5 Things You Must Do In Batticaloa
Travelling solo can be an exhilarating and freeing experience. Whether it’s your first time to Sri Lanka or the fifth, solo travellers will find that the east coast of the island offers a variety of excursions to discover. From history and culture to water sports and other outdoor activities, here are 5 fun things you must do in Batticaloa.
1. Batticaloa Fort
The Batticaloa Fort is often deemed as Sri Lanka’s most picturesque ancient fort. Set on a small spit of land which is surrounded by the sea on one side and a lagoon on the other, the fort offers stunning views for visitors. The fort was built by the Portuguese in 1628 and later taken over by the Dutch ten years later who heavily fortified it. The interior of the fort is relatively well maintained- you can still see some of the Dutch canons. Enjoy a stroll through the ancient ramparts. If you’re an early bird, wake up in time to catch the sunrise from here!
2. Kallady Beach
Kallady Beach is the most popular beach amongst locals here in Batticaloa. Since it’s on the east coast, the sunrises are phenomenal. You can even watch the sunrise from here, and help the local fishermen reel in their catch of the day, as they chant a local song. One of the best things about Kallady Beach though is Thiruchendur Murugan Alayam Temple, a Hindu temple that once was a stopping point in the Pada Yatra pilgrimage to Kataragama, but was badly hit by the tsunami. Today all that is left from the original temple is the Gopuram half sunken in the sand.
3. Batticaloa Lighthouse
The Batticaloa Lighthouse is one of the colonial lighthouses which still exist in Sri Lanka. Built in 1913, on a small sandbar that is surrounded by mangroves and lagoons, it is one of the smaller structures, standing at a height of 28 meters. You can climb to the top of the lighthouse thanks to a series of ladders and once atop you will get a wonderful view of Batticaloa lagoon.
4. Boat Safari
Embark on a boat cruise through the emerald waters of the Batticaloa Lagoon. The three lagoons and its surrounding mangroves are excellent for birdwatching and spotting other wildlife along the banks. On your cruise, you’ll also pass by the towering lighthouse – so keep your camera in handy! If you’re looking for something more adventurous, kayak along the lagoon instead. You can rent out all the gear you need and it is the perfect activity for solo travellers.
Only a 30 minute drive from Batticaloa, Pasikudah is an excellent beach for both swimming and snorkelling. Unlike most of the beaches around Sri Lanka, Pasikudah is relatively calm with minimal waves making it an ideal place for you to just bob around in the water. One of the main reasons why the water is so calm here is due to its large coral reef which protects the shore from large waves. Snorkelling around the offshore reef is a must; you’ll see plenty of fish and various other marine species.