UNESCO world heritage site
The northern Sri Lanka city of Polonnaruwa is most famous because it was the capital from the XI to the XIII centuries. Some of the ruins are now part of a UNESCO world heritage site. To get there, there are a few direct buses from Kandy, or you can take any bus heading north, changing in Habanara. The buses are not air-conditioned, and some go directly to Anhuradapura to reach the old capitals. There are a half dozen low-budget hostels. We stayed in the Manel, which is fine, but all are worth it. You can stay for 5-10 euros in a clean and decent place. Polonnaruwa is next to a lake, we were there in the dry season and we didn't feel like swimming.