Set amidst rolling hills and a scenic lake, Kandy was the cultural and religious capital of Sri Lanka dating back to the 14th century and Sri Lanka's last stronghold before European colonial powers overtook the Kandyan kings. It is best known for its Temple of the Tooth, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the annual Perahera festival, featuring lively parades of elephants, dancers and musicians for 10 days.


A handpicked selection of experiences endorsed by our experts. If you can’t see what you’re looking for, let us know, as our extensive network of local contacts can open many doors.

Bahirawakanda Monastery

Stop by temples, including the Bahirawakanda Monastery, topped by a giant white statue of the Buddha that is visible all over Kandy. Here you can join the local monks at prayers and have a private tour of areas of the monastery normally off-limits to visitors, such as the kitchens and living quarters.

Batik Workshop

Visit a local batik-making workshop. Originally a craft imported from Indonesia, a batik is a piece of 100 percent cotton or silk fabric that is put through a highly intricate, multi-step process of stenciling, wax application, dying, and drying to produce beautiful tapestries, clothing, home wares, and more.

Gemologist Visit

Stop at a highly reputable Kandy jeweller and have a privately guided tour of its workshop with a senior gemologist. Throughout its history, Sri Lanka’s precious stones have been coveted by locals and foreign powers alike. The island is best known for three varieties of sapphire – light blue, royal blue and the exceedingly rare cornflower blue

Kandy Perhaera

If visiting during August (exact dates vary annually), attend the Kandy Perahera, an extravagant pageant paying homage to the tooth relic with a nightly procession through town that lasts 10 nights and grows progressively larger. Pageant participants include gaily decorated elephants, torch-bearers, dancers, drummers, and Kandyan chieftains.

Pinnewala Elephant Orphanage

Drive one hour from Kandy to visit the elephant orphanage at Pinnewala. Many elephants here were separated from their herds or lost parents to poachers. Remote Lands can arrange for visitors to help their loving "mahouts," or handlers, feed them.

Spice Garden

Enjoy a private tour of a highly regarded spice and herb garden. Learn about the fascinating benefits to body and mind – not to mention cuisine – of such plants and roots as turmeric, citronella grass, vanilla pods, cocoa pods, peppercorns, aloe vera, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, nutmeg, curry leaves, and more.

Sri Muthu Mariamman Temple

Just outside of Kandy, visit Sri Muthu Mariamman Temple, named after a Hindu goddess of sickness and healing. At once both unassuming and gaudy, the temple has 1,008 carved figures of Hindu deities on its central tower.

Temple of the Tooth

Visit the Temple of the Tooth, home to a genuine tooth of Buddha, which legend says was retrieved from the Buddha’s funeral pyre. The sacred city of Kandy was the last capital of Sri Lanka’s Sinhalese kings, and the Temple of the Tooth, located within the royal palace complex, helped the city receive a World Heritage Site designation from UNESCO. Visit in the evening in time for the 7:30 p.m. puja, or blessing.

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