
Colombo > Kandy (By Train)
Elevation 500m
Temperature °C 25° - 30°

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