Bandaranaike Airport (30 km north of Colombo)
As you arrive, you are greeted by a good, modern airport, which gives a good first impression of this wonderful country you'll be visiting shortly. Immigration whizzes by, baggage starts coming quite early. Hmmm, things look efficient! Outside, a busy street awaits you.
http://www.airport.lk/ (Airport's website)
The airport is around 30 km from Colombo.
This journey should take around 3 hrs. It took us much more though, because there was a big procession happening, which made the average traffic speed a few centimeters a minute---or less. You'll come across many villages on this journey. Closer to Kandy (50 km or so), on the right side, will be a huge cashew shop, selling all varieties of cashews ever imaginable!
Kandy, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a lovely green and rich-in-culture city in the Hill Country in Sri Lanka. There's a fair bit to see here, and a few days will be great fun here.
KANDY LAKE and CITY CENTER
Kandy Lake is a lovely place to walk around in the city. There are many benches around, and the lake isn't very polluted. If the weather is fine, do step out and enjoy!
The city center, with its shops, is another great place to stroll, and to get the feel of Kandy. Just be careful while crossing the roads, and cross when the locals are also attempting to cross the road. There are no traffic lights, but occasionally a few policemen may be regulating traffic. Mostly, there are none in the centre which means- cross at your own peril! Great to get into the city's skin.
There is a hill above Kandy which offers fine views over the city, which is called the Mount, or so, as our driver told us. This place is on a hill with great views over the city. There are usually many people up here. Views are quite great, and the Lake looks amazing. The city center looks great from up here. There will be many persistent sellers here.
TEMPLE OF THE SACRED TOOTH RELIC
One of Kandy's premier attractions, naturally, this temple attracts hordes--visitors and worshippers alike.. There's heavy security here due to an earlier bomb blast here in 1998. The complex will start off with a few statues here and there, with the main building in front, where you'll queue up and give your shoes, pay and get in.
The complex is amazing with several Buddha idols and some decoration. But, the shrine where the tooth (real or bogus, no one really knows...) is kept is only open when the puja occurs--that is, as of then:
5.30 am- 7 am
9.30 am- 11 am
6.30 pm- 8 pm
PERADENIYA BOTANICAL GARDENS
Beautiful...The gardens are a tranquil place to just admire nature or relax around. Before you get in, look closely at the map. The place is very big and you won't be able to see all in one single visit before getting tired. Just enjoy where you are. Some highlights are the orchid house with amazing orchids. There is a lot more, but I can't remember all. There's also a suspension bridge where you can go halfway but have to turn back. Many paths lead into the big lawn , a big circular, perfectly-kept lawn.
We stayed in the Stonehouse Lodge, slightly outside Kandy. link
A tad outside Kandy, up an amazingly steep road, into tiny pathways, is the Stonehouse Lodge. It's a nice, calm place. As you enter, there are two rooms on the right side, and a water garden with plants on top on the left and is home to turtles (don't you dare put your feet in that!!). There are many other animals here, like dogs, cats, and even porcupines.
The rooms were simple. Remember, this is a home stay, not a hotel. The rooms lacked TVs and toiletries and safes, so bring your own toothbrush, toothpaste, lotion, bathing soap etc. They provide hand soap and towels though.
There is also a living room, where this is a computer also, with Internet, but they have Internet Explorer 6 (old version) on it, so many things don't work. The friendly staff can also be seen there most of the time.
Food- they can serve a good Sri Lankan breakfast and dinner. Mostly, the food will be the same, but you can ask for slight variations.
Look at Stonehouse Lodge above for food there.
Chaaya Citadel had OK mediocre food in a rather depressing ambiance.
The food at the Amaya Hills was however much better, with fine service. There are great views of the surrounding hills.
Both are around 15 min drive from Kandy, in hilly areas.
|Signboard of the cashew shop near Kandy|
|The cashew shop|
Kandy city centre
|View of Kandy Lake and city center from the Mount|
|Temple of the sacred tooth relic|