A Surfer’s Paradise
Arugam Bay is a beach on the eastern cost of Sri Lanka and it is named as one of the 10 best surfing spots in the world. Things to do in Arugam Bay are endless while you are in this tropical beach paradise, so we recommend spending at least 3 days here so that you can cover all the top things to do in Arugam Bay.
Even though this coastal town is famous as a surfing spot, other things to do in Arugam Bay are also endless and very unique. We have put together the most fun, exciting and memorable things to do in Arugam Bay on this guide so that your visit to the eastern coast of Sri Lanka is an unforgettable one. This list of 7 awesome things to do in Arugam Bay here will serve your purpose of experiencing the famous surfing town to its fullest.
Arugam Bay beach is located 350-400 kilometers away from the capital city and it takes around 5-7 hours to get there from Colombo given the speed limits of the country and road conditions. During the peak and shoulder seasons that run from May to October is the best time to visit the area and things to do in Arugam Bay are endless during this time.
Arugam Bay is generally hot and dry when compared with other regions in the country and the temperature tends to go 32-33 degrees Celsius. During the peak season, the sea is perfect for surfing and all other sea-related activities, while during the off season, you may find many restaurants and hotels closed. However, things to do in Arugam Bay remain active in the off season for those who love to explore the beautiful, life-filled bay.
1. Surfing in Arugam Bay
Taking the first spot on our list of things to do in Arugam Bay, surfing is the activity the area is world-famous for. It has been named as one of the best surfing spots in the world, attracting surfers from beginner to expert from all over the world. With the peak and shoulder seasons occurring from May to October, the biggest swells arrive between June and August, marking one of the most famous things to do in Arugam Bay.
There are several surf spots around Arugam Bay that suit surfers of all levels from beginner to expert. While Peanut Farm, Okanda and Whisky Point are perfect breaks for the beginner surfer, surf breaks such as Arugam Main Point, Pottuvil Point, Lighthouse and Elephant Rock are suitable for surfers of all levels.
Among the many things to do in Arugam Bay related to surfing, learning how to surf will be one of the best experiences you ever have. There are several surfing schools in the area as well as having many spots where you can rent a surfboard at a very reasonable price.
Arugam Bay becomes bustling with life during the peak seasons and compared to that, the off-season is very peaceful. During the off-season, there are no tides, but apart from that, all other things to do in Arugam Bay on this guide still bustle, so visits during the offseason are completely satisfied with hotel prices and rates being very low when compared to the peak season.
2. Climb the Elephant Rock
If you are an adventurer who are always on the lookout for exciting and thrilling hikes, climbing the Elephant Rock should be at the top of your list of things to do in Arugam Bay. The Elephant Rock is located on the left side of the bay, and it provides fantastic views of the area from the top once climbed.
It is a mere 20-minute ride from the Arugam Bay town, but the road to get there is not so obvious, so the best way is to hire a tuk-tuk. It should turn left from the Navy Camp sign, then after a right turn towards a small lake and a left turn again, you should arrive at your destination.
The recommended time to climb the Elephant Rock is in the early evening, so that you can catch a beautiful sunset from the top of the rock. It is not recommended to go there in the early mornings, as wild elephants may pass through the area. Also, it is not recommended to go near the lagoons or rivers, since many crocodiles inhabit them.
3. Visit Muhundu Maha Viharaya
Visiting Muhundu Maha Viharaya, a beautiful white temple located just near the main bay which can be spotted from right there on the beach, has made it to the top 3 in our list of things to do in Arugam Bay. The temple is around 2000 years old and holds an important place in the history of Buddhism on the island.
Muhundu Maha Viharaya is beautifully located on the sand dunes of Pottuvil and it has many ruins of stupas and statues that hold a great significance to the Sri Lankan history and legends. While you are at it, find out the legends and historical stories associated with the temple from locals which will prove to be very interesting to any history enthusiast.
4. Pottuvil Lagoon Boat Trip
Pottuvil Lagoon is roughly 200 acres in size with a small island in the center, with mangrove forests surrounding the lagoon’s perimeter. It thrives with marine life and it is one of the best spots in Sri Lanka to observe a mangrove eco-system, obtaining the lagoon tour a spot on our list of things to do in Arugam Bay.
The lagoon is merely 4 kilometers away from Arugam Bay town and it is very easy to get to in a tuk-tuk. Pottuvil Lagoon offers eco-friendly boat rides of around 2 hours, taking you through the mangroves and the waters where you can spot a rich variety of wildlife including reptiles, birds and also mammals.
While the lagoon is famous for marine life such as fish, prawns and crabs, the many water birds that can be seen here include sea eagles, kingfishers, pelicans, herons, jacanas, common coots and darters. On the mangrove trees and other vegetation, you can even spot monkeys, and if you are lucky enough, you will be able to spot a wild elephant that lives on the island in the lagoon. Sunbathing crocodiles are a common sight on this tour, making the lagoon boat ride a must-do among all the things to do in Arugam Bay.
5. Kumana National Park Safari
Kumana National Park, is contiguous with Yala National Park, and it is one of the most important bird nesting and breeding grounds in Sri Lanka. Duration from April to July is the best time to take a safari through the park as thousands of birds migrate to the park. It is a bird watcher’s paradise and is one of the top things to do in Arugam Bay.
The park is located only a few miles to the south of Arugam Bay and you can find many transportation options to get there. You can arrange safari rides through the park from those who offer the service, who are also very common and friendly. Kumana is a dry zone tropical thorn forests and you will be able to spot an occasional elephant or a wandering leopard also if you are lucky.
6. Visit Kudumbigala Monastery
Kudumbigala Monastery was built to be a refuge for Buddhist monks who carried out meditations away from the busy cities in ancient times. It was 246 BC, and its ruins still remain to this day, with over 200 rock caves used by meditating monks as their dwelling places. It contains the only cylindrical dagaba to survive in the island today and visiting it is one of the topmost things to do in Arugam Bay for any history enthusiast.
The area surrounding the Kudumbigala Monastery is free of human habitat due to the recent events following LTTE terrorist attacks. However, the ruins tell a silent story to the visitors about religion, human activities and destruction. It is roughly 11 miles away from the town of Panama, which is situated south of Arugam Bay.
7. Foodie Spots in Arugam Bay
1. Flo! Restaurant
Flo! Restaurant is located just near the main road of Arugam Bay and is famous for its seafood and other local cuisines. Checking it out is a must-do on our list of things to do in Arugam Bay.
2. Blue Ocean Restaurant
Blue Ocean Restaurant is located just on the side of the main road that runs south towards Panama from Arugam Bay, and it is one of the best spots in the area for authentic Sri Lankan cuisines. Their rottis and rice and curry dishes are famous among frequent visitors alike.
3. Cili Hotel and Pizza Restaurant
Serving the best pizzas in the area, Cili Hotel and Pizza Restaurant is a bed and breakfast, offering a private beach as well an excellent barbeque. They also offer bike rides and offers one of the best surfing schools in the area also. Visiting this pizza restaurant has made it into our list of best things to do in Arugam Bay, which is located only 50 meters away from the beach.
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