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Tips on Avoiding Kandy Tourist Traps

Kandy Tourist Traps

Read these helpful tips to avoid common mistakes and avoid tourist traps in Kandy, Sri Lanka.

Unlicensed Guides

Find a qualified guide with government qualifications to protect yourself from being overcharged by an unlicensed guide. When possible negotiate fees in advance.

Cab Drivers Team Up With Shop Owners 

Tuk tuk and cab drivers get commissions if they bring you to certain shops. These shops, including Oakray place in Kandy, have excessively hiked prices. They will haggle with you, but compare prices and walk when you can.

Spice Gardens

There may be a guide or someone who claims to be a medical specialist there to show you around. Massages are sometimes offered, but set boundaries with what you’re comfortable with. Products may not have ingredients listed, so be careful if you have allergies. There’s also the chance that you’ll be subjected to high pressure sales tactics. Initial prices are generally high, but you can negotiate. The Regent Spice Garden is approved of by the Ceylon Tourist Board, but complaints registered through them might be difficult to get answered.

Observation Saloon

Know that if you decide to take the Observation Saloon a 1st class ticket is pricey and doesn’t necessarily assure a good view. Seats 11, 12, 23 and 24 are coveted, but not guaranteed. A 2nd class ticket is cheaper, offers a similar view and allows you to meet the locals.

Kandy Dances

There are many varieties of Kandyan dances that you will have to opportunity to view in the evenings. It’s up to you to decide if it’s worth your money. Sometimes traditional weddings open to the public have authentic dance performances. If you visit a privately run show then check the ticket prices at the counter to avoid price gouging. There’s a government run Kandyan show near temple where you won’t be overcharged.


Agree to a price before checking into a hotel and review the list of what you will be charged for., steep charges for hotel accommodations could be tacked on. The prices also go up during tourist season.

Editor’s note: The information contained on this page was compiled using real traveler reviews about Kandy tourist traps.

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