Hallo, killing time in Batticaloa on a terrible sandstormy afternoon and not much to do except Internet, luckily I found one station working, apparently the only one in town?! It is called "Wisdom Communications" and located near the Commercial Bank, other side of the road, black sign.
Coming back to the beaches I saw these three days: for a budget traveller like me, I would recommend Kalkudah-Passikudah against Trincomalee-Nilaveli. In Passikudah there is a beautiful beach in the Passikudah gulf, after passed all the fishing boats, just in front of what is left (only the skeletons) of two large hotels. Hotels that, I was told, closed down in the 1980's, as a consequence of the war, and were later "achieved" by the Tsunami.
The beach is not huge in size, but big and wide and clean enough, and the water is the best for swimming I've seen in Sri Lanka until now. Very smooth, with the bottom declining very mildly, quite clear water (although not really transparent), looks like a giant swimming pool for children.
Walking down south from that point, pass all the fishing boats again, and you will start seeing some coral reef formation not far from the coast; but there, there is virtually no beach and the bottom of the sea becomes rocky and bad, impossible to walk on. From that point I witnessed a beautiful sunrise this morning.
Another advantage in Passikudah is that you have economic accommodation available at hand. One guesthouse in Passikudah itself, the last house on the road before reaching the gulf, dark blue building with red roof, cannot miss it. They offered me a room with bathroom, small and basic but tidy, for 600 RS. I managed to include also the use of a bicycle in it (important to get to the nearest town: Vallaichchennai). As usual, they can cook on demand. The name is Kokula's, the owner Mr. Taran, the address: Beach Road (an extension of the main Kalkudah road), Passikudah (Kalkudah), the numbers: 060 2641431 or 065 2257484 or 077 6327842 (mobile). That is the nearest to the beach.
If you are not happy with it, or find it full, there are at least two more in Kalkudah: New Land, Mr. Runi, Kalkudah Rd. (the main road there), tel. 065 5680440 or 077 9231403 (mobile). Decent rooms with bathroom, very clean, from 500 RS. Or Simla Inn, Mrs. Victoria, just a little bit more down the road, tel 077 6031272, currently under renovation but she told me that they will re-open soon with rooms starting at 500 RS. Between these two, another one which appears to be closed right now, but I copied the info from the road sign: New Pearl Inn, tel. 2257987 (no area code indicated).
Whatever your choice, make sure to include the use of a bicycle in the deal, because Kalkudah is not always served with buses from Valaichchennai, which stays some 4 or 5 km away, really too much to walk it everyday. From Valaichchennai there are many buses to Batticaloa or Polonnaruwa, and the train too (not many trains stop there though: you will need to collect the full information at the ticket window). This morning I came to Batticaloa by bus: 32 km in one hour, including 2 checkpoints where everybody had to get down.
Be informed also that the area there is quite well guarded by lots of military and police. I think that it has been one of the main troubled areas in this war... So consider this matter, too.
As to Trincomalee: in the town itself I saw a quite nice beach from the bus, not opening on the China Bay gulf, but directly on the ocean on the eastern side, near the stadium and central bus stand. I saw some people there but not too many. Problem is I could not find and decent accommodation at a reasonable price in Trinco town. Going up North, the extension of Trincomalee called "Allens Garden", towards Uppuveli, offers a group of cheap guesthouses all owned by the same family. The exact location of this group is "French Gardens". One is called "Anton's", another one "French", the third one "Sampran" or something like that. They are all almost adjacent, but I saw poor rooms not so well maintained, starting from 600 RS. Then there are other accommodations around but immediately up to 1'200 and more (much more). One is the New Sea Lord Hotel, ask about it, everybody knows it. It is the only middle of the way solution (1'200 RS without AC). For those who can afford it, there is an Italian-run guesthouse called Palm Beach. Rooms starting from 2000 RS, owners nice people. But the problem there, besides the accommodation, is the beach: long and nice natural setting, but dirty, lots of garbage around, and water not clear, full of little weeds while I was there.
Much better beach up in Nilaveli. Huge in length, very wide, cleaner than the one just described (but not perfectly clean, garbage here and there), and water a little better too (but not perfectly clear, neither). Good beach for families and children, similar in quality to the Passikudah beach, where the water however looks better to me.
If you choose Nilaveli, be sure to select a hotel that will fulfill all of your needs, because up there you are really isolated, there is nothing around, you are even far from the road 1 km or so, you will have to depend almost entirely on the hotel. You can catch a bus to Trinco on the main road, but then you will have to go trhough all of those checkpoints. That is why I don't see it as a good option for budget travellers. Anyway, I spent one night in a "Mauro" hotel where I was the only guest. The rooms were just acceptable for the 1'000 RS they charged me (after bargaining). They have a nice little swimming pool, too. Tel: 026 4920633, or 4595323.