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.
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253 Kms from Jaffna
Best time to visit - January,February,March,April,October,November,December
Pondicherry used to be India's biggest French colony, and is now the home of many French citizens. This has an influence on the architecture, food and culture. The rocky Promenade Beach is ideal to take long walks along the serene Bay of Bengal. The yellow sand, yellow sea and yellow sky merge to create a breathtaking panorama. Do indulge in scubadiving to experience the abundance of aquatic flora and fauna. The Soorya Beach Resort and Le Pondy Resort are excellent choices for staying by the sea. The city is also the location of Auroville. This innovative township houses explanatory concepts based on diverse philosophies and ideas. The Aurobindo Ashram here is a platform to seek spiritual pleasure. Through the method of integral yoga, the followers aim to become one with the divine, without renouncing the world. A distinct food culture is also notable due to the Franco-Tamil hybridity. Delectable French pastries, baguettes and appams! Seafood and continental! Savour the flavour. Oh! And I almost forgot to mention the rock-bottom prices of alcohol. For delectable food, try Cafe Xtasi and Baker Street. Try ice-cream from a wide variety at Ibaco. A visit is worth a palpable sense of contentment in India’s own French connection.
287 Kms from Jaffna
Best time to visit - April,May,June,August,September
Translating to 'the gift of the forest' in the native language of Tamil Nadu and originally home to the Palaiyar tribal people, this modern city has been a retreat long since the 19th century. Located in the hills of the Dindigul district, this city was established by British bureaucrats and American Christian missionaries. Kodaikanal offers an experience of stunning culture and natural beauty. Some famous attractions include Kodaikanal Lake, where one can always take a peaceful boat ride, Berijam Lake and Pillar Rocks. Take a walk in the pine forest or explore the Kukkal Caves and the Devil's Kitchen, a cave with a series of hidden ravines. Bear Shola falls, Glen Falls, Silver Cascade and Fairy falls make for a magical setting for nature lovers to observe and unwind. Religious dwellings such as the La Saleth Church, Lutheran Church and Subhramanya Temple are admired famously for their intricate architecture. For the inquisitive minds, Shembaganur Museum of Natural History, which is home to 500 species of taxidermy animals, birds and insects and the Kodaikanal Solar Observatory are great places to visit. Coakers walk, Silent Valley View Point, Perumal Peak and 80 Mile round make for interesting walks and treks, offering breathtaking views of the plains below. Natyanjali Festival, celebrated over 4 days, is a spectacular sight to behold with dazzling dance performances and top notch acts from across the country, which one can enjoy in the months of February or March. You can get a bite to eat at Cloud Street, Cafe Cariappa, Altaf's Cafe and Tava restaurants.
212 Kms from Jaffna
Best time to visit - January,February,September,October,November,December
With an intriguing history, the oldest inhabited city in the world is a delight to discover. Visited by people from all over the country, no tour of the south is complete without a visit to Madurai. Shree Meenakshi Sudareshwara Temple is a 2000-year-old temple and is a must visit when in Madurai. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. There are four towers in the temple and each tower is embellished with a thousand sculptures symbolising an assortment of mythological themes. There are huge lines at multiple points in the temple so do keep patience. There are also a few rules that one must remember, especially women. Other points of interest in Madurai are Gandhi Museum, Pazhamudhir Solai and Koodal Azhagar Temple. The food in Madurai is a delight for food lovers! There are small stalls selling mutton rolls, which will have your taste buds thanking you.
89 Kms from Jaffna
Best time to visit - N/A
An island in the Gulf of Mannar region, Rameshwaram is joined with the mainland with the help of the Pamban Beach. The main attraction here is the Rama Temple after the name of whom the place was named Rameshwaram. It is said that after slaying Ravana, Lord Rama came here to seek forgivance for his act of slaying Ravana. This is where the temple is built and the temple has 22 wells. The number defines the number of arrows in Rama's quiver. The temple is marked with huge pillars and magnificent corridors. The third corridor is said to be the longest in the world. The other attractions here are the beaches known as the Olaikoda, Dhanushkodi and the Pamban Beaches. The main activities you can enjoy here are scuba diving, migratory bird- watching. You can also enjoy conch collection and fishing here.
194 Kms from Jaffna
Best time to visit - January,February,March,October,November,December
This city in Tamil Nadu does not provide much to see unless your sightseeing interests include religious dwellings. In that case Trichy can keep you busy throughout the day with a plethora of temples to visit, such as Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, Brahmapureeswarar Temple, Jambukeswarar Temple and the Rock Fort Temple. There is also a majestic Gallo-Catholic church, St. Lourdes, which interestingly lies at the conjunction of a temple and a mosque, an attribute to secularism and diversity. The city is also home to a planetarium, located at the Anna Science Centre, which is worth a visit. Sangeetha, Hotel Kannappa Mannarpuram and Saba are good restaurants for vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes. Flights to Trichy operate from all around the country, and there are also bus and train services to this city.
215 Kms from Jaffna
But keep in mind, if you travel from Dambulla, you have to take one of the buses which are going from Colombo to Malee. No bus service was available originating from Dambulla when I travelled. And most likely, you'll not get a place to sit immediately after boarding the bus. For Solo Women backpackers - I travelled in shorts and it was comfortable in the bus. I didn't face any incident where people teased me or anything. By the time I reached Malee town, it was 1 pm (I started at 8 from Dambulla and this includes a bus repair on the mid way) and I saw the small harbours with pristine blue water. They were picture perfect. I was almost thinking this is it, nothing can beat this in such a place. I took a public bus from Malee bus station to Upuveli (Neelaveli is further and apparently more expensive). It took me a while to look for the hotels but I found few. It's a cluster of 8-9 shacks/hotels/resorts in Upuveli or may be a bit more. And you'll find all options starting from $7 (for a private room with bathroom No AC) to $$$ in big resorts, along with mid ranged hotels with pool and decorated bar in $40-$50. I chose the $7 one and that place happened to be the best bar at nights! French Hostel is what I remember the name was. Now you got there, there are plenty of things to do. Long bike rides, in empty roads, drenching in short and quick rains, the mountain temples, feeding the monkeys, trip to Nilaveli, morning breakfasts in near by villages are possible with a rented bike. I paid 250 SL Rupee, I had to keep my passport with the lady as deposit. I did both scuba and snorkelling, rate varies based on time. Dolphin watching and fishing is also possible. No whale watching in Malee, it happens in Merissa. Food is amazing, in all the restaurants, I chose typical SL food, with fish costing around $1.5 every meal. I also went to Nilaveli, for one evening. It is beautiful but expensive than Upuveli. And somewhere I found Upuveli more serene, calm and less crowded. There are also small beaches here and there in the city. Take your bike and just ride. Dip in the ocean and come back. On the way get into some temple, pose with kids, get fruits as blessings and ride on.
278 Kms from Jaffna
So we landed in Colombo around afternoon and we decided to relax that day in Negombo itself and we had booked a bful Home Stay called Henderson Lake view residence. It was away from the main city therefore was a very quite place. We met the host family , had lunch and left to see Negombo beach which was around 5 kms from there. It was a nice beach and luckily the sky was extraordinarily stunning and we could capture that in out pictures. We took a speed boat ride, ate some snacks and went to the nearby market. When we came back, we met a lot of tourists from various countries who were staying in the same home stay and we decided to spend the evening listening to their travel stories . Below are few pictures of Henderson Home stay and Negombo beach
155 Kms from Jaffna
Best time to visit - January,February,March,October,November,December
Thanjavur is more of a pilgrim centre than a tourist destination. It is also popularly known as the Rice Bowl of Tamil Nadu. The city is dotted with temples and palaces that are reminiscent of the Dravidian civilisation, making it not only a temple town but also a cultural headquarter. The ancient Brihadishwara Temple with its ochre foundational blocks is a magnificent piece of South Indian temple architecture with the intricate detailing on its walls, ceilings and pillars. The Thanjavur Royal Palace is another marvel that speaks largely of the royalty of the past empires. There is an art gallery that not only houses art pieces and sculptures from the Chola period but also offers a beautiful view of the entire town. It is a delight to watch festivities such as Pongal, Ekadasi or Saraswati Puja over here when the entire city puts up a show and comes to life. There is a worldwide demand for Tanjore paintings, which have almost become souvenirs for festive occasions of the Thanjavur culture. The artistic brass plates and handloom silk sarees too are beautiful collectibles that are only available in Thanjavur. You can stay at Svatma or Ideal River View Resort to make the trip a rejuvenating one.