The City as Sweet as Sugar: Kandy Best Things to Do

by Gavin Darvell

With a name like Kandy, you’d expect the place to be sweet and sugary. Well, this ancient city may not match that criteria, but it is a beautiful place to visit. Set among the undulating hills of tea plantations and bi-diverse rainforests. A trip to the old Sri Lankan capital is well worth your time.

Get past the honking of motorbikes and the usual bustling street scenes. You’ll find a side to Kandy that is tranquil and spiritual. For one, the city has one of the country’s most religious artefacts, a tooth of buddha, and Kandy Lake is the perfect setting for some peace away from the daily grind. Kandy also offers a thriving food scene. So with that in mind, plenty to chew on!


Heading on the train through the Kandy countryside


Three top places to visit

Any tour here will include the following places we are going to point out. They are after all, Kandy’s top attractions. Each offer something different, so immerse yourself and discover.


  1. Temple of the Tooth – Among the tea plantations, lakes and gardens (more on those soon), Kandy’s major attraction is the Temple of the Tooth. Here it shelters a relic that is said to be Buddha’s tooth. Each day it’s taken out as part of daily prayers. The temple itself has lavish statues and gold roofs to enjoy and take in.
  2. Kandy Lake (Bogambara Lake) – Added to the Temple of the Tooth, Kandy Lake is the place for a break from the noise of the city. There’s a circular walk around the lake, where the palm trees offer plenty of protection from the sun. If you’re into your bird watching, keep an eye out for cranes, storks and pelicans. It’s the perfect place to go after visiting the temple.
  3. Royal Botanical Gardens – Once just for royalty, these gardens are now open to all. They are a peaceful haven from the city, some 6km away. You’ll find many plant species, including orchids and bamboo, and you can enjoy the pungent spice smell.


These three places each offer something very different, yet similar in many respects. They are a world away from the daily life that goes on around them, and each place is a little piece of Sri Lankan joy. So what about the city itself?


Markets in Kandy

Photo by Pius Martin on Unsplash


Taking in a food tour and exploring the city

You cannot come to Kandy without sampling the delights of the local cuisine. Either by yourself or on a food tour, Kandy’s markets are a cacophony of noise and smells. Try out the Kandyan snacks, egg hoppers, rice-flour pancakes. There’s plenty to keep your stomach happy.

It’s also worth heading out into the hills and exploring the region. You’ll get a sense of the beauty of the area to go along with the tranquillity of the Temple and gardens. If you haven’t already seen that on your way there by road transport or train.


Kandy is the perfect stopover, whether you’re heading for Colombo or the beaches. Take in the sights, the sounds and smells and you’ll have had a true Sri Lankan treat.

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