Kandy is overrated. It can’t be just me who thinks so. Kandy is fine to stopover for one or two nights, just don’t stay longer than that. There’s not much to do in the city itself. Tuk tuk drivers try to sell you on tours to view points, gem stores, craft shops, and the botanical gardens. The only potentially interesting sights in those tours are the viewpoints. Since I was heading to tea and hill country after Kandy I skipped the viewpoints. The train rides have amazing views and depending if your accommodation is on a hill there could be beautiful views there.
The main reason to go to Kandy is it’s a transport hub for Sri Lanka. It’s easy to find public transport in every direction from Kandy. I used it to head easy to tea country in Nuwara Eliya. The train ride was more beautiful than Kandy. Although I am comparing the city to one of the most beautiful train rides in the world. Transport in and out of the city are inexpensive. Expect to pay around 130rs from the cultural triangle to Kandy by bus. Have I mentioned how inexpensive public transport is? It’s so easy to use.
I was a little disappointed in Kandy. I heard from several locals Kandy was their favourite part of Sri Lanka. They enjoy the city life without being too big and the proximity to the lake. I did notice locals hanging out by the lake. Teenagers, couples, and families were sitting beside the lake even though the weather was a bit cool for Sri Lanka.
I did see Temple of the Sacred Tooth which has the relic of the Tooth of Buddha. I met several travellers who skipped it because of the 1500rs fee. It is a bit steep for Sri Lanka prices. Visitors don’t actually get to see the Tooth itself. The best time to go is in the evening when the temple is lit and the prayer ceremony is taking place. It’s worth the visit to see the importance of this temple to the community and witness the prayer ceremonies. Even when the ceremony isn’t taking place, worshippers bring louts flowers offerings then sit to meditate and pray. My favourite part was the outdoor diyas where people came to pray. It looked beautiful at dusk.
I did stop to explore the market. The one in Kandy is a mixture of local spots and tourists booths. There is a fairly large section for tailors and fabric if you’re looking to have garments made. I did a quick stop in the fabric section. My mother likes me to bring her fabric from different countries. The patterns are beautiful in Sri Lanka, there’s so much variety to choose from. Consider getting something made for yourself, spurlge! What else is there to do here?