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6 Best Things To Do In Trincomalee

Trincomalee is a port city on the north east coast of Sri Lanka, overlooking a circular, natural harbour.

Not as touristy as some of destinations in Sri Lanka, you can get a real feel of local life whilst exploring this fascinating city.

Trincomalee is famous for its beautiful white beaches and whale watching. It also has some interesting historic and religious sites.

In addition, the popular marine national park attracts tourists keen to explore the colourful sea life.

So, if you’re looking for the best things to do in Trincomalee then look no further. From the beaches to the temples here’s our complete guide.

1. Explore The Beaches

Trincomalee is actually broken down into 2 nearby beach towns: Uppuveli and Nilaveli.

Both of which have some of the best beaches in Sri Lanka. Both with crystal clear water, and plenty of calm spots to throw down a towel and relax.

It’s always a tight argument between tourists as to which is the better location in Trinco; Uppuveli or Nilaveli.

Nilaveli is good if you’re looking to escape the crowds and spend a few days relaxing on a secluded beach.

However, Uppuveli is better if you’re in search of more of an upbeat atmosphere, with people and party opportunities.

Uppuveli is located much closer to the main town of Trincomalee, and is in fact within walking distance from any accommodation.

Nilaveli however, is located around 15km (a 20 minute drive) North of Trincomalee town.

The best option to reach Nilaveli Beach is to take a tuk tuk or taxi from Trincomalee Station, which should cost around 700 Rupees.

There are also buses running from Trincomalee to Nilaveli too, however the journey will take around an hour with stops.

Overall we’d side with Nilaveli as our favourite, and it’s definitely worth taking the trip out of town for.

Nilaveli beach also backs onto Pigeon Island, which is rated one of the best things to do in Trincomalee!

Uppuveli Beach Trincomalee Best Things To Do In Trincomalee
Lauren taking some down time at Uppuveli Beach.
Trincomalee Deers Trincomalee Uppuveli Beach Trincomalee Best Things To Do In Trincomalee
Make sure to look out for the Trincomalee deers that hover around Uppuveli.

2. Pigeon Island

Pigeon Island is a National Park, and one of the two marine national parks of Sri Lanka.

Famous for its snorkelling, it’s certainly one of the best things to do in Trincomalee, and one of the main reasons tourists flock there every year.

Pigeon Island is located around 1km off the coast of Nilaveli, and there are boats leaving from both Uppuveli Beach and Nilaveli Beach daily.

It takes roughly 10 minutes to reach Pigeon Island from either destination, and should cost around 3,500 Rupees per person.

Be sure to confirm with your guide that this price includes snorkelling equipment and the Pigeon Island National Park entrance fee!

The island gets its name from the amount of rock pigeons that have made it there home over the years. However, if you visit Pigeon Island on a day trip, you’ll probably be more interested in the goings on below the water.

Full of bright coral, tropical fish, reef sharks and turtles, it’s an extremely popular spot in Trincomalee.

Just please be careful not to tread on the coral, and be wary of the other people snorkelling.

Pigeon Island Trincomalee Best Things To Do In Trincomalee
Snorkelling at Pigeon Island is a must!

3. Whale Watching

Another of the popular marine activities in Trincomalee, is whale watching.

Either here, or down in Mirissa, are the two spots in Sri Lanka to head out on a whale watching tour.

On this tour you will depart from the diving centre in Uppuveli at 6:00 am, and aim to spot blue whales as they feed in the ocean.

Aside from just the blue whales, other marine life have also been spotted on the coast of Sri Lanka such as sperm whales, orcas, turtles, killer whales, and dolphins!

The largest mammals on our planet travel in pods, and follow a social system similar to elephants.

Having said that, Sri Lanka is considered to be one of the best places in the world for whale and dolphin watching.

Best Things To Do In Trincomalee Whale Watching Trincomalee
Whale Watching – One of the best things to do in Trincomalee.

4. Koneswaram Temple

Ranked at #1 on TripAdvisor’s best things to do in Trincomalee list, you have to visit Koneswaram Temple.

The temple is a modern classical-medieval style Hindu temple, situated on a hill close to the water, and looks out towards the mountains in the distance.

This temple holds a lot of history, dating back to approximately 200BC, and is dedicated to the Hindu God Shiva.

With a giant statue of Shiva as it’s centre piece, it’s certainly an epic structure and possibly the only temple we’ve visited on our travels that is situated on the edge of a cliff.

Within the grounds you can find deers and peacock casually moving along with the tourists.

Plus there are plenty of street vendors along the way if you want to grab a quick bite to eat or purchase souvenirs.

Shiva Koneswaram Temple Trincomalee Best Things To Do In Trincomalee
The giant Shiva looking out over Koneswaram Temple in Trincomalee.
Koneswaram Temple Trincomalee Best Things To Do In Trincomalee
Lauren exploring the decorations around the temple.

5. Pathrakali Amman Temple

Before arriving, we’d only ever seen one photo of Trincomalee, and that photo was of Pathrakali Amman Temple.

So for a personal tick on our Sri Lanka bucket list, we were desperate to find this beautiful spot and grab some tourist photos.

Dedicated to the Goddess Bhadrakali, or Kali for short, Pathrakali Amman Temple is an extremely colourful complex of buildings.

With attractive statues and paintings scattered around the outside, the same can be found flowing all over the walls and also inside onto the ceilings.

Pathrakali Amman Temple is free to visit, and you can watch devotees pray for their needs by breaking coconuts in front of the temple.

At 11:30am they have prayers, and even non-Hindus are very welcome to join. You will be blessed with dots on your forehead, and  it’s certainly a remarkable experience you will never forget.

In our opinion one of the best things to do in Trincomalee!

Sri Pathrakali Amman Kovil Temple Trincomalee Sri Lanka
The extremely colourful Pathrakali Amman Temple.

6. Eat Local

The food is one of the largest parts of Sri Lankan culture, so save some space on your things to do in Trincomalee list to get fully immersed into the local delicacies.

The most common Sri Lankan street food’s are hoppers, vadai, and kothu. All of which we ate way too much of!

A go to for us though, was a typical Sri Lankan vegetable curry. Usually served with a mixture of rice, pumpkin or root vegetables, popadoms and pol sambol.

When searching for local spots to eat at, we usually look for the busiest places. That way you know the food you’re getting is fresh, and the Sri Lankans personally approve of it!

Wherever you choose to eat, be sure to try something local, and we’re sure you’ll finish off your time in Trincomalee fully satisfied.

Sri Lankan Food Sri Lanka Curry Best Things To Do In Trincomalee
A typical Sri Lankan curry – eating is one of the best things to do in Trincomalee!

Where To Stay In Trincomalee

Luxury

Amaranthe Bay Resort & Spa

Offering an outdoor swimming pool and a spa and wellness centre, Amaranthe Bay Resort & Spa is located just 3.1 miles north of Trincomalee town.

The well-appointed accommodation provides guests with a flat-screen satellite TV, minibar and seating area with sofa.

Featuring a spa bath, the private bathrooms also come with a shower and hairdryer. You can enjoy lake and pool view from the balcony.

Free WiFi access is available in the resort. There is also a restaurant that serves international and local cuisine.

Guests can enjoy refreshing alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages at the bar by the pool.

Mid-Budget

Relax Inn

Situated within 450 yards of Uppuveli beach, Relax Inn offers rooms with air conditioning and private bathrooms in Trincomalee.

Among the facilities at this property are room service and a tour desk, along with free WiFi throughout.

The accommodation features a 24-hour front desk, a shared kitchen and currency exchange for guests. The inn offers a continental or buffet breakfast. 

The area is popular for cycling, and bike hire and car hire are available at Relax Inn. 

Fort Frederick is 4.3 miles from the accommodation, while Koneswaram Temple is also 4.3 miles from the property.

Budget

Walkers Hostel

Situated in Trincomalee, 200 yards from Uppuveli beach, Walkers Hostel features accommodation with a shared lounge, free private parking, a garden and a terrace.

Among the facilities at this property are room service and an ATM, along with free WiFi throughout.

At the hostel rooms have a desk and a private bathroom. Walkers Hostel also offers an American or Asian breakfast.

For more places to stay in Trincomalee, you can check the latest prices on Booking.com.

Planning Your Trip

Book Your Flight

Use Skyscanner to find a cheap flight. 

They search websites and airlines around the globe to find you the best possible routes and prices.

Book Your Accommodation

Use Booking.com to find the best accommodation deals.

They consistently return the cheapest rates on everything from guesthouses to hotels for all of your budget needs.

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance

Use SafetyWing to find the best travel insurance for you.

They provide travel and medical incident insurance built specifically for digital nomads.

Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations.

Book Your Tours & Activities

Use GetYourGuide to book your activities in advance.

They sell the best tours, excursions and activities to attractions around the world.

Conveniently book, download and access your tickets on the move all from your mobile. 

Book Your Rental Car

Use RentalCars.com to find the best deals on rental cars in the area.

They compare all major car rental companies and allow you to easily book the perfect vehicle for your trip.

Buy Those Last Minute Bits

Use Amazon to buy everything you need for your adventure.

They offer next day delivery and you can use my travel packing checklist to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything.


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6 Best Things To Do In Trincomalee