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Places to visit in the East

Let the adventure begin with a trip to the East Coast

© BT Images

The sunny East offers a range of activities to do and places to visit regardless of the season. From historical to religious sites to quaint villages, the East is filled with a myriad of things to keep you occupied as you go along to discover an area that is unique in all aspects. Check out our guide to the best places to visit in the East Coast as we list out the most sought after destinations to make your experience of the area all the more richer. Try your hand at golf at the Eagles Golf Link or seek the blessings of the Temple of Thousand Pillars and the adventures has just begun!

Fort Frederick

Built in the 1600s, Ford Frederick is a colonial fort by the Portuguese in the Trincomalee Town. The Fort is well known to house within it, the Koneswaram Temple, yet another attraction in this area. Captured by a Dutch fleet, the Fort was re-created, to defend against any threats from the British and the French.  Currently, it is manned by the Sri Lankan Army and is an alluring tourist destination depicting the footprints left behind by the Portuguese, the Dutch and the British. Inside, you will also stumble across the Gokana Temple and the Wellesley Lodge, among other historical imprints. The remarkable landmark offers an unparalleled experience, taking you on a journey back in time. 

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Trincomalee

Panama

A little distance away from the South of Arugam Bay, you will come to an endearing little village called Panama. Unspoilt and remote, Panama is host to a charmed way of life and century-old traditions unheard of in modern Sri Lanka. Spiritual beliefs and faith intertwine irrevocably with the quiet everyday life in the village. The community of 5000 families harbours much faith in the blessings of the Pattini Deity and is venerated at the Angpiti Devale. Villagers are filled with tales of the past that weave the colourful history of the village. Amidst natural beauty and attractions, such as the Panama Lake and Panama Beach, the village is interspersed with farming lands, paddy fields and greenery. 

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Arugam Bay
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Somawathiya Temple

The stupa, shaped like a droplet, was said to have been built by Kind Abhaya for his wife, Queen Somawathie as a place of worship. It is located in the Somawathiya wildlife sanctuary and is said to have enshrined the right tooth relic of Lord Buddha.  It has been renovated over the years, but you will observe a deep cleft left visible in the stupa, displaying the ancient bricks of the original stupa structure.  Interestingly, the altars are within the stupa itself, and devotees are to climb the steps in a single file into the enclosure which accommodates about four people. 

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Polonnaruwa

Passekudah Bay and Kalkudah Beach

Located in the East Coast of Sri Lanka, a visit to the shores of Passekudah is an experience in itself. Passekudah Bay is to the north of Batticaloa nestled on one side of Kalkudah beach.  A perfect spot for sea-bathing, Passekudah Bay’s flat bed is a great opportunity to take advantage of a good and safe wade or swim to as far as 200 metres from the shoreline.  The shared shores of Passekudah and Kalkudah are reef secured and thus the ocean waves are a lot calmer in this part of the Eastern Coast. Around dawn, and if you’re lucky enough to be up that early, sights of deep sea fisherman bringing back the previous night’s catch on to the beach can be seen, where many vendors from the island over await their best buys.  The Kalkudah beach is ideal for surfing and wind surfing during the month of September, which is also considered the best month to visit the East Coast. 

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Kalkudah
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Surf’s up at Whisky Point

Situated in Urani, a bit away from the surfer’s haven of Arugam Bay, Whisky Point is an ‘off-the-beaten-track’ spot for novice surfers. But don’t be discouraged if you are a pro, as the waves here provide ultimate fun for any surfer. And also, don’t lose hope if you are not a surfer, because there are much to see and do here such as wallowing in the cool waters and exploring the surrounding terrain.   Surfing is definitely the highlight of Whisky Point, and as mentioned it is great for beginners of the sport. The waves break off a rocky outcrop near the beach, creating perfect surfing conditions. It is also said that the swell can vary from 1–4 metres depending on the direction. This is where surfers can test their skills, as the waves take you towards the beach and you feel the adrenaline rushing through your veins. What’s more, if you are an expert and seek the thrill of a much more challenging wave, Pottuvil Point or the longest point break in Sri Lanka is just a short distance away.   Not a surfer? Not to worry. It is also a decent place for sea bathing and especially long walks along the sandy beach. The sunrises here are absolutely amazing and the entire area wakes up, embracing the warmth of the golden sunrays. You can even opt to explore the village through which the road to Whisky Point falls. The villagers are friendly and will be obliged to help out and recommend places to see around Arugam Bay or close by.   As dusk sets in, party lovers can unwind and dance

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By: Time Out editors

Kuchchaveli Beach

With its string of hotels and guest houses, the Kuchchaveli Beach is a well sought out spot if you're looking for a beautiful beach to have a relaxing time. As you walk along the serene strip of soft golden sand, you will see sun loungers and umbrellas dotting the landscape with visitors relaxing under the bright sun while others explore their adventurous side with beach activities and water sports. Here at Kuchchaveli Beach, you will find a warm and peaceful environment that is definitely worth a visit.

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Kuchchaveli
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Kanchikudichchiaru

This dusty road is verged by wild and rural landscape. In the scrubland all around you will be found herds of water buffalo, and there are many chances of glimpsing elephants, shadow like amidst trees before they turn heel and disappear at your approach. The Kanchikudichchiaru tank will be the end of your long journey – and it is a very satisfying destination. Tanks in general are great places to just watch and feel happiness ripple within you. Kanchikudichchiaru is set away from the world. The topaz blue expanse of waters with the jungle in the far fringes is mesmerizing, especially at dusk or dawn. Silhouettes of distant mountains loomed in blue and green. Bleached white tree trunks in the middle of the tank stand holding up their hands to the sky. The tank is a favourite local fishing ground, writhing with silver shoals. You would see an occasional villager cast his net wide and draw forth a thick harvest. But these men have to be always wary of the crocodiles who bask in the sun, deceptive with their dozing appearance as they are really keeping a roguish, live interest on the surroundings, ever ready to snatch and snap. If you lay anchor here and laze around, you will ‘experience’ the tank which changes as the day, the sky and the light change slowly. From dawn to dusk it takes many moods: the milky morning, hot golden noon and restful, peaceful, mellow dusk. The big bonus would be the elephants that are often expected to stop by for a drink, several times a day.

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By: Time Out editors

Seruvila Temple

An ancient temple sacred to Buddhists, the Seruwila Temple stands one with the nature. The still standing monuments were built during the reign of King Kavantissa during the 2nd century BC and to this day, does not cease to amaze onlookers.  Neglected and left for the wilderness after the Tamil invasions, it was rediscovered in the 1900s and recognised as a site to be protected and conserved.

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East Coast
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Passekudah Bay and Kalkudah Beach

Located in the East Coast of Sri Lanka, a visit to the shores of Passekudah is an experience in itself. Passekudah Bay is to the north of Batticaloa nestled on one side of Kalkudah beach.  A perfect spot for sea-bathing, Passekudah Bay’s flat bed is a great opportunity to take advantage of a good and safe wade or swim to as far as 200 metres from the shoreline.  The shared shores of Passekudah and Kalkudah are reef secured and thus the ocean waves are a lot calmer in this part of the Eastern Coast. Around dawn, and if you’re lucky enough to be up that early, sights of deep sea fisherman bringing back the previous night’s catch on to the beach can be seen, where many vendors from the island over await their best buys.  The Kalkudah beach is ideal for surfing and wind surfing during the month of September, which is also considered the best month to visit the East Coast.

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Kalkudah

Kattankudy

One of South Asia’s populous towns The bazaar strip along the road, in one of South Asia’s most densely populated townships, Kattankudy in Baticalao is a bright hive of activity at night. Showing Arabic influence, mosques, town structures and date palms are attractions to marvel during a leisurely stroll. Friendly townsfolk are ever ready to point you in the right direction. 

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