From Kandy, most visitors heading for the Cultural Triangle plough straight up the main road north to Dambulla, Sigiriya and beyond. If you have your own transport, however, there are several interesting sites en route. Two of these – the famous monastery of Aluvihara and the wonderful little temple at Nalanda – are right on the main highway.

The main road between Kandy and Dambulla is also littered with innumerable spice gardens. The temperate climate of the region – halfway in altitude between the coastal plains and the hill country – offers ideal horticultural conditions, and if you’re interested in seeing where the ingredients of Sri Lankan cuisine come from, now is your chance. Entrance is generally free, but you’ll be expected to buy some spices at inflated prices in return for a look at the various plants and shrubs.

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