Holidays in Trincomalee – is it worth going to the east of Sri Lanka?

Trincomalee (Sri Lanka), or simply Trinco, is one of the most exotic and picturesque places in the country. The city is located 256 km from Colombo in a deep bay. Many legendary travelers have visited here – Marco Polo, Claudius Ptolemy, Admiral Nelson. The latter described the bay as a great place and convenient for shipping. Already in the XII century, the bay was a significant seaport, which provided communication between the island and the outside world. Today it is a calm resort where people go to enjoy the pristine nature and local color.

Holidays in Trincomalee

general information

Trincomalee is the administrative center of the eastern province of the island and one of the main ports of Sri Lanka. Located 10 hours drive from Colombo Airport and 180 km from Jaffna. Today, almost 100 thousand people live here. The settlement is located on a peninsula that separates two ports – external and internal.

The bay is so large that it can accept ships of any size. It is the fifth largest natural port in the world. This is not the noisiest resort in Sri Lanka. If you want to dance and have fun, it’s better to choose a resort in the western part of the island, for example, go to Hikkaduwa – a settlement with the most developed tourist infrastructure .

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How to get there

How to get from Colombo to Trincomalee by train
On a train from Colombo to Trincomalee

At the box office of the train station they sell a ticket of three classes. If you want to travel comfortably in class 1, you need to buy tickets in 4-5 days, because they are taken apart.

  • Grade 3 – static seats, the situation does not change, there are no air conditioners, the fare is about 300 LKR;
  • 2nd class – the seats recline slightly, there are no air conditioners, the ticket price is about 460 LKR;
  • Grade 1 – full beds, there are air conditioners, the cost of a travel document is 700 LKR.
  • Be sure to familiarize yourself with the train schedule in advance, this can be done on the official website ( or using the special application for your smartphone.

Advice! The train to Trincomalee from Colombo takes about 8-9 hours, so it is better not to buy tickets to the third class.

From Colombo by bus
Bus number 49 to Trikomali

Direct bus number 49 follows from Colombo to Trikomali, departing from the bus station (located near the railway station). The road takes from 8 to 10 hours. A ticket costs about 293 rupees.

The bus leaves once an hour, the first flight at about 5 in the morning, and the last at 17-00. The schedule may change, check before traveling on the website

Bus schedule Colombo Trincomalee

It is important! Tickets are sold on the bus. Near the bus station you can try to find commercial, comfortable buses.

The prices and the schedule of transport indicated on the page are relevant for January 2018.

By plane to Trincomalee from Colombo

Flights follow several times a week from Ratmalan Airport. All international flights are accepted by the main airport in Colombo – Bandaranaike. You can get from one airport to another by taxi.

Colombo Bandaranaike International Airport

Advice! Several airlines make flights to Trincomalee from the main airport, so after arriving in Colombo, take an interest in such a flight.


Renting a taxi from the main airport in Colombo will cost approximately 20-25 thousand rupees. The cost of the trip depends on the car.

It is important! You can get to Trincomalee from Colombo by car in 5-7 hours, depending on the time of day. Taxis can be ordered in advance, you will have to overpay for the service, but the driver is guaranteed to be waiting for you at the airport.

How to get to Trincomalee from other cities of Sri Lanka
Bus to Trincomalee
  • Buses leave Kandy every hour, the journey takes about 4 hours, you cannot buy a ticket in advance.
  • From Sigiriya or the city ​​of Dambula , bus number 49 – Colombo – Trincomalee follows. The road takes 3 hours, tickets are bought directly at the bus station, they are not sold in advance.
  • Buses run from Batikaloa every half hour. Tickets also need to be bought at the bus station; they cannot be purchased in advance.

Advice! Near Batikaloa there is a small resort Pasikuda or Calcuda. Be sure to visit its beaches if possible.

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What to see and do

If you are interested in a luxurious vacation and comfort is of particular importance, Trincomalee is unlikely to interest you. People come here calmly to lie on the beach, swim with a mask, visit one of the national reserves of the country and the ruins of ancient buildings, as well as do yoga.

Fort Frederick
Fort Frederick

Built in the 17th century by the Portuguese, today this once majestic and reliable fortress has become a landmark of Trincomalee. A military garrison has been preserved on the territory of the fortress; excursions are conducted here. In general, the fort gives the impression of an abandoned and forgotten building. Tourists are impressed by the wild peacocks, imposingly strolling nearby.

Hindu Temple Koneswaram
Hindu Temple Koneswaram

The temple, dedicated to the deity Shiva, is located on the territory of the fort, they look after it much better than the fortress.

  • Free admission.
  • Women need to have clothes covering their knees. If not, the robe will be given at the entrance.
  • All visitors take off their shoes before visiting the temple.
Buddhist monastery Velgam Vihara
Velgam Vihara Ruins

More precisely, not a monastery, but its ruins. This is the oldest building in all of Sri Lanka. There is a special pacifying atmosphere. You are surrounded by antiquities, among which you can freely walk without feeling the onslaught of crowds of tourists. The most impressive attraction is the full-length Buddha statue.

  • The entrance is free.
  • You can get from the city in just 20 minutes.
In the port of Trincomalee

Be prepared for the fact that they will require money from you for entry, but there is no such rule, and tourists are not given tickets. Therefore, boldly uphold your rights.

The most interesting thing in the port is the real ship cemetery, which produces a rather eerie and depressing impression.

Pigeon Island

Today Pigeon or Pigeon Island is a national park. Here lives a rare breed of pigeons – a gray pigeon. In addition, the island has unique species of coral and exotic species of fish, sharks and sea turtles swim.

Top view of the island of Pigeon

It is shallow off the coast of Pigeon, which is why there are excellent conditions for swimming with a mask. You can get to the island by buying an excursion on one of the beaches or in any hotel. The cost of the tour will cost an average of 4500 rupees per person. The price includes rental equipment for snorkeling.

  • It is best to go to the island early in the morning, while it is still not hot on weekdays, when there are fewer people.
  • Do not forget to take cream and drinking water.
  • There is no place to eat here, so it’s better to take food with you too.
Kanniyai Hot Springs

These are seven hot springs. On the Internet, the place is quite advertised, but get ready for the fact that you can’t lie down and relax. In fact, 7 sources are wells from which you need to draw water and pour it onto yourself.

Catholic cemeteries

An interesting attraction, in the cemeteries there are ancient graves with bizarre monuments.

Jungle Safari

In just a couple of hours you will see wild peacocks, wild boars, deer and buffaloes in their natural habitat – the jungle.

Jungle Safari

Yoga classes are held right on the beach near the hotels and in the city.

Photos with deer

In the hottest time of the day, animals are saved in the jungle, but from 16-00 they can be found near the bus station, here deer are looking for food.

Deer near the bus station

Deer can be found right on the streets of the city, they are used to people, and take food from their hands. The most favorite treat is bananas.

It is important! There is surfing in Trincomalee, but real windsurfers will authoritatively say that there are no real waves here.

Whale and dolphin watching
Dolphin Watching Tour

A favorite activity of tourists is to watch whales and dolphins, which are quite likely off the coast of Sri Lanka. Scientists have recorded 26 species of whales that swim all year round in the warm waters of the Indian Ocean off the coast of the island. In addition, whales annually pass by the island, which annually migrate from the Arabian Sea to the Bay of Bengal.

Sea inhabitants travel along the entire coast depending on the time of the year – in winter, sea inhabitants gather at the western part of Sri Lanka, and in summer – at the eastern.

Whale watching

Excursions for those who want to see whales are conducted in the open ocean. Of course, this is possible only in fine weather. Boats leave the port at about 7-00, the duration of the excursion is from 3 to 5 hours. The ticket price varies from 10 to 15 thousand Sri Lankan rupees and is determined by the class of the vessel. The payment, as a rule, includes drinking water, compulsory insurance and one-time meals.

Advice! Some companies return part of the money if during the trip it was not possible to see whales or dolphins. This clause must be agreed upon prior to travel. Be sure to bring sunglasses and UV protection cream with you.


Trincomalee beaches are, of course, one of the main reasons to visit Sri Lanka. Tourists are attracted by wide strips of clean, fine sand, equally clear water and colorful underwater fauna. If you prefer a relaxing, traditional beach holiday, come to Trincomalee.

Marble beach
Marble beach

A small, comfortable beach, fairly clean. The only thing that can overshadow the vacation – many locals, especially on weekends. On the shore there are sun loungers, umbrellas, showers and cabins. The beach is divided into two parts – public and VIP area. Tourists prefer to relax on the more well-groomed and less crowded part of the VIP.


This is a beach located 4 km from the center of Trincomalee. The coast is clean, the infrastructure is quite level, cafes and shops are working.

Uppuveli Beach

Water in Uppuveli warms up well (up to 29 ° C). It’s nice to walk along the shore – a wide strip of golden sand is regularly cleaned.

The bus stop “Uppuveli beach” is indicated on the city map, if you go out here and walk to the shore, you will find yourself on a crowded, well-equipped shore with everything you need for a beach holiday. The farther you go to the right from the bus stop, the fewer vacationers and more local color — fishing boats and city dwellers.

If you are interested in outdoor activities, go left. There are diving centers, volleyball courts and cafes.

Fernando`s Bar in Trincomalee
Fernando`s Bar

Meals can be enjoyed on the beach at Fernando`s Bar. Many travelers note affordable prices, pleasant music and a friendly atmosphere.


Located 12 km from Trincomalee. This is a sandy beach covered with the finest, white sand. It is Nilaweli that is considered the best beach in Trincomalee, despite the fact that the infrastructure is still developing here.

Nilaveli Beach

On weekends, it is quite noisy and crowded, on weekdays there are almost no tourists. The sand is clean, shells and stones are absent. There are few hotels, if we talk about budget options, there are not more than ten of them.

Golden sand on Nilaweli beach

There is almost nowhere to eat here, on the shore there are only small shops where they sell only drinks.

Construction is underway, most likely, very soon this beach will become a favorite vacation spot in Sri Lanka.

Pigeon Island
On Pigeon Island

People come here from April to October, when the water is as clean as possible. At this time, it is best to go diving or snorkeling.

There is almost no civilization, since the island is a national park, the efforts of the city authorities are focused on the conservation of pristine nature.

If you want to merge with nature and enjoy the unique, exotic nature, come to the islet. The journey from the mainland by boat takes only a few minutes.

Relax on the beaches with children

All the beaches of eastern Sri Lanka are ideal for families with children. There is fine sand, clean water, the entrance to the water is gentle, there are almost no waves in the high season.

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How to get to the beaches

Trincomalee Bus Station
Bus station in Trincomalee
  • Buses from Trincomalee bus station leave every 20 minutes. You can get there from 7 to 20 minutes. Ticket price from 15 to 60 LKR.
  • On the bike. Renting a transport will cost approximately 1200 LKR per day. Advantages – police rarely stop European tourists, but you need to ride in a helmet.
  • Knock Knock. A ride on a tuk-tuk will cost 200-300 LKR. Feel free to bargain and bring down the price, most likely, at first they will ask you for a lot more.

It is important! There are no large supermarkets on the beaches; you can find only small shops with drinks and ice creams and cafes. Buy alcoholic beverages on the beaches does not work, you have to drive alcohol from Trincomalee.

See also: What you need to know about Sri Lanka – the main information about the state .

Climate and weather when it is better to go

Sunny weather in Trincomalee persists almost throughout the year. Rains happen, but infrequently and quickly end. However, travel agencies emit high (dry) and low (rainy) seasons.

Weather in Trincomalee

The high season in eastern Sri Lanka begins in March and lasts until the end of summer. At this time there is no wind, draft and high waves – ideal conditions for relaxing on the beach.

The low season begins in September and lasts until the beginning of spring. At the very beginning of the season, the weather can be neglected, it gives a special flavor, but in November and December the weather becomes unsuitable for a beach holiday – strong monsoons, heavy rains, high waves.

Advice! If you want to celebrate the New Year according to local customs, come to the city in April. The exact date is annually determined by local astrologers.

Undoubtedly, Trincomalee (Sri Lanka) belongs to exotic resorts. The city will surely appeal to those who love the pristine nature, silence, tranquility and want to forget about the noisy metropolis for a while.

A lot of good news about Trincomalee, watch the video.

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