Road Trip to Jaffna, Sri Lanka

We have been living in the South of Sri Lanka for two months now.

On our very first trip to Sri Lanka we explored the South and South Eastern part of this pearl shaped island. Our main focus of that trip was on seeing elephants in the wild.

On our second trip we extended our explorations to include the Eastern Coast and did this on an epic trip which mostly entailed driving miles descending the coast from Trincomalee in the North East to Arguam Bay in the South East. We took a few buses, but mostly we travelled slowly for hours by tuk tuk!

Our third trip  was mostly business and a search for the place where we would want to live. We focused this “research” in the vicinity of the historic town of Fort Galle and the Southern beaches.

Even though Sri Lanka is a relatively small island (it is about half the size of Nicaragua!) it still entails a fair amount of logistics and travel to explore the rich diverse offerings… from mountains, to UNESCO heritage sites, nature parks, beaches, Buddhist and Hindu temples.

JAFFNA, at the Northern most tip of Sri Lanka, a stone throw away from the Tamil Nadu region of India, has remained an elusive place for us.

Jaffna until recently was off limits to foreign travelers, as the city was one of the epicenters of the brutal 29 year civil war that ended a mere 7 years ago. We have been eager and interested to visit Jaffna, but it has been the one place we just did not get to on prior trips, due to time complexity and logistics.

So now, we decide to make Jaffna the main goal of our year end adventure.

How to get there?

We can take an early morning very long train ride from Colombo, or a series of long bus rides.. We make the decision to drive to Jaffna and rent a car, for the first time in Sri Lanka. This will give us the flexibility to leave when we like and to stop along the way whenever we want to. Not something one can do when traveling by bus or by train.

Characteristically these plans come together at the last minute, with the only thing planned in advance, our 2 day stay at a small boutique hotel in Jaffna where I (Peta) have a writing job, in exchange for accommodation.

We have a rough outline and idea of a few key places we might like to stop at on the way there and on the way back. But of course, plans inevitably change, as we stay flexible to the last minute depending on what comes our way.

And indeed, a lot comes our way!

Wheels!! We have not owned a car for 10 years. Renting one is inexpensive here and certainly to us feels quite luxurious even though it is a small compact car for people with relatively long legs! Car packed, and off we go…..

Um… small problem… steering wheel is on the “wrong” side.  But, ok, Ben’s driven in Japan, also on the left side.  but wait, this is a stick shift, so the box is also on the other side.  Gotta quickly adapt to left handed gear shift. Oy.

Negombo Beach

Negombo beach is very near to the international airport and it takes us quite a while to navigate heavy traffic and crazy buses around Colombo in order to get there. We stop for lunch and come across this work of art on the beach! A huge tie dye painted sail. Magnificent!

You get a good idea of how large this sail is in comparison to Ben. I like how the sail and his sarong go together…

Stopping along the roadside for a snack. HOPPERS of course! A classic Sri Lankan snack stacked up like bowls on a shelf. Hoppers are rice based, thin as a crepe, with crispy edges and are sometimes plain or have an egg in the center. You can see the pans used for cooking the hoppers on the bottom right. Above the hoppers is the reflection of the palm trees on the side of the road.

Kalpitiya

Kalpitiya is a peninsula augmented by 14 small islands known for its marine sanctuary and diversity of habitats that range from coral reefs, salt pans, mangrove swamps and vast sand dune beaches. We however are here to see the spinner dolphins!

The unique geographic conditions that result from a high amount of rain, unusual weather patterns and distribution of sediments collected from numerous rivers, provide a rich buffet of food ~ for marine life in the waters which surround Sri Lanka.

To date, a remarkable 27 species of whale and dolphin have been recorded in Sri Lankan waters including the largest creatures on the planet, the blue whale. As for dolphins, there are spinner dolphins, spotted, humpback and bottle nose dolphins. The spinner dolphins are the most spectacular, due to their aerial acrobatics.

We walk along the beach in the early morning, towards the end of the bay where the boats which take people out to watch the dolphins, await.

Wide stretches of soft sand and warm waters in this bay. Due to the civil water restriction in travel to this area, it is only recently starting to develop slowly. Most people come here for deep sea diving, snorkeling, dolphin and whale watching or kite surfing.

Colorful fishing boats.

Spinner dolphins are endemic to this region. They travel in large pods of at least a dozen or more.. We were very lucky to see hundreds swimming very close to our boat ~ a breathtaking and epic experience. Hard to capture the beauty and grace of these mammals in photographs.

After the exhilaration of seeing spinner dolphins up close, we take a walk along the long stretch of beach which we have to ourselves, except for a few fishermen working on their boats.

Fisherman and his wife repairing their fishing net.

The fishing nets are a bright orange color.

One of the unique and surprising features of this area are the feral donkeys roaming about…. everywhere!

The region takes advantage of good wind to provide electricity from wind turbines. (Just last month the press triumphantly reported an important milestone in the development of the country that the last house on the entire island of Sri Lanka was connected to the grid.) Here an unlikely landscape of a wild donkey in front of a wind turbine

A rare sight.. wild donkeys grazing on the side of the roads.

Wilpattu National Park

As we leave Kalpitiya and its beaches and lagoons, to continue our Northern journey we need to make a choice… One option is to veer right toward the archaeological ancient sacred city of Anuradhapura, OR to take a chance that the road we see on the map going through a national park, actually does go through the park.

Will we be able to drive through?

Most parks as far as we know, only allow one to go in with a hired jeep and nature guide.

You can see the orange line on the map on the left which runs through the park ~ indicating a road going through the park.

We decide to go for it and try our luck at driving through Sri Lanka’s oldest and largest natural park.

The highway turns into a single lane and then a dirt road and with no fuss nor entry fee, we pass a sign that announces our arrival at the park and we drive right in! What follows is what Ben describes as his single best experience in Sri Lanka so far…

The freedom of movement afforded by having our own car, the ability to stop as we please in the park and even get out of the car, makes for a unique experience.

(I (Peta) grew up in South Africa and we would take family car trips to the Kruger National Park. I  have very fond memories of driving through Kruger Park scanning the horizon with my siblings, for sightings of giraffe, elephant and zebra.)

There is no entrance gate on this road, just a sign announcing our arrival and a few more small signs with various rules of the park on them. But that’s it… We just drive in!

And..  for the next 2 hours we drive at a leisurely pace stopping at will to watch monkeys, birds, lizards….

We jot down the animal sightings as we go through Wilpatu National Park. (Wonky writing due to a moving vehicle.)

Nowhere on the signs do the rules prohibit leaving the vehicle. We step out a few times to watch birds on a lagoon or elephants in the distance.

Six proud and brightly colored wild peacocks cross the road in front of us. We do see peacocks in our neighborhood, but they are usually up in the trees and not seen in groups.

When we spot this family of elephants, we pull over and get out the car to watch them. Watching the baby elephant strolling happily with 2 adults is a pleasure to behold.

Mannar

By the time we reach Mannar, it becomes visually obvious that we are no longer in the Buddhist-dominated South.  The architectural landscape here, and population, reveal a multi-religious community that is Hindu, Muslim and Christian, and ethnically Tamil.

 

Men in the street don ‘Fez’ caps, either pure white or adorned with gold thread. In terms of physical look, the Muslim men tend to have full beards, a feature we haven’t seen amongst Sinhalese men in the South.

Young men are less likely to wear sarongs, yet still the ‘Fez” cap is a constant. In a small vegetable shop a young man chops up cabbage for the classic Sri Lankan ‘mixed salad’. We stock up on carrots to hand out to donkeys.

The small shops are getting ready to open for the day…

Brightly colored Hindu dresses are displayed in many of the small stores on the streets. The bright colors are no doubt influenced by the equally bright Hindu temples.

Palm woven goods are a specialty of this region. The hodgepodge of goods sold in little stores one after the other, create an ‘Ali Baba cave’ effect, where one can find all sorts of little treasures.

Plentiful heaps of vegetables being grown and sold. Here piles of leeks stacked up on either side of the store.

The feral donkeys we saw in Kalpitiya were but a preview to the larger population of donkeys which reside in this urban environment. These donkeys have a much harder life as they clearly struggle to find food to eat and we saw many of them scrounging through piles of garbage. We decided to spread some animal love and good karma by handing out carrots.

Obviously not a solution to the large scale problem, just a small treat. Much like feeding stray dogs (and cows in India) along our path.

This cute, fluffy baby seems to have never seen a carrot before! Not quite sure what to make of it, at first. His normal diet: paper, and whatever scraps of food he can find in plastic bags thrown in the trash.

At the old Portuguese fort area ~ this crop seem to be faring a little better as they have some greenery to sustain them.

Fort Mannar, built by the Portuguese, lies at a critical observation point over the bays. Mannar is definitely not a tourist destination to be sure, but the fort could be a potential draw for visitors.

Ben’s sarong brightens up the grey colors of the Fort stones.   

After a short stop over for a night’s sleep, we head out over the causeway, which bridges the island city of Mannar,  to the mainland. Today we should finally get to Jaffna after about another final 3 hours on the road.

Brand new causeway with ocean on both sides. Quite a dramatic drive across turquoise blue waters.

Traditional crab fishing in the bay.

Just as we see a multitude of Hindu temples and mosques, there are also many churches both big and small. Remnants from days of Portuguese colonization.

We leave the buzz and activity of the little shopping center in Mannar and are back in the serene green countryside where the main way of getting around smalls roads is definitely the bicycle.

Short stop at a little market area to buy some fruit and veg for a roadside picnic.

We travel with a knife (for picnics) and a map. Find some shade, a view .. add some fresh tomatoes, daikon radish and we are happy campers.

One of the fun aspects of the countryside we drive through is the many birds we see. Here, a flock of large painted stork takes flight.  These are the largest birds we have seen this close, between 3 and 4 feet tall, since we saw another large stork, at a magnificent bird park in India’s Rajasthan region – Keoladeo National Park.

No Ben. Sorry, but we cannot bring them home with us!

The green line on the left is our route ~ which started from way down in the SOUTH (Galle) and goes all the way up the coast to way up in the NORTH to Jaffna….. About 14 hours driving in total with 4 main stops along the way.

As we start to enter the region of Jaffna, we see this sign. A remnant of war days gone by? or just referring to the road ahead?

70 thoughts on “Road Trip to Jaffna, Sri Lanka

  1. CompassAndCamera

    What a fantastic road trip! And so many dolphins! Love that you’ve ventured north into a zone that was previously off limits. Looking forward to seeing what you find in Jaffna.

    1. Green Global Trek

      Thanks Kelly. The experience of seeing so many dolphins in so many pods, so close… on the left and on the right, made for one of the best days! Seeing wildlife free and in their natural habitat is just so increasingly rare these days.

      Stay tuned for Jaffna!
      Peta

    1. Green Global Trek

      We booked nothing ahead of time… realizing that it was a bit risky given that it is the holiday season, the most busy time. However, we know that when we reserve ahead of time it only serves to constrain us and affects the journey. We lucked out and found some pretty cool places along the way. The only pre determined stay was at the hotel in Jaffna where we had a complimentary stay for 2 nights in exchange for a story I am going to be writing for them….

      We stayed at local small hotels, prioritizing the ones with comfy beds. Hot water was definitely hard to come by, as in this tropical climate, most do not offer it. We had one super unusual night in a tree house in the middle of a bird sanctuary. Stay tuned….
      Peta

  2. Gilda Baxter

    I love a road trip, having a car does make a big difference and gives you more freedom to stop whenever and wherever you want. Sri Lanka is such a beautiful and diverse country, small but backed full of interesting things to do and see. Blue skies, sunny beaches and warm waters makes me long for a tropical get away to escape the gloomy British winter.

    1. Green Global Trek

      We have had some epic road trips … One in Northern Argentina, Portugal, Spain, France.. but this is the first time we have rented a car in Asia. Driving on the “wrong” side of the road was a bit strange at first, especially as using a stick shift left handed took some getting used to. As well, the bus drivers here are definitely crazy kumakazi style drivers. We did love the rural roads though where we were often the only car as most people were on bicycles, motorbikes or in tuk tuks.

      Gilda sounds like you have been to Sri Lanka?? Yes it is all those things, and more!
      Peta

      1. Gilda Baxter

        Unfortunately I have not yet visited Sri Lanka, but I have friends that visited and loved it there, so it is definitely on my radar. Happy New Year to you both!

        1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

          I hope you get to visit here Gilda as Sri Lanka deserves to be on your radar! It has so much to offer, especially when you consider that it is a small island and as well, just seven years ago the civil war ended.

          Happy New Year to you as well.
          Peta

  3. Anita and Richard @ No Particular Place To Go

    I feel like I’ve been taken along on your road trip adventure, discovering wildlife, sea creatures and gorgeous landscapes along the way. I can see why this country has captured your hearts and thanks for a deeper glimpse into magical Sri Lanka. I’m looking forward to many more tales! Anita

    1. Green Global Trek

      Thanks Anita for these lovely comments on our blog. Since you are in Lagos, Portugal you will appreciate that Sri Lanka was once a Portuguese colony and has remnants of Portuguese architecture throughout the island.

      We are continuing to add new layers of depth to our knowledge and understanding of our current home.
      Peta

  4. Sharon Rosenzweig

    That was a fun trip to share over coffee on this cold dark morning. I love it when you go on adventures. Great pictures. Happy New Year!

    1. Green Global Trek

      Hahaha Sharon you are too funny. We are both chuckling out loud at your comments. You have certainly followed many of our adventures and we love taking you along. We thought of you during the trip, when we found out that the national bird of Sri Lanka is the Ceylon jungle fowl, which basically looks like a chicken!

      Happy New Year to you both as well!! xoxo
      Peta

  5. Joanne Sisco

    As usual, you have excellent photos of your adventure and this interesting country. I loved the dolphins. If it had been me, you would have heard squealing on the video 😉

    1. green Global Trek

      Thanks Joanne for the compliments on the photos. It is such a great creative outlet and it’s a lot easier than painting ~ I don’t wind up with paint on my hair and face!!

      The dolphins were phenomenal. Watching them play and swim by, full of so much poise and grace was totally hypnotizing. I have been trained from a young age (growing up in South Africa) to be as quiet as possible when watching wildlife so no squealing, although inside I was jumping for joy!!
      Peta

  6. healingpilgrim

    The adventure continues! Now a road trip, boats, dolphins, peacocks, bananas and roadside picnics to boot.. you guys know how to live 😉 Really.. clean water and beaches?!

    1. Green Global Trek

      Amit, thanks… that is a good list of things!!! There is so much more to come! What a trip!

      Most beaches the world over today are sadly garbage strewn, and most of it comes out of the ocean.. from people throwing trash into rivers and streams which then leads up in the sea. Plastic and styrofoam are the worst culprits. I have a habit of picking up as much of it as I can as we walk along, both because I feel I have to do something and as well, to hopefully role model this behavior. I wish I could get every single person who steps foot on a beach to just pick up the trash they see, that would be something at least. But definitely better than Bali. And Portugal, was the worst!
      Peta

  7. Liesbet

    When I read you were eating hoppers in the beginning of your road trip, I immediately thought about fried grasshoppers, another delicacy in Southeast Asia! Your hoppers sound and look tastier, though. 🙂 Spinner dolphins are amazing, and such a treat to see up close. We observed them from our boat and dinghy several times in French Polynesia. Hard to photograph, since you never know when they will jump.

    Those feral donkeys in town did remind me of stray dogs. So sad. I would think the locals could use them to ride on or haul loads and in turn feed them… Sri Lanka sure is a varied country! It sounds amazing to get into the nature park and drive and stroll at will! What an adventure. I”m looking forward to the next part!

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Thanks Lisbet.

      There is something very positive about the fact that these feral donkeys are not turned into beasts of burden hauling heavy loads for hours on end. We witnessed this in Morocco where the donkeys are not fed well, nor treated well AND they work round the clock! But surely there is something between leaving feral donkeys to fend for themselves and the opposite which is to turn them into a labor force. Our preliminary investigation reveals that there is a precedent for donkey sanctuaries globally, though not in Sri Lanka, yet. For a nation that strives to capture tourism dollars, it does feel that an enterprising group of people in the Manard/Kalpitiya area could organize a win win solution where the donkeys are adequately protected and corralled in an area that has sufficient greens to sustain them while becoming a possible tourist draw. We will put this on our “wish list” of projects we may take on, in 2017, when Ben’s job hopefully allows for more bandwidth for impact projects.

      Thanks for keeping up with our adventure!
      B&P

      1. Liesbet

        A donkey sanctuary would be a great idea. We saw one of those in Bonaire. In other places, like Barbuda, they roam free, but the human population is low. So much to do in this world! Maybe the elephant sanctuary can expand and take in donkeys?? 🙂

        1. Green Global Trek

          Liesbet we had to look up Bonaire! as surprisingly we had never heard of it… But are delighted to know that there is a donkey sanctuary there. The elephant sanctuaries here are very focused on only elephants and it is quite a complicated system in the wildlife ministry. We are wondering if we might be able to come up with a credible actionable plan..

          It is our personal experience that impact projects can both be shaped and birthed yet always require significant focused effort over a sustained period of time.

          B&P

  8. Alison and Don

    What an amazing trip. It must have been so wonderful to see all the wild animals. And the dolphins! And just to have the experience of exploring the country. Looking forward to hearing about Jaffna.
    Alison

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Jaffna coming up soon… We both value seeing wildlife in their natural habitat probably as one of our favorite activities. I have always hated zoos even though there are some that do good research work and provide sanctuary for orphaned, rescued or endangered species.. but at the same time, I always imagine how much happier they would of course be, if they were free. The act of willingly capturing a wild animal from it’s habitat, boxing and shipping it to a far away destination, to wind up in a mostly concrete environment just feels entirely wrong. Okay, I will get off my “soap box” now…

      Peta

  9. Johnny-O

    Wonderful road-trip! You strike such a nice balance between knowing where you’re going and not knowing where you’re going. How else would you have seen that amazing sail?

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Good point Johnny. It is in the balance of knowing and not knowing… If we pick a target destination that is far away and give ourselves the freedom either of time or mode of transportation, (or ideally both), then we are always rewarded by the little treasures along the way that make the journey rich.

      That sail just blew me away. What a great work of art! I would love to see that massive piece of bold graphic art every day. Wow.

      Thanks for stopping by our blog.
      Peta

  10. carolinehelbig

    Thanks for taking me on the road trip. I guess after 14 hours of driving you get pretty proficient with the gear shift on the opposite side. You captured some really great scenery, wildlife and people photos. I especially love your dolphin video, and there’s something about the older and younger man in their beautiful Fez caps that I really like.

    I’m struck again by the beauty and diversity of this country, and I’m seriously trying to figure out a way we can swing a trip with our friends in May.

    Nice that you got that writing gig. Happy New Year! Cheers, Caroline

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      The fez caps are indeed an interesting addition to the sari clad women (Tamil) and the sarong wearing men (Sinhalese). In Morocco we saw the majority of men wearing fez caps of course, because it is a predominantly Muslim country, but here, Muslims are a relatively small minority and so the fez, as well as the white outfits are more noticeable. It was very interesting driving through the country and getting an immediate read on the make up of the population by seeing Buddhist temples in the South gradually replaced with Hindu temples in the North, with quite a few large churches and some beautiful mosques.

      I do hope you manage to swing a trip in May with your friends, as Sri Lanka really has a lot to offer. We would be delighted to meet you for a rice and curry and provide travel tips.

      The writing gigs are more work of course, but it creates situations where we wind up in areas we would not necessarily see or know about and as well, the smattering of pampering is very nice. We do like to share special and unique boutique hotels with our blog readers and as well, hotels that are sustainable and eco conscious.

      Happy New Year to both of you as well,
      Peta

  11. Sharon Bonin-Pratt

    Peta and Ben, this has been an amazing journey. Every aspect of Sri Lanka is gorgeous and brimming with a life style that seems appreciative. Thank you for all the photos and the detailed comments about everything you saw.

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Glad you are enjoying reading about our journey. It is hard to select photographs for the blog as I tend to take many of them, being a very visual person. It also serves to archive our visual memories as time goes by…

      Happy New Year to you Sharon!
      Peta

  12. My Inner Chick

    —-Peta and Ben,

    Amazing and spectacular.

    I agree, I’d want to bring all of the cows, monkeys, and Oh-so-Sweet donkeys home w/ me. My heart breaks for those fluffy donkeys. I wish I could feed all of them, save all of them

    The video of the dolphins took my break away.

    You are both FABULOUSssss.

    In Appreciation,

    Kim Sisto Robinson

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      The donkeys were rather surprised by me and I didn’t want to scare them off. Only one actually took a carrot from my hand, but the rest I had to carefully thow the veggies to. The little fluffy donkey was the most skittish and for sure experienced his first carrot ever!

      Thanks Jo. You too!
      Peta

  13. roughwighting

    WHAT A TRIP! Thank you for educating all of us about this amazing country and culture, from the donkeys to the peacocks, the people and the food. I couldn’t help compare your ‘road trip’ to mine. I had 9 hours a few days ago on the East Coast corridor (from Boston to DE and MD) in bumper-to-bumper horrendous traffic with many ugly scenes of industry and overcrowded housing (few birds, no dolphins!) Your drive looked much more tranquil and lovely.

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      That does NOT sound fun…:)

      We did get into some traffic jams as well, as we went through cities such as Negombo and in particular Colombo…where patience is a virtue and thank goodness Ben has experience driving in Paris and Nicaragua ~ The buses here are ridiculously aggressive drivers. But once we got out of the cities and into the countryside, especially in Jaffna region, there were very few cars at all. Some bumpy roads, some dirt roads, but mostly bicycles, motorbikes and tuk tuks.

      Glad you enjoyed this post!
      Peta

  14. Jet Eliot

    Once again, you thoroughly entertained me with this incredible adventure, Peta. I am so glad the road through the park was open, not only making this path possible, but also to see the wildlife. Loved seeing the spinner dolphins SO much. I had a wonderful experience in Hawaii with spinners, and watching them is all about pure joy and energy. Loved watching your video. Really enjoyed the hopping monkeys too! And your photos, as always, give such a rich presence of the scenes, accompanied by your delightful writing. Great adventure, Peta, thanks for taking us along, and my appreciation to you both for your courage, tenacity, and strong spirit.

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Thank you Jet for such complimentary comments 🙂

      So glad we could share a few moments of the dolphin experience, even though having seen them yourself in Hawaii, you know that the video does NOT do them justice! I was so entranced by them I did not even think of video taping… luckily Ben did some filming to capture a few moments.

      More adventure as we enter Jaffna, (coming up shortly). Tenacity and strong spirit for sure. Courage is in the eye of the beholder :)… but gracias!

      Peta

  15. estelea

    Waou, thanks so much for the ride! I loved this post, especially because at the time I travelled to Jaffna, almost everything was offlimit, due to the civil war. As I was reading you, it was like it was sneaking behind a curtain 😉 What an adventure .. You guys are the most inspiring guides!
    (and btw Peta I love your outfit!)

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Estelea, that is very interesting that you were in Jaffna at the time of the war… I assume that was during the cease fire? Wow that takes some serious balls to visit Jaffna at that time. It surely was very, very different to the Jaffna that we encountered once we arrived (which will be in the next post…) Jaffna is definitely rebounding from a very tragic past.

      Ah yes, the outfit. (Hoi An, Viet Nam). Well, I have a French husband whose father was a designer in Paris when he was growing up. So all credit goes to Ben for his fashion choices and additions to my one suitcase wardrobe! Thank you for the compliment 🙂

      Peta

  16. twobrownfeet

    I love long walks along the shore! Your pictures capture the beauty of the beach and the chance to experience tranquility. We’ve never been lucky with dolphin sightings. It must have been an amazing experience. Road trips are always a lot of fun! Haven’t done one for a while. Here’s to 2017! Wish you and Ben a wonderful new life in Sri Lanka and more travels exploring the countryside. 🙂
    Cheryl

  17. Green Global Trek

    Thanks Cheryl.. I would have been very disappointed if there had been no dolphins and luckily there were hundreds!! I still have to find out but apparently one can also see dolphins here in the South at Marissa ~ although in this location there is a very sad problem with dolphins and whales getting caught in fishermen’s nets and overly aggressive boat operators getting too close to the dolphins and disturbing them.

    It was definitely fun having a car as we usually are bound by being on a bus or train. There is nothing as frustrating as being on a bus hurtling by an interesting market or gorgeous landscape and wanting to stop, but not being able to! So here’s to road trips…..!

    Peta

  18. Dahlia

    Wow that was quite a journey – felt I was right there along with you 🙂 Loved the video of the dolphins, they are amazing. Thanks for sharing.

  19. The Moment Keepers

    We’ve been to Sri Lanka once but failed to visit the beaches. it’s good to find your blog! love how complete the details and photos are. Thanks for showing more of Sri lanka as we’re planning to return soon! 🙂

  20. Sue Slaght

    Oh my I feel as if I have just had the most amazing adventure with the two of you. The videos are great and I especially loved seeing the dolphins. I don’t think I have ever seen feral donkeys. Oh and then just happening to see the elephants and the baby. Really visiting your blog is like going to a magical place. Loved this!

  21. Laurel

    What an incredibly exotic adventure! You have a wonderful “eye” for capturing the essence of your experiences in photos. There’s beauty and heartbreak woven throughout it all. Real life, unvarnished. Thank you for sharing it all.

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Thank you Laurel for the lovely compliment on my photography!

      The next post on Jaffna itself is very much “beauty and heartbreak”… you said it very well.

      Peta

  22. BBQboy

    Very interesting. I’m curious how people respond when seeing the two of you? I’m sure they don’t see white travellers every day. Are they friendly? Curious? Lots of staring?

    Love the dolphins.

    Sri Lanka not a place we’ll go to anytime soon as we’re still working, but it’s a place that would definitely interest us one day in the future. I appreciate your posts on it, find it fascinating.

    Frank (bbqboy)

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Frank you are absolutely right … many of the people we met had never seen white/foreigners and had definitely never spoken to them! People were very, very friendly and many enjoy interacting just because they never have the opportunity to do so. We did have a few cases where the kids started crying when we came close because they were so frightened by our ‘strangeness”.

      Sri Lanka is definitely a fascinating place.. so many contrasts in such a relatively small island. The North is so very different from the South, almost like two different countries. Two different languages, different cultures, different religious beliefs. (It reminds us of Nicaragua, where we lived for six years, which is divided as well, between descendants of the Spaniards (Pacific Coast) and Mayangna Indians on one hand and descendants of African slaves on the Caribbean sea.

      Thanks for your comments and questions.

      Peta

  23. Pingback: From Jaffna to Anuradhapura, the ancient Buddhist sacred city. – Empty Nesters on a Green Global Trek

  24. Amy

    This is exciting to read as I’m heading to Sri Lanka in June but have absolutely no plan as yet or clue of where to go. It looks beautiful though and it sounds like there’s so much to experience. Thanks for giving me some ideas!

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Hi Amy,
      Welcome to Green Global Trek. We had travelled here a few times before we decided to make Sri Lanka our Asian home base for a while. So you can check out our archives to get some other ideas of where to go and what to do. Sri Lanka is a treasure trove of varied environments all in one small island. No need to plan much, except for, DO plan to see the elephants in the nature parks!

      Peta

  25. Sylvia

    What an exciting adventure you’re having, Peta. I’ve not yet been to Sri Lanka and found all your photos so interesting.

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      So glad you enjoyed our photos on the trip to Jaffna. There are 3 posts in total covering the road trip we did, as well as older archived posts in case you are interested in reading and seeing more.
      Peta