The northern peninsula of Sri Lanka is finally recovering from years of civil unrest and isolation from the rest of the island. This emerging area is now under reconstruction and rehabilitation, providing a fascinating opportunity for tourists looking to discover the sights and sounds of the far north of Sri Lanka. With less restricted travelling, improved road and rail infrastructure, and hotels and guest houses coming up in the region, tourists can now enjoy all that this area has to offer.
Jaffna is the capital city of the north, and is an eclectic mix of old fashioned colonial charm and contemporary Sri Lankan Tamil culture. This area was initially settled on by Tamil migrants from southern India, who have retained a unique character and culture that is distinct from the rest of the island. Here you can witness offerings at the colourful Hindu temple – Nallur Kovil, take a stroll around Jaffna Fort which was built by the Dutch, enjoy views of flamingos by the Jaffna Lagoon, and visit iconic areas such as the Jaffna Library and Jaffna Market.
The top of the northern peninsula offers a string of remote stupas, the popular hot springs at Keerimalai that are believed to have healing powers, and Point Pedro, which marks the northernmost point of Sri Lanka. The north east coast is gorgeous with white sandy beaches, coral islands and shallow blue seas. The main beaches here are Trincomalee, Uppuveli, Nilaveli and Passikudah.
There are several islands situated to the west of Jaffna, which are definitely worth visiting. Kayts Island is home to the beautiful St. James Church and Urundi Fort; Nainativu Island has important religious shrines including the Hindu Naga Pooshani Ambal Kovil and the Buddhist Nagadipa Vihara Temple, and Delft Island is famous for its low coral stone walls and herds of wild ponies.