Situated right in the heart of the island of Sri Lanka, Kandy was the last bastion of Sri Lankan independence during the Portuguese and Dutch colonial period. The Kandyan Kingdom managed to resist the European invaders for three centuries, before succumbing to the British in 1815.
Today, Kandy is a smallish city of just over one hundred thousand inhabitants but pulsing with life. The city’s centerpiece is a large artificial lake, constructed in 1808 by the very last Sinhalese king, Kithi Sri Rajasinha. The world-famous Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic is situated at its northern shore. This is definitely Sri Lanka’s most important Buddhist sanctuary attracting Buddhists and other visitors from all over the world. Don’t miss to visit one of the Puja ceremonies, the evening puja starts at 6.30 pm. Kandy’s city centre extends west from the temple. Kandy is lushly green, not quiet in the town centre but there are very tranquil places in close proximity to the town centre.
Kandy offers a wide range of accommodation categories, the most renowned are the Earl’s Regency and the Mahaweli Reach, both of them located at the Mahaweli river, 6 km to the east or the north of downtown respectively. Nevertheless, for an unforgettable comfortable stay we recommend the Amaya Hill, because of its Swimming Pool area with a stunning outlook on the Kandy valley and distant mountains. It is located in the green hills of Heerassagala 6 km to the south-west of Kandy city and 4 km to the south-east of Peradeniya Botanical Gardens.
But what’s the best place with a nice view close to the city centre? The answer must be: The Castle Hill. It’s well maintained garden offers definitely the very best classic panorama to the Kandy Lake with the golden-roofed Tooth Temple behind it. Test it and you will agree doubtlessly. The Castle hill has less rooms and offers a much more private exclusive atmosphere. It can be ranked as a 4-star accommodation.
There are lots of 3-star hotels available in Kandy. A special insider tip for those looking for a quiet surrounding is the Regent Lodge on a hill close to the Mahaweli River, most guests are very satisfied with this hotel and highly recommend it. It is located 4 km west of the town centre and 4 km north-east of Peradeniya.
The classical 3-star (or 3.5-star) accommodation in the very core of Kandy city is Queens Hotel. It’s worth a visit for its stylish colonial ambiente anyway. Rooms facing the street are noisy but highly appreciated during Kandy Perahera days, offering perfect views to this world-class pageant. All World-Heritage attractions of Kandy and the markets and shopping centres and temples and churches and mosques and the Kandy lake and some panorama points are within walking distance for guests of the Queens Hotel.
For budget travellers there is a wide range of guest houses available in Kandy. The Green Woods is not far from the Tooth Temple but situated in a green valley at the Udawattakale sanctuary. This is an ideal place for birdwatchers.
However, if you are planning a longer stay in the Kandy area and you are looking for a simple but very clean normal hotel in a quiet surrounding, we recommend to stay a little bit outside the tourist area, namely in Bambarella at the eastern edge of the Knuckles Range trekking area. You can still reach Kandy within 20 or 30 minutes (depending on traffic conditions) but enjoy a stay in a hill country village at the same time. Have a look at our blog articles about Bambarella, also here...
Visiting the actractions in around Kandy described in our blog posts next month is easily managable from all places mentioned above, including Bambarella.
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