Historic Batticaloa, Batti for short, enjoys a spectacular position surrounded by lagoons with palm-filtered sunlight glancing off the water. There's a mellow vibe to the town, and the compact centre and its huge fortress and many churches are well worth a half-day's exploration on foot.
To the east of Batti's centre, Kallady is a small town on a long, sandy isthmus. There are some great beaches out here and a growing number of places to stay. Exploring the entire region by bike is a delight.