TRINCOMALEE ATTRACTIONS THAT WE WOULD RECOMMEND:
Are you looking for Trincomalee attractions not to miss in Sri Lanka? We spent the better part of a week enjoying the pristine and secluded beaches and exploring the city on a scooter (which you can hire for approx 1500SLR a day) – ensure you have your International Drivers licence handy in case you get stopped by the police.
Trincomalee is a port city on the northeast coast of Sri Lanka. Although the city faced many hardships during the civil war, it is starting to recover thanks to the developing tourism scene. Trinco is home to some of the finest beaches in Sri Lanka, such as Uppuveli and Nilaveli. Here are some of our highlights of Trincomalee and it’s surroundings.
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1. Explore the Koneswaran temple
A classical-medieval Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. There are a few shopping stalls on the way up that have some interesting souvenirs, local food and you can expect to see a few deer running around. You cant take photo’s inside the temple but welcome to outside. You will need to leave your shoes with the “shoe carer” and make sure you dressed respectfully with your legs and shoulders covered before entering the temple. There is often an active Hindu service is going on.
The views from the top of the temple offer a beautiful setting. You may even spot divers below exploring some of the underwater temple ruins.
2. Admire the view of Dutch Bay
A good beach to catch a few snaps and admire the views. When we were there a few locals were enjoying the ocean on a hot summers afternoon. Buy an ice cream or cold drink and admire the shoreline or catch a break from the hustle of the busy city.
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3. Yoga, SUP and homemade juice at Bella Nilaveli Beach
We spend most of the day here admiring the stunning beach, taking a dip in the ocean and enjoying the sun . Bella Nilaveli beach offers yoga classes twice a day in the morning and in the evening. Get your health fix and enjoy a famous carrot, ginger and lime juice from Leo’s cafe. A SUP board is available to hire from the cafe to explore the secluded shoreline of the picturesque beach with a different perspective. Bella Nilaveli offers a laid back vibe, eco-friendly approach, good food and they have some great accommodation options too.
4. Snorkelling at Pigeon Island
The national park is situated 1km off the coast of Nilaveli beach. The island offers some great snorkelling opportunities with possible sightings of black tipped sharks, turtles, eels and hundreds of different colourful fish. Although the visibility is not as clear as the Philippines or Zanzibar, it is still well worth it and we thoroughly enjoyed the experience. We were impressed with the variety of marine life that we saw, and different corals.
Certain areas of the island is out of bounds to protect the coral. Avoid standing on any coral while snorkelling and try and watch your flippers. There are dozens of companies offering snorkelling trips along the coast of Nilaveli or Uppuveli for you to choose from.
You can expect to pay approx 3000 SLR per person (July 2018) for snorkelling. (incl. park entrance) – like anything in Sri Lanka, you could probably bargain this price a bit. You will need to take a short boat ride to get to Pigeon Island and we recommend getting there early as it can get very busy with tourist visit the island throughout the day.
Tip: Don’t forget your sunscreen and make sure you take your slops, it’s hard to walk barefoot on some parts of the beach.
Alternatively, if you looking to do some extra water sports while in Sri Lanka then make sure you check out Kalpitiya which offers unspoilt islands and the kite surfing wont disappoint.
Diving in Maldives?
If you heading to the Maldives during your trip, then it’s worth looking into doing a Liveboard dive which is the perfect opportunity to get the maximum out of your dive time, same some cash and meet some interesting divers.
5. Capture the perfect Insta-shot on Nivelia beach
We found Nilaveli beach to be a bit less touristy than Uppuveli beach and a bit cleaner and secluded. If you want to escape, get away and just enjoy the beach with a book then Nilaveli may be a better option. There are only a few bars and restaurants available and everything is quite spread out so it’s not really the place to “party it up”. Admittedly, That’s Why bar makes some tasty cocktails (see below). It’s the perfect beach if you want to capture a new Instagram photo without worrying about tourist in your backdrop and wow your friends with your paradise holiday. We would recommend the beach for families, romantic getaways and some peace and quite.
6. Cocktail’s at That’s Why beach bar
We landed up at That’s Why beach bar to watch the 2018 soccer world cup semi final England VS. Croatia. The bar had a chilled and relaxed vibe with a big screen while we wiggled our toes between the sand. It is the most up beat bar in Nilaveli and they offer a good selection of cocktails. The “That’s why special” was a favourite. We asked the barman for the recipe but he refused to part with it. Staff are friendly, full of smiles and really helpful.
7. Admire the colours and sculptures at the Pathirakali Amman temple
A well maintained Hindu temple dedicated to the goddess Bhadrakali. The temple is opposite to the bus station in Trincomalee so you can make a quick visit when you arrive or leave. The walls and the ceiling is filled with colourful giant statues of Hindu gods and details in the carvings and paintings of this temple is truly mesmerising. You will need to leave your shoes by the door and make sure you dressed respectfully with your legs and shoulders covered.
8. Soak up the sun along Uppuveli beach
Uppuveli beach is a bit more touristy than Nilaveli beach. There are a few great bars to enjoy a few drinks, people watch and on certain nights you could easily party the night away. Along the beach you will find jet ski hire, diving shops, tour companies, restaurants, bars, vendors selling local souvenirs, loungers to soak up the Sri Lankan sun and small shops to stock up on general supplies.
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9. Watch the fishermen reel in their nets
This is one of the free Trincomalee attractions not to miss! On Uppelvi beach the local fisherman pull in their nets to reveal their daily catch. You will normally find them about 500m from Fernando’s bar but just ask the locals to point you in the right direction. It is a rather entertaining and exciting experience watching the fisherman pull in the nets. We watched in anticipation to see what their hard work would bring for the day.
A local told us that the day before they pulled in over 300 tons of tuna. (Although we sure this is a bit of an exaggeration) As the nets got closer and closer, so our excitement grew and more people, together with dozens of crows gathered in awe. The fisherman netted dozens of fish and threw back the fish that were not edible. They even gave tourist a change to throw back a couple of fish. Fun and entertaining experience to watch.
10. MORE ATTRACTION IDEAS: Check out these tours!
Have you been to Trincomalee? What Trincomalee attractions not to miss would you recommend? Let us know your thoughts and comments on this post below.
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