Exploring Sri Lanka with Kids: Part 1-Kandy

This summer we took a trip to Sri Lanka because we wanted to go somewhere close by and some place not very expensive. Sri Lanka came highly recommended by friends who had already been there and it checked both the boxes for us! Needless to say, I was totally blown away by this amazing country!

If you need any convincing on why you should be visiting this amazing country, check out my post 10 Reasons Why Sri Lanka Should Be On Your Travel Bucket List

And now as promised, here are the details of what our 11-day itinerary looked like, with details of the top things to do and where to stay.

Our 11 Day itinerary

Day 1: Arrive at Colombo International Airport and drive to Kandy and check in to a hotel in Kandy

Day 2: Explore Kandy (Viewpoint, Botanical Gardens, Hindu Temple and Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic)

Day 3: Day trip to Nuwara Eliya

Day 4: Explore Kandy (Bahirawakanda Viharaya and Gem Factory) followed by a day trip to Pinnawala

Day 5: Check out from the hotel in Kandy and drive to Dambulla Cave Temple and check in to the hotel in Dambulla

Day 6: Nature walks, Pool and Relax at the resort.

Day 7: Day trip to Sigiriya Rock and Minneriya National Park

Day 8: Check out from the hotel and drive to Trincomalee and check in to a hotel in Trincomalee

Day 9: Pool and Beach all day

Day 10: Pool and Beach and check out from the hotel and drive to Negombo and check in to a hotel

Day 11: Pool Day and an evening flight back to Doha.

P.s. If I had to do it again, I would rather stop overnight in Negombo on Day 1, as the drive from the airport to Kandy is about 3 hours. And then drive to Kandy the next day while stopping over at Pinnawala. 

The trip was absolutely wonderful and the kids enjoyed as much as we did, if not more!  SriLanka offers so much.. from the beach to the mountains, city life to living in the middle of a jungle. SriLanka provided the whole family with a wonderful variety of stuff to do and we just fell in love with the country!

Also to be clear, no one had a stomach upset nor did we feel unsafe in any part of the country with our kids.

So in this part 1, I will only talk about what we did in Kandy (Day 1 – 4). 

Here are my top things for Kandy

Where To Stay

We stayed at the Golden Crown Hotel in Kandy, which is one of the latest addition in hotels there. Their van picked us up from the Colombo Airport and it took us about 3 hours to reach Kandy. We were tired from travelling the whole day and just crashed in our beds!

The next morning when I woke up and opened the curtains, I was just blown away by the view! It was just beautiful!

A very large room, which had two of these queen beds – perfect for our family
The view from the room
The Infinity Pool, which was unfortunately a bit cold

The hotel was comfortable, with a great selection of buffet at breakfast and dinner, a very lovely staff!

Breakfast with a view
The hotel grounds

Things to do/see in Kandy

A Train Ride to Nuwara Eliya 

Nuwara Eliya is a city in the tea country hills of central Sri Lanka and needless to say it again.. its a MUST visit! In my opinion, it’s a sin to go to Kandy and NOT take this train ride! It’s an absolute MUST! I cannot recommend this enough guys!DSCF9181 It is one of the most scenic train rides in the world (and costs 7 USD per person!). If you have time, I would recommend you go up to Ella instead of ending your journey at Nuwara Eliya.

The beautiful train ride!
with breathtaking views..

We did a day trip from Kandy to Nuwara Eliya. We took the train to go there (3-4 hours) and drove back to Kandy. Our driver from the hotel dropped us at the Kandy train station and drove to Nuwara Eliya to meet us there at Nanu- Oya train station.

The train ride through the clouds…

DSCF9220Make sure to book your train tickets in advance as they sell out quickly and are usually booked in advance. Also check the weather there, as it gets colder than Kandy

Visit to a Tea Factory

While in Nuwara Eliya, you must visit a tea factory, not only to see the process of converting the leaves into the tea (that we all can’t live without…) but also to sip and enjoy the most wonderful tea, you have ever tried! I loved the strongest tea blend there – one of the best I have ever had!





Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage

The Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage was established in 1975 for feeding and providing care and sanctuary to orphaned baby elephants that were found in the wild. The income from the visitors is used to help to maintain the orphanage.DSCF9420

DSCF9446You can see the care being given to these elephants, the bathing, feeding to the babies and all. However, it is criticized for keeping the elephants in chains at certain times. I asked them about it as well and was informed that the males get aggressive with the females and the babies and need to be chained for the protection of other elephants. These elephants were found badly injured when they were rescued and hence some of them are not capable of being released in the wild again.DSCF9430


DSCF9481However, if you want to see the elephants, I would highly recommend going to a National park to see these beautiful creatures in the wild (details coming up in Part 2 – that was a MUCH better experience!)


Kandy View Point

Kandy viewpoint gives a beautiful vantage point of the entire city. We just stopped her for a few minutes to take some pictures and enjoyed the breeze and the view!DSCF9014



Royal Botanical Garden

This is an absolute MUST place to visit if you want to soak in the greenery of this amazing country!DSCF9027


You see hundred-year-old trees here…

The Botanical Gadren is huge and although you can do it by foot, we rented a buggy to drive us around and stopped at places we wanted to see up close.

and some monkeys came to greet us..
And some were monkeying around inside the buggy too!
While we found some more monkeys on the trees 🙂
There is also an Orchid Garden – a heaven for Orchid lovers


Visit a Gem Factory

While in Kandy, do visit a gem factory. Srilanka is quite popular for its association with the international gem and jewellery trade, has been known as for its precious, natural gemstones.

We visited one gem factory, where they showed a documentary on the entire process of mining and showed the various stages before that gems made its way to the showroom.


Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic

The Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic is a Buddhist temple in the city of Kandy. Kandy was the last capital of the Sri Lankan kings and is a World Heritage Site mainly due to the temple. DSCF9128


DSCF9138It was an absolutely amazing experience to take the kids there and pay our respects to what is so sacred to the locals.


Bahirawakanda Viharaya

Rising from a hill adjoining the holy city of Kandy is the giant Buddha statue of BahirawaKanda. It stands at 88 feet in height and is one of the biggest Buddha statues in Sri Lanka.  You can enjoy some magnificent views of Kandy from there.



Hindu Temple

We randomly stopped at a beautiful Hindu temple in Kandy. It was quite an interesting visit for the kids to be exploring and seeing how people of different faiths pray. DSCF9105

The kids were fascinated by different traditions and religion

I absolutely loved Kandy and wish we could have stayed more. I just loved the peace and tranquil that this small city offers. A lot about Kandy reminded me of Muree and Nathiagali 🙂

If you need any convincing on why you should be visiting this amazing country, check out my post 10 Reasons Why Sri Lanka Should Be On Your Travel Bucket List

Read Part 2 HERE.

5 thoughts on “Exploring Sri Lanka with Kids: Part 1-Kandy

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