It was worth breaking a sweat here in the massive 60 hectares of royal botanical gardens of Peradeniya, lying just 5 km to the west of Kandy city. It was a hot day, but the gardens didn’t disappoint at all.
Once exclusively reserved for Kandyan royalty, these royal gardens are now listed in the “10 great botanical gardens around the world” as published by The Guardian in 2018. The origin of the gardens dates back to 1371 but the current gardens were laid in 1821 by Alexander Moon.
I recommend exploring the whole park on one of the electric buggies with a driver. Amusingly, these drivers are quite knowledgeable and share a couple of anecdotes.
Highlights include a fine collection of famous orchids, an avenue of royal palms, a popular narrow and scary suspension bridge, palm-framed pathways, cannonball fruit tree, high Burma bamboo, and of course a giant fig tree with its gigantic central trunk and umbrella-like canopy of branches. The best part for me though was how they did the Avenue of Trees!
I was surprised to see roosting fruit bats hanging in some fir trees. Noticeably, these gardens are also a favorite place for wedding photographers. You will easily locate two-three couples locked in their wedding poses! Home to more than 4,000 species of plants, the royal gardens also encompass a few historically prominent trees from all around the world.
Overall it was a pleasant and therapeutic session to walk around the garden and a great way to escape the hustle and bustle of Kandy’s streets. By the way, before you leave, don't miss the small orchid house built inside the Royal Botanical Gardens exhibits some of the best orchid species.