Trincomalee, one of the finest natural deep-water harbours in the world is located 257 km north-east of Colombo, which is considered as the commercial hub of Sri Lanka. Trincomalee is home to the fine beaches of Nilaveli, Uppuveli and the off-shore Pigeon Island. Recently Trincomalee has become popular as a Whale Watching destination as well. The Dive centres at Nilaveli and Uppuveli offer touriststhe opportunity to enjoy their holidays in diving, snorkeling and swimming. The Trincomalee district, referred as Gokanna or Gokarna in the historical chronicles and inscriptions, is studded with a multitude of ruins of ancient Buddhist temples and is considered a major Buddhist cultural and archaeological site of Sri Lanka. The seven hot springs at Kanniya located a mere 8km from Trincomalee attract regular crowds throughout the year in view of the therapeutic properties of the water as well as the varying temperatures from one well to the other.
Gokarna in Trincomalee, Mantota in Mannar and Dambakolapattuna in Jaffna, among others had been great sea ports of ancient Sri Lanka since 543 B.C. Trincomalee known as Gokanna, Gokarna or Siri Gonamala is an ancient sea-port town and as records in the historical chronicles of Sri Lanka states, is the harbour where Prince Panduvasudeva, King Vijya’s nephew sailed into Sri Lanka from Sinhapura, India. “Badda Kachchayana who later became the queen of King Panduwasdeva (505-474 B.C.) with her party of royal maidens too landed in Siri Gonamala harbor. She was a sister of Prince Digha, the founder of Dighavapi. In an essay entitled, Aryan Settlements and Early Kings, published in the Concise History of Ceylon by Sri Lanka’s foremost historian a pre-eminent archaeologist Dr. Senarath Paranavithana writes about the king who ruled Ceylon (Sri Lanka) after the first king Vijaya “Panduvasdeva with thirty two followers, it is said, arrived in Ceylon in the guise of mendicant monks. They landed at the mouth of the Mahakandara River at the port of Gokanna, the modern Trincomalee according to the commentator of the chronicle (Mahavamsa)”.
The Arugam Bay Beach is a wide sweeping sandy beach in front of the village of Arugam Bay and is an attraction for surfing and swimming all year-round.
Arugam Bay‘s first international surfing competition was held by the ISA (International Surfing Association) in the summer of 2004. Despite the shocking destruction of the Tsunami on December 26, 2004, the ISA returned in 2005 to give the battered local economy of Arugam Bay a boost. The long and consistent right hand point break at the southern end of the Arugam Bay beach makes it one of the finest surf spot in Sri Lanka as well as Asia. The Arugam Bay Beach consists of a coral reef which is home to an abundance of tropical fish and is a delightful snorkelling paradise.