Delft (Neduntivu) Island

Delft Island, Northern Province

  • Open Ferries generally leave from 9.30am. Check the ferry times prior to planning your trip, as the timetable has been known to change due to the weather conditions.

The Portuguese called it Ilha das Vacas, the Dutch called it Delft, and the locals call it Neduntivu. Located in the Palk Strait, southwest of Jaffna, Delft is a relatively undiscovered tourist destination, ideal if you're interested in Sri Lankan history or sandy, white beaches

Delft has an amazing and somewhat isolated beach strip, which we unfortunately discovered a bit too late. But, first things first — how to get to the island.

Hop the 776 bus from Jaffna Town; it leaves sharp at 6:20AM. That'll drop you off at the jetty at Punkuditivu, from where you need to somehow get yourself included onto the Navy-operated ferry service which leaves to Delft. It's a bit of a squish, but push and heave your way to the front and you'd get in, eventually.

The island's popular for a number of ruins from its better days, and for wild ponies roaming around. They seem to be outnumbered by the wild cows though.

Moving on.

You can't really plan on walking around the island as it's quite large. There are tuks soon as you disembark, and an around-the-island tour to the main sights costs about Rs. 1,500, which is pretty decent. It takes about two hours I think, and the tuk drivers act as guides and provide you with an ongoing commentary of places as you pass by.

Here's a quick heads up on what you can expect to see there:


Actually, just one dovecote, left over by Colonial powers of old.

Giant 'Footprint'

Not entirely sure if this is man-made or a natural formation. It's not been there for eons, and we were told that it's been there only for like 70 odd years. They call it Adam's footprint, for some reason. Myth has it that it's his, but given that it's barely been there for a century, this is highly unlikely.

Growing Rock

This has been made into a shrine of sorts, and there are little flower offerings. It grows a few inches every year. It's not coral, unlike nearly everything else on the island (which should seriously be called coral island already).

Baobab Tree

This fabulous tree was planted by Arab sailors, presumably during the 7th century. The centre is hollow, and the opening to it used to be much bigger we were told, but it's sort of closing in now. There's space enough for two or three people inside, which is pretty cool.

Coral Fences and Coral Everything

Remember we said this should be called coral island? Because the walls, fences, and the ground is all made of coral. It's fascinating, when you think about it.


This isn't the beach where you can bathe, but it's just adjoining the meadows where the wild ponies are supposed to be (but weren't). It's rather like a coral wasteland.
That aside, the actual beach where you can jump into the sea is absolutely glorious. 


No, not fin. There are the old remnants of stables (again used in a bygone era), a couple of archeological ruins including a Fort and what seems to be the remains of a stupa. There's a couple of really small eateries a few steps after you disembark, but food's a bit expensive — a vegetarian and two cuttlefish rice packets came up to about Rs 800. We were really hungry though, so it was okay.

Happy Trails!


Take your lunch and plenty of water, as meals and freshwater are hard to come by. You can combine a trip to Delft Island and Nainativu, but be sure to allocate more time for Delft which is the larger of the islands. The most pleasant time to visit is July or August.


Delft Island, Northern Province


To reach the Kurukadduwan ferry, take the Kurukadduwan bus from Jaffna.

Open Ferries generally leave from 9.30am. Check the ferry times prior to planning your trip, as the timetable has been known to change due to the weather conditions.

Price Range

Less than 200

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