Trincomalee, often just called Trinco, is a city in North Eastern Sri Lanka. There are nice beaches in the nearby Uppuveli (6 km) and Nilaveli (12 km) north of the city. The city saw a lot of fighting during the war but has recently been moving beyond that, quickly growing into an interesting tourist location with decent beaches and sights.
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 Rs 150-200 to get here.
The Train station is about 1 km North of town. Even though the train is an option, the bus is probably faster due to straight and flat roads (no mountains).
Trincomalee is a very compact town so walking is a suitable way to see the town. For longer trips tuk-tuks (i.e. three-wheeler, rickshaws) are available at nearly every corner. To go to Uppuveli (Rs 20) or Nilaveli (Rs 40) catch a bus from the bus station.
Fort Fredrick is an old Dutch fort located on a peninsula east of the town center. 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 6 km north of the town and is a wonderful nearly pristine beach.
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, 1 km 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 Rs 2000-3000 to get there.
Some interesting Temples can be found in Trincomalee, one close to the bus station along Dockyard Rd. before the cemetery, and one on the inner harbor side along Custom Rd. parallel to Post Office Rd. The latter temple is famous for its giant phallus symbol.
A snorkeling 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 USD 30 (return). You can see the abundant sea life - sadly the coral is not respected much by the locals. The snorkeling should be done with great caution as some areas here are very deep, up to a thousand meters in depth.
There is also dolphin and whale watching available from most of the guest houses on Uppuveli beach.
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 center on the beach.
The Gem Hotel (3 km north of town at the Uppuveli Rd. and N Coast Rd. junction) and Gem Family Restaurant (less than 1 km north of Gem Hotel) serve huge portions of nice and loud Khottu Rotti for about Rs 250.
Probably you don't want to stay in Trincomalee itself but head north to the beaches, due to the limited amount of choices in the city. 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.
There are also an increasingly large number of guest houses south of Fort Fredrick along the beach. Once again shop around as prices vary greatly.
Sun Flower, 154 Post Office Rd., ☎ 222 7078. Probably the best option to stay in Trincomalee, located on the inner harbor side to the west of town.Rs 1200-2500.
Nilaveli Beach Hotel, . Great hotel nestled right in front of Nilaveli beach.
Pigeon Island Beach Resort, 11th Milepost, Nilaveli, ☎ +94 26 49 20 633, . It offers 36 rooms (A/C and non A/C), all of which have Internet, pipe music and satellite TV facilities as further entertainment. Some of its amenities include yoga center and spa and fitness center for adults, and play room, reading corner, and a secure outdoor playground for children.Best rates on official website start at USD 68.
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.
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 and Anuradhapura to the east, as well as Batticaloa to the south. There are even frequent buses to Jaffna in the north. It costs about Rs 200 to get to Dambulla or Batticaloa and takes 4-5 hours.
The Train station is about 1 km North of town. Even though the train is an option going east, the bus is probably faster due to straight and flat roads here.