Ever dreamed of finding a pearly white beach and an ultramarine ocean all to yourself? Ever wanted to have a walk on a pristine seashore rimmed with palm trees and see only your own footprints left in the sand? On Sri Lanka’s unspoiled and pristine east coast this is still very much possible.
The East is intense! The food is spicy, the sun is blazing hot and the sky deep blue, impressive Hindu temples with huge statues of ten armed gods tower above humble devotees, and the houses are painted in every shade of pink and purple. Strangely enough the people that inhabit this part of the island are not as rough and jagged as their surroundings. They are warm and gentle, welcoming foreigners with open arms and they are ever so curious to know your name. There is one thing that these people and their environment have in common: a pureness that is of a breath-taking beauty.
Rough around the edges
Sri Lanka’s east coast has long been closed to tourism because of the country’s civil war and the devastation of the tsunami. Still a little rough around the edges it is now ready to receive quests on its pristine beaches and its bright green back lands.
Trincomalee is famous for its nearby Nilaveli and Uppuveli beaches. Snorkellers and divers will enjoy the off-shore National Park Pigeon Island, where one finds sharks, sea turtles and an abundance of colourful tropical fish. After the discovery of a huge colony of blue whales, Trincomalee has become popular as a Whale Watching destination as well.
Have a walk on the magnificent stretches of white sand at Kaldukdah and Passekudah that are said to be among the most beautiful beaches of the island. The shallow waters, well protected by offshore reefs, make for an excellent and safe place to swim.
Arugam Bay is Sri Lanka’s self-proclaimed surf capital. This is where the cool crowds go. Its laid-back atmosphere and large number of relatively cheap places to stay has made it a haven for backpackers. Arugam Bay may have the best surf and the best parties, but swimming is best done elsewhere since here the waves can be big and the current strong. The nearby Pottuvil Lagoon is a biodiversity hotspot with crocodiles lurking in the water, macaque monkeys climbing the mangrove trees and bright blue kingfishers plunging down to catch some small fish.