We stopped over at the Jaffna lagoon on the way which had a huge Buddha staring into the horizon. I chatted with some locals and some policemen. They informed me that Jaffna is now a peaceful area and there is no fear of the LTTE or their notorious gang leader Prabhakaran. The journey was a long one. It took us twelve hours to reach Jaffna and finally to my hotel.
In a country where the overwhelming majority of the population (about 8%) has a car, the buses are the most popular option, not only for urban routes but also to cover long distances, such as the 400 kilometers that separate Colombo of Jaffna, lasting more than 12 hours.Yes... the bus trips are long... very long, made at an average speed of 35 km/h. The buses don't necessarily run at this speed, but due to the traffic, that even in national roads is intense, and mainly due to multiple stops to pick up and drop off passengers, as breaks for rest and meals. Private buses, which are the majority that runs on national roads, are even worse in terms of stops, as they stop to collect passengers at any point, not limited only to the bus stands.Travel on night buses take less time, but this service is only available on few routes, between the biggest cities.In Sri Lanka is few the express buses, that link two points without intermediate stops. However buses with air-conditioning, which are available between the biggest cities as also to the airport, have fewer stops, and some even use the recently open "expressways", a kind of highway that shortens travel time and increases comfort.
Jaffna was once the third largest city of the country. To this day, it remains the most important city in its region. For the uninitiated, it is the cultural capital of the Tamil people in Sri Lanka. With its kovils, fort, islands and spicy food, it is bound to charm every traveler.