Located on the northeastern coast of Sri Lanka, Trincomalee is popular among locals as well as foregn  for its unspoilt and uncrowded stretches of white beaches. Trincomalee, or more commonly known as Trinco, is globally renowned for its large natural harbour, which is dubbed by the British as one of the finest natural harbours in the world. In the ancient times, Trincomalee natural harbour has attracted many nations to invade the country, and many battles were fought to claim the ownership of this invaluable seaport. As a result of these invasions, Trincomalee has become a historic city which bears significant marks of different eras. In addition to that, Trincomalee is home to some of the most sacred places of worship among the local hindu community. 

Taking all these into account, we guarantee that you won’t run out of things to see during your visit to Trincomalee. 

Here’s your complete guide to Trincomalee, Sri Lanka!

Best Time to Visit Trincomalee, Sri Lanka

Even though it’s generally sunny all year round in Trincomalee, the monsoon season falls from September to February. Therefore, the best time to visit Trincomalee would be the dry season which lasts from March to August. During this time, the weather conditions are more pleasant for water activities or to just catch up on your tan.

How to Get to Trincomalee, Sri Lanka

Train

  • Fee: $
  • Duration: 3h 35m

Taking the train is the fastest way to get to Trincomalee from Colombo, which takes approximately 3.5 hours. The train operates daily, departing from Colombo Fort railway station at 10.05am, and arriving at Trincomalee at 1.40pm. It consists of first, second, and third class compartments, where you can reserve seats on first and second classes. These sell like hot cakes so be sure to book your seats in advance. One way ticket prices range from USD1 – USD7 depending on the class. Overall, the journey is quick and comfortable.

Note: A night mail train also operates daily from Colombo to Trincomalee, and takes 8 hours to get to Trincomalee. It has first class sleeper cars and reservable reclining seats on second and third class compartments.

Bus

  • Fee: $ – $$
  • Duration: approx. 6.5h – 7h

Buses may be the cheapest way to get to Trincomalee from Colombo, but the cost varies depending on the operator of the bus you are taking. Direct buses to Trincomalee from Colombo, operated by the National Transport Commission of Sri Lanka, depart daily from the Central Bus Station in Colombo Fort. The journey takes approximately 7 hours. 

You can also take a luxury bus with pre-booking facility, that are operated by private bus owners. These buses depart from several points in Colombo, and you can choose the most convenient place for you depending on where you are staying at. You can find more details and reserve your seats here.

Drive/Taxi

  • Fee: $$$
  • Duration: approx. 5h

If you are more comfortable (and ready for a bit of a splurge) with taking a cab or driving yourself, Trincomalee is approximately 260km away from Colombo, and takes around 5 hours to reach. Even though it would be a long drive, the roads toward the eastern coast are quite straight due to the land being flat without coming across any mountains, so it’s going to be a smooth drive.

Air

  • Fee: $$$$
  • Duration: approx. 1.5 h

The most expensive way to travel to Trincomalee would be by air. You can book a private charters, or a scheduled Air Taxi flight operated by Cinnamon Air, and the prices are incredibly high. Cinnamon Air taxi flies via Sigiriya, so you would be able to catch a rare aerial view of the Rock Fortress on your way to Trincomalee. Still, flights are far too expensive just to cut down the travel time.

You can check the Cinnamon Air flight schedules and fares here.

How to Get Around Trincomalee, Sri Lanka

It is best if you can rent a scooter or a tuk-tuk for yourself to get around Trinco during your visit. Scooters are still scarce in the area, and you would have to keep an eye out for people who would most probably try to trick you into paying them more than you should. Same goes with three-wheelers. Ask your place of stay if they could arrange a way for you to get around town. And be aware of the exchange rates and standard fare for a tuk or scooter.

Image Source

Note: The rate for a scooter should be no more than USD5 – USD8 per day. If the price seems unreasonable, do bargain. The same applies for tuk-tuks as well. Check out our 101 guide for riding with Tuk Tuks in Sri Lanka.

Top Things to Do in Trincomalee, Sri Lanka

Being a historic, coastal town, Trincomalee has a plethora of places to visit, in addition to beaches. Nilaveli Beach, Fort Fredrick, Koneswaram Hindu Temple and Pigeon Island are some of the best places to see in Trincomalee.

See our guide to Top 8 things to in Trincomalee, Sri Lanka for more!

Where to Eat in Trincomalee, Sri Lanka

Cafe on the 18th, Trincomalee, Sri Lanka
Cafe on the 18th – Image Source

Where to Stay in Trincomalee, Sri Lanka

CBeyond Nilaveli, Trincomalee
CBeyond NIlaveli – Image Source

Hostels in Trincomalee, Sri Lanka

Beach Cabanas in Trincomalee, Sri Lanka

Mid Range Hotels in Trincomalee, Sri Lanka

Luxury Hotels in Trincomalee, Sri Lanka

Jungle Beach by Uga Escapes, Trincomalee, Sri Lanka
Jungle Beach by Uga Escapes – Image Source

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