Elephant orphanage at Pinnawala can easily be done as a day trip from Kandy, it can be quite confusing working out which bus/train to take, we asked at the tourist information stand in Kandy and the guy just tried to rip us off by telling us the only way we could get there was to pay his brother $50 for a taxi, I didn't believe him one little bit so then I tried the information stand inside Kandy train station, they were much more helpful.
The train to Rambukkana leaves a few times per day, see HERE for the time table. There are only 2nd and 3rd class seats available and you can't pre-book. A second class ticket costs Rs70/pp each way.
Once you get to Rambukkana there will be a line of tuk-tuk's all offering Rs100 to the elephant orphanage or you can walk (45 minutes).
The orphanage costs Rs700 for locals and Rs2,500 for foreigners. Each day the elephants are taken down to the river for bath time, their schedule can be found HERE. It's really strange to see 30 elephants walking down the street, in between souvenir shops and cafes for their bath.
The Ayubowan Hotel offers great views over the river, but it's expensive as you would imagine.
I had mixed feelings about the orphanage, a few of the elephants had chains on and were kept separate from the other elephants, the reason why wasn't clear, but I didn't like that part of it.
However the majority of the elephants were chain free and looked like they were having a great time playing in the water. The orphanage has saved an awful lot of injured and abandoned elephants who probably would have died if they hadn't been brought to Pinnawala.
During the walk back to the train station we stopped at Glenloch Tea Factory, it was completely free to visit and you were given a guided tour of the factory before being allowed as many free tastes as you like. We tipped our guide before we left.