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Speak to any Sri Lankan about their country and the first question you’ll be asked is: ‘Have you been to Kandy?’ Why? Because Kandy is a special place. Journey here for your culture fix. History and creativity can be found in abundance, and, what’s more, at an altitude of 500m, Kandy offers a cooler temperatures than elsewhere in Sri Lanka, with colourful buildings and a beautiful lake at the heart of the city all surrounded by forested hills, while busy street markets, bus stations and restaurants provide that urban buzz.

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, ancient Kandy is widely accepted at Sri Lanka’s cultural capital. In fact, it served as the actual capital of Sri Lanka’s last Sinhalese kingdom, which finally fell to the British in 1815. Even today, locals see themselves as a little different – maybe just a little superior – to Sri Lankans from the island’s lower levels.

Kandy is home to the most sacred temple in Sri Lanka; the improbably named but nevertheless deeply spiritual Temple of the Tooth. Here is housed the much revered one surviving tooth of Buddha, making it one of the world’s most sacred Buddhist sites.

Apart from its sacred molar, Kandy is probably most famous for its renowned Esala Perahera festival, one of the most colourful religious pageants in Asia, when a huge procession of dancers, jugglers, musicians, fire-breathers, and lavishly decorated elephants snake their way through the streets to the Temple of the Tooth.

During the colonial period, the British established botanical gardens in many cities and towns but the Kandy Botanical Gardens sit at the top of the pyramid. Today, they are tended with love and care and remain a Kandy landmark. We’ve been tons of times and always find a delightful little corner we haven’t discovered before.

Kandy is also the starting point for a spectacular train journey through Hill Country and the rolling tea plantations. The train operates a regular commuter schedule, so you’ll also see real life at all of the stations along the way.

Eating and drinking

It has to be said, Kandy is a little behind the curve on the Sri Lanka eating and drinking scene. It doesn’t actually matter, as most hotels are situated outside the town centre and have their own reliably good restaurants. That said, there are a couple of good restaurants and cafes in the centre where decent Western and Sri Lankan food can be found. Good for a spot of lunch between tours.

The bar hangouts are a bit more hit and miss and it would be wise to describe the options for a night out as limited.

Out and about

Kandy is a city that is rich in history and culture. The most famous landmark, and the main reason why people visit, is the Temple of the Tooth, said to house a tooth of the Lord Buddha. The tooth is stored in casket deep within the temple and isn’t on public display. However, the room which houses the casket is exquisitely adorned with ornate woodwork and carvings. The architecture is generally beautiful and the various buildings that make up the temple complex are steeped in history.

The Temple of the Tooth is the centrepiece of Kandy. Around it are some worthwhile museums. The Raja museum with its taxidermy of an old temple elephant is extraordinary. It’s huge! There are some lovely walks around the end of the Kiri Muhuda lake (literally translated as the Sea of Milk).

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Tailor-Made kandy Holidays


Off-the-shelf is off the menu at Yonder: from the moment you first get in touch you'll be in the hands of a senior executive who has spent years getting to know your destination first-hand. Other travel companies might talk a big game about expertise and customisation but, to blow our own trumpet for a minute, we're in a league of our own.

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Whether you are looking for the perfect hotel stay or to create an exciting itinerary tailored just for you, every last detail of your trip with Yonder is carefully crafted, including hand-picked hotels that we adore ourselves

Sri Lanka Family Holidays

Sri Lanka Family Holidays

14 Days | From £3,400pp (Inc. Flights)

Visiting: Gal Oya National Park, East Coast, Tangalle, Kandy

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Treasure Island

Treasure Island

23 Days | From £4,700pp (Inc. Flights)

Visiting: Tea Country, Galle and the southern beaches, Cultural Triangle, Yala National Park, Uda Walawe National Park

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Sensational Ceylon

Sensational Ceylon

14 Days | From £4,200pp (Inc. Flights)

Visiting: Tea Country, Galle and the southern beaches, Cultural Triangle, Tangalle, Yala National Park

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Honeymoons in Sri Lanka

Honeymoons in Sri Lanka

10 Days | From £3,300pp (Inc. Flights)

Visiting: Galle and the southern beaches, Kandy

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Sri Lanka Megamoon

Sri Lanka Megamoon

15 Days | From £3,900pp (Inc. Flights)

Visiting: Gal Oya National Park, Tea Country, Galle and the southern beaches, Cultural Triangle, Kandy

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Postcards from our previous clients

David Edwards

We booked our India holiday through Yonder and they delivered from start to finish. From their choice of hotels (all great,...

Dan Lawrence

Used Yonder recently for a holiday to Sri Lanka for my girlfriend and I and I have nothing but positive feedback for them.<...


From the time we first contacted them to when we arrived back from our holiday, Yonder delivered everything and more they p...

Harriet Partridge

Yonder exceeded all our expectations and sorted such an incredible honeymoon for us. Efficient, organised and personable wi...

Our Recommended Accommodation In Kandy

Ellerton Bungalow

Perched 2,400 feet above Kandy, with no fussiness, just warm hospitality. Loyal guests return time after time for plantation vibe, beautiful gardens, tasteful eclectic furnishings in just eight rooms and divine food in an fres... View this hotel

Kandy House

Exceptionally pretty old manor house, skillfully converted into a boutique hotel with style and charm. The number one hotel in Kandy, it only has nine rooms and competition for a reservation is intense. Aperitifs on the lawn ar... View this hotel

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