A friendly and vibrant city in the far north
Jaffna is a place where striking up conversations with friendly locals, exploring temples, and admiring wild horses on remote islands is just all part of the adventure
Jaffna might come as a pleasant surprise to you. Since the end of the war in 2009 the town has been rapidly emerging from the isolation it has felt for many years, and is now welcoming visitors from all over the world. Whilst perhaps lacking the charm of many of the southern towns, Jaffna is a surprisingly friendly and vibrant spot, suited to the more adventurous traveller. In fact, you will hardly see any other tourists whilst you're here, and as a result are much more likely to meet and strike up conversations with local people.
Due its majority Tamil population, Jaffna is mostly a Hindu town and there are some interesting temples to visit, as well as a colonial era fort, several European churches and a bustling local market. Take a day trip to nearby local islands (one with wild horses), or Kankesanthurai Beach for a swim and a stroll. Jaffna is a bit of a hotspot for bird watchers during the migrant season (September to March), with rare species, a whole host of waders, and even flocks of pink flamingos which can be seen in the lagoons and surrounding paddy fields.
When you’re in Jaffna we suggest a stay at the Fox Resort, a great hotel and a fascinating old building that was used for some time as a base for the Tamil Tigers. Also head out to Mangos Restaurant for a masala dosa and other south Indian specialities.
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