Forget the scare stories about the ex war zones and hear the reality. We have travelled these parts for three years now and found nothing but overwhelmingly generous hospitality and incredible sites. We share some of them here but the best is well hidden and waiting for you.
Like Farah III, a rusting hulk of a ship used by the Tamil Tigers as a place from which to fire on government troops. It was used in various offensives from 2006 when the ship first ran aground to the end of the war in 2009.
You can fly:
Go by bus or hire a car and take the A9. See our Travel and Tips section for the latest on the road improvements in January 2013.
Take note that in January 2013 there was no decent hotel accommodation on the A9, that is not to say there is no hotel though. The key word here is ‘decent’.
From Jaffna the north east is within easy reach from the north or if you stay in Triconmalee you can travel up the coast road to Mullaittivu, Chundikkulam and reach the north eastern area. Do not plan on staying in either of those towns at the moment.
Our advice is to stay in Trinco or Jaffna and travel either way into the North East region. Again check with us first for road improvements and conditions but the road is good from Trinco to at least Pulmoddai with lots of new bridges to replace the old one’s which were blown up in the civil war.
What to see in the NE
War Memorials like this one at Kilinochchi.
Still many military checkpoints on the side of the road…
Look out for signs on the roadside telling up not to wander off the verge because of unexploded mines. You will see either red squares with a skull and bones cross on it or yellow tape like that you find on western crime scenes.
And if you are interested in the civil war, you can, via roads like this, see many memorials made up of vehicles blown up in the war.
And visit the bunker of the Tamil Tiger’s Leader at Puthukkudiyiruppu. It includes the Operations Room, a camouflaged head quarters, underground garage, firing range and all the necessary buildings and support services. Here are the stairs down to the bunker which also has an emergency escape route tunnel…
On the north eastern coast much foreign investment has gone into construction of features aimed to help local people gain work such as this pier.
Windswept scenery is grand and imposing, wild and enticing…. and a challenge to drive on these surfaces without getting bogged down in sand. There is no AA or rescue services. Once stuck you have to get yourself out!
Ruined sites abound for this was the front line of the civil war. You will see a lot of reconstruction, not just roads but of religious sites: Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, Moslem for Sri Lanka has many flourishing beliefs.
The sites away from Jaffna are in remote locations and are generally not on any maps. Here is a relic of traditional Hindu shrine for fishermen.
And this half buried Christian church.
But best of all are beaches….beautiful, unspoilt and a joy to experience.
If you would like to see the North East -safely – contact:
Sidabode.firstname.lastname@example.org in Sri Lanka
Sue@theabodetrust.com in the UK