Kandy & Nuwara Eliya holiday highlights

Sri Lanka’s second largest city, Kandy, is famed for not only its history, artefacts and temples, but also for its tea, its stunning scenery and lush botanical gardens. The most visited site within bustling Kandy is the famed Buddhist Temple of the Tooth, home to the tooth relic, said to be a piece of Buddha himself. There are also a number of temples including the Lankatilaka Temple and the Gadaladeniya Temple as well as some beautiful gardens such as the Royal Botanical Gardens. Surrounding Kandy are rolling tea plantations and mountainous thickly forested hills that offer fantastic walking and hiking opportunities.

For a quieter pace of life, Nuwara Eliya offers that same tea plantation setting, but away from bustling city life. Here everything is picturesque and quiet and perfect for relaxing. Founded by Samuel Baker who also discovered Lake Albert and explored the Nile, it was nicknamed Little England due to its capacity for hosting English pastimes including hunting, fishing, boating golf and of course, tea drinking. Nuwara Eliya is also the gateway to the Horton Plains National Park famed for its stunning flora and fauna as well as the sheer precipice of World’s End and the Baker’s Falls among other physical landmarks.

Yala National Park is not only the second largest national park in Sri Lanka but also the most visited. Made up of five blocks, of which two are open to the public, as well as a collection of smaller adjoining parks, Yala is a major tourist destination within Sri Lanka. Not only is it home to a plethora of flora and fauna species, it is also blessed with an array of ecosystems, two pilgrim sites and the highest density of leopards in the world. Explore the park on a guided safari and track herds of Sambar deer, watch elephants frolic in the watering holes and if you’re lucky spot an elusive leopard. We recommend combining your stay in Yala with a spot of sunbathing one of our beach hotels, the ideal way to unwind after a few days on safari.

Kandy & Nuwara Eliya key facts

Time difference

GMT +6 hours

Currency

Sri Lankan rupee

Flying time to destination

10¾ hours

Language

Sinhalese. Tamil and English are also widely spoken, and newspapers are printed in all three languages.

Kandy & Nuwara Eliya good to know

Etiquette

Dialling code
+94 81

Religion
Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism and Christianity.

Tipping

Typically a 10% service charge is included in the bill, even in markets. If not, tip 10-15%.

Sports

Tee off at nearby Victoria Golf & Country Resort. Or work up a sweat at your hotel, with tennis and squash at Earl’s Regency, table tennis and boating at Chaaya Citadel and tennis at Mahaweli Reach.

Spa and wellness

Indulge in harmonising Ayurvedic treatments at our hand-picked Kandy resorts. At Mahaweli Reach, you can even request a personally tailored Ayurveda programme.

Shopping in Kandy & Nuwara Eliya

Kandy is well-known for its handicrafts, which make fantastic souvenirs of your time there. In central Kandy, barter for silver, antique jewellery, brass, wood carvings, gemstones and batiks.

Food & drink

Food
Venturing out of your hotel, you’ll find restaurants and cafés serving traditional roti, Sri Lankan meat and fish curries and rice – but be mindful that local curries can be much spicier than those you’ll be served in a hotel.

Water
Don’t drink the tap water. Most hotels offer boiled and bottled water, so stick to this instead.