This fishing village is situated on the east coast of the island, and is home to a predominantly Muslim population. Surrounded by water on three sides, the town sits on a narrow sliver of land backed by the Batticaloa Lagoon. As one of the larger towns on the east coast, Batticaloa is a bustling place and its streets are dotted with colorful churches and shops.You’ll also find a stoic fort in town, and this was one of the first Dutch strongholds in Ceylon.

Batticaloa is famed for its singing fish. Traditional Sri Lankan folklore describes how, during April to September every year, a strange noise – described to be not unlike a plucked guitar string – can be heard from the depths of the lagoon. The sound is thought to be strongest under a full moon, and although no one seems to know exactly what causes it, popular explanations think it likely to be some sort of marine life or the sound of water flowing between boulders lying on the lagoon floor. Townsfolk will tell you that the best way to listen to this strange noise is to dip an oar into the lagoon and hold the other end to your ear.