Mannar Island
Mannar Island
4
About
Duration: More than 3 hours
Suggest edits to improve what we show.
Improve this listing
Tours & experiences
Explore different ways to experience this place.

Top ways to experience Mannar Island and nearby attractions

The area
Best nearby
We rank these restaurants and attractions by balancing reviews from our members with how close they are to this location.
Attractions
4 within 6 miles

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.0
4.0 of 5 bubbles108 reviews
Excellent
39
Very good
41
Average
23
Poor
3
Terrible
2

perpatetix
Dubai, United Arab Emirates32 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2017 • Couples
First the geography. Mannar and the associated tip of the island,Talaimannar form the bottom claw of the Jaffna pincers extending into the sea. Mannar is slightly inland and Talaimannar is the tip.
The two reasons why any visitor would want to visit this place are birds and history. The birds are quite exotic and plentiful in the area. The historical currency of this place is enhanced by the tale of Ramayana, an enduring epic in Sri Lanka and India. Talaimannar forms the Eastern edge of the fabled Adams bridge. On a good day and low tide, you can see the opposite end of these sand bars.
That's all there is for the itinerant visitor.
The drive from Mannar to Talaimannar is an hour an a half. The roads get progressively worse. Lot of military presence and a naval detachment right at the very tip of Talaimannar is a bit of a dampener. To reach the closest sandbars,called island 1 and 2, the help of local fishermen needs to be requisitioned. From the Indian side,Dhanushkodi,access to the sandbars is better.
Reaching Mannar from central Lanka is on the A14. From the North,it is the A14. The roads are black tops for much of the way. Closing Mannar,the roads are not well lit and rough for long stretches. Advise against driving in the night. The arterial roads are patrolled by the police actively. Max speed is 70 kmph. In town limits are 40 to 50 kmph. The approach roads roads unlike much of Sri lanka are straight and don't wind.
Food and overnight residence in Mannar are limited and average. It would help to carry food of choice and be prepared to stay in basic lodgings. An overnight stay with food should be no more than 60 usd per person. This is Mannar. Talaimannar has no amenities.
Plan all trips by day. Avoid the rainy season. The local food is delicious but fiery. Breakdowns on the roads can ruin your timetable.Four wheel drives are best and a local guide recommended. Hospitality is unflaggingly super. Enjoy the trip !
Written April 18, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

My_Reservations
Colombo, Sri Lanka1,300 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2017 • Friends
The drive to Mannar from the main island of Sri Lanka is amazing! The ocean on both sides and the blue skies above it is almost like a postcard!

The first attraction you will spot when you get into Mannar is the dutch fort. Definitely worth a visit! Most of the fort is intact and you can walk around and take some photos of the ocean from up there.

Further down the road, you can visit the Baobob tree which is the tree with the largest bark in Sri Lanka. The tree is not native to Sri Lanka so its a mystery as to how it actually got there! Rumor has it that Arabian sailors brought it over ;)

From Mannar town, you can drive up to Talaimannar which is home to the naval base and Talaimannar pier. The pier was used to board ships which go to India back in the day. Sadly, the ferry service is no longer active. On the drive to Talaimannar you pass beautiful scenery on both sides of the road. If you get down and walk off the road you will see that the white sand is covered by beautiful little shells! The area is aptly named the Shell coast cos of this. Right along the drive you will see heaps of Donkeys strolling along the sides of the roads which is quite and unusual sight for Sri Lanka :)

The island has its own little post office which is the furthest most post office towards the west of the island. We bought some post cards and sent it across to ourselves from there as a fun little souvenir :)

When back in town, make sure to visit Choice restaurant which is a small cheap food shop. Amazing fried rice and Biriyani available for Lunch and dinner. 5 of us had food and drinks, and the bill came to only LKR 1,500.00

Mannar island is definitely a must see for all locals and foreigners :) Just make sure to hire or drive your own vehicle since there is a lot of driving around to do :)
Written September 19, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

FazlyColombo
Colombo17 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2016 • Solo
Mannar is an Island off the mainland Sri Lanka. However district of Mannar covers parts the mainland.

Key sites you may be interested include
1. Silavaturai, Arippu, Coastal wetlands and archaeological sites
2. Vankalai Bird Sanctuary and beach
3. Silavaturai, Aripput and Vankalai coral reefs, undiscovered live corals
4. Talaimannar Pier, Adam Bridge, several archeological sites and Pesalai fishery harbour
5. Mannar Port and Mantai port
6. Madhu Church, religious sites
7. Vidattaltivu lagoon and extensive coastal habitat with mangroves

Climate & Geography
Avg Temperature
December - Feb 26C
April - June above 29C (Avoid going during this time)
Rest of the year - 28C

History
Talaimannar is 18 miles away from india and during good times was a centre of trade and sea routes. Baobab tress and donkeys are a reminder of this even to this date, that traders from Arabia frequented this place. The fact that dutch chose to build a fort also goes to prove its bygone hub status.

Kuweni, as the legend has it is from Thambapanni which is in Mannar district of Wilpattu reserve though not in the island. Adam's bridge or Hanuman's bridge also is there though there are no formal tours.

Modi went to Talai Mannar to initiate a train service back in 2015 is still showing its strategic value to be connecting point to the Asian Railway Network.

Wild Life
Mannar sees migratory birds during seasons, especially flamingoes. Wild donkeys and poneys too can be seen.

Coral reafs are also available. Again no formal tours

In past, mannar was famous for natural pearls; though it is not commercially done now at large scale.

Go to keeri beach

Economy
Economy is mainly based on fishing and agriculture.

Food
If you are in mannar, eat sea food. Prawns and cuttle fish are out of the world, but you need to get them fresh and cook. Only one proper resturant imo (Palmyrah). THough small shops also serve tasty curry.

I am told cargills has opened in mannar town; please check. If not, take plenty of water bottles.

Travel
No 95 petrol is available in the island, Last station apparently is in Madu.
Use TukTuk but discuss the rates prior to travelling. If difficult get help of a resident.

THere are air conditioned buses between mannar and colombo. Leaves Mannar opposite Sri Lanka telecom.
Written August 18, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

sharmini m
Colombo, Sri Lanka30 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2017 • Family
The sea is gorgeous, not an over crowded town, so peaceful and beautiful. Now there are few hotels. You can drive to Talaimannar where the sea is also so gorgeous. Real out of the ordinary place.
Written June 22, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Shivantha R
Colombo, Sri Lanka16 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2015
Mannar Island & the close by area of the main land possesses a very unique socio-cultural and geographic profile in comparison to the other parts of Sri Lank. This is the largest Island belongs to Sri Lanka ( nearly 40 km in length and average 3 km in width. connected to the main land by a 3 km long road and a bridge at the entrance to the island. The sea which is on the both side of the road is just 2 feet deep in the high tide and becomes a massive dessert of white sand during law tide.

Main attractions

- Mannar Fort can be seen on your left when you enter the island. This was originally built by the Portuguese and further fortified by the Dutch and British and is still in a pretty good condition, and now are under preservation project of the Archaeological Department. No tickets needed. There are few Dutch Tombs in the premises.

- Adams Bridge at Thalei Mannar- Located around 35 km away from the Mannar town, Can be reached by Mannar - Thalai Mannar main road by Bus and Train. Public transportation goes only up to the Talai Mannar small town. The Adam's Bridge is the narrow belt of sand reefs and atolls runs from Thalai Mannar to Danushkodi at Pamban Island of India. Approximately 30 km in length 200 m in average width and 2 ft in average elevation , controlled by Sri Lanka Navy. During the day time between 7 am to 4 pm visitors can go there on private boats that can be arranged talking to any of the fishermen living there. In October 2015 it was 2500 rupees for a pack of 6 people for a 2 hrs visit. The boater should provide slandered life jackets to all the passengers and passengers must be wearing it all the time they are on board. if not sometimes the Navy even will send you all the way back to the shore cancelling your trip. after 4 pm you can not stay there under any circumstances. hope this will change in the near future to a level that you can camp in the night with special permission. Extremely warm and dry, better keep hydrating yourself through out the journey.

- Fort Arippu - A small fort located on the road to Puththalama via Silavathurai. You can see the ruins of a small fortification originally done by the Portuguese and occupied by the Dutch and the British latter.

- Doric Mansion - Located on the shore on the same road passing the Fort Arippu. One of the mansions of the 1st British Governor of Sri Lanka (then Ceylon). The mansion is in ruin but still you can see the great brick walls and arches.

Kudhiramale Cliffs point in the shore of Vipattu forest, Thiruketheeshvaram Hindhu Temple, The Giant Tank, The Catholic Shrine of Madu, St. Lucia church, Baiobab trees, Sandy jungle beaches and couple of sanctuaries are located in the Mannar island and the adjoining main land.

I first visited Mannar in 2010 and have gone there more than 20 times. Nothing much in terms of entertainment. but if you are interested in just observing a unique social set up, some of the oldest catholic customs in the south Asia, and colonial History, Mannar is awesome. Not very developed in comparison to the other parts of the country. Around 20 Hotels are found in the area. one of the hottest and driest climate in the country.
Written October 12, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Sanka W
Colombo, Sri Lanka54 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2013 • Couples
This is one of the best cities I have ever visited in Sri Lanka. However accommodation options were less, unless you're fine with guesthouses. There're so many things to see in this lovely city.

We set out from Colombo & took a short cut via the Oyamaduwa road which bypassed Medawachchiya & saved us about 45 minutes drive time. First we visited the Kunchikulam Suspension Bridge en route to Mannar. This was one of the hidden gems which is still standing strong. However the road leading upto the bridge was a bit damaged.

Afterwards we proceeded to Thiruketishwaram Kovil & Madhu Church. Both very beautiful sites. Spent the night in a nice clean guesthouse which was well worth the money we paid.

The next day morning we visited Talaimannar & took a boat trip to Adam's Bridge. This is another breathtaking experience. The Sri Lankan Navy operates this & if the Ocean is rough, they will not operate. Luckily it was a good day. In the afternoon we visited Arippu Fort which was a Dutch built Fort to which Robert Knox fled while escaping from the Kandyan King during ancient times. Close to the fort is the Dorric House which was the bungalow of the 1st British Governor of Sri Lanka - Fredrick North. Better hurry since this site is at the edge of a cliff & parts of it is being washed to the Ocean. After several years, the entire site will be gone. The road to Arripu from Mannar was a bit bumpy.

Spent the night at our cozy guesthouse.

Next day morning visited the Vankalai Bird Sanctuary which was a major success for us. I'm not that much into birds, but still I enjoyed seeing so many different birds at that time of the day. In the afternoon we visited the Mannar fort & proceeded back to Colombo.
Written June 18, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Dammika D
Nugegoda, Sri Lanka137 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2019 • Friends
This island connected to the Mannar mainland by a causeway is actually Thalaimannar. It's 30 km long and a few kilometres wide - in some places more than 10 km. It's part of the hot Northern province of Sri Lanka more than 300km away from the capital city of Colombo. It's human settlements have a colonial origin comprising Dutch Fort, numerous churches. The island is populated by Tamil Christians and Muslims using Tamil as the widely spoken language. The main source of income for the people here is fishing. However, tourism is beginning to play a major role, too. There's a saltern on the western side of the city. The city is dead on Sundays with most businesses closed to the public. Only a few convenience stores and restaurants are open on Sundays including the much talked about Choice restaurant. The island doesn’t still have many places for tourists to stay. There are only a couple of luxury accommodations in the island. There are a few comfortable budget accommodations, in addition. The main attraction of the island is as a birding site. During the migratory season November to March. Around 1000 Flamingos visit the island to feed on the crustaceans found in abundance in the saltern and other areas with shallow salty water pools. In January to early February beautiful pink color developing in primary feathers of Flamingos is a treat to the eyes of the birders - both local and foreign. Large amounts of Copper in the Crustaceans they feed on are responsible for this color. You must watch them flying to appreciate the true beauty! But, please don't try to chase them so that they fly for you to see this magical display. If you wait long enough at a safe distance away they will eventually fly above you, especially if you are lucky! If they do you should certainly try your luck in whatever way you like for the day! In addition to the Flamingos there are numerous other birds to watch, especially several species of Ducks, Glossy ibis, Western reef heron etc. You got to be in field before the sunrise to witness the birds in their true glory. You must make it a point to visit Thalaimannar area as well for the scintillating ride and the sights including the old pier, fishing harbour with an abundance of terns and gulls in addition to egrets and birds of prey fighting for fish thrown away by the fishermen. The other attractions of the island include the giant Baobab tree near the city, the Dutch Fort, Adam's bridge etc. Wankalai sanctuary is only a few kilometres from the island on the main land which is home to a large population of migratory water birds. Driving on your own in this sparsely populated island is a delight. You can make the best use of your stay if you can spare at least three days here. You can reach the island by car, bus or train. Train and bus rides can be harder during hotter months as air conditioning is not commonplace in public transport to this part of the country. If you have a genuine 4 WD vehicle it's possible to take a memorable drive to Mannar from Puttalam, through the Wilpattu jungle during certain times of the year when the gravel road is not flooded.
Written January 21, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Dr. Dharshana Weerakoon
Gampaha, Sri Lanka530 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2017 • Family
This is must visit place and the largest island of Sri Lanka. Mannar Island formerly called Manar Island, is part of Mannar District, Sri Lanka. It is linked to the main island of Sri Lanka by a causeway. It has an area of about 50 square kilometres, mainly covered with vegetation and sand. Ram setu is a chain of limestone shoals, between Pamban Island, also known as Rameswaram Island, off the southeastern coast of Tamil Nadu, India, and Mannar Island, off the northwestern coast of Sri Lanka. Geological evidence suggests that this bridge is a former land connection between India and Sri Lanka. We had a nice and wonderful time.
Written January 19, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

AD2010
Melbourne, Australia84 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2013 • Family
Mannar is a beautiful place. There aren’t many places in Sri Lanka that you get to see donkeys freely roaming around like cattle in the rest of the island. Perfect place to spot birds. We stopped at the bird sanctuary just at the entrance to the island and spotted variety of birds. In season, I am sure Mannar must be a bird watches paradise.

The place is rapidly changing after many years of civil conflict. The blown up bridge alongside the new bridge is reminder of the dark history of the island. The place is now very safe and the people are very helpful.

The beaches are beautiful and plenty of shells that are not commonly found elsewhere. The place has basic facilities but there are no super markets. Recommend carrying adequate water and a full tank of fuel. Power shortages are common so recommend carrying a torch and staying in a hotel with a generator.
Written September 9, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

RamyaSutharshan
Colombo, Sri Lanka3 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2013 • Family
I have never heard of Mannar being mentioned as a travel option among my friends, but I will recommend it in future as a must visit. The two famed places of worship on the A14, the beautiful island of Mannar and its beaches and the amazing Adam's bridge, add the Palmyrah House to that - great!
Written May 5, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Showing results 1-10 of 96
Is this your Tripadvisor listing?
Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.
Claim your listing

Mannar Island - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024)

RestaurantsFlightsVacation RentalsTravel StoriesCruisesRental Cars