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How to Travel to the North of Sri Lanka

Travelling to the north of Sri Lanka is quite different when compared to travelling down south, due to the differing landscapes, culture, and the accessibility of the region. The northern region was once a battleground of a three-decade-long civil war, which finally ended in 2009. Although armed conflict has ceased, the region is still recovering and reconciling from the war. Of which, development has become the stepping-stones of promoting this region as a place not to be missed by any traveller looking to understand the unique culture, heritage, and nature of the entire island. Here are some elements that will make travelling up north easy and convenient for you.


Presently, there are four modes of transport to travel to the north of Sri Lanka, which depends on where you would like to set up base. If you are willing to start from the northernmost point on the island, which is the Jaffna Peninsula, you can take a flight from Colombo to the Jaffna International Airport in Palaly. Here, you can work your way down to visiting Jaffna and nearby cities, by public bus, or vehicle. You could also opt to take the train, bus, or vehicle up north. Depending on your preferences, and the way you craft your itinerary, you can pick and choose what mode is most suitable for you.


Of course, one of the reasons that anyone would want to travel to the northern region is the many activities that you could partake in. But what exactly are the activities on offer for the traveller? The coastal towns in the north, allow you to engage in some exhilarating water sports much like the southern region. Bask on a pristine golden beach or visit the ancient treasures and war remnants as you explore Jaffna and the surrounding cities.


Another great feature that you must consider when travelling up north is the many excursions that you could engage in. This is because the region is filled with nature reserves for you to explore such as the Chundikkulam National Park, Adam’s Bridge National Park, and the Wilpattu National Park. Moreover, some of these parks are steeped in ancient myth and documented history too, making it one of the main excursion zones for you. In other words, travelling up north would require you to be prepared with safari equipment, and hiking gear. Even if you do not have the right equipment, you could always arrange for this by renting it out.


Always be prepared by carrying your travel essentials at all times in your backpack, however, if you do not have them on hand, you could always drop by in the many supermarkets located in the major towns to purchase them. Keep in mind though that many places in the north are not as developed, therefore it is the local convenience stores that are commonplace. As a result, you must carry cash in hand with small notes, so that you can purchase essentials without any hassle.


Travelling up north is a rather difficult task since it only recently started gaining popularity with travellers. So, make sure you have a contingency plan in case of any emergency, such as a contact if you get lost. This contingency can be anything that would suit your convenience.

Places to Consider

Looking at all these elements you might be having a few ideas of what places you would like to visit when travelling in this region. Places such as Jaffna, Trincomalee, Puttalam, Kilinochchi, and Anuradhapura are all popular places of interest. However, make sure you include places like Vavuniya, Delft Island, Velanai Island, Nagadeepa, and Mannar in your itinerary, as they are untouched with mainstream tourism. Thus, allowing you to witness the unique culture, heritage, and nature of the north.

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