beach

Second stop: Trincomalee

Rooster, Trinco

After Batticaloa I headed straight up the coast to Trincomalee, often shortened to Trinco. Trinco is famous for its bay, one the world’s biggest natural harbours. However the government has yet to make much use of it, preferring to develop Colombo harbour and build a whole new harbour in Habentota on borrowed money (which is so far rumoured to be a failure as the bay isn’t deep enough to accommodate the largest ships). 

Trinco is also one of the few tourist destinations on the east coast, the other one being Arugam bay. Most people stay north of the town, either in Uppaveli or further north in Nilaveli. 

During my stay in Uppaveli I quickly got into a routine, relaxing in the morning and shooting in the afternoon when the light wasn’t too harsh and the temperatures more manageable. I often returned to the same part of town with small sandy lanes full of colourful houses mostly inhabited by fishermen and their families. 

Trinco is probably the best place in Sri Lanka to experience beach life. It offers a good range of accommodation, but is not nearly as developed as the beaches on the south-west coast. 

Fishing, Trinco

Trinco's main beach

Gaminee / Kabbadi, Trinco

Fishermen, Trinco

Family on the beach, near Trinco

Crows and a dog, Trinco

Second part of the road trip, first stop: Batticaloa

Kallady beach after dark, Batticaloa

Kallady beach after dark.

After a break at home in Colombo, I set off again on May 30th for Batticaloa, one of the main cities on Sri Lanka’s east coast. It’s surrounded by water, may it be lagoons or the sea, and despite its size, has a provincial feel to it. Most people get around the shaded streets by bike and no one seems in much of a hurry. It hasn’t got any particularly great sights to offer,  but the pleasant, friendly, laid-back vibe make up for it.

Its recent history is anything but pleasant though. It was occupied by the LTTE for a lot of the war and only freed in 2007. It was also severely hit by the 2004 Tsunami and there are still remnants of villages that were completely destroyed only minutes away from Kallady beach, popular with locals. 

Despite its difficult past, the people seem eager to move on, rebuild what they lost and rediscover their culture. The http://welcometobatticaloa.com is a good example of the city’s efforts to develop its tourism. I’ve yet to come across such a comprehensive website for any other place in Sri Lanka. 

Negombo's fish market and Pamunugama

Back in February 2014 I headed up to Negombo to rent a scooter for a week and explore the eastern coast north of Negombo. Before shooting off, I did stay in the area for a day though, as I wanted to experience Sri Lanka’s second largest fish market as well as explore Pamunugama, a slither of land south of Negombo that runs between the Indian ocean on the west and a lagoon on the east. 

beach

A view of the bay next to Negombo’s fish market. Once the boasts have come back in from the fishing, there is still lots of work left to do. The fish must first all be gathered from the nets and sorted. They are then brought back out to sea in baskets and rinsed to remove any sand before being carried to the market to be sold or auctioned off. 

Fish Market, Negombo

Despite the first fishermen already coming in before sunrise, work goes on into the late morning by which temperatures in the sun are easily above 30 degrees celsius. Luckily workers sort out the fish under make-shift tents which provide a bit of shade. 

barrels

Blue plastic barrels are typically used for storage. 

Football practice, Negombo

Children playing football on Pamunugama while the sun sets and smoke from a nearby fire blows across the pitch. 

church

Inside a Portuguese-style church being built on Pamunugama which is famous for its Catholic community.