What to do in Trincomalee

Trincomalee is the capital city of Eastern Sri Lanka and one of the nation’s major port cities. With a stunning natural deep-water harbor, its location at the mouth of the Mahaweli Ganga, the longest river in Sri Lanka, makes it a great destination for those wanting an outdoor adventure. Home to over 99,000 people of many cultural and religious backgrounds, Trincomalee has a written history dating back to the 5th century BC and was occupied by Colonial Powers such as the Dutch and French due to its ideally located naval base. In fact, during both World Wars I and II, Trinco was the naval headquarters for the Allied Powers for the whole Southeast Asia and Far East Asia command. Trinco’s historical and cultural richness is represented through the Hindus, Buddhists, Tamils, and Muslims that call this diverse city home. Sacred Hindu and Buddhist temples and shrines dot the district, inspiring pilgrimages to these ancient sites.

Sunny Trinco, with its popular, tranquil white sand beaches of Nilaveli and Uppuveli has an abundance of sights to explore and activities to partake in during your trip to the East. A major highlight of this city is its exceptional dolphin and whale-watching opportunities. Sperm whales, blue whales, and spring dolphins can be spotted off of the city’s eastern coast, typically from March to September. In addition, Oceanographers have dubbed Swami Rock the best vantage point for blue whale spotting. Other must-try water activities include surfing, coral reef and shipwreck dives. Sail Lanka Charter is a company that offers great sailing trip experiences such as a relaxing 3-hour cruise along the coast, with opportunities to snorkel, swim, and canoe when it anchors. Make sure to put these adventures on your list of what to do in Trincomalee!

Fort Fredrick, located just outside of Trincomalee, was built by the Portuguese in 1624, only to be captured by the Dutch, British, and French throughout the following centuries. This fort, currently maintained by the Sri Lankan military, houses artillery guns used during the world wars and is surrounded by lush green landscape and wildlife such as birds and deer. You can also find the sacred Hindu Koneswaram Temple and famous lovers’ leap nearby, which is a rock with a startling drop into the sea and surrounded by romantic, tragic stories of lovers from the past.

If you’re wondering where to eat in Trincomalee, pay a visit to the Dutch Bank Café. Located in the heart of the city with a view of the famous harbor and a rooftop perfect for taking in the sights, this restaurant opened in 2013 and is already thriving. The Dutch Bank Café has made a name for itself with its Sri Lankan cuisine as well as its delicious mix of western, Chinese, Indonesian, and Thai dishes, featuring locally-caught seafood.

the best travel advice comes from the people who live here
Marielle Septien