This article provides information on one day in Jaffna: things to do in Jaffna Sri Lanka, where to stay in Jaffna, and how to get around Jaffna.
Jaffna is the capital of the Northern province of Sri Lanka. The city was at the center of the Sri Lankan civil war, which ended in 2009. Jaffna has since been gradually rebuilding itself.
We wanted to see the area for ourselves and arrived in Jaffna in the early evening after a long bus journey of 9hrs. We had not had WiFi since our arrival in Sri Lanka nor had we got a chance to research a place to stay in the Northern capital, home of the Tamil people of Sri Lanka.
When we finally arrived, a local greeted us by asking where we intended to stay. Our only answer was a shrug followed by a “We’re not sure?” to which he responded with a “That’s not safe.”
Welcome to Jaffna.
(Note: We didn’t venture out at night but it was safe by day).
How To Get to Jaffna from Colombo
Local buses and trains are the easiest modes of transportations to travel around Sri Lanka. Buses are cheap but can be long and overcrowded. Trains are comfortable and affordable (though pricier than the bus) but you would need to plan your itinerary in advance to make sure there are seats available the day you intend to travel.
By bus: count 9hrs, about LKR 750 (USD $5.30)
By train: 8-10hrs, about LKR 1,100 (under USD $8)
There are flights from Colombo to the local airport in Palali (small town about 20km away from Jaffna).
Getting Around Jaffna
It is very easy to get around by foot, to walk around the ruins or by tuk tuk.
There are also buses every hour to go to Point Pedro.
Where to Stay in Jaffna: Jaffna Hotels and Accommodations
We safely found a place to sleep at the Lovusi Hotel – price for a clean double room with private bathroom was USD $21 – with no WiFi – as of September 2013
Other choices include:
Treatooo Jaffna: basic and clean double room with free WiFi starting at USD $24. Helpful staff.
Kai’s Guest House: clean, standard double room with private bathroom, free WiFi, nice terrace and lovely staff.
What to do in Jaffna – Activities in Jaffna
Visit the Jaffna Fort – center to many battles during the civil war.
Walk around the ruins in Jaffna – there are many deserted buildings around the town since the war
Take a half day to visit the beach in Point Pedro – Sri Lanka’s most northern point
How To Get Away – Jaffna to Anuradhapura
We did not see any other travelers in Jaffna until we took the bus to go to Anuradhapura (cost: LKR 70 per person ~ USD $0.50). It takes less than half a day to get to Anuradhapura.
More than a day to spend in Jaffna? Check out 16 Things to do in Jaffna
View more travel tips to visit Sri Lanka.
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Happy Travels !!xx