The East Coast of Sri Lanka is the home to some of the country’s most breath taking beaches as well as plenty of other attractions from superb beaches to Buddhist remains and with hardly a tourist in sight. Filled with sunny golden/white sandy beaches, exotic marine life of Trincomalee, the island’s best surfing beaches in Arugam Bay, which is famously known as one of 10 best surf spots in the world, Batticaloa’s tranquil lagoons and waterways, the wild elephants of Gal Oya National Park in Ampara and a vibrant multi ethnic cultural heritage all make this a fascinating region waiting to be explored.
The East remains primarily a land of fishing villages and sandy lanes. It is a culturally fascinating combination of ocean orientated Muslim communities, crumbling colonial forts, astonishing Hindu temples, dazzling markets and a coastline of killer surf, hidden bays and stretch for miles white sand beaches. Overall, East Coast offers a greater diversity.
The main holiday destinations on the East Coast are Trincomalee to the north, and Arugum Bay to the south. Batticaloa is also a fascinating town and gives a purpose to any coastal exploration. Passikuda is the most famous of the beaches and with its wide sandy bay.
There are also plenty of things to do as well as see on the East Coast of Sri Lanka that you cannot miss for example,
- Swimming, diving and snorkelling in Trincomalee as the beautiful white sandy beaches are safe and perfect for swimming. The coral reef around Pigeon Island, which is a short boat ride offshore from Nilaveli is ideal for snorkelling.
- Whale and dolphin watching expeditions off the coast of Trinco.
- Pasikuda is another one of the most famous beaches in Sri Lanka that attracts tourists every day. Boating and snorkelling in Pasikuda bay is also popular among the tourists, especially snorkelling as the coral reef that surrounds the island is home to colourful coral gardens and exotic species of reef fish.
- Ancient Buddhist rock sculptures of Maligavila.
- Colonial Batticaloa, which is an hour south of Pasikuda is a fascinating town that gives a purpose to any coastal exploration. Here you can do shopping for colourful handloom sarongs, baskets and hats made from the Palmyra palm by the local villagers. Also visiting Kovils during sacred Poojas that is accompanied by drumming and chanting.
- Colourful Hindu kovils and mosques scattered along the coast.
- Jungle trek to the ancient ruins of Kudimbigala in Pottuvil.
- Surfing in Arumgam Bay as it is a popular haunt for surfers, especially during the surfing season which is from April to October. It is listed as one of 10 best surf spots in the world. Waves of up to five to six feet and up to a 400-metre wide, Arugam Bay is a major tourist attraction.
- There is also a wide range of different national parks such as the Lahugala national park and Kumana national park where you can observe and learn about the wildlife.
- Ancient Koneswaram Hindu Kovil as well as Okanda Hindu Kovil in Trinco.
- The jungles of Gal Oya National Park in Amapara where wild elephants roam free.
- Breathe taking views of the Trincomalee harbour which is the world’s largest natural harbour.
- Also a visit to the indigenous Vedda community in Gal Oya.
- Visiting the Pigeon Island consists of two small islands and is only a short boat ride off the coast in Nilaveli, Trincomalee. It is a protected national park of the department of wildlife and conservation.
- Birding in Vakarai lagoons as it is the village of Vakarai scattered with mangrove lined lagoons.
- A visit to the Buduruwagala’s rock sculptures because the sculptures are fascinating and carved into a 70 feet granite cliff.
- Maligawila Buddha statues which is the largest free standing image of Lord Buddha in Sri Lanka. It is about 14m high and has a long rich history.
- Quiet beaches at Uppuveli.
- Also, the Fort Frederick, originally built by the Portuguese in 1624 and consists of a long history.
So overall, if you are looking for somewhere a little less developed and a coat line that retains an earthy as well as a local feel, then East Coast is the perfect place. With numerous sites filled with cultural significance, East Coast will provide a greater diversity and your experiences and memories here will be unforgettable.