From Kandy to Ella (Sri Lanka) in 2 days

Travel Itinerary

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Hiruni Perera
Itinerary by: Hiruni Perera
a month ago
Travel Writer
Duration: 2 days

Kandy, 3-hour distant from the city Colombo, is the second-largest city in Sri Lanka. It is surrounded by mountain ranges and tea plantations and it is a popular destination for those who want to spend a day or two viewing historical structures and religious sites while exploring Sri Lanka’s traditions. While Kandy city is mentioned in most guidebooks as the main attraction, there are more stunning views to visit in the rainforest area outside of the city. Meanwhile, tucked away in the misty Sri Lankan high country, amongst idyllic green hills and gushing waterfalls lies Ella: one of this tear-shaped island's most appealing destinations. So if you are looking for an adventure far from the sunny beaches of the coastal area, starting from Kandy and ending in Ella would be one of the most beautiful experiences you can have while enjoying the tropical forest environment of the uphill area of Sri Lanka.

Day 1

05:00 - 07:00
Temple of the Tooth
Sri Dalada Veediya, Kandy, Sri Lanka
The Temple of the Tooth, also known as Sri Dalada Maligawa, is a beautiful golden-roofed Buddhist Temple in the heart of Kandy. Ever since 4th century A.D, when the Buddha’s Tooth was brought to Sri Lanka, hidden from sacrilegious hands, the Relic has grown in repute and holiness within Sri Lanka and through the Buddhist world. It is considered Sri Lanka’s most prized possession. The best is to plan an early-morning visit to skip the crowds and see the legendary tooth relic of Buddha. No expense is spared to protect the tooth, which is enclosed inside several golden boxes, covered in jewels. The temple is a must-see in Kandy, not just for its religious fame as one of Buddhism’s most important shrines, but also for its beautiful interior. Photography credits: Yasith Weerasundara
Article By: Hiruni Perera
Standard 8.00 USD

Notes

Tip: Make sure to wear a very modest dress code. Covered knees and shoulders are a must since it is a religious location. Locals wear white as a symbol of simplicity and purity. At the entrance, you will find many stalls with fresh flowers, incense sticks, and many different types of offerings. There you can create a small offering with flowers or fruits to wish for the good health and happiness of your loved ones.

07:00 - 08:00
Bahirawakanda Vihara Buddha Statue
Bahirawa Kanda Rd, Kandy, Sri Lanka
The Buddha statue is a major attraction in and of itself, and it is the primary reason that hundreds of people visit Bahirawakanda on a regular basis. The monument stands at nearly 88 meters tall, making it one of the tallest Buddha statues in all of South Asia. It is so huge that it can be seen from almost anywhere in Kandy City. The statue sits in Nirvana stance, keeping a silent watch over the surrounding surroundings. Photography Credits: Thimira Adreeya
Article By: Hiruni Perera
Standard 1.00 USD

Notes

The Temple is only a 2-kilometer walk away from the Temple of the Tooth Relic. Visitors to the temple are asked to remove their hats and shoes and to make offerings to the temple in the form of flowers or the burning of oil lamps. The views are best at night, when the city of Kandy is lit up by thousands of twinkling lights that sparkle like a reflection of the night sky. A flight of stairs behind the great white statue of Buddha allows visitors to climb higher up and view the magnificent landscape of the temple's surroundings; the views are best at night when the city of Kandy is lit up by thousands of twinkling lights that sparkle like a reflection of the night sky.

Getting there

The top is easily accessible by car or motorcycle, and a short journey up the stairs rewards you with a panoramic view of the city.

09:00 - 12:00
Ambuluwawa Tower
Ambuluwaawa ICC Road, Sri Lanka
In the central highlands of Sri Lanka, Ambuluwawa is a wildlife complex and Sri Lanka's first multi-religious sanctuary. In Gampola, the Ambuluwawa Trigonometrical Station is made up of a massive spiraling tower. Ambuluwawa is Sri Lanka’s first multi-religious center. It includes a Temple, Kovil, Mosque, and a Church. Ambuluwawa Temple, with a height of 48 meters, is known to be suggestive of a Buddhist ‘stupa.' From the outset, this Multi-Religious Centre demonstrates ideal harmony and unity among us, Sri Lankans. You can get to Ambuluwawa Tower from Kandy or Gampola. It's around 5 kilometers from Gampola's town center. Little known about this site is, it is 3567 meters above sea level and there are 200 plants that belong to 80 species. We know the climb to the top is a bit tough but then again you know hardest climbs always give the best views. When reached the top, at south you can see the Siri Pada or Adam’s Peak and at North the Mountain range of Knuckles, meanwhile, at the west, the Bible Rock or Bathalegala can be observed and at East a beautiful scenery from Piduruthalagala Mountain. Photography credits: Yasith Weerasundara
Article By: Hiruni Perera
Standard 2.00 USD

Notes

Don't forget your selfie stick to take iconic breathtaking photos.

13:00 - 16:00
Royal Botanical Gardens
Royal Botanic Gardens, Peradeniya Rd, Kandy, Sri Lanka
The Royal Botanic Gardens in Peradeniya are located around 5.5 kilometers west of Kandy in Sri Lanka's Central Province. In 2016, 1.2 million locals and 400,000 foreign visitors visited the garden. It is located near the Mahaweli River (Sri Lanka's longest river) and is known for its orchid collection. There are around 4000 plant species in the garden, including orchids, spices, medicinal plants, and palm palms. The "National Herbarium of Sri Lanka" is attached to it. The botanical garden covers 147 acres and is located at 460 meters above sea level, with a 200-day annual rainfall. It is overseen by the Department of Agriculture's Division of National Botanic Gardens. The Royal Botanical Gardens of Kandy is just a 15-minute drive west of Kandy and a nice place to get away from the city. Wander through the expansive garden, grab a towel and rest in the grass, or stop by one of the cafes for a drink. Photography credits: Yasith Weerasundara
Article By: Hiruni Perera
Standard 10.00 USD

Notes

Perfect to relax and take a nap on the grass. A bit pricey but worth it if you spend a couple of hours. While in Sri Lanka you’ll be able to enjoy beautiful views while being embraced by a totally different culture and tradition. A small tip to keep in mind while traveling around, if you are not booking your own private vehicle and driving around, then the most economic and safe way is to use Uber tuk-tuks. In case they are not available and you have to use a local non-metered taxi/ tuk-tuk don’t let them scam you and keep in mind that for 1Km the charge is around LKR 50. Also, when trying new food at local vendors in Kandy or Ella always ask for less spicy or even not spicy at all because the local’s spicy level is so much higher than you would expect. If you have a sweet tooth make sure to try a local sweet called ‘Unduwel’ (Honey Bangles) something original that you’ll find only in Kandy

18:00 - 19:00
Kandy Lake
Kandy Lake, Kandy, Sri Lanka
Stroll around the peaceful Kandy Lake considered the heart and soul of the city because of its central location and undeniable beauty. In the middle of the lake is a tiny island with a few palm trees, recognized as one of Kandy’s iconic scenes, and featured on many a postcard. In past, the Kandy Lake was called ‘Kiri Muhuda’ which translates to ‘milk sea’ and used to be a paddy field at that time. You can book boat rides if you wish to have an exciting tour around the lake, it is a peaceful place to hang out next to visiting the Temple of the Tooth. Afternoon and Evening walks are the most advisable time frames since less crowded. Photography Credits: Thimira Adreeya
Article By: Hiruni Perera
Standard Free

Notes

Boat Ride Price: 1500 LKR (8 USD) per person – the boat ride usually lasts for about 30 mins. Kandy's true beauty lies in its unique blend of nature and elegance. A number of resorts with pools that overlook the forest may be found in the nearby rainforest. For example, Aarunya Resort is a sustainable nature resort nestled inside a 7-acre plantation where fresh vegetables for their on-site restaurant are harvested. Their true Sri Lanka dining experience is, without a doubt, one of the best Sri Lankan meals you will have. Some more places where you can spend the night in Kandy: • Lakewood Residence • Ceylon Panorama Resort • Mount Blue Kandy • Earl’s Regency Hotel

Day 2

05:00 - 10:00
Kandy To Ella Train Trip
William Gopallawa Mawatha, Kandy, Sri Lanka
Kandy is the starting point of one of the world’s most beautiful train routes: a stunning 4-7 hour journey through the tea plantation hills, which is an absolute must-do on any Sri Lanka travel route. Feel the wind blow through your hair and across your skin, as you dangle your feet outside the door of the open train- an exhilarating experience that allows you to see nature in a totally unique way. Take the morning train and grab a seat near an open window or door, I can promise you won't regret it. Nuwara Eliya is in-between the Kandy to Ella route and also a popular stop. It has the name Little England because of its cool and wet climate. At each train station, the train cabins get filled with sellers of drinks, fresh fruit, and salty or spicy peanuts, so you don’t need to pack extra snacks for the train ride. Reserve your seat in Second class to have the best experience. You will be able to spend the whole ride with your feet dangling out of the door, said like this it might sound a bit scary but you’ll be rewarded by the best view ever. Avoid taking third-class tickets since goods such as chickens and vegetables are transported there and it might turn the whole experience to a negative side. Throughout this train ride don’t miss any of the highlights such as walking over the 30-meter high Nine Arch bridge in Ella and the impressive view of the tea fields of Nuwara Eliya.
Article By: Hiruni Perera
Standard 2.00 USD

Notes

Options and Prices: Take the 4-hour ride to Nuwara Eliya or the 7-hour to Ella. A ticket costs around 400 LKR (2 USD) depending on the class and destination.

11:00 - 14:00
Nine-Arch Bridge, Ella
Nine Arch Bridge, 03 Mile Post, Ella, Ella - Passara Rd, Ella, Sri Lanka
The 30-meter high Demodara Nine Arch Bridge is one of the features in the mountain village, Ella. You can reach a piece of exquisite architecture buried between luscious green tea plantations by taking a short 30-minute stroll through the bush. It is legal to stroll across the bridge, and it is one of the must-do activities in Sri Lanka. The stone train bridge, built by the British, with its nine beautiful arches, is located between Ella and Demodara station. The train ride in the highlands with the Kandy to Ella train is named as one of the most beautiful train rides in the world. You have multiple options and ways to reach the train bridge. Follow the road towards Little Adam’s Peak and turn left at the small coloured temple. Turn left into the jungle at the parking places after Art Cafe Umbrella for a more peaceful walk in amongst the jungle. Following the walk for around ten minutes will reward you with a spectacular view of the bridge. Photography Credits: Thimira Adreeya
Article By: Hiruni Perera
Standard Free

Notes

Sunrise is the best time to visit the Bridge. The light is stunning and you avoid the crowds. By 10 AM, it is getting busier with tourists since it is the start of their day trip tour. Over the last few years, more and more guesthouses have been opened or are still being built. It’s a little bit out of Ella town, so you need transportation to go to the popular restaurants. Nevertheless, waking up with a view of the Nine Arch Bridge is, without a doubt, a fantastic experience. These are the recommended hotels near the Nine Arch Bridge: • Nine Arch View • Nine Arch Gap • The secret Ella • The Chillout Ella

Getting there

The quickest way is to walk along the track from Ella town until you reach a tunnel. After passing the tunnel, you immediately reach the Nine Arch Bridge. The easiest way to get to the Nine Arch Bridge is by a 300 LKR (2 USD) tuk-tuk ride from Ella. To save time, ask them to drop you off near the tunnel and walk to the bridge the last piece. There you can take some breathtaking photos. The bridge is crossed by trains six times a day. In Sri Lanka, the exact hours fluctuate all the time, but there should be one every hour. Don't be concerned about having to wait that long. There are tiny restaurants where you can buy drinks and snacks, and it's a wonderful area to photograph. We suggest visiting early in the morning, around 9 a.m.

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