3 days in Kandy…without any Candy

by May 12, 2016South Asia, Sri Lanka, Video1 comment

Dayna was very excited to be heading to Kandy. Of course she would be; we were heading to the place with the name of one of her favourite things (albeit spelled with a K instead of a C).

We left Bentota early in the morning to catch a cheap 2nd class local train back up to Colombo (yay for 110 LKR or £0.50 train trips!) where we were meeting our travel buddy Jessie.

We (eventually) met up at the Colombo train station before hopping on our first class train to Kandy. These are a lot more expensive than the 2nd class unreserved seats (about 10 times the price) but we wanted to lock in a seat to avoid the crush of locals jumping on and have a/c after a pretty hot ride up to Colombo already that day.

We were staying at a slightly odd place (Citrus Cafe Inn) mainly because it had a good location and wasn’t as pricey as some of the alternatives. We really struggled finding somewhere that met all our requirements plus a budget of less than $30 NZD per night per person. The beds, bathrooms and breakfast left a lot to be desired.

The best only good thing about Citrus Cafe Inn was the location by the lake.

We had a nice walk around to the city centre along the banks of the lake spotting wildlife including monitor lizards and turtles…and dead fish. I think the water is a tad polluted as the fish population doesn’t seem very healthy (I’m no fish expert but having a bunch of them floating upside down doesn’t look good)..

On our first walk to town we went the shortest way and discovered “bird poop” alley as we dubbed it. There were so many birds in the trees and the ground was covered in their droppings so it was like running a gauntlet through there. We realised the locals weren’t just carrying umbrellas for the rain. Dayna got hit on that first walk but Jessie and I came through unscathed. We were pretty happy when Jessie discovered walking around the other side of the lake was bird poop free.

The main cultural site in Kandy to see is the Temple of the Tooth. Jessie tried to explain the story of its name to me but it went in one ear and out the other so I won’t try do it justice here.

It is a Buddhist temple though so I remembered that much and we turned up for the evening drum ceremony at 6.30pm. There was a lot of drumming, a lot of offerings to Monks and we tried to just follow what everyone else was doing before exploring the temple.
The little glass house with burning incense by it smelled amazing and the candles made for some pretty pictures too.

Our favourite part of Kandy; the food

There were a bunch of great restaurants in Kandy but a couple of them stood out.

Our favourite was White House Restaurant that served amazing Indian curries and Naans that were so good we had to come back again. The service there was great and the food so good that the prices seemed really cheap.

My other favourite was a local fast food place that Jessie had looked up called Balaji Dosai. They serve cheap south Indian style food and we ended up ordering far too much. The paper dosa was probably the highlight. So much deep fried food is hard to get through though!

We also tried a highly rated place right by our hotel called the Garden Cafe. This was where we had our first taste of Roti Kottu which is like a fried rice style dish using roti bread in place of the rice. It was a bit underwhelming though because we found out the hard way Sri Lankans don’t de-bone chicken so in this case it just had a bunch of chicken wings chopped up, bones and all. Picking out sharp bones every few mouthfuls sort of ruins the dining experience!

3 days in Kandy felt about the right amount of time before heading off to our next stop: Dambulla.

Check out the video from our time in Kandy below.


Where to Stay in Kandy

I liked the location of Citrus Cafe Inn and that was about it (other than the fact it fit 3 people in the room as we needed). I would recommend staying by the lake though (as you can then walk to town easily rather than having to rely on Tuk Tuks) but would look at one of the nicer alternatives that we saw like Cafe Aroma Inn, Lake Round Residence or Heaven Seven Kandy. All of these look really nice, are highly rated and are in great locations for exploring Kandy.

*Some of the links used above are affiliate links – there is no difference in cost to you but we do get a small commission if you book or buy through the link. As always, we only ever recommend and link to accommodation that we have stayed at and thought was good or things that we use ourselves.