The Royal Botanical Gardens, located just outside of Kandy, are Sri Lanka’s largest landscaped gardens, spanning over 60 hectares. The origin of the gardens dates back to the 14th century, but they were not formally established until 1843 when the British took control of the Kandyan Kingdom. During the development of the gardens, a wide variety of plants were moved from several other parts of the island including Slave Island in Colombo and Kalutara on the west coast. Many species were also shipped from Kew Gardens in London, which has the most diverse botanical collection in the world. The Royal Botanical Gardens are now home to 4,000 different species of plants and over 10,000 trees, showcasing all of Sri Lanka’s flora and many other tropical plants not native to the island. Walk down avenues framed by towering coconut palms; shelter beneath the sprawling canopy of the old Javan fig tree; marvel at the extensive collection of orchids, and see giant fruit bats hanging in their hundreds from the tree tops.