The north and east of Sri Lanka are considered the Tamil area of the country and therefore a dangerous region. However, it is not riskier than another if one stays in quiet areas (see the site of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on this subject); on the other hand, it has the clear advantage of escaping mass tourism and offers greater authenticity. As proof, you will often be the only foreigners in town, and you will often be asked which NGO you work with, as it would seem incongruous for you to have come as a simple visitor. No "ayubowan" here, no harassment, and very few tourist areas: Nilaveli in the north, Arugam Bay in the south, and that's it.
But by sticking to the main sites, you won't be disappointed. It is said that the northern region is the most beautiful in the country, and the east coast undeniably offers the best beaches on the island. Trincomalee and its surroundings have indeed an intact coastline and translucent water (for how much longer?), and the seabed is much less degraded than in the South, which opens up great prospects for diving, provided that the authorities are uncompromising about safeguarding a marine environment that is still preserved.
As for Arugam Bay, it has long been one of the best surfing spots in the world, much frequented by surfers from all over the world. The lagoons along the entire coast offer the visitor a truly magical panorama.
But if the East is still passable, there are times when passage to Jaffna is forbidden to non-residents unless they show their white paws; if you really want to go to Jaffna, the best thing to do is to get a recommendation from the Ministry of Defence. For the moment, while we do not recommend venturing further north than Vavuniya, there are a number of parks and reserves worth visiting.
Some tourist agencies advise against going to the regions still affected by the conflict, mainly the North and East. Transport is unsafe and some drivers simply refuse to go for fear of their lives. In addition, there is practically no tourist accommodation, we sleep in local houses and it is important to know that 22 years of war has made us very poor! The human experience can be beautiful but risky... you be the judge.
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