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Kandy is a small city in the centre of Sri Lanka. It is a wonderful place to purchase great precious and semi-precious stones as well as stones already set in gold and silver.
When traveling throughout Sri Lanka you will see a lot of military, and depending on your luck, your car will be pulled over and passports will be checked, so don't leave your hotel without your passport! Kandy is in a safe part of Sri Lanka, as the conflict is much farther north in the country, so don't be concerned with the sight of military personnel.
The Botanical Gardens (Peradeniya Gardens) in Kandy are well worth a visit. Things do come in different sizes in different climates and corners of the world. However, the girth and height of the bamboo grove along the river bank is quite amazing, particularly staggering when you bear in mind it is actually a type of grass!! Things certainly grow well in this climate including the fruit bats. There is a resident colony of large bats that hang from the tall tree tops. They are quite a sight, but beware the bat droppings that fall from a great height as you pass underneath and you will notice a pungent odour as you do. Another impressive sight is a very large Umbrella tree (or “Sooriyakenda” tree) that is just too big to photograph effectively, as it spread over a whole field, apparently an amazing 600 m2. It would collapse if it hadn't been lovingly propped up and supported at intervals over the years. It is interesting to see how the different spices grow and the Orchid house is truly exotic. Or just take a pleasant stroll down the avenues of coconut palms.
Kandy is also a centre for the Buddhist religion. Visit the Temple of the Tooth and the surrounding grounds. This temple was bombed recently and you will note the military bunkers on site. It should be noted that even though Buddhas tooth may be present, it is locked away within a casket so it is not to be seen by the eyes of tourists anyway!
The famous Kandy Dancers perform at the cultural center in the evening. It is strictly for tourists and gives you a flavour of the culture. Get ready for a wave of "hucksters" trying to sell you t-shirts and postcards when you leave the evening performance. But for $3 it is worth it. They even have fire walkers.
The De Havilland Twin Otter float planes operated by Sri Lankan Airlines leave Colombo at 09:00am (currently from Kelani River) and touch down at Mahaweli River in Polgolla, Kandy at 09:30am.
From Colombo, Intercity express train are hassle free and scenic, 2.5 hours. Reservations are needed for these trains, it can be done just before the departure depending on the period but is best done in advance especially if you are travelling on a weekend or holiday. There is a great observation saloon (first class) in this particular train. Other trains are overly crowded and late.
If you're just arriving in Sri Lanka, heading for Kandy, you can hire a taxi from one of the stalls in the arrivals hall at Colombo airport for about R6,000/-. The journey takes about 3 hours. This saves the hassle of going into Colombo, and is a lot quicker and easier.
Hired mini-vans with a driver are available from Colombo through travel agencies and hotel concierges.
There are dozens of buses a day between Colombo and Kandy.
The local "Three-Wheelers" ('Tuk-Tuk) are an amazingly cheap and exciting way of seeing the city, and they run virtually all night long.
Walking is also recommended; the centre is not that large. As a way of seeing temples, shops, shopping area and other sights around the lake and You can visit the Temple of the Tooth by on foot as well but you'll have to ask for directions.
There are many hostels, budget, midrange and splurge hotels in Kandy, where you can stay the night and rest easily.
|Blinkbonnie Tourist Inn||Rajapihilla Mawatha Kandy, Sri Lanka||Hostel||69|
|Days Inn Tourist Lodge||66A Rajapihilla Mawatha||Guesthouse||-|
|Devon Hotel||51 Ampitiya Road||Hotel||-|
|Hill Way Tour Inn||102/1/1, Rajapihilla mawatha||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Kandy View Hotel||40, 22 Hillpankandura Ampitiya Road||Hotel||67|
|Majestic Tourist Hotel||83/40 Ampitiya Road||Hotel||77|
|Nature Walk Resort||09, Sangamitta Mawatha Behind the Temple of the Tooth||Hostel||76|
|Summit View||Summit View Megoda-Kalagamuwa||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Victoria Lodge Sri Lanka||haragama estate gurudeniya,kandy||Guesthouse||-|
|Forest Glen||150/6, Lady Gordon Drive||Hostel||-|
|The Mansion||213, Aladeniya, Warrallagama||Hotel||-|
|Palm Garden Guest House||18 Bogodawawtte Road Suduhumpola||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Sepali 26/7 Inn||Lake Round Road Cyril Jayasundara Road||Guesthouse||-|
|Spica Holiday Home||77/5 Sri Dhamma Siddhi Mawatha Asgiriya||GUESTHOUSE||79|
|Kandy Panorama Resort||352 H, Dharmaraja Mawatha Kandy||Hotel||-|
|Kundasale Holiday Homes||7/7 1st Lane, Pandiwatte, Kundasale||HOSTEL||-|
|Blink Bonnie Inn Hotel||69 Rajapihilla Mawata Kandy Kandy||Hotel||-|
|The Drop Inn Kandy||No:10,Dharmaraja Mw,||GUESTHOUSE||79|
|Hill House Kandy||No 13 Meddegama Road, Ampitiya||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Forest Villa||185B Rajapihilla Mawatha||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Kandy Guest House Peradeniya||9/D/13 Nelligasgodawatta, Kiribathkumbura, Peradeniya||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Hillcrest Home Hantane||23,upper Hantane Road, UdaPeradeniya||HOSTEL||-|
|Kandy Paris Hotel||5b, Mahamaya Mawatha||HOTEL||-|
|Haniffas Holiday Bungalow||150/A, Uda Eriyagama Peradeniya||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Kandy Down Town Hostel||No 93, Aniwatta Road||HOSTEL||-|
|No 26D||26D Cyril Jayasundara Mawatha (Lane)||GUESTHOUSE||89|
|Hotel Amanda Hills Kandy||No 65, Saranankara Road Upper Lakd Road, Kandy||HOTEL||-|
|Senani Hotel||No. 167 / 1, Rajapihilla Mawatha||HOTEL||-|
|Serene Garden||189, Rajapihilla Mawatha Kandy Lake Front||HOTEL||-|
|Thilanka Hotel||No. 03, Sangamitta Mawatha Kandy Lake Front||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Arogya Nature Cure Centre||87/1A, Polgollawatta, Polgolla,||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Kandy Luxury Villa||490, Meewathura Road Panideniya||GUESTHOUSE||-|
Internet cafes are available in all the cities and these are cheap and easy to access. Most hotels have internet access as well but are relatively expensive. There are various internet service providers (Sri Lanka Telecom, Dialog, Mobitel etc.) providing different packages: ADSL broadband, dial-up, WiFi. Please contact a service provider to learn more about the packages and prices.
See also International Telephone Calls
The country code for Sri Lanka is 94. Remove the intercity prefix (0) before the area code when dialling internationally into the country (i.e., 0112 688 688 becomes +94 112 688 688) when dialling from abroad). The two next numbers after 94 represents the area code, they are different for every district.
The use of GSM cellphones is widespread and the coverage is good. Dialog and Mobitel are two operators that have sales offices at the airport inside the arrivals lounge. Dialog Mobile has the widest coverage in the country including rural areas and has the best quality GSM / 3G / HSPA +/4G network. Mobitel also has a 3G/HSPA+ network. All the mobile operators are having same call rates due to floor rate tariffs. Therefore it is advisable to go to the network which offers you the best quality. All Mobile Operators offers cheap IDD Call rates. If you want to surf internet, best way is to buy a HSPA dongle and a Mobile Broadband connection. Dialog Mobile, Mobitel, hutch, Etisalat and Airtel offers prepaid Mobile Broadband services which can be activated and used immediately. Dialog is the Vodafone Roaming Network in Sri Lanka and offers the best range of Value added services for Roamers and the rates are cheaper. Etisalat and Airtel also provide cheap roaming rates specially to India.
Sri Lankan Post is the national postal company. Each city/town has a main post office and the villages will have access to sub post offices, either at the village or nearby village. Local post, through normal mail, is cheap and fast. However, to ensure that the post has reached recipient, it is better to send by registered post which will allow you to have a reference number which you can later use to check with your post office that your mail has reached its destination. There are local courier services. Aramex and Pronto are some of the ones in Colombo and they deliver mail the same day or overnight. For better tracking and fast services companies like DHL, or TNT provide a good service but are more expensive.
We have a comprehensive list of accommodation in Kandy searchable right here on Travellerspoint. You can use our map to quickly compare budget, mid-range or top of the range accommodation in Kandy and areas nearby.
Ask ailsa.sanders a question about Kandy
I've been residing in Kandy for over four years. I do marketing work for a local boutique hotel and we've recently opened our own guest house property, so I know quite a bit about the local area and making the most of your travels here.
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