Throughout the world vacation destinations experience in Sri Lanka island might be quite contrasting especially taking into consideration how big and diverse the country is. However, it’s a never-ending story of colors, a variety of smells spreading around along with sounds from Hinduism Temples mixed somewhere up in the air.
Kandy welcomed us as a noisy, never sleeping city.
What to see in/next to Kandy
Although Kandy is on the list of must-see destinations in Sri Lanka, we stayed only 3 nights which is a bit too much. Nevertheless, it was a unique lesson for us.
Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage
This place is quite close to Kandy. We would recommend being there at around 9 am to watch elephants take shower, then slowly walk to the river and enjoy the panorama from the local cafe. Usually, they stay around 1 to 1,5 hours in the river swimming, walking and being silly. We’ve heard lots of negative stories about this place, yet we didn’t spot anything by ourselves. Entrance fee is almost 17 USD for foreign visitor and almost half a dollar (100 LKR) for locals (!)
Be careful on your way to the orphanage! There is an enormous number of “safari” places in which animals look sick, hungry and not happy.
How to get there:
- Tuktuk – our option, ride takes around 1 and a half hour
- Taksi, Uber might be a bit more expensive
- Bus to Kegalle and then tuk-tuk
Big Buddha Kandy
One more Buddhist temple located on the hill of the city, therefore the view is spectacular. This beautifully sculpted white statue displays Buddha in the seated Nirvana pose and can be seen from the entire city of Kandy that sprawls out before it. It stands at 88 feet in height and is one of the biggest Buddha statues in Sri Lanka. To enter the place, every visitor should pay some “donation”. Hopefully, that money used for the renovation of the temple, it’s indeed some work.
Sri Dalada Maligawa or the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic
The biggest and brightest Buddhist temples I have ever seen in my life. We would suggest going there only in case if you either interested or practice this religion. Even though it is beautiful and significant for practitioners, it’s not worth changing vacation plan and go to Kandy for non-practitioners.
Shopping. Yes, we have a nice tradition to buy local
Hotel. Our choice was Kandy City Stay, tiny and tidy hotel with a nice terrace located not far from the main train station. Good match of price to service and breakfast, very convenient for 2 max 3-night
Where to eat in Kandy
Breakfast was served by Kandy City Stay, the rest of the meals we were trying to order in different places. Moving between Kandy and others spots gave us a chance to eat with locals ( we still remember that old cute lady serving us with roasted mango in mild sauce, roasted chicken, white rice and spicy salad. Aham, and of course glass of tapped water 😀 ) There are almost no restaurants which serve alcohol, generally such venues will have a sticker “Place for foreigners, we serve alcohol” 😀 which means beer and wine is on the list, nothing more. While going out, we’ve seen that local females hang out and have fun separately from local males. Another interesting fact – in the majority of cases, males would drink.
As I mentioned before, stay in Kandy was a unique unforgettable lesson as we had an opportunity to watch how locals live, eat, walk and drive. After “interviewing” our tuk-tuk, we got to know that he is actually a microbiologist. Unfortunately, life puts him in the situation when his income is not enough to support his wife and a little kid. That’s why working as a driver lets get him money on the side. Eating with hands is absolutely a normal thing, however poor hygiene and dust made me look for a faucet the first when we enter any place. Baby wipes and water became our best friends esp when traveling by tuk-tuk.
How to get to Kandy:
Train from Colombo Fort (will take around 3 hours) is an option. We bought the first class tickets which give you an opportunity to enjoy beautiful scenery while sitting next to wide huge windows. AC is available.
If you missed the first part of our story about Sri Lanka, you are more than welcome to Sri Lanka, Dream Vacation Destination