Trincomalee Attractions

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Trincomalee combines several cultures and religions: Muslim, Christian, Hindu and Buddhism. Each of them left its contribution and imprint in the history of the city. Walking around Trincomalee and exploring its surroundings, you can find a Muslim mosque, a Buddhist temple, the ruins of an ancient Hindu settlement, a functioning Catholic Church. The colonialists also left their mark on the history of the city, bringing European culture here and leaving several historical sights. While on holiday in Trincomalee is worth a visit:

Unfortunately, there are no usual travel agencies where you can buy an inexpensive Group Tour. Therefore, you will have to get acquainted with the sights yourself on rented transport, or hire a tuk-tuk for a trip. You can hire a tuk-tuk for the whole day from 2000 rupees, renting a motorcycle will cost from 1200 rupees. Pigeon Island can be reached by boat for 5000 rupees round trip with waiting, and a walk to the Dolphins will cost from 3000 rupees.

Relatively nearby are more popular sightseeing places in Sri Lanka: Anuradhapura, Sigiriya, Dambulla, Polonnaruwa. Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa require at least two days to visit.

A variety of activities in Trincomalee can be enjoyed by diving or snorkeling. To do this, it is best to go to the coral island of Pidgeon (Pigeon Island). In the Marine surroundings of the island is a beautiful underwater world, all kinds of fish scurrying in the water column among the corals. Another popular entertainment is boat trips to the open ocean to watch dolphins.

In the evening, in the tourist areas of Uppuveli and Nilaveli, you can sit in a restaurant or cafe, or join a beach party that takes place every evening in beach bars. There is no more entertainment in Trincomalee.

Below is a list of Trincomalee attractions and entertainment that you can visit on your own, with opening hours, costs, and ways to get to them:

Frederick fort and Koneswaram temple

Frederick fort and Koneswaram temple

In the center of the city on a small peninsula is the ancient Fort Frederick (Fort Frederick), built by the Portuguese in 1623, and later rebuilt by the Dutch. This is one of the most interesting sights of Trincomalee, just a must-visit. The fort itself is of little interest. A much more important and interesting place on its territory is the Hindu temple Koneswaram (Koneswarm Kovil). It is one of the oldest temples in Sri Lanka, its age is more than 2500 years. Therefore, Fort Frederick and Koneswaram temple are more cult attractions than historical ones. There are always a lot of pilgrims and believers, local tourists, and during religious holidays there is a real pandemonium. Learn more about Fort Frederik and Koneswaram temple here...

🕐 Working hours: access to the fort is open from 06: 00 to 22:00, but it is better to visit it in the daytime until about 19: 00, and even better early in the morning, then fewer people. Koneswaram temple is open from 06: 30 to 13: 00 and from 16:00 to 19: 00, the rest of the time you can walk around the grounds and around the temple.

🚶 Entrance fee / tickets price: free.

🚶 How to get there: Fort Federick and Koneswaram temple are located in the center of Trincomalee on the peninsula (Fort on the map). It is best to get here by taxi or rented transport. You can drive through the gate of the Fort (past the military post), equipped with a traffic light, directly into the territory, and then go up the road to a large parking lot. Parking is free, and there is always a lot of transport, so park at the first opportunity. Then follow on foot another 200 meters on the way up through the market to the entrance, where you will need to leave your shoes, and even further directly to the site with the temple and observation decks (temple on the map).

Pigeon Island Pigeon Island

Pigeon Island in Trincomalee, photo

This tiny island, located two kilometers from the coast of Nilaveli Beach, is part of the National Park of the same name. The length of the island is only 500 meters, but it even has its own beach, and this is one of the most beautiful places in Trincomalee.

They go here to walk around the island, relax on the beach, but most importantly – there are excellent conditions for diving and snorkeling.

🕐 Working hours: round the clock, tours depart at any time of the day.

💵  Entrance fee / tickets price: access to the National Park and the island is paid: 3150 rupees adult / 950-children.

🚶 How to get there: the island is located opposite Nilaveli Beach a couple of kilometers from the shore (Pigeon Island on the map). You can get to it by boat from 4000 rupees (0 USD) per person from Uppuveli beach, and from 3000 from Nilaveli Beach. The price includes waiting time, and sometimes simple snorkeling equipment, for access to the National Park payment is additional. Such walks are offered by ubiquitous distributors and boaters right on the beach and in the few travel agencies on the streets of the tourist area of Uppuveli and Nilaveli, departure times are agreed, usually in the morning. Keep in mind that "molesters" on the beach usually offer a price higher than in a travel agency, you need to bargain with them.

Kanniya Hot Water Springs

Kanniya Hot Water Wells

This is not a traditional hot spring in their understanding by most tourists, as for the locals it is a sacred place. Therefore, if you think to come here and fix your health-forget it. They are a platform on which there are seven square wells with healing water. But they do not swim in the water here, but you need to scoop it up with buckets and pour it on yourself. Moreover, usually no one washes entirely here, but are limited to rinsing hands, feet, and head. For the locals, this place is sacred and almost like a temple. Learn more about hot springs and how to visit them here...

🕐 Working hours: from 07: 00 to 19: 00, seven days a week.

🚶 Entrance fee / tickets price: access to sources is paid, 50 rupees for foreigners (approximately 0 USD, see currency of Sri Lanka), 10 for local. After payment, you can stay on the territory as much as you like.

🚶 How to get there: the springs are 8 kilometers from the center of Trincomalee, 6 from Upuveli and 15 from Nilaveli (sources on the map). You can get here by taxi, rented transport, or with an excursion. For transport there is a huge free parking, but if you do not want to leave it unattended, you can put it under supervision next to the shopping malls for 20 rupees. Further from the parking lot through the shopping malls you need to go to the ticket office, and after purchasing a ticket go to the territory. Before the wells themselves, you will still need to walk along the pedestrian alley.

Girihanu Seya Rajamaha Viharaya Archaeological Park in Trincomalee

Girihanu Seya Rajamaha Viharaya Archaeological Park

This is the ruins of an ancient Buddhist temple, so ancient that so far archaeologists have not been able to establish its exact age. It is believed that this is the very first Buddhist temple in Sri Lanka, and the first stupa in the whole world.

According to legend, it was built in order to store a great relic, a piece of Lord Buddha himself – his hair. It was built in just 75 days on a high hill. After 6 centuries, stone steps were built on the hillside to the stupa, and an artificial pond Nithupathpana Lake was created at its foot.

Girihanu Seya Archaeological Park is not very large, but it is definitely worth a visit if you are vacationing in Trincomalee or on one of its Nilaveli or Upuveli beaches. Learn more about the Girihando Seya Archaeological Park here...

🕐 Working hours: from 08: 00 to 18: 00, seven days a week.

🚶 Entrance fee / tickets price: entry for foreigners 500 rupees (0 USD).

🚶 How to get there: the ruins of Girihanu Seya Rajamaha Viharaya are located 45 kilometers north of the center of Trincomalee (ruins on the map). You can get here by rented transport, taxi, or with a tour from Trincomalee or the beaches of Upuveli and Nilaveli. It is better to go by Navigator, there are few pointers. The last kilometer of the way passes along a dirt road, after which you will find yourself in a parking lot where you can leave Transport for free. Then you need to walk to the ticket office and then to the pond and the beginning of the stairs about half a kilometer. The steps will have to overcome another 300 meters and 45 meters up, which in principle is possible for anyone.

Velgam Vihara temple ruins

Velgam Vihara temple ruins

Velgam Vihara or Velgam Vihara is the ruins of an ancient Buddhist temple built between 307 and 267 BC, i.e. it is more than 2200 years old. One of the first and most important Buddhist temples in Sri Lanka. For many centuries it was lost, and only in 1929 the ruins were discovered and declared an archaeological site. It can not be said that this is a must-visit place, but it will be interesting for lovers of all sorts of Antiquities.

🚶 Entrance fee / tickets price: free.

🚶 How to get there: located about 12 kilometers from Trincomalee (ruins on the map). You can only get there by tuk-tuk or rented transport.

Maritime and Naval History Museum

Museum of the sea and shipping

The museum is housed in an imposing historic colonial-era building that was one of the first to be restored after the civil war, but the collection itself is very modest. On the ground floor there are three halls with models of ships, a stand with naval knots, insignia, and several antique cannons. The second floor is dedicated to the underwater life of coastal waters, but here visitors will not be surprised: there is only a collection of shells and corals, models of underwater inhabitants, and posters with information about the inhabitants in English. Learn more about the museum and photos here...

🕐 Working hours: from 08: 30 to 16: 30, Tuesday is a day off.

🚶 Entrance fee / tickets price: free.

🚶 How to get there: the museum is located in downtown Trincomalee next to the city beach across Dockyard Rd (Museum on the map). You can get here from the bus station on foot (1km).

Dolphin boat tour

Dolphin in Trincomalee

This is one of the most popular and relatively affordable seaside activities in Trincomalee. Tours are conducted on small fishing boats or speedboats, and are offered everywhere on beaches and in travel agencies. Depending on the price and place of purchase, the walk usually takes 2-3 hours, or until you meet dolphins.

🕐 Working hours: tours depart at any time during the day.

🚶 Entrance fee / tickets price: from 2000 rupees (0 USD).

🚶 How to get there: tours to dolphins are offered by molesting distributors on beaches, boaters, as well as in a few travel agencies. The price for participation in a group tour in a travel agency starts from 2000 rupees, on the beach they ask from 3000, but you can bargain.

Spotted deer

Deer in Trincomalee

This unusual attraction can be seen right in the center of Gorda in the bus station area and on the peninsula with Fort Frederick. Small spotted deer walk the streets and feel at home, even giving themselves petting and feeding. They do not live in cages, but directly in natural urban conditions. If you will be here with children, be sure to take a walk

🕐 Working hours: mostly walking during the day.

🚶 Entrance fee / tickets price: free.

🚶 How to get there: the easiest place to see deer is at and near the bus station, as well as on the territory of Fort Frederick.

St. Mary's Church

St Mary's church Trincomalee

St Mary Cathedral Church is the largest and most important Catholic Church in Trincomalee, built in 1852. The church building is not very impressive novelty, but has an interesting architecture. You can examine it from the inside.

🕐 Working hours: the church is open from 05: 30 to 17: 00.

🚶 Entrance fee / tickets price: free.

🚶 How to get there: located on Saint Mary Street in downtown Trincomalee within walking distance of the City Beach and the Maritime Museum (church on the map).

Orr's Hill Military Museum

Orr's Hill War Museum in Trincomalee

Orr's Hill Army Museum-a museum of military equipment that participated in the civil war from 1983 to 2009. Mainly samples of large military equipment of foreign production are presented, but there are also small arms. The most interesting thing is that there are Russian types of weapons, and not a few. For an additional fee, you can shoot in the shooting range with an air rifle.

🕐 Working hours: from 8: 00 to 18: 00.

🚶 Entrance fee / tickets price: entry for foreigners 350 rupees (0 USD).

🚶 How to get there: located on the outskirts of Trincomalee on the territory of a military base (Museum on the map). You can get here without hindrance, you only need to pay for the entrance, but you can get to the museum itself only by tuk-tuk or rented transport. Tuk-tuker is asked for a trip here of 200 rupees from the city center, 600 from Upuveli.

Sri Bhadrakali Amman Kovil Temple

Sri Bhadrakali Amman Kovil temple in Trincomalee

Sri Bhadrakali Amman Kovil or Kali Kovil temple is one of the most beautiful and important Hindu temples in Trincomalee. But some estimate it was built in the 11th century. It is worth visiting it if you walk around the city.

🕐 Working hours: during daytime.

🚶 Entrance fee / tickets price: free, donations are welcome.

🚶 How to get there: located in the center of Trincomalee within walking distance from the bus station (temple on the map).

Ancient temple Kuchchaveli Pichchamal Raja Maha Viharaya

Ancient temple Kuchchaveli Pichchamal Raja Maha Viharaya

This ancient temple is almost unknown to tourists, although it is very easy to visit it during a trip to another archaeological site - the ruins of Girihanu Seya. Unfortunately, during our visit we could not find out anything about the age of this temple and its significance, but the fact that this is a very old and important temple is undoubtedly.

In fact, this is a small archaeological park under the protection of the state. The stupa and temple are on top of a hill, offering wonderful views of the ocean and endless beaches. There is also an old information board with printouts in English, which describes the history of the temple (but no age), and its significance. Before climbing to the top and foot of the stairs, note the stone with carved text, which indirectly indicates that the stupa was built in the 6th century.

🕐 Working hours: during daytime.

🚶 Entrance fee / tickets price: free.

🚶 How to get there: the temple is located on the shore 30 kilometers north of Trincomalee in the village of Kuchchaveli (temple on the map). You can get here by bus from Trincomalee to Pulmodai (runs from 04: 30 to 19: 30 hours every 30-60 minutes). It is best to visit it on the way to the ruins of Girihanu Seya.

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admin 5 Nov, 2021
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