Everyone talks about Horizon at Sunset. How often have you seen the Horizon at Sunrise?
The best way you could start your day is with a cup of coffee in hand looking at the horizon watching sunrise. Well Trincomalee (or Trinco for short) is a place that you could wake up to this amazing view.
Trincomalee is one of the main cities in Eastern province of Sri Lanka. It has been an important landmark for all the foreign rulers Sri Lanka has had through the years. Heart of Trincomalee is the 2nd largest natural harbor in the world. The harbor has been held by Portuguese, Dutch and English through the years of ruling coastal areas of Sri Lanka (formerly known as Ceylon). Today the harbor is maintained by the Sri Lankan Navy and the Navy offers the tourists a boat ride inside the harbor which is a must to do when you are in Trinco.
How to get there?
If you are travelling from Colombo and wants to use public transport there are 2 options that you could take.
- By Bus: There are Tourist Buses from Colombo to Trincomalee which you have to pre book by going to the bus station or online. Normally the tourist buses leaves at 10pm at night from Wellawatta, you could get on to the bus from colombo fort at around 11pm and it will arrive in Trinco at around 5.30am the following day.
- By Train: The night mail train is another option. You could take the train at 7pm at night and you will arrive in Trinco early morning the following day. The train also should be pre-booked for 1st and 2nd class. That you could do at Fort railway station or using SLT or Mobitel network.
If you don’t want to use public transport then you can hire a vehicle and drive to Trinco which would take approximately 6 hours. In my case I drove with my family to Trinco from Colombo.
Things to do in Trinco
- Whale watching
If you are travelling between May-October it is the whale watching season in Trincomalee. You could pre-book the whale watching cruise by the Navy or could hire a private boat that takes you to deep sea for whale watching if you go early to the pier.
Whale watching could be done early in the morning so we went there around 7am. Lucky for us we knew a person who owns a motor boat. There are plenty of motor boats near the pier in the morning which would take you for a whale watching ride, but better you talk with the hotel where you are staying and arrange a boat the day before to be on the safe side.
Funny enough whale watching was more like a whale chase with the motor boat. If any of the boats spot a whale it rides to the place where the whales are and all the other follow it. It was fun but at the same time I think the boat drivers should be more careful when they are taking tourists to see whales because if this habit of chasing continues the whales won’t last long in that area.
- Snorkeling at Pigeon Island
Pigeon Island is a small island near Nilaweli famous for its marine ecosystem. The ocean around the island is a paradise for nature lovers. The underwater eco system consists of beautiful corals and colourful fish that would take your memory back to the time you watched Finding Nemo.
The Island is about 1 hours’ drive from Trinco. If you are going from Trincomalee town you have to drive about 20km towards Nilaweli to find the boat service to the island. The boat service is affordable and if you are gonna snorkel at the Island you could rent Snorkeling equipment from the same place. There are life guards at the island the help you with instructions if you are new to snorkeling.
One side of the island’s beach is full of dead coral reefs. You can snorkel at both ends of the island and better go when the sun is bright to witness the beautiful world underneath water.
- Visiting Cultural Sites
If you are a culture enthusiast Koneswaram Temple is a must visit. The temple which is present today is a reconstruction built upon the temple which was known as the “Temple of thousand pillars” in the west. Some of the ruins from the original temple are still extant in the temple premises. The temple is built on top of Swami Rock inside Fort Fredrick.
Fort Fredric is a fort built by the Portuguese during their time of ruling coastal area of Sri Lanka. Even though it was built by Portuguese the name Fort Fredrick was given by the British when they were ruling Sri Lanka.
There is a place called Lovers leap near to the temple inside fort fredrick which is famous for the stories of star crossed lovers who jumped to their death hoping for a life together in their next life. Lovers leap has a spectacular view of the sea down below.
Where to stay
If you are on a budget I recommend you to stay at one of the hotels near the beach in Trincomalee town. The prices are quite affordable and the service is good for the money. Where we stayed was right next to the beach with a beautiful view of sunrise in the morning. Even though we didn’t get a room with a view it’s quite near to the beach that right after you step out of the room you can step in to the beach. There were fisherman boats where we stayed. If you are lucky enough you will get to see how fishermen brings the fish net into the land early morning.
If you are a traveler who expects luxury there are luxury hotels situated near Nilaweli beach. There are many hotels with a beautiful sea view and many other facilities.