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Arugam Bay

Located 7 - 9 hours away from Colombo, the eastern coastal city of Arugam Bay may be a mellow, laid back city with a population of only a few hundreds, but certainly shows up with its quality surf breaks along its sun kissed beaches that enable you to tune into your surfing spirit. The combination of its great surfing beaches along with its close association to wildlife reserves such as the Kumana Bird Sanctuary and the Lahugala National Park gives an idyllic setting for the perfect tropical beach destination for your next getaway.

Top Reason to Visit

No other city can dispute Arugam Bay as having the best surf spots in Sri Lanka since it boasts of surf breaks like Main Point, Pottuvil Point and Crocodile Rock that would tempt any surfer, professional and beginner alike. Thus making its enticing surfing beaches the top reason to visit the laid back city.

While You're There

Surfs up dude:

It is without a doubt that Arugam Bay is a prime location for water sports, especially surfing, along the Main Point, Pottuvil Point and Crocodile Rock that can experience waves of up to 2 metres high and 400 metres long. Not interested in surfing? The nearby Basses Reef is a treat to snorkel and dive into as it is a thriving hotspot for marine wildlife.

A bird watcher’s paradise:

The moon-shaped curl of soft and sandy Arugam Bay maybe known mainly for its great surfing beaches, however, the city is also closely associated to its rustic roots as well in the form of the Kumana Bird Sanctuary and Lahugala National Park (both a subsidiary of the greater Yala National Park). Many unique migratory species such as the Waterfowl and many species of wading birds can be witnessed at these wildlife sanctuaries.

Monuments that tell a story:

Arugam Bay is also home to two very interesting structures that tell one of the more notable stories of Sri Lanka’s famous heroine, Queen Vihara Maha Devi. It is believed that the well preserved Buddhist temple of Muhudu Maha Viharaya is the place that the heroine disembarked in order to sacrifice herself to the angry gods for the protection of her people (she eventually was washed up on the East coast and was hailed a heroine for her intentions). The Magul Maha Viharaya too has a connection to Sri Lanka’s famous heroine since it is believed to be the complex in which her Royal wedding took place. The latter also boasts of the best preserved moonstone in all of Asia.

Relax or party:

The establishment of many cabanas, hostels and boutique hotels along with the city’s mellow vibes and rustic backdrop makes it perfect to lie on a hammock, bask in the sun and feel the soothing sea breeze on your skin. Similarly, the bars and restaurants lined up near the beaches provide some pumping tunes all throughout the night on certain days making for some awesome beach parties.

Insider Advice

Travel: Getting about the city is relatively easy since most places are in close proximity, however, there may be times where you might need to travel by vehicle. There are tuk-tuk services available, the best being the self-drive tuk-tuk hire that allows you to rent the three wheeler for a fee. However, do ask for a proper cost breakdown of this service since it is a relatively new concept.

Money: Arugam Bay is a rural city where the diffusion of technology has still not occurred. In other words, credit or debit cards are next to worthless. Make sure you carry cash with small notes like LKR 20s, 50s and 100s.

Clothing: Beach wear or casual wear is the preferred dress code, however, it is important to note that entering any place of worship requires you to wear clothing that covers up to the shoulders and legs as well.

Safety: The society in the city is very friendly and helpful, making it a very safe place. However, do be mindful of your belongings as it could get misplaced without your knowledge, especially in crowded areas.

Weather: Arugam Bay generally experiences tropical climate throughout the year. The best surfing weather can be experienced between the months of April to October.

Meals and refreshments: The city is home to a variety of reasonable eateries that specialize in local cuisine and international cuisine too, which gives you ample options to choose from should you be craving for a good meal.

Customs: The city has gone through many hardships as a result of feeling the brunt of the 2004 tsunami making the community a tight knit group that has gone through many hardships.

In conclusion, Arugam Bay is the perfect place to test your surfing skills or dive down and experience some unique wildlife and even understand one of the most telling historical narratives in Sri Lankan history.

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