Trincomalee: Nilaveli | Sri Lanka

After 10 days of exploring Sri Lanka, we wanted to take it slow at Trincomalee. This is the place to spot whales, do some snorkeling and to lay on those white beaches. Here are my 7 must do’s when in Trincomalee.

1) Fort Frederick

Fort Frederik is a fort in Trinco that was built by the Portuguese. The fort is now in use by the Sri Lankan military. The fort is open for visitors but it’s forbidden to take photos of the military buildings. In the parking lot, you can see old graves and even an old tank.

fort frederick in trincomalee, Sri Lanka

2) Koneswaram temple

Follow the road from Fort Frederik and you’ll end up at the Koneswaram Temple, a Hindu temple. The original temple was built in the 3rd century BCE but the temple you see now is not the original one. The original one is under the sea, where you can still see a statue of it (it may be fake because it miraculously survived the tsunami of 2004).

View Fact: Go behind the temple to have a perfect view of Trincomalee bay.

Koneswaram temple in trincomalee, Sri Lanka

3) Wildlife Trincomalee

When walking around in Trincomalee, you’ll see spotted deers roaming the streets. This is the only place in Sri Lanka that I’ve seen this! In the evening they’ll go to Fort Frederick where they’ll sleep.

Wildlife Trincomalee in Sri Lanka

4) Nilaveli Beach

The east coast of Sri Lanka is much quieter than other parts in Sri Lanka. We saw that at Nilaveli Beach, where we were the only tourists there. Our hotel had a total of 6 tourists. The beach has white sand, the sea is calm and the water is crystal.

nilaveli beach in trincomalee, Sri Lanka

5) Pigeon Island

The next day, we decide to go do some snorkeling at Pigeon Island. We bought our entrance tickets (you have to pay the boat but also the entrance ticket of the natural reserve) and jumped into the boat. After a 10-minute boat ride, we ended up at Pigeon Island. We were told we were going to see sharks, fish, and turtles. We put on our gear and followed our guide in the water.

Whale Shark!

The first thing we encountered? A whale shark! We were swimming and after 5 minutes or so, our guide started to point at something. I didn’t see it at first sight but suddenly I saw the large tail of the whale shark just 2 meters from me! I admit, I panicked for a second because I never expected to see a giant whale shark in front of me. We eventually saw him sideways and boy that was an experience! We never expected to see one but we were just so lucky! After 5 minutes, he swam away.


We swam for another 10 minutes when we saw a turtle, but that wasn’t going to be the last one either. We ended up seeing 3 turtles! One seemed to be a rock but when you swam over it, you could see its head!


After a while, a girl shouted “Shark”. I followed her and we ended up enjoying the view of a Blacktip reef shark before it swam into the depths of the ocean.


During our snorkeling trip, we saw a lot of fish (which I didn’t expect reading the negative review on TripAdvisor). We even saw a shrimp being eaten by a fish.

6) Whale watching

Our driver told us the sea was a bit rough but he thought it was possible to see some whales because we’ve been so lucky already. We tried our luck one last time and indeed we were lucky once again. We first saw dolphins and that is a good sign because the whales follow the dolphins (because they are heading towards the fish a.k.a. food) and eventually after 1 hour, we saw whales! Eventually, we saw 2 males and 1 female with a calf. Lucky again!

7) Fishermen

If you’re lucky, you’ll see the fishermen of Trincomalee in action. They throw the net in the water (from the beach) and after several hours they drag it back to shore!

8) Hot Springs

There are 7 hot springs around Trincomalee. We visited one and the water was indeed warm!

Life of a Passion

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