2-Day Kandy Itinerary (Sri Lanka) And Travel Guide On A Budget

2-Day Kandy Itinerary (Sri Lanka) & Travel Guide On A Budget

By DAN FORTEZA

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It was September 2019 when I first visited the island country of Sri Lanka where I traveled to two of the most populous cities in the country–Colombo and Kandy.

I must say that Kandy is a more chill and relaxed city than that of Colombo; and also way cheaper! Although I only have two days to spend in Kandy as I need to get back to Colombo to catch my next flight going to Tehran, Iran, this never stopped me from exploring the best of Kandy and what it has to offer in only two days.

Read also: my Tehran, Iran itinerary and travel guide.

That’s why in this blog, I’ve put together the perfect 2-day Kandy itinerary, specifically for budget travelers, which includes the city’s top attractions.

Hi there! First of all, I am Daniel – a solo backpacker from the Philippines. If you don’t know my story yet, feel free to read this article where I talked about how I quit my job in order to travel. This article was also featured on TripZilla Philippines.

This is me at the entrance gate of Vahirawakanda Buddha Temple in Kandy, Sri Lanka | Dantravels.org
Me at the entrance gate of Vahirawakanda Buddha Temple in Kandy, Sri Lanka | Dantravels.org

DO YOU NEED A VISA?

Depending on your nationality, you might or might not need a visa. Check out my Sri Lankan visa guide to check if you’re eligible for an e-visa or visa on arrival or no visa at all.

WHERE IS KANDY?

Kandy is located in central Sri Lanka and is just about three hours northeast of Colombo. The historic city of Kandy was once the capital of the Central province of Sri Lanka. It was the last capital of the Sinhala Kingdom, a monarchy that flourished for over 2,300 years until it was ended by the British colonial rule in 1815.

Language: Sinhala, Tamil
Currency: Sri Lankan Rupee (LKR)
Nearest Int’l Airport: Bandaranaike (CMB) 
Preferred mode of transportation: Tuktuk or Uber Tuktuk, Bus
Time Zone: GMT +4 ½ 

HOW I GOT THERE FROM COLOMBO:

Before going to Kandy, I first visited and explored Colombo, the commercial capital and most populous city of Sri Lanka.

Read also: my Colombo, Sri Lanka itinerary and travel guide.

NOTE: Colombo’s Bandaranaike International Airport is the only international airport serving the whole island country of Sri Lanka.

Thus, you might want to find a flight ticket first going to Colombo, Sri Lanka. If you’re coming from Southeast or South Asia, it is relatively easy and cheap. I booked mine coming from Bangkok, Thailand.

I suggest you check Kayak (click HERE) as they usually offer cheap fare rates compared to other booking sites.

Colombo is where most people will be coming from when they visit Kandy. You will need to head to Colombo Fort train station and buy yourself a train ticket.

Colombo Fort train ticket line

It would be better if you go there before 8:00 AM, so you can catch the 8:30 AM or 9:00 AM train. Then, you can expect to arrive in Kandy at around 1:00 PM.

For this Colombo-Kandy train route, you will have three classes to choose from – 1st, 2nd, and observation.

How much is the train ticket: I bought my ticket from the observation class costing to 250 LKR (it is actually the cheapest.)

But you can also book your ticket in advance–head to this site where you can buy it online.

NOTE: Another way to get to Kandy from Colombo is by bus or by private transfer. The latter will be considerably more expensive, though.

What I love about this train route is you’ll see a lot of scenic views during the day. And yes, travelers were never wrong when they said the train ride in Sri Lanka is one of best in the world!

HOW TO GET AROUND KANDY?

    • Tuktuk – Also known as a tri-shaw, Tuktuk is a three-wheeled vehicle which I think is the best way to get around Kandy.  But as I mentioned in my budget travel tips blog – “walk as much as you can!“.

Many three-wheelers have meters and some can be booked through Uber App. Some drivers, however, will try to not use the meter or won’t have one. Avoid meter-free three-wheelers or agree to a firm price before setting out.

      • Uber Tuktuk – Ensure you have an Uber mobile app to book your ride.
      • Private Tuktuk – There are so many Tuktuk drivers in the city who will ask you for a private tuk-tuk tour. I think it’s okay, I got mine for only 200 LKR (1.10 USD) and the driver took me to 3-4 different famous places in Kandy.

TIP: Haggle as much as you can when negotiating a Tuktuk ride! =)

    • City Buses – The best way to find out which bus to take is just to ask people at the nearest stop. Although it’s not advisable for short-term travelers you’ll be surprised how cheap they are (way cheaper than Tuktuk).
Bus in Kandy Sri Lanka
Bus in Kandy, Sri Lanka | Dantravels.org

WHERE DID I STAY IN KANDY?

The hostel I booked is located in the city center. From the Kandy train terminal, I just walk about 10-20 minutes to reach my hostel.

  • Elephant Shed Tourist Hostel: (click here to book)
    • Hostel room type: Bunk Bed in Mixed Dormitory Room

You can book a room at any hotel in Kandy through Agoda or Booking.com. I usually book my room accommodations through booking.com. Room accommodation ranges from cheap hostels to luxury hotels. Book hostels through booking.com as they have free cancellation or pay-at-the-hotel option.

If Kandy hotel isn’t to your liking, try AirBnb. Airbnbs are immersed in neighborhoods, condos, and townhomes. There is a feeling you get when you stay in an Airbnb that makes you feel like you belong in that city or town. Since it is someone’s home, there is a certain amount of pride you feel while staying there. I have used Airbnb on some of my other trips and I loved it!

If you’re new to AirBnB, then you can get up to 42 USD free travel credit by signing up via this link

MY 2-DAY KANDY ITINERARY

DAY 1:

1st Stop: Kandy Lake

I visited this lovely artificial lake before I went to see the Temple of Buddha’s Tooth Relic (2nd stop). It was built in 1807 by King Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe and is located next to the Temple of the Tooth. It has a nice island in the middle that has a garden on it.

It is lovely to walk around the lake in the evening and there are lots of marble benches that you can use to appreciate the view.

Kandy Lake
Kandy Lake | Dantravels.org
    • Duration (getting there + visiting): 1-2 hours
    • How I got there: By foot (from hostel)
    • Entrance fee: FREE

2nd Stop: Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic

Also known as Sri Dalada Maligawa, the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic is a Buddhist temple located in the royal palace complex which houses the Relic of the tooth of Buddha. Since ancient times, the relic has played an important role in local politics because it is believed that whoever holds the relic holds the governance of the country. The temple is one of the holiest shrines in the entire Buddhist world.

Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic
Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic | Dantravels.org
    • Duration (getting there + visiting): 1-2 hours
    • How I got there: By foot (from my 1st stop)
    • Entrance fee: 1,500 LKR (8.3 USD) per person

3rd Stop: Kandy Clock Tower

Kandy Clock Tower is built in 1950 and is located at a major intersection, along with the city bus stand. The Clock Tower blends in with the surrounding and does not attract special attention, however, it does registers on the memory, subconsciously, while passing by. On closer scrutiny, I found it to be simple yet beautiful.

It was built there at the behest of Haji Mohamed Ismail as a memorial to his son who lost his life in a rockfall in 1947.

Kandy Clock Tower
Kandy Clock Tower | Dantravels.org
    • Duration (getting there + visiting): 1 hour
    • How I got there: By foot (from my 2nd stop)
    • Entrance fee: FREE

4th Stop: Royal Palace Park

Royal Palace Park is a small but very well maintained park sited up on the hillside above Kandy Lake. The mature trees do not allow for perfect lake views but it is good to see glimpses of the water from above. It is worth going for some moments of peace and tranquility above the bustling crowded city. There are plenty of seats and shade so it is a good place to bring a picnic.

Royal Palace Park
Royal Palace Park | Dantravels.org
    • Duration (getting there + visiting): 2-3 hours
    • How I got there: By foot (from my 3rd stop)
    • Entrance fee: 100 LKR (0.55 USD) per person

5th Stop: Kandy Viewpoint

Kandy Viewpoint
Kandy Viewpoint | Dantravels.org
    • Duration (getting there + visiting): 1-2 hours
    • How I got there: By Tuktuk: 50 LKR* (from my 4th stop)
    • Entrance fee: FREE

Don’t forget to haggle when negotiating a Tuktuk =)

DAY 2:

6th Stop: Udawattekele Sanctuary

I went to Udawattekele for a walk to escape the busy city setting of Kandy. It’s only a 10 to 15-minute walk from the center of town, so I expected nothing more but a small forest. What I got though was a full jungle-experience with monkey, snake and barking-deer sightings. You can decide how much time you want to spend walking through as there are several loops, marked out on a big map by the entrance.

This place to near at Kandy lake and Sri Daladha Maligawa (Temple of Tooth).

Udawattekele Sanctuary
Udawattekele Sanctuary | Dantravels.org
    • Duration (getting there + visiting): 2-3 hours
    • How I got there: By foot (from my hostel stop)
    • Entrance fee: 660 LKR (3.7 USD) per person

7th Stop: Kandy Garrison Cemetery

This small graveyard is found just behind the Temple of Buddha’s Tooth Relic. I had the absolute pleasure of meeting George, the caretaker, who has heaps of knowledge about every grave there. It’s free but make sure you leave a donation to help protect and fund further restorations of the area.

Kandy Garrison Cemetery
Kandy Garrison Cemetery | Dantravels.org
    • Duration (getting there + visiting): 1-2 hours
    • How I got there: By foot (from my 3rd stop)
    • Entrance fee: FREE

8th Stop: Vahirawakanda Buddha Temple 

You will certainly get your exercise if you decide to walk uphill to see the gigantic Buddha. I went for a quick hike later in the afternoon towards Vahirawakanda Buddha temple in Kandy. From my hostel, it takes about 20 minutes to hike up on foot with a nice view as a reward. Not bad.

Vahirawakanda Buddha Temple 
Vahirawakanda Buddha Temple  | Dantravels.org
    • Duration (getting there + visiting): 2-3 hours
    • How I got there: By foot (from my 3rd stop)
    • Entrance fee: 250 LKR (1.4 USD) per person

What do you think of this 2-day Kandy itinerary?

I hope that you find this 2-DAY KANDY ITINERARY and GUIDE useful!

If you have more days to spend in Kandy or Sri Lanka in general, you might consider these cool package tours:

(you may choose one or more tours that may suit your travel needs.)

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask in the comment section below.

BOOKING ESSENTIALS

  • Hotel / Hostel
    • Booking.com. I usually book my hostel accommodation at booking.com. Thus, I recommend you guys trying it as well for your Kandy Itinerary.  Room accommodation ranges from cheap hostels to luxury hotels. Book hostels through booking.com as they have free cancellation or pay-at-the-hotel option.
    • Airbnb. Try Airbnb in finding comfy and cozy rooms for your Kandy itinerary! I have used Airbnb on some of my other trips and I loved it!

Have you tried Airbnb? Sign up with my link and you will get up to 42 USD (2,200 Php) off your first stay. Click this link to get that discount.

  • Flights
    • KAYAK. All of my flight bookings are all from KAYAK. Kayak is one of the world’s leading travel search engines and searches hundreds of travel sites.

I suggest you check Kayak (click HERE) as they usually offer cheap fare rates compared to other booking sites.

  •  Colombo to Kandy train ticket.

Click here to book the ticket.

  • Sri Lanka Package tours
    • Viator. Viator is the world’s leading resource for researching, finding and booking the best travel experiences worldwide. Perfect for your Sri Lanka itinerary!

Click here to find the best Viator deals in Sri Lanka

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