When I first found out about the city of Kandy in Sri Lanka, I immediately thought of Leonardo DiCaprio playing Calvin Candie in the movie Django Unchained. I can’t tell you why and for some reason, that’s all I thought about while in Kandy.
We bid adieu to Colombo and boarded the express train to Kandy. We had pre-booked 1st class tickets because we heard getting reserved seats on any Sri Lankan train will be difficult. This is what we saw at the ticket reservation office:
It was a peaceful train ride with lots of greenery. We sat on the left side of the train, but of course, all the rolling hillsides were on the right! Oh well…
From Colombo to Kandy took about 4 hours. When we left the station, we were inundated with tuk-tuk drivers. We tried to look for a driver with a meter, but every single driver just laughed. ‘This is Kandy! No meter!’
After some negotiation, we got a tuk-tuk for a reasonable amount, and he took us to the hostel that turned out a bit further than we had thought. But the view was nice!
Kandy lies 465 m (1,526 ft) above sea level, which made the climate unusually cool and bearable. Centred in the city is Kandy Lake, a manmade lake that’s often called the ‘Sea of Milk’.
One of Kandy’s main attractions is the Temple of the Tooth, one of Sri Lanka’s most sacred Buddhist relics. Since we were neither religious or willing to pay the 1,500 Rs ($15 USD) entrance fee, we decided to watch the action from outside.
We went hunting for dinner and decided to try another Sri Lanka dish, roti kutta at the Kandyan Muslim Hotel. It’s a dish of chopped roti pan-fried with lots of vegetables and meat. It was a very filling meal, and we washed it down with a wood apple drink.
The next day, we headed to the Royal Botanical Gardens in Perdeniya, a 5.5 km trip by local bus. These gardens were built for the Kandyan royal family and feature over 4,000 different species of plants. The ticket price of 1,500 Rs ($15 USD) per person was a bit hefty price tag, it was worth it. (And there’s also a student ticket price, which I took advantage of.)
We returned to Kandy and enjoyed some people-watching as the sun began to go down.
Dinner was at the Green Cafe. We ordered the ‘Green Cafe Special’, a mixture of choy suey, chicken, sausages, prawns and cuttlefish. The locals were loving this. Another filling meal in Kandy.
The next day, we got stuck in Kandy traffic as we made our way to the train station. I enjoyed Kandy more for its cool climate more than anything else. I would say 2 days maximum.