5 great things to do in Arugam Bay Sri Lanka
Arugam Bay in Sri Lanka, is one of the country's most visited beaches for a reason. The beautiful southern coastline stretches for kilometers, curving sporadically to create perfectly shaped bays. A wall of palm trees flank the golden beach and colourful fishing boats are waiting patiently on the shore to be taken out to sea at sunrise.
Arugam Bay town has developed around tourism and offers an array of accommodation and restaurants for every type of visitors. From upmarket hotels facing the ocean to hostels and guesthouses. Read our list of the best restaurants in Arugam Bay here.
There is plenty to do in Arugam Bay beside just chilling on the beach and enjoying the beautiful surroundings. We have put together a list of 5 great things to do and some tips on where to stay.
5 great things to do in Arugam Bay
Arugam Bay is gifted with some of the best surf spots in Sri Lanka. A real surfers paradise with great waves for every level. The best months to surf in Arugam Bay are July, August and September. The best time of the day will be early in the morning, when the swell and the wind conditions are at their prime. Some of the more well-known breaks are Main Point, Baby Point, Pottuvil Point, Elephant Rock, Whiskey Point, Peanut Farm and Okanda. Most hostels and hotels rent surfboards, otherwise you will find plenty of rental shops on the main road through town.
2 VISIT YALA NATIONAL PARK
Yala National Park extends for nearly 130,000 hectares, touching the edges of Arugam Bay. This incredible park is home to 44 different types of mammals, including elephants and one of the biggest populations of leopards in the world. In Arugam Bay you will find several agencies organising day trips to Yala with open jeeps, either for a sunrise or sunset drive. The entrance of the park is 3,500 LKS (roughly 16 euros). During our visit we saw water buffalo, deer, peacocks, a family of elephants and even a leopard camouflaged behind a bush!
3 EXPLORE THE BACK-COUNTRY
Jump on your scooter (or bicycle) and make your way South into the backcountry to enjoy some stunning sceneries. We recommend exploring at sunset, to see the sun setting over the water filled rice fields, the birds flying over the crops and if you are lucky, you can spot elephants walking freely through the plains.
4 VISIT LAHUGALA NATIONAL PARK
A 20 minute motorbike ride from Arugam Bay you will reach Lahugala National Park. When you see the sign saying 'Lahugala' there will be a road on the right hand side that takes you inside the park to a beautiful pond. The sign theoretically tells you that you can't enter, but if you leave your scooter by the toll gate and walk inside you won’t get in any trouble. The area is extremely lush, with monkeys jumping around, all types of birds chirping and beautiful vegetation. By the pond you will also see a house which is used for government activities (it’s closed to the public).
5 TAKE A COOKING CLASS
Eco Wave, a social enterprise promoting sustainable development in Sri Lanka, organises cooking class with local people. They cost around 20$ and a local farmer will teach you how to prepare different types of traditional curries, which at the end you can enjoy yourself. It’s a great way to learn more about Sri Lankan food, interact with local families and support them at the same time.
Where to sleep in Arugam Bay
In term of accommodation, we recommend Green Ocean Bay for the mid-priced range. A recently built hotel with spacious, clean and comfortable rooms. Breakfast is included in the room price and the wifi works pretty well. The owner is very friendly and can arrange both scooters and surfboards for you.
For a more upmarket option, Jetwing Surf is the best eco-luxury hotel on the south-east coast of Sri Lanka. Natural structures made of wood, woven coconut palm leaves and dried illuk grass are built as comfortable cabanas on the beach. The hotel has made the bold move to only use natural ventilation, alongside many other sustainable practices in order to reduce their carbon footprint. Jetwing Surf redefines eco-luxury in a beautiful natural setting.