Located 7 hours North - East of Colombo lies Batticaloa, sometimes called the ‘Land of the Singing Fish’ due to the strange musical sounds the lagoon emits during the night. Batticaloa, ‘Batti’ for short, is widely known for its laid back lifestyle, its significant history, great landscapes, golden beaches, recreational spaces and, of course, its fish.

Top Reason to Visit

Batticaloa, surrounded by lagoons with palm-filtered sunlight glancing off the water, the town’s mellow vibe, its golden beaches and the rich history the town possesses all take the top reasons to visit the town.

While You're There

Listen to the Singing Fish:

An interesting story lurks around the natural lagoons that surround the town. Between April and September a strange noise, resembling a plucked guitar or violin string or the sound produced by rubbing a wet finger around the rim of a glass, can be heard issuing from the depths of the lagoon. The “singing” is allegedly strongest on full moon nights, though no one knows exactly what causes it. Many believe the sound is caused by the marine life, but others point to different conclusions. The ‘Singing fish’ can be heard best on the Kallady Bridge just outside the town at night.

Cycle around the shady beaches:

The Kallady and Navalady peninsula beach offer serene views of the Indian Ocean, which can be used for recreational purposes. The calm sea also serves as an ideal swimming spot to many. However, cycling along the road right beside the beach has become the more popular activity as the abundance of trees provide good shade from the sun. The beach also serves as an exquisite sight for a beach holiday in the Northern coast of Sri Lanka.

Delve into the town’s rich history:

The town of Batticaloa has undergone many societal changes through the course of history and is, arguably, considered a heritage city. It even survived a world war. Visiting the 400 year old Dutch Fort along the coast, the Heritage museum of Kattankudy (few kilometres South of Batticaloa), the Batticaloa lighthouse and the Batticaloa museum are just some of the establishments that display the rich history of the town.

Take a radical haircut:

More recently, Batticaloa has become famous for its radical barbers. The Imperial Saloon is a unique establishment reminiscent to that of 1960s counter culture. In fact, the most unique feature of this establishment is that it serves as a shrine for Hindu Goddess ‘Durga’, Mother Mary and Lord Buddha that depicts them keeping an eye on you.

Stroll around and enjoy life:

The easy going town is also home to some great recreational spaces. The most notable being the modern Mahatma Gandhi Park built along old Batti’s waterfront. It is popular with strolling couples and includes features such as the Batticaloa Gate, which was a 19th century welcoming arch to the harbour. The park is the perfect setting to just spend the day and think about how wonderful life can be.

Insider Advice

Travel: Getting about in Batticaloa is not that hard as there are many modes of transportation. However, be mindful of the tuk-tuk drivers as they might charge exorbitant amounts for a short distance. A remedy to this can be done by researching the distance of your destination. It makes negotiating easier.

Money: Opting to use debit or credit cards would be of no harm, however, many of the small shops that you might visit does not accept any of them. Therefore it is best to carry cash with small notes like LKR 20s, LKR 50s and LKR 100s.

Clothing: It is quite a conservative town with a conservative culture, so dressing appropriately is recommended to respect traditions.

Safety: It is important to stay vigilant at all times with your belongings, especially in crowded areas since they could be snatched unknowingly.

Museums: Entrance charges to the museums vary since some are privately owned museums, while the others are public.

Meals and refreshments: An abundance of restaurants have established themselves within the town area and have made a name for themselves in providing great food at reasonable rates.

In conclusion, Batticaloa has the right mix of history, nature and culture that makes it an ideal location for that much needed break away from the fast pace urban hustle and bustle.

Title image by: KNOWSL
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