Into the depths of Kandy...

Trip Start Aug 07, 2013
Trip End Aug 22, 2013

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Where I stayed
The Glen 58

Flag of Sri Lanka  ,
Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Arriving into Kandy after a 3 hour slow train journey from Colombo, being greeted by our driver for the day was a welcome sight. For around 120 each, we booked a 4 day tour with Blue Haven Tours, allowing us to take in the cultural triangle and other sights with a car, driver and that old faithful: air conditioning. Having investigated other options such as the erratic buses, slow trains or group tours, we concluded that the extra cost ( still in our opinion a real bargain) was definitely worth it.

A hair-raising drive ensued up into the hills around the picturesque lake in the centre of Kandy I order for us to find our guest house. Pot-holed roads, steep inclines, dangerous gulleys and near kamikaze tuk tuk drivers meant I had my eyes shut for most of it. Our guest house, The Glen 58, was rustic and simple but great. Ensuite rooms, wifi, large breakfast included and lovely hosts meant it was a relaxing venue. We ended up having 2 nights here with a night in Sigiriya inbetween.

Much of Kandy was hectic and vibrant during our visit due to the Dalada Perahara and Escala festival at the Temple of the Tooth. This temple was fun to visit, buzzing with people offering flowers and prayers to the Buddhas and teeming with intrigued tourists. The surrounding Kandy mountains provide a picturesque backdrop and the white building of the temple itself has splashes of colour in tropical flowers and shrines. Most Sri Lankan visitors wore white outfits, and all visitors needed to have legs and shoulders covered.

In The grounds of the temple, elephants milled around. Tens and tens of elephants. All had been taking part in the festivities and looked well cared for if a little bored. The temple visit was good, but the tooth elusive. After wandering round twice and seeing many boxes which could have held this sacred relic, we left in search of spices.

Around an hour away from Kandy is Isiwaya Ayurvedic Village. This spice centre combines spices and herbs with Ayurvedic principles and offers natural treatments and supplements as well as homegrown spice blends. Our guide, Sanjeev, showed us round the garden asking us to identify the trees (cloves, vanilla, pepper, nutmeg) before explaining their health benefits. A complimentary massages with homemade oil blends using Ayurvedic massage techniques was offered (although a tip was expected) and cups of chai and tastes of cocoa shared. A trip to the shop was expensive...but in the SriLankan heat an Aloe Vera and avocado cream has rescued my unhappy English rose skin immeasurably!

Meals  in Kandy varied from basic Sri Lankan curry buffet (chicken, fish, shall, red rice, pumpkin, beans and coconut) at Amanda Hills Hotel for 6 each to a more western affair at Hotel Suisse of swordfish, pasta, prawn and Papaya salads followed by decadent chocolate mousse- all enjoyed in the colonial regency dining room. 

Kandy wasan interesting place, glad we explored around there and great to use as a base for getting around the cultural triangle.
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