Trincomalee, often just called Trinco, is a city in North Eastern Sri Lanka. The city saw a lot of fighting during the civil war but has recently been moving beyond that, quickly growing into an interesting tourist location with decent beaches and sights. Trinco is famous for its nice beaches in the nearby Uppuveli (6km) and Nilaveli (12km) north of the city.
The Bus Station is located directly in town across the street from the clock tower and the market. The main cities serving Trincomalee are Dambulla and Anuradhapura to the east, as well as Batticaloa to the south. There are even frequent buses from Jaffna in the north. From Dambulla or Batticaloa it costs about LKR150-200 to get here.
The Train station is about 1km North of town. Even though the train is an option, the bus is probably faster due to straight and flat roads (no mountains).
An Airbase is located about 7km south west of the town. The Sri Lankan Air Force operates commercial flights from Colombo (Ratmalana) to Trincomalee (China Bay), there are also private seaplane operators flying the Colombo- Trincomalee route.
Trincomalee is a very compact town so walking is a suitable way to see the town. For longer trips tuk-tuks (ie three-wheeler rickshaws) are available at nearly every corner. To go to Uppuveli (LKR20) or Nilaveli (LKR40) catch a bus from the bus station in town.
Fort Fredrick is an old Dutch fort located on a peninsula east of the town centre. It still has a strong military presence from the war - the whole peninsula is basically a military base - but it is quite friendly and a nice place to explore. There is a nice Hindu temple atop the cliff at the end of the peninsula with spectacular views.
Uppuveli beach is about 6km north of the town and is a wonderful nearly pristine beach. To reach the beach take the bus north and get of at the church on the west side of the road 5-6km north of Trincomalee (watch the Kilometre Posts along the road). Directly after the church there is a side road leading directly to the beach along which there are already some hotels.
Nilaveli, slightly farther north, is similar to Uppuveli but less crowded. There is a big military base right in the middle of Nilaveli, but the nice beaches make up for it.
Pigeon Island national park, 1km offshore, can be reached with local tour operators (just ask your hotel or guest house) and is preferred for its white sand, rock pigeon breeding grounds and shark sights. It should be about LKR2000-3000 for the boat, National Park entrance, processing fee and VAT.
Some interesting Temples can be found in Trincomalee, one close to the bus station on Dockyard Rd before the cemetery, and one on the inner harbor side along Custom Rd parallel to Post Office Rd (Kachcheri Rd). The latter temple is famous for its giant phallus symbol.
Deer are a very distinct and local attraction in Trincomalee. They were brought in by Europeans and are visible everywhere on the Fort peninsula and close to the bus station.
Arumbugal Foundation (Arumbugal.email@example.com), ☎ +94 773 174 692. Arumbugal is an organization that employs people with disabilities. These people make handicrafts that are sold onsite and in some gift shops around Sri Lanka. Their mission is to provide a livelihood and stability for people with disabilities. It is a very enriching experience to visit the foundation and see and meet these people. Highly recommend stopping by to see. Give Mr. Krishnaa a call to arrange a time +94 773 174 692. St. Antonys Lane, Selvanayagapuram, Trincomalee, Sri Lanka edit
A snorkelling trip to Pigeon Island is an interesting way of spending time in Trincomalee. There are local boats that will take you to this island for a fee of about USD30 (return). You can see the abundant sea life - sadly the coral is not respected much by the locals. The snorkelling should be done with great caution as some areas here are very deep, up to a thousand metres in depth.
There is also dolphin and whale watching available from most of the guest houses on Uppuveli beach.
Diving, Uppuveli, Nilaveli. Several dive centres in Uppuveli and Nilaveli can arrange diving tours, PADI dive courses, and they also provide water sports gear. Diving season here is around Mai to October (according to the weather). Great diving around Dutch Bay, underwater walls and caves.edit
Most guest houses and hotels will offer to prepare meals for you.
There is an overpriced North Indian food restaurant at Green Park Beach Hotel to the south of the city centre on the beach.
The Gem Hotel (3km north of town at the Uppuveli Rd and N Coast Rd junction) and Gem Family Restaurant (less than 1km north of Gem Hotel) serve huge portions of nice and loud Khottu Rotti for about LKR250.
Homestay JohnAnthony, 16 Green Road (See the Sleep section for directions), ☎ +94 776 952 779. Local food, local price, friendly family. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. They also have cheap beer and ice creams, fresh drinks, rolls, samosas, coffee, tea, etc.Lunch/dinner LKR100-150. edit
You can choose to stay out of town in some more quiet and relax places where you can really enjoy the tropical beaches; In Uppuveli and Nilaveli just walk along the beach and choose the guest house or hotel that fits you best. Shop around as the prices vary greatly.
If you want to stay in Trincomalee itself, you'll find an increasingly large number of guest houses south of Fort Fredrick along the beach. Once again shop around as prices vary greatly.
A few hotels and guesthouses are situated on Post Office Road and Green Road (just past the cemetery when you are coming from the bus station, 10-15 minutes walk).
Sun Flower, 154 Post Office Rd (Kachcheri Rd), Trincomalee, ☎ 222 7078. A good option to stay in Trincomalee, located on the inner harbour side to the west of town. (October 2014)LKR1200-2500. edit
Sunshine Hotel, Green Road, Trincomalee. checkout: 12:00. A nice and clean hotel in Trincomalee with a wide choice of rooms and prices (AC/fan), starting at LKR1200 for a single en suite room non air-con. Free Wi-Fi. (October 2014)LKR1200-2500+. edit
Homestay JohnAnthony, 16 Green Rd (From the outside it just looks like a little grocery-shop. Get inside and ask for John Anthony. It is very easy to get there from the bus station : When you exit the bus station, head left on Dockyard Road, you'll pass the Hindu temple on your right, the street market on your left, then the cemetery on your right, then straight at the end of the cemetery you turn right, now you are on Green Road, just walk another 30-40 meters, you'll see the shop on the right side of the street. It takes about 10 minutes (walking) from the bus station.), ☎ (+94)776952779. They also have a little restaurant, selling local food. Snorkelling gear for hire. Well situated in the centre of Trincomalee, 10min walk from the bus station, 300 meters from the main beach (Dutch Bay), close to the market and Hindu temple. Free Wi-Fi. (October 2014)LKR700 (1-2 people). edit
Nilaveli Beach Hotel, . Great hotel nestled right in front of Nilaveli beach.edit
Pigeon Island Beach Resort, 11th Milepost, Nilaveli, ☎ +94 26 49 20 633, . It offers 36 rooms (both air-con and fan), all of which have Internet, piped music and satellite TV facilities as further entertainment. Yoga centre, spa and fitness centre for adults, play room, reading corner and a secure outdoor playground for children.Best rates on official website start at USD68. edit
Chaaya Blu Resort, . Fabulous resort hotel, situated just north of Trincomalee at Uppaveli village, a walk along the beach from Trincomalee. Great rooms on the ground floor with a simple walk out onto the beach and a great variety of food in the restaurant.edit
The Residence (The Residence Nilaveli), Nilaveli Beach, Trincomalee, Sri Lanka (just off Pulmoddai Road, Nilaveli Beach), ☎ +94 765 404 846, . checkin: flexable; checkout: flexible. Situated a stone’s throw away from the infamous Nilaveli Beach right in the middle of the peninsula between the ocean and the lagoon, for years Nilaveli has been considered one of Sri Lanka’s most perfect beaches. It certainly has that feeling of paradise-island remoteness, with plenty of bending palms swaying over the golden sand. Owing to Sri Lanka's volatile past, this beach and the area is relatively untouched and mostly yet undiscovered making it even more attractive to exploring travellers and those who truly wish to get away from the madding crowds for an abundant dose of relaxation, sun and mesmerising sights at every turn. USD16-27. edit
The Bus Station is located directly in town across the street from the clock tower and the market. The main cities served from here are Dambulla, Anuradhapura and Kandy to the west, as well as Batticaloa to the south. There are even frequent buses to Jaffna in the north. It costs about LKR200 to get to Dambulla or Batticaloa and takes 4-5 hours.
The Train station is about 1km North of town. Even though the train is an option going east, the bus is probably faster due to straight and flat roads here.