This sanctuary is not in Kandy itself, but people do stay in Kandy and visit the sanctuary from here just like we did.
We were offered numerous tuktuk tours there, but we decided just to take the local bus towards Kegalle. Tell the driver that you want Pinnewala (they would probably guess that anyway!) and they will drop you at the end of the road where you then jump on another bus which stops right outside of the sanctuary.
Coming back you can walk to Rambukanna and take the irregular train back to Kandy or just go back the way you came. We actually took a bus into Kegalle itself and then jumped on a bus as this is a very busy route and the bus may be too full to stop at the end of the road and pick you up.
Although we went to Kegalle we still ended up standing for a good hour and a half of the journey back to Kandy.
Matale is a little town about 25 kilometres from Kandy, so it's really possible to make ahalf a day trip there. Matale's just like any other Sri Lankan town or city, dusty and dirty but... it has an old, magnificent, wonderful Hindu/Tamil temple. It's called Sri Muthumariamman Thevasthanam. Inside it's bright and cheerful, full of music, too, although the man playing could have been just a coincidence. Outside you can see five hugs and intricate procession carriages: very old, too. very worth the side trip.
All the way between Kandy and Matale is lined with hundreds and hundreds of spice gardens. They don't have names but numbers: some are big - others small - and i guess that more or less they show the same things. It's interesting to stop at one and learn aboput the plants and spices, and their medicinal uses. You'll also be offered all sorts of teas and drinks, all with a different health purpose. At the end of the visit, still, I could not care much about health, as I ened up buying a frangipane perfume of no medical value whatsoever.
This is either off the Beaten Path from Colombo or from Kandy, i don't know, it's about 1/2 way.!!
If you're lucky to be there at the right time, the wild elephants from the reserve come down to the river to bathe, drink and play.
Sometimes there are nearly 50.
You can get up close if the handler is close by.
otherwise, there's a great restaurant attached and overlooking the river.
Restaurant prices are less than US$5 each.
There's also a nice handicraft shop with a fair range of local products but start your bargain at around 75% of the price and stop at around 80%.
If you've never seen Asian elephants up close and personal, STOP HERE.
Approximately 8 miles from town of Kandy is an enticing wood carving temple of Embekke Devale dating from the 14th century. Elaborate carvings on wooden pillars describing the legendary origin of the devale. The epic of Embekke Varnanawa by Delgahagoda Mudiyanse has it that one of the King Wickrema Bahu II’s consorts named Henakanda Biso Bandara, in association with a drummer,named as Rangama, as told in a miraculous dream is supposed to have built this Devale dedicated to God Kataragama.
The rock fortress Sigiriya, rises some 600 feet above the scrub jungle plain in the north central part of Sri Lanka. It is this very feature that drove young prince Kasyapa, after killing his father King Dhatusena, by entombing him alive, to this lonely rock in the jungle to hide from his older brother who was gathering an army to retake the throne. Kasyapa while in self imposed exile made his new kingdom as liveable and pleasant as possible by surrounding himself with his loyal followers, and for his personal enjoyment, what could only be described as "pinups". These frescos are to this day preserved in a grotto in the sheer west face of the rock.
The top of the rock in itself is a marvel of agro-engineering. About 3 acres in area, every square foot was utilized. Bathing pools were cut out of living rock and every drop of (rain) water was used and re-used. Sigiriya (lion's throat) was so named because the visitors had to go through the throat of a lion to get to the top of the rock.
If you go to Sri Lanka and you don't fear the heat & the humidity, try to be there during August's full moon. Sri Lankan buddhists celebrate the yearly Esala Perahera. Especially the city of Kandy is then jammed with ten thousands of celebrating people and the festival lasts for 5 nights. People and elephants are dressed up in gold & silver and colourful outfits to join the parades of dancers, musicians, fire-spitters, etc. Not only in Kandy, but also in the rest of the country they celebrate Perahera. In fact smaller Perahera are celebrated each month on Poya nights, i.e. full moon.
If your journey heading towards to Kandy, you might suprise to see a very flat mountain along the journey.
It's called the Bible Mountain.
Claim to be the Noah's Ark.
I got the picture this time.