7 Great Things To Do in Jaffna, Sri Lanka 7 Great Things To Do in Jaffna, Sri Lanka

7 Great Things To Do in Jaffna, Sri Lanka

Jaffna is a city located on the northern tip of Sri Lanka. It opened its doors to tourism in 2009. The city has a lot of influence from India, which you can see on the streets, and in their food, which is different from central or south Sri Lanka. It is a good off-the-beaten path visit for 2 to 3 days, but remember you need some extra time on your Sri Lanka route as it’s a little dislocated from the usual tourist spots.

1. Visit the Local Market

To start your Jaffna experience, blend yourself into the local life at the market. They will be positively surprised to see your faces, and from the moment you try to start talking with them, they will open up. Buy some fruit and start a conversation with these lovely people.

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2. Relax at the Beach and a Natural Pool

Jaffna is one of the busier cities in Sri Lanka. Escape the city with a 25-minute drive towards Kankesanthurai Beach. See the very clear blue waters and play around with the locals who are also chilling on the beach.

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7 Great Things To Do in Jaffna, Sri Lanka

After the beach, head over to the Keerimalai Pond, which you can see as a natural swimming pool. A full tuk-tuk day trip will cost you between 750 and 1500 LKR. You can also rent a motorbike in town and explore the coastlines on your own.

3. Visit the Nallur Kandaswamy Temple

This Hindu Temple is a 10-minute drive from the city center. You can visit the red-colored temple, just take your shoes off. When you plan a visit in late August, you can experience their 25-day colorful Nallur festival.

Things to do Jaffna Sri lanka Nallur Kandaswamy Temple

4. Eat Indian-Influenced Food

Jaffna is close to India. You can experience a bit of India through the food in Jaffna. There are a few restaurants that you have to try while you’re in Jaffna. Head over to Mangos to try their Thali. You will get about 10 small bowls with different flavors + rice.

Or when you are in for a fully local experience. Visit Malayan Cafe, near the market. This bakery-like Indian place serves all kinds of bread on a banana leaf. You will see 99% locals here, and it’s busy throughout the whole day.

Up for dessert? A 5-min walk from Mangos is Rio Ice Cream. They have many kinds of flavors but be warned; this is not your Italian gelato. Sri Lankan people love their sweets. :)

5. Visit One of the Local Islands

One very popular thing to do in Jaffna is to visit one of the local islands. There are two popular islands. Nainativu Island can be visited by a short boat trip from the Kurikadduwan Jetty. Visit the temple or do an island tour.

The second island is Delft Island, named after a city in The Netherlands. Here you will see wild horses, an old Portuguese Fort  The boat trip from Jaffna takes about 1 hour, and there are no places to buy snacks or drinks on this island, so taking food and drinks is recommended.

Things to do Jaffna Sri lanka street

6. See the Public Library and Clock Tower

For some more sightseeing in town, visit the old public library in the center of Jaffna. Nearby is the clock tower, which is built by the British.

Things to do Jaffna public library Sri lanka

7. See the Dutch Fort

Walking distance from the public library is the old Dutch Fort. Built in 1618 by the Portuguese. The star-shaped fort is great for doing a quick walkthrough or seeing the sunset from the seaside.

Where to Stay in Jaffna

Jaffna is relatively small for a city, but most guesthouses and hotels are situated a little outside of the center. Tuk Tuks can take you easily around Jaffna, meaning anywhere you stay, you’ll be located close to the top things to do.

Because the northern city is less popular on the average Sri Lanka route, accommodation is also far cheaper than other destinations in the country!

Jetwing Hotels are one of the leading hotel branches in Sri Lanka. Their property in Jaffna is modern and offers fantastic facilities.

Getting to Jaffna

Jaffna to Trincomalee

By car: Jaffna to Trincomalee is a 4-hour straight car drive.
By bus: The cheapest option is to go by direct bus. Ask for the times since these can change quite often.

Colombo to Jaffna

Getting from Colombo to Jaffna is a long 8 hours + car drive. It is better to add one or two stops in between. The first stop can either be Dambulla or Sigiriya and the second stop Anuradhapura.

From Dambulla, it’s a 5-hour drive, and from Anuradhapura for about 4 hours.

Best Time to Visit Jaffna

Jaffna has good weather year-round, but during the months December to March are the most comfortable weather-wise.

24/07/2023 https://www.saltinourhair.com/sri-lanka/jaffna-sri-lanka/
Blog comments (1)

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  • Welsh

    The journey also takes you past the infamous Elephant Pass, a slip of land connecting the Jaffna peninsula to the rest of Sri Lanka, which played a critical role in many battles throughout the the civil war. It is possible to get from Colombo to Jaffna via an overnight bus, however we recommend breaking up the journey up by stopping in Kandy or Dambulla overnight.

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