Trincomalee is a great little town on the east coast of Sri Lanka. Trincomalee offers beautiful white sand and is one of the best beaches of Sri Lanka. The east coast is upcoming and way more quiet than south, which is a perfect reason to plan a visit. Trincomalee is surrounded by wildlife, hilltops and rock formations. Take about 2 or 3 full days in this town because there are quite some great things to do in Trincomalee.
Rent a motorbike for your whole stay (±1500 LKR per day) and go explore the nearby beaches. The east coast is much quieter than other parts so driving here on a motorbike isn’t a problem.
Nilaveli Beach is a beautiful beach area where you just can chill for the day. In the weekend, locals from all over the country also like to visit Nilaveli because of its white sand. It’s even better to just spot some small roads towards the beach because this brings you the untouched spots!
Trincomalee is famous for Whale Watching. Which is also one of the popular things to do in Mirissa in the opposite season. The whale season in Trincomalee runs from March until August.
SRI PATHRAKALI AMMAN KOVIL
This beautifully colored Hindu temple is located in town and easy to visit. It even might be your lucky day to experience a real ceremony.
During your little trip through town towards the temples or Fort Frederik, you might pass loads of dried fish stalls. Trincomalee town is full of real local life, where they don’t necessarily have to live from tourism which is completely different from the south.
Fort Frederik is an old fort built by the Portuguese. These days it is used by the Sri Lankan military but its open for visitors. Within the fort, you can see many deer and escape the heat of the day because most of the fort is covered by trees.
From Fort Frederik, you can follow the road until the viewpoint area and Hindu temple Koneswaram. From this area, you can drink a coconut with a view over the whole Trincomalee bay. The temple is built on a great location with an insane drop into the ocean. Make sure the visit the back of the temple area.
A 10-minute boat rides out of Nilaveli Beach is a small island with super clear water and a small white sand beach. Pigeon Island is great for a morning or afternoon tour. Don’t forget your snorkel gear.
One of the best places to visit around Trincomalee, this ancient Buddhist site with a modern day monastery is just perfect for spending a couple of quiet hours. With a beautiful setting amidst tall trees and lawns, strolling through the remains of this ancient Budhhist temple built by King Devanamiyatissa is a calming experience.
The original crystalline Buddha statue still stands tall and is a sight to behold while the new monastery offers a chance to meditate in this serene place. The ruins with intriguing inscriptions and the awesome jungle surrounding it, make this visit worthwhile.
MARITIME AND NAVAL HISTORY MUSEUM
Located in a beautifully restored 17th century Dutch mansion, this informative museum offers important insights into Sri Lankan maritime history. Amongst the most interesting places to visit in Trincomalee, the ground floor takes you through the country’s naval history dating back from Marco polo’s time with models depicting naval scenes and some video presentations.
The exhibits on the first floor throw light on the marine ecosystem with special emphasis on the flora and fauna of East coast. With free entry and knowledgeable guides, this wonderful museum also offers lovely views of the bay.
TRINCOMALEE WAR CEMETERY
This final resting place of the British and local soldiers who laid down their lives during World War II, is a quiet solemn place. Set in a well-maintained garden, this is one of the six Commonwealth war cemeteries in Sri Lanka. As you pay homage to the fallen soldiers and sailors and walk through the poignant place, you gain insight into what price we pay for wars.
One of the most humbling places to visit in Trincomalee, the war cemetery is also a place for quiet contemplation.
SERUWILA MANGALA RAJA MAHA VIHARA
Counted amongst the holiest Buddhist sites in Sri Lanka, this temple is one of the important places to visit in Trincomalee for the spiritually inclined travellers. The 2nd century stupa was originally built by King Kavantissa and holds the sacred frontal bone of Lord Buddha. Thousand of devotees visit this sacred Buddhist Vihara every year to pay homage and seek blessings of the enlightened one.
Also visit the new complex with a huge statue of Buddha; remember to be modestly dressed and remove your footwear.
ST MARY’S CATHEDRAL
Tucked away in a quiet part of the city, this beautiful small Catholic Cathedral is just a walking distance away from the beach. Built in 1852, the attractive blue and white facade of the cathedral exudes warmth and tranquillity. The well-maintained site also houses a small school with young children who are happy to interact with visitors.
With many more interesting and unique places to visit in Trincomalee, you can spend a few enjoyable days in this quieter part of the country.