Once an ordinary village settlement, today Trincomalee is a bustling coastal town. It is also one of the largest tourist resorts in eastern Sri Lanka. Trincomalee offers a very diverse tourist experience which consists of almost all types of experiences that a tourist can have. There is amazing local food, culture and adventure experiences to get the heart pumping.
While Trincomalee might not have as many historic and cultural sites as other Sri Lankan coastal towns, it has a lively restaurant scene and unparalleled beaches, bays and wildlife. Trincomalee’s cultural richness shouldn’t be underestimated. This city represents a unique intersection of Sri Lankan and Western culture and history. Rich in Buddhist, Hindu and Christian cultural heritage in a location where you can get close to every day life. The beaches, ocean and great food makes Trincomalee a place like no other.
Outdoor Activities in Trincomalee
Trincomalee might be one of the few places in Sri Lanka where there are more adventure activities than cultural sites to visit. Some oceanographers consider Trincomalee as one of the best places in the world for whale watching. Small boats situated 30-50km from the cost carry tourists into the ocean where blue whales or sperm whales play and swim. While you can only see several whales if you go on whale watching, you can see tens and sometimes even several hundred dolphins closer to the shore.
If you are excited by the possibility of watching animals like whales and dolphins, Pigeon Island is perfect for you. Pigeon Island isn’t just a place to watch. On this island you can observe water animals as you swim alongside them! Just beneath the surface you’ll find breathtakingly rare corals and marine life. Swimming up close to the coral with octopuses and rare species of fish is a unique experience.
Manayaweli Bay is home to a beach experience that is equally unique as Pigeon Island. The bay enables you to see both the idyllic nature of Trincomalee and the bustling local life of this coastal town. Manayaweli Bay is busy with local fishermen each morning and evening and local women who wash their laundry at the beach.
Uppuveli and Nilaveli are Trincomalee’s most pristine beaches. Although Uppuveli is more developed, both of these beaches have glittering, clear water which is perfect for swimming. Nilaveli beach is longer and more private but its waters aren’t as enchanting as the water at the Uppuveli beaches.
Where to Eat
Besides the splendid coastal scenery Trincomalee has one of the richest restaurant scenes in Sri Lanka. A selection of international, European, and local Sri Lankan restaurants, packed with seafood awaits visitors. There is an almost perfect choice of both high-end and low-end restaurants waiting for you to enjoy.
Dutch Bank Café offers a blend of all the different types of foods available. Here you can buy anything from pizza to local Sri Lankan specialties. Enjoy both traditional and modern drinks and dishes while enjoying the chilled modern setting of this restaurant.
New Parrot Restaurant is one of the most reputable restaurants in Trincomalee. Enjoy delicious local specialties such as noodles, rice, kotthu or soup.
Cultural and Historical Experiences
Trincomalee has a rich and wide-ranging Buddhist and Hindu cultural heritage. The Koneswaram Temple is one of the central parts of this heritage. This temple was built atop a Dutch fort. The Koneswaram Temple has a colourful ocean view that encompasses the whole bay. Local couples leave cradles outside the template to enhance their own fertility.
Kanniya or Seven Hot Wells is a cultural site so old that it was mentioned in the Ramayana. It is a site of pilgrimage with visitors bathing in the warm water.
As a place where there are a lot of artefacts of both Sri Lankan and Western culture, Trincomalee has a lot to offer to any tourist. For WW2 buffs the perfect historic site is the British war cemetery which is the final resting place of 364 soldiers of the allied armies.
St’s Mary’s cathedral is one of Trincomalee’s most unique churches. It is a vividly designed church with a sky-blue colour and a neo-baroque façade.
Try our off the beaten track tour of Eastern Sri Lanka to experience Trincomalee.