The cultural capital of Sri Lanka is Kandy. A land of temples and stunning natural delights, Kandy holds the famous ‘Temple of Tooth’ the country’s most sacred shrine, where a tooth of Buddha is kept. Head to the bustling market town, close to Kandy’s picturesque lake set in a bowl of hills, to buy local arts, crafts and food, and immerse yourself in the towns colours, smells and diversity. The hill-country capital is located on a plain amongst towering hills and is surrounded by Sri Lanka’s largest river: the Mahaweli. The town’s perfect climate, scenic location and its rich history make it a favourite for visitors, and it is the natural gateway to the peaks of Sri Lanka’s hill country. During the month of August, Kandy comes alive with the sounds and lights of the Kandy Perehara – an amazing procession where the sacred tooth relic of Lord Buddha is ceremoniously paraded on elephant back along the streets.
Our sample tours which include a visit to the Kandy region
Sri Lanka’s highest town, Nuwara Eliya lies at the foot of Pidurutalagala, the island’s highest mountain and is a vast picturesque landscape. Previously a British hill station the area was built in the style of an English country town complete with mock-Tudor architecture, an immaculate 18-hole golf course, trout fishing and an Anglican church.
Nuwara Eliya is surrounded by lush tea plantations and spectacular countryside, where you can watch the skilful fingers of the ladies of the tea plantations plucking the youngest shoots, for you to enjoy the finest tea! Many of Sri Lanka’s highest mountains are located here, and you can enjoy gardens of flowers, fruits and vegetables not commonly associated with Sri Lanka. Blessed a with favourable climate, breathtaking views of valleys, meadows, mountains and rich greenery, Nuwara Eliya provides a great contrast to the hot and humid Colombo.
Adam’s Peak is not the highest mountain of Sri lanka, but is certainly the most remarkable. Located in a beautiful and fascinating area of the southern Hill Country, this imposing peak has sparked the imagination for centuries. It is known as Adam’s Peak (the place where Adam first set foot on earth after being cast out of heaven), Sri Pada (Sacred Footprint, left by the Buddha as he headed towards paradise) or Samanalakande (Butterfly Mountain, where butterflies go to die). Arrive in time for sunrise and you may be treated to the extraordinary phenomenon known as the “Shadow of the Peak”, a projection of the pyramid shaped summit on to the surrounding sea mist which floats in the air for twenty minutes – a breathtaking sight!
The Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage
The Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage has become one of Sri Lanka’s must visit places. Established by the government in 1975, Pinnawela’s population has now grown to around 80, making it the largest collection of captive elephants in the world. The elephants housed here include those orphaned, abandoned or injured in the wild, as well as new arrivals born in captivity, ranging from newborns to elderly matriarchs. The most popular time for visitors coincides with feeding, which happens 3 times a day, and there is also the chance to accompany the elephants down to the river for bathing.
Yala National Park
Located on Sri Lanka’s southernmost tip, Yala is the island’s largest National Park where you stand a good chance of spotting wild elephant, spotted deer, jackal, sloth bear – and, if you’re lucky, the elusive leopard! A variety of flora and fauna thrive in the plains, wetlands and rainforests of this magnificent National Park. The forests and scrubs provide a habitat for one of the world’s densest leopard populations. Here you can enjoy full day jeep safaris, where your guide will advise you the best time of day to spot animals. The park also boasts a large number of cultural ruins from earlier civilizations, providing a great mix of activities to enjoy with the wildlife on offer.