What to see and do in the North East Coast

There is plenty to do on the north east coast. With long stretches of beach, it is a secluded paradise in which to go snorkelling and discover the magnificent marine life around the coral reefs, or take a whale-watching expedition. This area is also popular amongst surfers and kite surfers with national competitions being held here in the past. The expansive white beaches mean you can learn to surf without the risk of bumping into another surfer. There are also a handful of forts and outcrops to visit if you want a change of scenery from the beach.

Koneswaram Kovil and Swami Rock in Trincomalee/Trinco

Often referred to as Lovers Leap after a Dutch officer’s daughter jumped from here following a broken heart. The views here are fantastic and offer a great place for a romantic stroll. The sheer cliff provides a ground on which Poojas (religious services) take place each evening in the Koneswaram Kovil. Many pilgrims visit to drive away evil spirits by smashing coconuts followed by prayer. The original Kovil was pushed into the sea by the Portuguese who used the area as a naval base.. The area is also great for diving due to the relics from the original temple. Be warned that in July the area can become inundated with the Portuguese man of war jellyfish.

Diving & Snorkelling at Nilaveli Beach and Pigeon Island

The beach itself is very idyllic; with crystal clear water and white sand if you are looking to get in a spot of sunbathing here is the place. Pigeon Island about 2km off the beach is a national conservation park sight and as you can guess is a breeding sight for the Blue Rock Pigeon. The islands are surrounded by soft coral and coral reefs and so provide a home to many sea creatures, ideal for diving although you will see plenty from the water’s surface so a snorkel would be sufficient if you don’t want to rent equipment.

There are also many other great dive spots along the coast, just ask for more advice.

Kinniyai Hot Springs

Just 8km away from the sandy beaches are 7 natural hot springs of varying temperatures; known for their therapeutic properties many Sri Lankans used them as bathing sights. These are very important to the Hindus in Sri Lanka as they are thought to be created by Vishnu therefore purifying anyone who bathes.

Surfing in Arugam Bay

A popular beach amongst surfers who prefer a more secluded spot with arguably some of the best waves in Sri Lanka if not Asia. The home of the June 2004 national championships, Arugam has a very laid back feel shunning large western developments it has a ‘off the beaten track’ feel.

Whale and Dolphin Watching

There are several species of marine mammals around the East coast of Sri Lanka including the Blue, Sperm, Humpback, Fin and Bryde’s whale and the Bottle nosed and Spinner dolphins. Excursions run from May to October when the water is calm enough to venture out onto although whales can be found on the coast all year round so if you have a pair of binoculars in the off season you may be able to still spot them. The Sri Lankan coast has the highest density of Sperm whales in the world.

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