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EXC In-Depth Field Notes: Trincomalee, Sri Lanka

Our EXC In-Depth Voyage has left Southeast Asia and arrived to Sri Lanka! EXC In-Depth Onboard Naturalist/Zodiac Driver Kristy King sent some Field Notes and excellent photos from Trincomalee, Sri Lanka. Enjoy this installment, and stay tuned as the ship continues its exploration of South Asia.

This morning Maasdam made her way into the one of the most beautiful natural harbors. Trincomalee is a port city on the northeast coast of Sri Lanka is known for having some great beaches, as well as a lot of history including the Koneswaram Temple that stands on Swami Rock cliff and can be viewed from the hustle and bustle of the town center.


Don’t miss your chance to visit the colorful Trincomalee market. Credit: Kristy King

With the vessel arriving on a Sunday there were perhaps, fewer people about than there normally would be. Many of the small shops were closed, however being a Sunday the markets were where all the action was. The central markets were a hive of activity with what seemed like yelling but it was a furry of bargaining back and forth to get the best price and the best produce. Not only was the market busy with human foot traffic it was also busy with hooves. Deer were spotted walking around the outside of the market place and in some cases trying to sneak in.

Following the market it was time to explore some of the small laneways which lead down to the beach. From here the shoreline was littered with brightly colored fishing vessels and smaller temples in an array of brilliant colors. The Koneswaram Temple could be spotted in the distance which was next on the list today but first one had to get there via local tuk-tuk of course!


Fishing boats sitting beachside next to the grand Koneswaram Temple. Credit: Kristy King

Arriving at the narrow peninsula we entered Fort Frederick which has been a defensively important site for centuries. The fortress was initially constructed here by the Portuguese in 1623 and later rebuilt by the Dutch. The British took over in 1782. The fortress is used today by the Sri Lankan military, but you’re able to explore most of the fort by foot. As you pass through Fort Frederick and ascend the top of the peninsula you arrive at Koneswaram Temple. This revered temple sits at the summit of a rocky outcrop and is one of Sri Lanka’s pancha ishwaram, five historical Hindu temples dedicated to Shiva and established to protect the island from natural disaster. It houses the lingam (Hindu phallic symbol) known as the Swayambhu Lingam. It’s an ancient place of worship, but the current structure dates to 1952.

If you’d like to join one of these amazing adventures, check out our EXC In-Depth itineraries. Stay tuned to the EXC In-Depth Field Notes as Maasdam makes way across the Indian Ocean.

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