Beach side living amidst local communities

Negombo is vibrant coastal town close to the Bandaranaike International Airport. It is the second largest city in the Western province after Colombo (situated approximately 35 km north of Colombo). It is well known for its fisheries, cathedrals, market places, eateries and beach stip. It is a renowned tourist attraction owing to these reasons.

The name “Negombo” was first used by the Portuguese. The Sinhala name for Negombo, “M?gamuva” means cluster of bees. According to popular folktale, it is believed that a swarm of bees settled on a boat, and the place was named where the boat was pulled ashore.

Around the seventh and eighth centuries, the Arabs (Moors) who dominated the East-West trade routes, settled in Negombo and started trading in cinnamon. In the early 1500s the Portuguese seized the coastal areas as well as the cinnamon trade from the Moors and built a fort for protection. The Dutch managed to overthrow the Portuguese in 1644 and improved the fort and developed the town further. The British gained the town in 1796.

Many local Karavas converted to Catholicism during the Portuguese rule. As a result, the majority in Negombo and surrounding coastal areas are now Catholics. Negombo possesses an old world charm with many Portuguese-era Catholic churches and forts. It is fondly nicknamed ‘little Rome’ due to the numerous Catholic churches and Roman Catholic residents.The affable natives are well accustomed to visitors, so one does not have to worry about being gawked at constantly.

Attractions in Negombo

If you are ever in Negombo it would be inexcusable not to visit the following attractions.

The Main Fish Market

The Negombo Fish Market (Fishing Village) also known as the “Lellama” by the locals is located across the lagoon bridge, near the Old Dutch Gate. The large open air fish market is the second largest in the country. You will witness fishermen in hundreds of boats bringing in their days catch. The best time to visit the fish market is at dawn, around 6:00 am to really understand the magnitude of the operation. The abundance of seafood is awe inspiring. The Negombo fish market is not for the faint-hearted since it is a slippery and smelly affair but is well worth the effort. Some folks even offer tours of the market, just be sure to approach the genuine ones.

The Dutch Canal

A canal created right in the midst of the city’s lagoon, the Dutch canal is one of the most picturesque landmarks of Negombo. As per history, the canal is a creation of the Portuguese in the 17th century, after which the Dutch made some modifications and used it as a supply route during their administration. The canal is still being used. It runs across the town and is hundred kilometers long. A visitor can take a tour of the canal through a boat or a bicycle ride. To get the most of this Negombo attraction sign up for a canal or river tour which further enlightens various features of this very alluring attraction. Most of the tour guides speak English, so communication is not an obstacle.

The Muthurajawela Marsh

Known as the ‘Swamp of Royal Treasure’, Muthurajawela borders the Negombo Lagoon to the south and Kelani River to the north. The one and a half hour boat ride takes you along the Dutch Canal, through the marsh onto the lagoon. Along the way you will be able to capture images of water monitors, crocodiles, monkeys and a host of other fish, reptiles, birds and small mammals. The marsh houses a large variety of flora and fauna. About 192 flora and 209 fauna, excluding 102 species of birds have been discovered. It is also a residence for 40 different species of fish. The Muthurajawela marsh was declared sanctuary by the government in 1996 due to its vast biodiversity. Visitors are assisted by the Muthurajawela marsh centre. The centre educates people about the importance of Muthurajawela. The staff at Muthurajawela marsh centre is available every day except Monday; from 7.00 a.m to 6.00 p.m.  A boat ride service is provided for visitors to travel through the marsh and lagoon. The center offers well-trained guides. You will not only be able to travel on water, but even walk on the land and view the natural greenery. Early mornings or evenings are the best times to view, Muthurajawela. Late mornings and afternoons should be avoided due to the harsh tropical sun.

The Angurukaramulla Temple

Located east of the town centre (near Harishchandra College), the Angurukaramulla Temple, with its 6m-long reclining Buddha statue is worth seeing. Three-wheelers are the most popular mode of transportation. You are greeted by a very characteristic dragon face at the entrance, only to intrigue you further in the temple’s insights. The interiors are also notable of ancient murals. To make things further interesting, there is also a three-hundred-year-old library concealed in thick moss here. In case you are interested in the kings of Sri Lanka from a bygone era, you will get a lot of information about them at this temple.

St. Mary’s Church

St. Mary’s Church is one of the larger cathedrals in Sri Lanka. Considering that the majority of the town’s population is Roman Catholic it comes as no surprise that it is quite an important building in the city. The architecture is majestic. The fading pink chamber of St Mary’s Church, in the town centre, has some astonishing religious ceiling paintings covering the nave. It is known as “Mahaweediya Palliya” in the Sinhala language and is quite easy to locate.

The Old Dutch Fort

This is a structure that goes back to Sri Lanka’s colonial days when the nation was once under the rule of the Portuguese and then the Dutch. The city was encircled by an earth wall. Eventually , he landmass on which the Old Dutch Fort Gate was constructed was regularly washed by the sea. Close to the seafront near the lagoon mouth are the ruins of the old Dutch fort, which has a fine gateway inscribed with the date 1678. The Dutch Fort is now part of the local prison. You can easily walk from the Negombo bus station or hotel area to reach the fort.

Negombo Beach

Even though it doesn’t match up to the splendor of most Sri Lankan beaches, Negombo’s beach, which stretches north from the town right along the hotel strip is quite pleasant enough for a good stroll. The best time to visit this beach would be either early morning or evenings. If you visit in the mornings, you are likely to see some fishermen at work. While this is great sight to experience, it also makes for a brilliant photo opportunity. The beach is dotted with several hotels. You can rent a chair for a minimal fee.

The coolest Part of Sri Lanka .

Nuwara-Eliya is a city in the hill country of the Central Province, Sri Lanka with a picturesque landscape and temperate climate. It is at an altitude of 1,868 m (6,128 ft) and is considered to be the most important location for tea production in Sri Lanka. The city is overlooked by Pidurutalagala, the tallest mountain in Sri Lanka.

The city was founded by Samuel Baker, the discoverer of Lake Albert and the explorer of the Nile in 1846. Nuwara Eliya’s climate lent itself to becoming the prime sanctuary of the British civil servants and planters in Ceylon. Nuwara-Eliya, called Little England, was a hill country retreat where the British colonialists could immerse in their pastimes such as fox hunting, deer hunting, elephant hunting, polo, golf and cricket.

Many of the buildings retain features from the colonial period such as the Queen’s Cottage, General’s House, Grand Hotel, Hill Club, St Andrew’s Hotel and Town Post Office. New hotels are often built and furnished in the colonial style. Many private homes maintain their old English-style lawns and gardens.

Due to its highland location, Nuwara-Eliya has a subtropical highland climate, having no pronounced dry season, a monsoon-like cloudy season and with a mean annual temperature of 16 °C (61 °F). In the winter months, there can be frost at night, but it warms up rapidly during the day because of the high sun angle.

The town really comes alive in April for the Sinhalese and Tamil New Year. It is difficult to find accommodation as Sri Lankans holiday in the region during this period. Main attractions during April include motor and horse racing events. Parties are held nightly in the hotels, and the season culminates in the nine furlong (1811 m) Governor’s Cup at the Nuwara-Eliya Racecourse, Golf Tournaments at the Nuwara-Eliya Golf Club, and the flower show at the end of the month.

The town’s attractions include the golf course, trout streams, Victoria Park, and boating or fishing on Lake Gregory. Victoria Park is an attractive and well-used oasis. It is popular with birdwatchers at quieter times because of the good opportunities for seeing species, particularly the Indian blue robin, pied thrush or scaly thrush lurking in the denser undergrowth. The Kashmir flycatcher is another attractive bird species in the park.

Galway’s Land Bird Sanctuary, close to Lake Gregory, is an area of montane forest a few kilometers east of the town. Covering an area of 0.6 km2 it is home to many bird and mammal species endemic to Sri-Lanka, including wild boar and barking deer.

The city is a base for visits to Horton Plains National Park. This is a key wildlife area of open grassy woodland. Species found here include the leopard, sambar, and the endemic purple-faced langur. Endemic highland birds include the dull-blue flycatcher, Sri Lanka white-eye, and yellow-eared bulbul. The plains have a well-visited tourist attraction at World’s End — a sheer precipice with a 1050 m drop. The return walk passes the scenic Baker’s Falls. Early morning visits are best, both to see the wildlife and to view World’s End before mists close in during the later part of the morning.

One of the distinctive features of Nuwara-Eliya’s countryside is the widespread growing of vegetables, fruit and flowers usually associated with temperate Europe. This “Little England” is covered with terraces growing potatoes, carrots, leeks, and roses, interspersed with tea bushes on the steeper slopes.

The slow-growing tea bushes of this highland region produce some of the world’s finest orange pekoe tea. Several tea factories around Nuwara-Eliya offer guided tours and the opportunity to sample or purchase their products. Enjoying High-tea at the Nuwara-Eliya Grand hotel is a delightful way to experience the many charms of this place.

‘Lover’s Leap’ is a spectacular waterfall set among tea plantation a short walk from the town of Nuwara Eliya. It falls a height of 30m in a long cascading sheet of water. It is said that it is named after a young couple who decided to be bound together forever by jumping off the cliff to their demise.

A gravestone of Major Thomas William Rogers, (the Government Agent for Badulla District) is in the corner of the golf grounds. He is infamous for having shot, at the very lowest estimate 1,400 wild elephants.Folklore in Nuwara-Eliya says that every year his gravestone is struck by lightning for his great sin. This place is not open for the visitors.

Another place related to folklore is the Hindu temple called Seetha Kovil (Hanuman Kovil). It is found on the way to Badulla from Nuwara-Eliya before reaching the Hakgala Botanical Garden. The temple is in the village called Seetha Eliya. The area is related to the Ramayana story in Hinduism. Folklore says that the mighty king Ravana kidnapped princess Seeta who was the queen of Rama and hid her where the temple now is.

There is a church called the Holy Trinity Church on Church Road, which accommodate an old graveyard. Most of the gravestones have British names on them. The best way to get to Nuwara-Eliya is by train. The nearest station however is 8km in Nanu-Oya. As part of our tours we organise the train ride for you and bring your luggage by car

Let’s go back in time

Modern day Polonnaruwa is made of two parts; Kaduruwela area is the Polonnaruwa New Town and the other part of Polonnaruwa remains as the royal ancient city of the Kingdom of Polonnaruwa.

The second most ancient of Sri Lanka’s kingdoms, Polonnaruwa was first declared the capital city by King Vijayabahu I, who defeated Chola invaders in 1070 to reunite the country once more under a local leader. The Ancient City of Polonnaruwa has been declared a World Heritage Site.

While Vijayabahu’s victory and shifting of Kingdoms to the more strategic Polonnaruwa is considered significant, the real “Hero of Polonnaruwa” of the history books is actually Parakramabahu I. It was his reign that is considered the Golden Age of Polonnaruwa. Trade and agriculture flourished under the patronage of the king, who was so adamant that no drop of water falling from the heavens was to be wasted and each was to be used toward the development of the land. Hence, irrigation systems that are far superior to those of the Anuradhapura Age were constructed during Parakramabahu’s reign – systems which to this day supply the water necessary for paddy cultivation during the scorching dry season in the east of the country. The greatest of these systems is the Parakrama Samudra or the Sea of Parakrama. The Kingdom of Polonnaruwa was completely self-sufficient during King Parakramabahu’s reign.

Today the ancient city of Polonnaruwa remains one of the best planned archaeological relic cities in the country, standing testimony to the discipline and greatness of the Kingdom’s first rulers. Its beauty was also used as a backdrop to filmed scenes for the Duran Duran music video Save a Prayer in 1982. Polonnaruwa is the second largest city in North Central Province, but it is known as one of the cleanest and more beautiful cities in the country.

Polonnaruwa is usually considered over Anuradhapura for day trips as most of its attractions are located within a smaller area. And it is best explored by bicycles. Our tours usually feature Polonnaruwa as a day trip from Sigiriya or Dambulla. The area also hosts a number of National parks so wildlife is plentiful. In fact the monkeys in the area were filmed for the critically acclaimed documentary, (Disney’s) Monkey Kingdom!

Key attractions in and around Polonnaruwa

  • Parakrama Samudraya (Lake)
  • Hatadage
  • Rankoth Vehera
  • Nissanka Latha Mandapaya
  • Gal Vihara
  • Shiva Devalaya
  • Kumara Pokuna
  • Watadage
  • Kiri Vehera
  • Gal Potha
  • Dalada Maluwa
  • Atadage
  • Demala Maha Seya
  • Pothugal Viharaya
  • Alahana Pirivena
  • Lankathilaka Vihara
  • Thivanka image house
  • Royal Palace
  • Bathing Pools

Untouched beaches for quiet reflection

Tangalle (also known as Tangalla) is a large town in Hambantota District, Southern Province, Sri Lanka. It is located 195 km (121 mi) south of Colombo and 35 km (22 mi) east of Matara. It has a mild climate, in comparison to the rest of the district, and sandy beaches. Also compared to beaches along the southern coast, the beaches in Tangalle and its surroundings are known to be quiet, relaxed and mostly uncrowded.

Tangalle is a regionally important fishing port, situated on one of the largest bays in Sri Lanka, which is protected from the ocean by an enclosing reef. It is a centre of tourism and a popular holiday destination on the south coast. In the town centre there is an old Dutch fort which is used as a prison today. The Dutch and subsequently the British used Tangalle as an important anchorage on the southern coast of the island. The Dutch Fort, Rest House and Court House are a few remaining examples of Dutch architecture in Tangalle.


The Mulkirigala Raja Maha Vihara is ( also known as Mulkirigala Rock Temple) 20 km (12 mi) north of the town. The temple is perched on a boulder approximately 200m (660 ft) high. According to ancient inscriptions carved on the rock, Mulkirigala dates back almost 2,000 years when it was a site of a Buddhist monastery. The temple complex consists of ancient murals, a recumbent Buddha statue, devalaya, and several cave temples all of which are found at different levels while ascending the peak of the rock. One of the caves houses a library in which, a most important discovery was made in 1826 by a British administrator, George Turnour, who found a number of olas (palm-leaf manuscripts) containing the key to translating the Mahavamsa, the ‘Great Chronicle of Sri Lanka’. Turnour’s discovery of the tika, or commentary, made it possible for the Mahavamsa to be translated from Pali first into English and then into Sinhala, this translation then enabled scholars to study the history of the island from 543BC to comparatively modern times.

The Parewella Natural Swimming Area, is located 0.9 km (0.56 mi) from Tangalle town center.

Hummanaya blowhole, is located 11.2 km (7.0 mi) north of the town in the fishing village of Kudawella. It is the only blowhole in Sri Lanka.

Kalametiya Bird Sanctuary is 24 km (15 miles) east of the town. The Kalametiya Bird Sanctuary was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1938, originally with 2,500 hectares but was abolished in 1946 due to the opposition by local residents. It was once again declared a sanctuary in 1984 but with a considerably reduced area. The Kalametiya Bird Sanctuary is an area of coastal lagoons and mangroves, which is rich in marine and home to four nationally threatened birds: Indian Reef Heron (Egretta gularis); Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus); Black-capped Purple Kingfisher (Halcyon pileata); Sri Lankan Junglefowl (Gallus lafayettii), as well as other birdlife and reptiles, a large number of which are nationally and globally threatened.

Turtle Watch Rekawa is 10 km (6.2 mi) east of the town. At the beach you can watch five species of marine turtles: Green turtles, Loggerhead turtles, Leatherback turtles, Olive Ridley turtles and Hawksbill turtles laying their eggs in the sand nests at night. The Turtle Conservation Project that conducts a `turtle watch’ programme, which protects the nesting sites until the hatchlings return to the ocean.

Two of Sri Lanka’s best beaches side by side

We consider Mirissa and Weligama as twin destinations. Although only a few kilometres apart, they offer a contrast of experiences. Mirissa offers great beaches, a splendid array of accommodation, restaurants and nightlife, Weligama wins for its surf-friendly beaches and village life setting. If you are heading down the coast from Colombo, you would first come across Weligama and you would immediately recognize it with its fishing boats bobbing in the waters and the waters that are full of surfers. A few minutes down the road is Mirissa.


What was once a small fishing village is now one of the island’s most well-known beach destinations. Mirissa can be accessed via train or through the Southern Expressway. If you select the latter, your closest stop will be the Matara town. From here you can hop on a bus or take a tuk-tuk for about Rs.500 to 750. Mirissa has grown so much in popularity, size, and the sheer number of activities available in such a short time. So it is a place with issues. There have been occasional harassment, unchecked development and other complications arising from over tourism. Thankfully these have also led to changes with the destruction of unauthorized properties, a backlash against the bad behaviour of a few and so on. Regardless of all this, Mirissa’s beautiful beaches still draw in thousands of visitors from around the world, every day. New Year celebrations in Mirissa have become massive with hundreds and thousands of revellers ringing in the New Year on the beach and having the best times of their lives.

Mirissa also boasts of a fishing port. You can take a walk there and meet with the local fisherfolk or watch them pull in their nets.

Mirissa is also a popular destination for those seeking to head out on a whale watching expedition. The waters off Mirissa (like Trincomalee and Kalpitiya) are home to numerous species of whales and dolphins. Foozoo Travel works with a selected group that has been taught the value and importance of respecting the whales, the dolphins and the wider habitat when going on a whale watching ride. We also offer an option to watch whales by air. Speak to us on more of this.

Mirissa also offers a wide spectrum of accommodation to choose from. Exclusive and private boutique hotels, luxury hotels, small bnbs and quirky hostels are all ready to welcome you. Our tours feature an expert selection for all types of budgets and expectations. The array of seafood, coffee shops and roadside shops (kades) selling Sri Lankan fast food and the not to be missed, chocolate rottis are just another reason to make this a definite stop when down south!


Weligama is a town adjacent to Mirissa. The name Weligama, literally means “sandy village” which refers to the area’s sandy sweep bay. The main industries are tourism and fishing. Weligama is a popular tourist destination and hosts several boutique hotels including an offshore islet known as Taprobane, which houses a villa constructed by the French Count de Mauny, and is currently owned by Geoffrey Dobbs. It was the birthplace of the scholar monk Weligama Sri Sumangala.

There are a number of sites of historical importance within Weligama and its vicinity, including a 3 metres (9.8 ft) high statue of Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, carved into the surrounding rock, between the 6th-9th century AD. Weligama is recognized for its ‘Beeralu’ lace-making. First introduced by the Portuguese in the 16th-century lace-making has remained a traditional handicraft along the coastal area of Weligama, with a number of households producing crochet and tatting lace.

The area is also famous for its distinct stilt fishermen, who erect a single pole in the chest-deep water on the beach, just a few meters offshore, where they perch on a crossbar and using bamboo fishing rods cast their lines out beyond the surf break to catch small fish.

Image credits

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Largest remaining fortress in Asia built by European occupiers.

Galle is a major city in Sri Lanka, situated on the southwestern tip, 119 km from Colombo. Galle is the administrative capital of Southern Province, Sri Lanka and is the district capital of Galle District.

Galle was known as ‘Gimhathiththa’ before the arrival of the Portuguese in the 16th century, when it was the main port on the island. Galle reached the height of its development in the 18th century, during the Dutch colonial period. Galle is the best example of a fortified city built by the Portuguese in South and Southeast Asia, showing the interaction between Portuguese architectural styles and native traditions. The city was extensively fortified by the Dutch during the 17th century from 1649 onwards. The Galle fort is a world heritage site and is the largest remaining fortress in Asia built by European occupiers.

Other prominent landmarks in Galle include the city’s natural harbor, the National Maritime Museum, St. Mary’s Cathedral founded by Jesuit priests, one of the main Shiva temples on the island, and Amangalla, the historic luxury hotel. Galle is home to the Galle International Stadium, which is considered to be one of the most picturesque cricket grounds in the world.

According to James Emerson Tennent, Galle was the ancient seaport of Tarshish, from which King Solomon drew ivory, peacocks and other valuables. Cinnamon was exported from Sri Lanka as early as 1400 BC, and as the root of the word itself is Hebrew, Galle may have been a main entrepot for the spice.

Galle had been a prominent seaport long before western rule in the country. Persians, Arabs, Greeks, Romans, Malays, Indians, and Chinese were doing business through Galle port. In 1411, the Galle Trilingual Inscription, a stone tablet inscription in three languages, Chinese, Tamil and Persian, was erected in Galle to commemorate the second visit to Sri Lanka by the Chinese admiral Zheng He.

The modern history of Galle starts in 1502, when a small fleet of Portuguese ships, under the command of Lourenço de Almeida, on their way to the Maldives, were blown off course by a storm. Realising that the king resided in Kotte close to Colombo, Lourenço proceeded there after a brief stop in Galle.

In 1640, the Portuguese were forced to surrender to the Dutch East India Company. The Dutch built the present fort in 1663. They built a fortified solid granite wall and three bastions, known as “Sun”, “Moon” and “Star”. After the British took over the country from the Dutch in 1796, the British preserved the fort unchanged and used it as the administrative centre of the district.

Galle features a tropical rainforest climate. The city has no true dry season, though it is noticeably drier in the months of January and February. As is commonplace with many cities with this type of climate, temperatures show little variation throughout the course of the year, with average temperatures hovering at around 26 degrees Celsius throughout.

Popular Attractions in Galle

  • Galle fort
  • Flag rock
  • Dutch reformed church
  • Old gate
  • Marine archeological museum
  • Meeran mosque
  • Sudharmalaya temple
  • Dutch hospital
  • Amangalla
  • Main gate
  • Galle international cricket stadium
  • Sun bastion
  • National maritime museum
  • National museum
  • Point Utrecht bastion
  • Zwart bastion
  • All Saints Anglican church
  • Lighthouse
  • Dutch market
  • Clock tower
  • Lighthouse beach
  • Dutch Governor’s house
  • Muslim Saint’s tomb
  • Court square
  • Japanese Peace Pagoda
  • Jungle beach
  • Unawatuna beach

Trincomalee – The east coast gem with so many facets

Trincomalee is a major resort port city of Eastern Province, Sri Lanka. Located on the east coast of the island overlooking the Trincomalee Harbor. The city is built on a peninsula of the same name and is home to the famous Koneswaram temple. East Coast is only offseason during the months of November to March. And because the monsoon rains are weaker in the North-East of the country it doesn’t mean rain throughout. So check with us if you would like to visit Trincomalee when it’s less crowded. Rest of the year though, Trincomalee is beautiful and laid back. We have incorporated stops here on quite a few of our tours so make sure you check them out.

The recorded history of Trincomalee spans more than two and a half thousand years, beginning with civilian settlement associated with the Koneswaram temple in the pre-modern era. One of the oldest cities in Asia, it has served as a major maritime seaport in the international trading history of the island with South East Asia. Trincomalee’s urbanization continued when made into a fortified port town following the Portuguese conquest of the Jaffna kingdom, changing hands between the Danishin 1620, the Dutch, the French following a battle of the American Revolutionary War and the British in 1795, being absorbed into the British Ceylon state in 1815. The city’s architecture shows some of the best examples of interaction between native and European styles. Attacked by the Japanese as part of the Indian Ocean raid during World War II in 1942, the city and district were affected after Sri Lanka gained independence in 1948, when the political relationship between Tamil and Sinhalese people deteriorated, erupting into civil war. It is home to major naval and air force bases at the Trincomalee Garrison. The city also has the largest Dutch fort on the island.

The Trincomalee Bay Harbour, unlike any other in the Indian Ocean, it is accessible in all weathers to all craft. It has been described as the “finest harbour in the world” and by the British, “the most valuable colonial possession on the globe. Popular tourist destinations include its beaches at Uppuveli, Salli and Nilaveli, used for temple visits, surfing, scuba diving, fishing and whale watching, and the Kanniya Hot Springs.

History of Trincomalee

Trincomalee which is a natural deep-water harbour has attracted seafarers, trader and pilgrims from Europe, Middle East, Africa, China, East Asia and Australasia since ancient times. Trinco, as it is commonly called, has been a seaport and Hindu pilgrimage center since 400 BC. Trincomalee, and specifically the Swami Rock promontory, has housed several Kovil temples to deities of the Hindu pantheon, as well as a Buddhist vihara and a Christian Catholic church, both introduced following invasions.

Early Tamil dynasties continued to employ the city as the prefectural capital of the Trincomalee District, allowing administrative duties to be handled by elected Vanniar chiefs.

On 8 January 1782 the British captured Trincomalee’s forts from the Dutch, the first place on the island they captured. The French recaptured it on 29 August of the same year after the Battle of Trincomalee. In 1783 the French ceded it to the British and subsequently, Britain ceded Trincomalee back to the Dutch Republic under the Peace of Paris (1783 Treaty of Versailles). In 1795 the British recaptured the city and held it until Sri Lanka’s independence in 1948.

Before the Second World War, the British built a large airfield to house their RAF base, called the RAF China Bay and fuel storage and support facilities for the British fleets there. After the fall of Singapore, Trincomalee became the home port of the Eastern Fleet of the Royal Navy, and submarines of the Dutch Navy. Trincomalee harbor and airfield were attacked by a carrier fleet of the Imperial Japanese Navy in April 1942 in the Indian Ocean Raid of the war. However, the installation later served as an important launching point for British naval operations in 1944 and 1945.

With the turn of the modern era, English authors and poets used Trincomalee as inspiration for literature and poetry and became connected with the city. Arthur C. Clarke, who discovered the temple’s underwater ruins with photographer Mike Wilson, described the city and the ruins in Reefs of Taprobane and would go on to write 2001: A Space Odyssey based on his experiences in the city. Trincomalee’s Bhadrakali Amman temple provides a setting in Wilbur Smith’s novel Birds of Prey. Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories feature multiple settings in the city, including in A Scandal in Bohemia and A Singular Affair at Trincomalee. Jane Austen’s younger brother Charles Austen of the British Royal Navy is buried in Trincomalee.

Trincomalee is sacred to Sri Lankan Tamils and Hindus around the world. The city has many Hindu sites of historical importance. These sites are sacred to the Hindus and some Buddhists also worship at these Hindu sites. Prominent sites include the Koneswaram temple compound, its Bhadrakali temple on Konesar Road, and the Salli Muthumariamman Kovil of Uppuveli beach in the Trincomalee suburb of Sambalativu.

Trincomalee Harbour

Trincomalee’s strategic importance has shaped its recent history. The great European powers vied for mastery of the harbour. The Portuguese, the Dutch, the French, and the British, each held it in turn, and there have been many sea battles nearby. The harbour, the fifth largest natural harbour in the world, is overlooked by terraced highlands, its entrance is guarded by two headlands, and there is a carriage road along its northern and eastern edges.

Beaches of Trincomalee

Trincomalee has some of the most picturesque and scenic beaches found in Sri Lanka, relatively unspoilt and clean. The area is famous for bathing and swimming, owing to the relative shallowness of the sea, allowing one to walk out over a hundred meters into the sea without the water reaching the chest. Whale watching is a common pastime in the seas off Trincomalee, and successful sightings are on the rise with the increase of tourism in the area.

There are seven hot springs of Kanniya (Kal = stone; niya = land), on the road to Trincomalee. A high wall bounds the rectangular enclosure which includes all seven springs. Each is in turn enclosed by a dwarf wall to form a well. The water is warm, the temperature of each spring being slightly different.


Trincomalee features a tropical wet and dry climate. The city features a dry season from March through June and a wet season for the remainder of the year. Average temperatures in Trincomalee range from around 26 °C (79 °F) in December and January to approximately 30 °C (86 °F) during the warmest months of the year from April through September.

Places to visit in Trincomalee

  • Koneswaram Temple
  • Velgam Vehera
  • Kandasamy Kovil
  • Gokanna Temple
  • Pathirakali Amman Temple
  • Seruwila Mangala Raja Maha Vihara
  • Fort Frederick
  • Hoods Tower Museum
  • Commonwealth War Cemetery
  • Kanniya Hot Water Well
  • Manayaweli Cove
  • Swami Rock
  • Fish Market
  • Dutch Bay
  • Lanka Pattuna
  •  Saint Mary’s Cathedral
  • Nilaveli Beach
  • Pigeon Island National Bank
  • Marble Beach
  • Arisimale Beach
  • Uppuveli

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