After visiting the central regions of Sri Lanka, now it’s time for us to relax on the east coast beaches around Trincomalee, and later move to the west coast up to Negombo, crossing the whole country in its width.
We leave Habarana in the morning and we hardly find a seat on the overcrowded bus to Trincomalee, city on the east coast of Sri Lanka. A couple of hours are enough to drive through the 88 km, accompanied by loud local music, trying not to get stuck to the plastic seats (which glue to our sweaty skins).
Trincomalee looks like any other Sri Lankan big city we’ve seen so far: chaotic, messy, polluted, hot. In the very moment we get off the bus we are surrounded by tuk tuk drivers who want us to go with them. By now we know that even a short hesitation would make them follow us everywhere, so we ignore them and go straight to catch another bus headed to Nilaveli. The guesthouse we booked for the first night is situated a few km north of Trincomalee, right before Nilaveli, tourist destination popular for its beach.
The room is not very nice, there are many ants and the fan is very noisy. The position is amazing though: there’s a sandy path that leads straight to Uppuveli Beach, 100m far. The emerald sea calls us and we jump into the water…how much we missed the sea!
We go back towards Trincomalee (or Trinco as they shorten it) and we take a look at some guesthouses until we find the right one. We book a room for 6 nights, very unusual for us, we get a sensation as we were moving to a new home. When we were planning some weeks ago, we expected to spend more days in places like Nuwara Eliya (which we skipped) and Kandy. Eventually we decided to leave more days to the final part of our travels in Sri Lanka, still dreaming of the beautiful beach of Mirissa down in the south, where we would have spent much more time, in retrospect, and hoping to find the same atmosphere here on the east coast. Don’t get us wrong, Uppuveli Beach is amazing too; but if we had to give votes it would be 4/5, whereas Mirissa would get 5/5.
Days go by chilling and carefree. Our main concerns are what time to go to the beach and where to have dinner. It’s very hot but there’s always a pleasant breeze. There are a few sun beds covered by a stranded-leaves roof where we like enjoying the sound of the waves, lying in the shade. The water is cool, emerald, sometimes a bit wavy. We read, write articles, edit photos, plan our next destinations.
One day we get up early in the morning to watch the sun rising on the sea and we walk on the beach up to Trincomalee town centre, where we reach the train station to check the timetable; our next destination is Negombo, on the west coast, some 25km north to Colombo.
On our way to Trinco, we encounter many fishermen working with their boats and nets, we see Christian churches and Tamil temples.
TASTY SRI LANKAN FOOD
At night there are many options for dinner: rice&curry, fresh fish cooked on-the-go, kottu and rotti, fresh fruit juices. This neighbourhood is also known as Alles Garden, a misreading for Alice Garden, a big mansion that used to dominate the area. It’s a very tourist hub, as the many guesthouses, hotels and restaurants gather all in few small roads. Nevertheless the number of people is reduced now, because it’s the end of the high season.
The time comes to say goodbye to this beautiful place too, Trinco has been a home away from home for us in this journey. We pack and leave.
TRINCOMALEE TO NEGOMBO BY TRAIN
At 6.50am we get the train to Negombo. We have to change at Galoya Junction, a couple of hours after the departure. The ticket to cross the entire Sri Lanka in 2nd class is 380rupees, around 2.50$…crazy cheap!
At Ragama we wait one hour for the train to Negombo, where we will step off at Kattuwa station, close to our guesthouse where we are staying for the next 3 nights. While we’re waiting at the platform we meet a Sri Lankan guy talking to us in a perfect Italian language, who tells us he’s been living in Verona for 16 years and now he’s back home for a few months. We also see an example of how busy trains can get here in Sri Lanka (and notoriously more in India), with lots of people literally hanging and leaning everywhere on the outside of the coaches.
We really miss the southern coast, places like Galle and Mirissa were so wild, more natural and charming, not to mention cheaper and authentic, what one would expect of Sri Lanka.
Bohoma stutiyi, thank you Sri Lanka, it’s been a pleasure!
WHERE TO STAY:
- Alex Rooms, Trinco: 1600rupees/night, fan, private bathroom. Not the cleanest place but right on the beach.
- Sunrise Hotel, Trinco: 2000-2500rs/night, fan-AC, private bathroom. A very nice patio/communal area, just a 2 minute walk to the beach.
- Embiente Guesthouse, Negombo: 3400rs/night, lovely room, amazing garden with swimming pool.
HOW TO GET AROUND:
- Local bus, Habarana-Trincomalee: 100rs/person;
- Short bus rides, Trinco-Uppuveli-Nilaveli: 12-20rs/person;
- Tuk-tuk, Uppuveli-Trinco station: 300rs;
- Train, 2nd class, Trincomalee-Negombo: 380rs/person;
- Tuk-tuk, Negombo-Bandaranaike Airport: 800rs.
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