Top 5 Things To Do In Kandy, Sri Lanka & How To Do It As A Vegan!

Kandy is a wonderful city to explore in Sri Lanka if you have a day or two.  You can see how locals live as well as travel as a tourist with a variety of different things to see and do including visiting the Royal Botanical Gardens, the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, the grand Bahiravokanda Vihara Buddha statue, Kandy Lake, a traditional Kandyan Dance and Drum Show, and dinning out at vegan friendly restaurants!

How To Get To Kandy:

It is around a 3 hour drive from Colombo to Kandy (if hiring a driver) or a 4 hour train ride.  The trains from Colombo to Kandy are cheaper than renting a car and a great experience although they do break down a fair amount.  These trains are part of an authentic Sri Lankan experience and are definitely worth your money if you don’t mind a slightly slower trip.

Cost: Colombo to Kandy costs around 600 – 1000 LKR per person equivalent to $3.30 – $5.50 USD

Check out the Sri Lankan Railway here!

kandy train

Another option is renting a Tuk Tuk for a few days which can be really cheap if you find the right deal considering you could drive it around Kandy and back or to another city and not have to book, pay for, or organize other transport.

Cost: 3000-4000 LKR total (depending on the deal and how long you are renting the Tuk Tuk for) equivalent to $16 – $22 USD

Where To Stay In Kandy:

Accommodation in Kandy is really affordable and can be really nice.  When backpacking, my partner and I always stay in hostels as it is the most affordable, usually has some type of restaurant attached and is the best way to meet other travellers from all over the world.  Some days when we are travelling we just want a day to be lazy and chill out and if you’re staying at a hostel there is usually people around to play cards with or hang out with.

We stayed at the Kandy Backpacker’s Hostel which we found on our favourite and most reliable website hostelworld.com.

We were super happy with our stay there as they provided clean bunk beds, a group dinner every night where you can watch and learn about the dishes being cooked (and also get the recipes), as well as a simple but decent breakfast of toast with jam and/or butter, a banana and eggs.  As a vegan I just ate the toast with jam and made sure to have a big lunch somewhere where I could get vegetable curry and rice (all Sri Lankan vegetable curries are vegan by default), samosas, vegetable roti and/or a smoothie.

Cost at the Kandy Backpacker’s Hostel:  We paid $34 USD for 2 people & 3 nights stay which breaks down to just $5.60 USD a night per person.  Super affordable price.

If you check out hostelworld.com or booking.com, you can look at the other hostels in Kandy and their ratings & reviews as there are many to choose from.

Things To Do In Kandy:

There are some super great things to see in Kandy but it is not a place where you would want to spend more than 2-3 full days as there are not endless things to do.  We found 2 full days was sufficient before moving on to Ella.

Top 5 Things We Recommend Trying In Kandy:

kandy botanical gardens 21

1. The Royal Botanical Gardens

These gardens were incredible!  We stayed there for a full day without even feeling like we made a dent in the park.  It is built like a small city with sidewalks leading you throughout the park in a variety of different directions.  It is extremely well done considering they host over 2 million visitors a year! At the entrance they give you a map which shows you all the different types of trees you will see and a bit about them which we found super helpful.  Our favourite was the giant bamboo and learning how fast they grow! This experience made Kandy for us and satisfied our desire for a bit of nature. The park is also home to the most incredible orchid house, cactus house, and lake shaped like Sri Lanka.  It is a beautiful and romantic place to spend a full day if you want to pack a lunch or go to the cafe there for lunch (although it is more pricey than other cafes).

kandy botanical gardens 14

kandy botanical gardens 17

Check out more about the Royal Botanical Gardens here!

Cost: 1500 LKR per adult over 12 yrs (overseas tourist) equivalent to $8.20 USD

 

 

 

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2. Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic

This temple is one of the most sacred in Sri Lanka as well as Kandy’s main tourist attraction.  This temple is special as it is home to one of the Buddha’s teeth as well as some gorgeous architecture.  Many tourists come from all over the world to Kandy to see this 16th century temple (which has had many additions since then).  The evening is the busiest time to see the temple, although there are various rituals and offerings carried out throughout the day.

temple of the tooth

Dress:  Make sure to dress appropriately when visiting the temple.  No shorts, short skirts or muscle shirts. Make sure your shoulders and legs are covered.  Take off your hat and shoes before entering into the temple.

Cost: 1500 LKR plus 100 LKR to mind your shoes (this is mandatory at the temple although it shouldn’t be necessary – When my partner and I were there, we seen a family not pay for their shoes to be minded and they left them outside the temple.  After the family walked in, an irritated man working at the shoe storage area came and chucked the shoes out of the entrance area and onto the sidewalk below.) We suggest for a 100 LKR, you just pay for your shoes to be minded so nothing happens to them.

temple of the tooth 2

3. Bahiravokanda Vihara Buddha statue

The Big Buddha can be seen from almost anywhere in Kandy is located on top of a hill giving you a magnificent view of the town below.  Be sure to dress appropriately and enjoy the sightseeing from the Bahiravokanda Vihara Buddha statue.

Dress:  Make sure to dress appropriately when visiting the temple.  No shorts, short skirts or muscle shirts. Make sure your shoulders and legs are covered.  Take off your hat and shoes before entering into the temple.

Cost: 250 LKR plus a small tip to mind your shoes (around 50 LKR)

Here is an interactive 360° video of the Bahiravokanda Vihara Buddha statue.

4. Kandy Lake

Kandy Lake was built in 1807 in the center of the town.  It is quite large and beautiful to take a walk around. There are lots of street vendors around the lake selling pineapple with chillies, fresh fruit, roti, and samosas for you to enjoy while you take a stroll.  Make sure to keep an eye out for different types of birds, fish and monitor lizards that have made the lake their home.

Cost: Free

 

5. Kandyan Dance and Drum Show

Every evening in Kandy, there are live Kandyan Dance and Drum shows.  They are very lively, beautiful, and colourful although targeted at tourists, it is exciting to watch a Sri Lankan traditional dance where they play with fire.  The traditional dance is said to have come from Kohomba Kankariya which is an exorcism ritual which came from Indian shaman who came to Sri Lanka, later being adopted by the island people.  The show is performed by percussion only using a Geta Beraya (drum) and semi-repetitive. If you are into live performances or dance, be sure to check out a Kandyan Dance and Drum Show.

Cost: 1000 LKR ($5.5 USD)

kandy dance 1

Where To Eat Plant Based In Kandy:

Use www.happycow.net or the mobile app to find vegan and vegetarian options wherever you are! (not sponsored)

  • Soya Food Center (mainely wraps, sandwiches and ice cream – suitable for vegans and vegetarians)

Hours: 8am – 6:30pm

Location: 116, E L Senanayake Veediya, Kandy, Sri Lanka

  • Shri Bhawan Dosa (variety of south indian dosas including pol roti, vada, aloo bonda, and dal vada suitable for both vegans and vegetarians)

Location:  Yatinuwara Veediya, Kandy, Sri Lanka

  • Ganga (traditional Sri Lankan vegetarian food buffet including curry and rice, coconut sambol and lots of greens!  Most is naturally vegan)

Hours: 6:30am – 5pm Mon – Sat

Location: Colombo St, Kandy, Sri Lanka

Hours: 9am – 9pm

Location: 77 Colombo St, Kandy, Sri Lanka, 20000

  • Cafe Secret Alley (All day breakfast including smoothie bowls, avocado toast, waffles, speciality coffees, and juices.  Suitable for vegans and vegetarians.)

Hours: 7:30am – 6pm

Location: 10/1 Kotugodalle St, Kandy, Sri Lanka, 20000

I hope you enjoyed tips & tricks on what to do in Kandy, Sri Lanka as a vegan.  You really can make plant based living doable anywhere. Comment below and let us know what you would like to see and do in Kandy or if you are planning to go there!

Cheers!

Published by

Kennedy Taylor

Welcome to my personal blog where I share plant based recipes, my ethical & minimalistic lifestyle, natural beauty techniques & remedies and how to travel plant based. I hope it inspires you in some way to live your best & most authentic life while being kind to our planet earth. Xx

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