Batticaloa is a coastal town in the east of Sri Lanka which lies just south of Pasikudah, away from the main tourist trail. A visit to Batticaloa will provide travellers with an insight into the authentic Sri Lankan lifestyle: the main industries here are local traditions – fishing and handloom weaving – and most people use bicycles to navigate the narrow backstreets and sweeping, open roads between the lagoon and the sea. There are also several interesting cultural sites here, including a Dutch-period Fort which is a striking addition to the picturesque lagoon.
This cycling tour, which takes place with a local guide who will be able to translate for you as you go, begins by winding through the narrow lanes until you reach a multicoloured Shiva temple, a popular place of worship for the local Hindu community. After that, explore an organic farm before cycling for several kilometres out towards the ocean, stopping on the way to greet local fishermen and see their catch of the day, be it tuna or even a shark. Have a small refreshment stop on the sandy beach before heading to a handloom factory to see one of the region’s most historic traditions in practise – watching the vibrant spools of thread be spun into sarongs and saris. To finish the tour, join a local family for a delicious rice and curry feast in the shade of their beautiful garden.