Cycling in Sri Lanka 3 – Jaffna to Arugam Bay

#18 Jaffna to Kilinochchi

May 28: After spending a week in Jaffna, it was time to continue my journey southward towards Kilonochi. This region, situated in the northernmost part of Sri Lanka, held strategic importance during the civil war as a stronghold of the LTTE. Unfortunately, much of the area was heavily mined during that turbulent period. On my way, I encountered three organizations dedicated to the painstaking task of clearing these landmines, even after 15 years since the war ended.

At Elephant Pass, a poignant memorial stands in honor of a brave soldier who valiantly attempted to thwart an LTTE attack on their army base, ultimately sacrificing his life in the line of duty. On display there is the very road roller that the LTTE used in their audacious assault on the army base, serving as a somber reminder of the challenges faced during those tumultuous times.

In Kilonochi, there were not many good hotels, but after a lengthy search, I managed to find one that provided me with comfortable accommodation.

Stay: Lotus Cottage Guesthouse, Kilinochchi
Distance 82.07 km
Elev Gain 229 m
Time 6h 6m

#19 Kilinochchi to Mullaittivu

May 29: Given that there wasn’t much to see or do in Kilinochchi, I left in the morning for Muttaittivu, a stronghold of the LTTE during the civil war. Here, a colossal monument stands at the site where a pitched battle unfolded in the days leading to the government’s victory and the war’s conclusion.

My journey primarily followed the main highway, featuring well-maintained roads and picturesque surroundings, with lush green paddy fields enveloping the landscape.

Stay: Uthaya Guest House, Mullaittivu
Distance 64.46 km
Elev Gain 193 m
Time 4h 57m

#20 Mullaittivu to Trincomalee

May 30: Today, on the third consecutive day of my cycling journey, I aimed to reach Trincomalee, which Google indicated was 125 kilometers away. Originally, I had planned to stop for the night after covering about 75 kilometers, but in Kokkilai, when I took a break at an army canteen, they advised me to take a shortcut, go a few kilometers ahead, and use a boat to cross the river. This alternative route ended up saving me 25 kilometers of cycling.

About 15 kilometers before Trincomalee, I came across the popular Nilaveli beach area, which had many large hotels. Although it was tempting to stay there, I decided to continue and eventually found a nice hotel near the beach in Trincomalee.

Stay: Blue Diamond Resort, Trincomalee
Distance 98.34 km
Elev Gain 285 m
Time 7h 35m

#21 Trincomalee

June 1: Today’s ride was to visit Fort Frederick, a historic site built by the Portuguese in the 17th century and completed by the year 1624. Presently, part of the fort is used by the military. Inside, the fort houses the sacred Koneswaram Temple. From the top of the fort, you can enjoy sweeping views of Trincomalee bay and the town.

For the first time, I saw spotted deer roaming freely in the city, and there were nearly a hundred near the cricket stadium, just chilling.

Unfortunately, the Maritime and Naval History Museum was closed for maintenance.

Yesterday, while coming to Trincomalee, I passed by the Trincomalee British War Cemetery. It’s one of six Commonwealth war cemeteries in Sri Lanka, with over 300 gravestones of soldiers who lost their lives during the 1942 Japanese attack on Trincomalee port. The cemetery serves as a poignant reminder of wartime sacrifices and a space for reflection.

Stay: Blue Diamond Resort, Trincomalee
Distance 22.34 km
Elev Gain 141 m
Time 3h 3m

#22 Trincomalee to Batticaloa

June 3: I started my journey early in the morning, knowing it would be my longest ride yet—nearly 150 kilometers to Batticaloa. As I rode along the beautiful coastal route, I saw fishermen hauling their nets ashore, a scene that perfectly captured coastal life.

Further along the way, I came across a quaint village where, for kilometers on end, I passed rows of freshly caught fish laid out to dry in the sun.

Continuing my journey along the highway, I passed through a landscape of lush green rice fields. It was a refreshing sight, but the only disadvantage of the ride was the scarcity of tree cover, and it was very hot.

Stay: Riviera Resort, Batticaloa
Distance 141.43 km
Elev Gain 768 m
Time 10h 13m

#23 Batticaloa

June 5: I stayed at the charming Riviera Resort, a property nestled by the lagoon within a serene coconut and cashew grove near the Kallady Bridge.

The Kallady Bridge, constructed in 1924, is also known as the Lady Manning Bridge, named in honor of the wife of William Manning, the British Governor of Ceylon. It was the oldest and longest iron bridge in Sri Lanka. A new bridge has now been built parallel to it.

Using an information leaflet about Batticaloa’s attractions provided by the resort, I ventured to Dutch Bay. Here, I found four monuments erected in memory of the victims of the devastating December 26, 2004 tsunami, and the ruins of a collapsed temple.

Later, I proceeded to the estuary in Palameenmadu, where the 28-meter-high Batticaloa Lighthouse, built in 1913, stands. Sadly, I couldn’t go up the lighthouse because the person in charge was out for lunch.

Upon returning to the city, my first stop was the Batticaloa Gate, which historically served as a port connecting Puliyanthivu with the mainland of Batticaloa. It is believed to be the landing site of Rev. William Ault, the first Methodist missionary to Batticaloa, in 1814. A statue of Rev. Ault stands nearby. The area next to the gate is known as Mahatma Gandhi Park, where a statue of the Indian leader finds a prominent place.

From there, I made my way to Batticaloa Fort, originally constructed by the Portuguese in 1628 and subsequently seized by the Dutch on May 18, 1638. Beginning in 1795, the fort came under British control. This fortification boasts a structure comprising four bastions. Today, it remains in reasonably good condition and currently houses various local administrative departments of the Sri Lankan government. An artillery piece I found on the fort’s rampart displays the royal cypher of King Edward VII.

On my journey back to the hotel, I passed by the Batticaloa Clock Tower, a historical landmark in the town. Erected by the British in 1888, it proudly stands at a height of 40 feet and continues to house a fully functional four-faced clock.

Outside the Batticaloa post office, I noticed a mailbox (blue) with the royal cypher of King George.

PS: If you are staying at the Riviera Resort, make sure not to miss the chance to go and see the amazing collection of electric scaled train models that the resort owner, Mr. Darshan, has meticulously set. The trains seamlessly run over 200 meters of rail track, and five trains can run simultaneously without crashing into each other, all controlled by computers.

Stay: Riviera Resort, Batticaloa
Distance 34.63 km
Elev Gain 231 m
Time 4h 14m

#24 Batticaloa to Sangamankandy – the eastern most point of Sri Lanka

June 7: The journey from Batticola to Sangaman Kandy, the easternmost point of Sri Lanka, spanned a lengthy 102 kilometers. Just a short ride from my hotel in Batticola, I made a stop at the heritage museum in Kathankudy, which is a treasure trove of Muslim history, culture, and heritage. The museum boasts an extensive collection of artifacts and is a must-visit for anyone keen on learning about Muslim history and culture. The manager kindly allowed me entry, even though it was early, and I was amazed by the many intriguing items on display.

As I rode, I couldn’t help but notice the many fresh melon and cashew vendors lining the route. I also caught sight of some captivating temples with unique architecture and charming clock towers. In Oluvil, I found another postbox, which bore King George VI’s royal symbol. Nearby, there was a lighthouse, one of several along Sri Lanka’s coastline. A bit further along, I came across a touching monument dedicated to the victims of the devastating 2004 tsunami.

As I neared Sangaman Kandy, a light rain began to fall, and a beautiful rainbow appeared over the horizon. I also passed numerous pilgrims on their way to the Kataragama temple in the southern forest of Yala, walking from all corners of the country to participate in the festival.

In Sangaman Kandy, the easternmost point of the country, a postbox distinguishes the location.

Stay: Lighthouse Beach Hut, Komari – Sangamankandy
Distance 102.33 km
Elev Gain 194 m
Time 7h 47m

#25 Sangamankandy to Arugam Bay

June 9: I had an enjoyable stay at Sangaman Kandy. The accommodation, known as Lighthouse Beach Hut, was nestled beside the remnants of a once-standing lighthouse. It comprised charming cottages and huts constructed from eco-friendly materials like wood and coconut leaves. This idyllic haven was set amidst a vast coconut grove that extended right to the ocean’s edge.

The old lighthouse point in Sangaman Kandy is renowned for its fantastic surfing opportunities, attracting numerous international visitors solely for the thrill of riding the waves.

During a previous day’s ride, I had the pleasure of meeting a local news reporter who later featured my journey on his town’s Facebook news page. Today, as I made my way to Arugam Bay, many people who had seen the post recognized me and approached for selfies.

Although the ride to Arugam Bay was relatively short, the scorching weather and limited tree cover along the route prompted me to make frequent stops to rest and seek relief from the relentless heat.

Stay: New Tri Star Beach Resort, Arugam Bay
Distance 26.25 km
Elev Gain 119 m
Time 2h 32m


Cycling in Sri Lanka 1 – Colombo to Jaffna
Cycling in Sri Lanka 2 – Jaffna and around
Cycling in Sri Lanka 3 – Jaffna to Arugam Bay
Cycling in Sri Lanka 4 – Arugam Bay to Colombo




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