Jaffna in the northern tip of Sri Lanka is a city with a complex past. I was always rather reluctant to visit as my memory went back to a place in history that I would rather leave behind due to war and despair. Now that I have visited I must say it is one of the places ( provided you have the time to travel) you must see. It has got it’s own character stemming from a mix of the past and present combined with a lot of hope for the future!
- Traveling To Jaffna from Colombo
The best way to travel is by TRAIN. It is easy, consumes less time compared to traveling by road and what more very picturesque journey.
- The train leaves Mount Lavinia ( southern suburb of Colombo) at 5.10 a.m. It’s an express train and has limited stops. Colombo Fort railway Station is a good option to pick for the start of the journey.
- You can book the tickets from the Colombo Fort Railway station or via mobile operators in Sri Lanka ( Dialog/ Mobitel). However you still need to go to the Fort Railway station pick up the tickets which can be a bit of a hassle) There is a high demand for this train , so suggest you book tickets in advance. Some travel agencies i.e exjourneys.com provide this service, so its an option you may want to take if you like to do it at ease.
- The train is comfortable with a basic cafeteria and assigned seats with a TV running programs throughout. There is luggage space , but do not carry large bags as they are difficult to store.
- Your tickets ( return ) can cost between SLRs 3500-4000 depending on your final destination.
- It takes roughly 7- 7.5 hours of travel
What to wear
Jaffna is hot and humid almost all seasons , so be prepared. Suggest light cotton clothing. Most places in the North of Sri Lanka are still getting used to travelers , therefore being a bit conservative in attire is most likely the best option.
If you want to visit places that are religiously important ( you do get a few : like Nallur Kandaswamy Temple) you need to be attired accordingly. ( long skirts, trousers, shirts , blouses)
Where to stay
Today Jaffna offers many places to stay. You can pick up from lower range to higher range depending on your budget. Jetwing Jaffna is a good option as it is based in the heart of the city. Super service, good accommodation and great cuisine, including spicy, yummy Jaffna food : provided you can put up with the spices!
What I loved most about Jaffna are the unusual sightings, street markets and the street food. This I believe you will only find in Jaffna !
Street Food of Jaffna
Places to see
Beaches in Jaffna
Casuarina beach on the northern tip is where the locals usually go. It is a place to watch the sun set. However it can get busy with locals and may not be clean at times! It is a place to see and experience Jaffna – the way of life of locals.
An incredible place built by the Portuguese in the early 17th century ,…. yet in it’s raw form . To enjoy it you need to walk around and educate yourself with the historical background. Well restored it would be as beautiful as Galle Fort.