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The East Coast Beaches

Sparsely populated and arid, with simple, small towns marking the way, the east coast hasn’t seen the development of the south or west. This area is remote and beautiful. The coastline is pristine, with shimmering blue waters lapping against acres of unpeopled sand. Turn off the main road and down a dirt track to where your boutique accommodation awaits. Depending on where you’re based, there’ll be a host of activities and places to visit, but we recommend slowing things down. Swim, eat, read and reminisce about your trip, sipping a cool drink as your toes sink into the warm sands...

Three beaches to see on Sri Lanka’s east coast

Obviously there's a lot more, this is just to get you started...

Trincomalee & Nilaveli 

The city of Trincomalee is dripping in history. Chaotic, noisy, and a little scruffy at times, it’s also peppered with characterful villas, an old British fort, and several colourful temples. The whole city is a bustling hub of different cultures. The nearby resort of Nilaveli feels a world away; reposeful, even sleepy, it offers languid days at leisure enjoying the perks of high-end accommodation. There’s always talk of the ‘laid back beach life’, and this is where you can find it, isolated and bottled to be opened at will. Slow moving marine giants swim just offshore, migrating from the south, and sightings are common, while Pigeon Island beckons for close-up underwater adventures.


A wide, sheltered bay where golden sands are sandwiched between shady palm trees and calm, clear, shallow waters; it’s easy to see why Passekudah has become perhaps the most popular place to succumb to the lure of Sri Lanka’s east coast. Choose one of the hotels dotted up and down the beach, switch off, and give in to complete relaxation – to be honest there isn’t much else to do! In the evenings enjoy an ice-cold Lion beer as you watch the sun go down over the bay, and sense the mouth-watering spices in the air before tucking into a plate of sumptuous pepper crab. For anyone itching for a short break from their sunlounger, the nearby town of Batticaloa throws up evidence of its colonial past with Portuguese, Dutch and British influences and landmarks to explore, and tales of the legendary ‘Singing Fish’.

Arugam Bay 

Way down south is the little town of Arugam Bay, known as one of the world’s pre-eminent surfing destinations. It’s something of a surfing polestar, so if that’s your thing then you're going to want to make a pilgrimage here. The area's hyper laid-back atmosphere feels just right for a surf resort, as does the exhilarating reality of being in the middle of nowhere, but the lack of top accommodation and lingering backpacking atmosphere mean it isn’t for everyone. Fresh seafood and hipster hotels ensure a steady stream of visitors, and non-surfers can enjoy safaris into the nearby wetlands. At the end of a full day, kick back, eat well, and fully indulge in the beach life vibes.

We think you may like this journey…

surfing at Arugam bay

Sambol, Surf & Safari

Combine the island’s top wildlife crowd pleasers with some magnificent hidden gems and cultural highlights before spending some time on the beach.

Price from: £3,190 US$3,990
Ideal length 14 days
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Sri Lanka Journey Wildilfe Adventure

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