Best Day Trips from Kandy

Best Day Trips from Kandy

Best Day Trips from Kandy

Located in Sri Lanka’s southern heartlands, this divine, verdant town is worlds away from the tropical coastal lowlands. The Sacred city of Kandy is well-known for its Temple of Tooth Relic, a famous Buddhism pilgrimage site. Popular for its exuberant Kandy Esala Perahera festival held annually in July/august, Kandy’s vibrant cultural life, stunning landscapes, cobalt blue sky, and colonial-era landscape is more than enough to mesmerise you! The best ways to explore the city is stroll through its streets and engage with locals to know more about this UNESCO World Heritage site.

While Kandy has beautiful attractions to keep you hooked, it is also in close vicinity with some of the best places in Sri Lanka that can be explored in a day’s time. Experience the culture and history of this awe-inspiring island by taking the following day trips and discovering the best of Sri Lanka.

1. Adam’s Peak

Situated in a central highland region of Sri Lanka, Adams’s Peak is an important pilgrimage site for devotees of multiple religions. This majestic peak has prompted curiosity for many centuries; the huge footprint crowning the peak is believed to be of Adam when he first set foot on earth after being exiled from heaven by Christians. However, Buddhists believe that it was left by Buddha when he headed to paradise, and Hindus believe that it was left by Lord Shiva. The pilgrimage season is from December to April and most pilgrims start their hike in the middle of the night, so they can experience the greatest sunrise vistas ever! The hike is not a tough grind and it is well lit with multiple snack and water counters on the way up. As you proceed, you can also see Sama Chatiya, The World Peace Pagoda maintained by several Japanese monks. The climb generally takes 3-4 hours from the base town Hatton which is around 3-4 hours drive from Kandy. You can take either a bus or taxi or rent your own car. Alternatively, you can also take train which usually takes 3 hours.

2. Nuwara Elia

The highest town on the island and a favourite hill station during British colonial times, Nuwara Elia is still fondly known as “Little England” due to its vague British-country-feel with its lush green gardens, well maintained hedgerows, Tudor-style houses and hotels. Due to its location, it has much pleasant weather than the lowlands of Sri Lanka, which makes it a great change from the otherwise popular cities of Sri Lanka. The best time to visit is April, when the whole town comes to life to celebrate Tamil and Sinhalese New Year. Main attractions include horse racing and motor racing events, golf tournaments, flower shows and nightly parties are held in hotels. Also visit Victoria Park which houses endemic birds is a must for bird lovers. There are also trout streams where you can sit back, relax, and catch trout. It also offers numerous hiking trails with scenic beauty on hills like Mount Pedro. To enjoy a laid back day in Nuwara Elia all you need to do is either take a train or a car. However, trains are highly recommended as the region is touted to host one of the most beautiful train routes in the world, getting you to your destination in about 4 hours.

3. Sigiriya

Sigiriya is referred as the Eighth Wonder of the World by the locals and is also known as one of the most historically valuable monuments in the world. The ancient palace and fortress is a marvel that perplexes even the modern-day architects. The ruined remnants of the fortress are engulfed by the vast network of fortifications, alleys, ponds, gardens, and fountains which still work in almost mint condition. It is a fine example of advanced architectural and engineering skills with it being built on a massive rock that is approximately 2000m higher than the surrounding landscapes. The walls are painted with poems and inscriptions with the most ancient ones dating back to the 8th century. Recognised as a truly unique and beautiful example of ancient urban planning, it was declared as UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982. The best way to reach there is by taking a bus from Kandy to Dambulla, which takes 2.5 hours and from there another bus to Sigiriya which takes just 30 minutes.

4. Dambulla

Dambulla is quite popular tourist location due to the fact that it hosts the biggest, best-preserved cave temple, The Dambulla Cave Temple. One of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Dambulla is surrounded by more than 80 caves. The must-visit attractions are laid out over 5 caves which are adorned by beautiful statues and paintings of Lord Buddha and his life. The most ancient relics are dated back as far in time as the 1st century. In addition to it being an extremely important historical site, it is also a pilgrim site with serene and calm atmosphere engulfing it. To experience and marvel at this stunning temple, all you need to do is board a bus from Kandy which will take you to Dambulla in just 2.5 hours of time, depending on traffic and holiday season.

5. Polonnaruva

This ancient city was used to be a thriving commercial and religious centre of Sri Lanka after the fall of Anuradhapura. Considered as one of the best-preserved in all of Sri Lanka, Polonnaruva is a favourite among the history buffs. Visit Archaeological Park and explore hundreds of ancient structures of tombs, temples, stupas and it will give you a good idea of how the city used to look and work during its time. Explore The Sacred Quadrangle, a group of impressive ruins enclosed within a raised platform bounded by a wall. The central dagaba with four Buddhas are a must-see by any visitor. It’s a pleasant town with plenty of bikes to hire to move around the city and makes for a great day trip. There are direct buses running to and fro from Kandy to Polonnaruva and takes almost 3 hours to reach there.

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