This post was last updated on April 9th, 2020 at 10:41 am
Arugam Bay is a moon-shaped bay in the east of the country. According to many, it is the place to surf in Sri Lanka, although there are certainly other great places. With only a few hundred inhabitants, Arugam itself is not that big, but the city is not the reason you come here. It is the beautiful, secluded beach for which you come.
Arugam Bay is the Surfers paradise
Arugam is a small town with only one main street with shops, restaurants, and surfboard rentals. That is also the reason that you come here. Travelers come for surfing and the legendary beach parties that they organize here.
Arugam Bay, also called A-Bay, has a great atmosphere.
Don’t like surfing? Don’t worry. Even if you are not a surfer, there are plenty of other things to do; drinking cocktails in a beach bar, relaxing all day in your hammock or enjoying the beautiful sunset.
You certainly don’t have to get bored here. In addition, Arugam Bay is also an excellent base for various adventures in the surrounding countryside.
8 Fun Things to Do in & around Arugam Bay
Although life here revolves around surfing, luckily there is much more to do in the area. In 2 or 3 days you basically have enough time to explore this town and the surrounding area. We have listed the best things to do in Arugam Bay. Use it to your advantage!
1. The Main Event, Go Surfing!
We will start with the most obvious thing to do; surf. Everything in Arugam is all about surfing, so it is not surprising that everything here is geared towards surfing lessons or surfboard rentals.
Arugam Bay is said to be among the best surf spots in the world, so going to Arugam and not surfing is, of course, not done!
There are three famous surf spots where you can surf well;
This is the best-known surf spot in Arugam Bay. That also means that you are certainly not the only one here. Because it is so busy you better go to other, quieter beaches if you want to learn how to surf. Every morning you see dozens of surfers take to the water.
This beach is more for experienced to advanced surfers.
Peanut Farm is approximately 25 minutes from Arugam Bay. This beach and surf spot is a bit more remote, making it a lot quieter. It is very popular and highly recommended. This beach is also for the slightly more experienced surfers although there are also waves for beginners.
Whiskey Point is about a 15 minutes’ drive from Arugam Bay. It is especially known among novice surfers given the small but excellent waves. You will, therefore, find many surfing lessons and schools here.
TIP – A tuk-tuk brings you to Whiskey Point and Peanut Farm for around 500 rupees (US$2.80).
2. Explore the Beaches
The beach of Arugam Bay (Main Point) is long and quite impressive, but this is just one of the many beaches that you will find here. In addition, it is not really nice swimming here because of all the waves that come rolling in.
Main Point is one of the nicest beaches, but due to the many surfers it can be a bit overwhelming.
The surf spots mentioned above all have beautiful beaches. You can simply put your towel on a spot where there aren’t that many surfers, unless you want to watch them. One of the quietest beaches here is the beach of Peanut Farm, where you will also find a nice cafe where you can eat and drink something.
TIP – Watch where you walk into the water or where you swim. It is not a great feeling to have a surfboard hit your head and surfers have a hard time seeing you.
3. Rent a Scooter
Arugam Bay is nice, but there is still enough beauty in the area of this bay and it is a shame not to discover it. The best way to see the region is with a scooter. The feeling of freedom in combination with the beaches and the nice weather is unprecedented.
The roads around Arugam Bay are excellent, and there are some really beautiful things to see.
TIP – Renting a scooter costs around 800 to 1000 rupees per day, about US$4.50 to $5.60.
4. Go to Panama
Yes, you read that right. You can go to Panama. Not Panama in Central America, of course, but Panama Tank in Sri Lanka, also called Crocodile Point. It is close to Helava Wekanda and offers visitors a beautiful view of the surroundings.
You can admire green rice fields, but the most spectacular sight is watching the crocodiles lazing in the grass by the water. You can also regularly spot rare birds. It is, therefore, a popular place for birdwatchers.
It is only a 15-20 minute drive from Arugam Bay and there is really only one path to drive and explore so you can’t get lost! 🙂
5. Go for a Night Out
In addition to surfing, you can also have a good party here. There are many young travelers in Arugam Bay, so there is usually a party going on somewhere. You can ask your ho(s)tel where the parties are located.
If they don’t know, pay attention to the posters scattered around the city where parties are announced or just follow the music, A-bay is not that big.
6. Take a Yoga Class
Well, if there are surfers, you can usually also take yoga classes and Arugam Bay is no exception. If you walk down the main street, you will see that there are many places to take yoga classes. It must be your thing, but we can honestly say that it is a good way to end or start your day.
There are many places where you can book a yoga class. If you can’t find anything, ask your accommodation. They can often arrange things for you.
7. Wait for the Sunset
We are a big fan of sunsets. No matter where in the world you admire them, it is always impressive. The same goes for Arugam Bay. It doesn’t really matter where you sit to watch the sun go down, it’s beautiful everywhere.
It is best to rent a scooter, buy a beer (or something cool) and drive to a nice spot to watch the sunset. There are many beautiful places to explore in Arugam.
8. Day Trip to Kumana
Everywhere in Arugam Bay are signs with tours to Kumana (a safari). This is next to Yala National Park and if you have not done any safaris in Sri Lanka, it is also possible here! You see a lot of elephants and if you are lucky you can spot leopards, although chances are not very high.
Kumana National Park is approximately a 50-minute drive from Arugam Bay. There are many different tour operators that offer different types of packages so compare them well before you book. You can also book tours at your accommodation.
TIP – A tour costs around US$30 to $35 per person.
How to Get to Arugam Bay
Arugam is a famous place in Sri Lanka so it is possible to travel here from all over the country. It depends on which place you travel to Arugam. All buses run to Pottuvil, the gateway to Arugam Bay. These are the best-known places.
- Colombo to Arugam ➜ 2x a night bus to Pottuvil (just above Arugam), cost 1,000 LKR (US$5.60)
- Batticaloa to Arguam➜ 2x a bus to Pottuvil (just above Arugam) | Costs 135 LKR (US$0.70)
A tuk-tuk from Pottuvil to Arugam will cost you 200 rupees (US$1.15).
Unfortunately, Arugam Bay cannot be reached by train. The nearest places with a train station are; Ella, Badulla, and Batticaloa. Also from here, you can arrange buses to Arugam Bay.
Hotels & Hostels in Arugam Bay
Arugam Bay is a popular spot in Sri Lanka for its perfect surfing beaches. There are plenty of cool hostels and hotels in Arugam Bay that reflects this surfing vibe.
Most accommodations can, of course, be found on the beach of Arugam Bay. Find a nice ho(s)tel and enjoy the vibe in Arugam Bay.
TIP – Book your accommodation in Arugam Bay here.
Best Time to Visit Arugam Bay
The best time to visit Arugam Bay is from April to October. This is the opposite of the rest of the country. This is not only related to the weather, but also to the surfing conditions. They are the best between April and October.
During this period the Surfers Championships are held in Sri Lanka, an event that is accessible to everyone and to which the entire region seems to be heading. So this is a good time to come!