Staying in Kandy in the hill lands of central Sri Lanka is a memory I’ll always treasure. The Spica guest house was just such a pleasure to stay at you barely needed to leave. Beds were comfortable, you had your own bathroom, and I had a big balcony just outside the door with tremendous views. The garden has a couple of ponds with fish in that back home I had to keep in a tropical tank and there is a gazebo with fish tanks which as tremendous views over the valley where Kandy town is.
Kandy itself has a bit more of a town feel with plenty of shops, bars and restaurants. One pub called the Stags Head is really worth stopping at for a cool beer. Its at the very top of a hotel called the Casamara. Its a bit expensive but the views over the busy streets makes it worth the price for people who like people watching like me. You can look down and see Sri Lankan daily life just passing buy, with people shopping and monks passing by its really cool.
The Center of Kandy is covered by Bogambara lake. Plenty of fish to be seen and plenty of big monitor lizards about but don’t be worried by these as if you don’t bother them they have no interest in bothering you. Around the lake near the town center are a couple of cafes but I never used them, one or two have views over the lake. On the lake side itself you will find what is probably Kandys biggest attraction especially for pilgrims the Temple of the Sacred Tooth. This temple is supposed to house a tooth belonging to Buddha. Security is high here because of Sri Lankas past troubles but it is worth entering although don’t expect to see the tooth.
High up on the hillside is a huge statue of the Buddha (see if you can spot the gap in his teeth). Its quite a strenuous walk up but perfectly do able. A rickshaw driver offered to take me up but when I said I didn’t mind walking he tried to convince me it was shut that day and offered me a tour of the sights. Needless to say he was lying. I still got stung when I got there by a guy who is supposed to look after your shoes who then charged me to get them back. They were my hiking boots so of course I paid. You can climb up stairs in the back of the Buddha to get views over the city. You will notice he is looking at the Temple holding his tooth. I can just imagine his tongue stuck in the gap where it used to be while looking.
For a relaxing afternoon I suggest a short trip by bus or rickshaw to the botanical gardens. Take a packed lunch as the cafe there can be quite expensive but it is well worth a visit despite spotting this wee beast. For a more strenuous time out as well as the jungle preserve there is guided walks available along the mountain range called the knuckles. The weather stopped me trying this unfortunately.
While walking about the town you will notice that the railway tracks are also used as a public walkway to get from one part of town to the other, you may also notice poor bats hanging dead from powerlines as they tried to roost on them. Beggars are also rife but I found you are better giving the money to a local monk who will get it changed and come and give it with you to the local beggars who are genuine.
Kandy is a great place to stay for a few days. The views fantastic and its got all you need from a small town. Not sure if I would go again but if I did I would definitely do the guided walks around the mountains and stay in the same guesthouse. Any guest house should provide you with details just watch out for leeches in the wilds when its wet and lying rickshaw drivers who will over charge any time.