If you are looking to travel on the off beaten track, Jaffna in northern Sri Lanka 🇱🇰 is one place I highly recommend. It has a handful of tourists on any given day, the best Sri Lankan food I have tasted and places so pure and untouched to visit.
Jaffna was only open to tourism a few years ago after the 25-year war between the Tamil Tigers and Sri Lankan government ended. They were fighting over the land in Jaffna as the Jaffnese soil is very fertile and can grow almost any crop – they have the best sweet mangoes I have tasted! So, it is still very undeveloped and about 50 years behind time compared to any other developing cities in Asia. I spent two nights in Jaffna and thoroughly enjoyed my time there. The people are extremely friendly and helpful, the streets are not packed with people or tourists and the air so pure and refreshing!
So, here are ten things I highly recommend you do in Jaffna.
- Walk on the streets of Jaffna and take in the beauty of the untouched villages and houses of Jaffna;
- Visit the beautiful Hindu temples of Jaffna.
- Enjoy a vegetarian breakfast at the Mangos vegetarian restaurant. Try the poori with potato curry and white coconut sambol or the Mangos special dosa (has cheese and vegetables in it) with shall, vegetable curry and white coconut sambol;
- Visit the local markets in Jaffna. Buy some sweets – Jaffnese sesame balls, peanut brittles or laddhus;
- Try the local sweet mangoes – you can buy some at the local markets or at the Jaffna fort (like we did) where you get 2 mangoes for 100 RPS;
- Visit the public library of Jaffna. It is open to the public from 4.30pm to 6.00pm everyday. They have every newspaper from the last five years;
- Visit the Jaffna fort at sunset. And if you do buy some sweet mangoes at the fort, you can feed the mango skin to the local cows mowing the grass in the area;
- Watch the sunset along the Jaffna fort area by the fishing village;
- Check out the Malayan cafe in Jaffna town for a cheap delicious lunch or dinner or simply, stop by afternoon tea for some savoury food items such as samosas, uluntu or parupu vadai or sweet items such as jelebi, paal cova or halwa. The lunch rice or string hoppers meals are about 350 RPS for two people; and
- Take the free local ferry to Delft island and spend the day exploring the island 🌴