A Guide to Arugam Bay

Another favourite spot and must-see if you come to Sri Lanka is the beautiful Arugam Bay. I didn’t realise how much I’d missed the sun, sea and beach life until I stepped off onto a lively road dotted with surfers, cafes and beachy shops.

Rated as one of the top ten surf destinations in the world, Arugam Bay of course attracts a number of surfers each year, as well as many non-surfing tourists who come to enjoy the laid-back vibe of surfer’s paradise.

In this guide I’m going to share with you the ins-and-outs of visiting this little village so you can make the most of your trip to Arugam.

When to Go:

To really make the most of this sandy mellow mantra, I suggest heading to Arugam Bay during the summer months of May-September. You’re guaranteed to get endless days of fun in the sun with plenty of choices for where to stay, what to eat and things to do. And you’ll also avoid the monsoon season.


How to Get There:

Depending on where you’re coming from, there are a few transport options to get you to Sri Lanka’s east coast haven. I suggest one of these two:

TAXI – the quickest and most comfortable way to get to Abay, wherever you are. Taxi services are easier enough to find and you’ll usually share the journey with other fellow travellers and split the cost.

From Colombo àArugam Bay the journey takes around 9 hours, with prices starting from 25,000 LKR, which between a group of four costs 6,250 LKR (£26 each).

From Ella àArugam Bay is a little more reasonable, with the journey taking just over 3 hours, at a cost of 3000 LKR (£12) per person in a four-seater taxi.

BUS – the more uncomfortable but hugely cheaper option is to travel to Arugam by bus. This is the option we went for, although we came from Ella, making the journey a bit more bearable. I’m not sure I’d recommend it to anyone coming from Colombo.

Ella àArugam Bay by bus takes just over 5 hours, costing 500 LKR in total (£2.15). The journey consists of two buses, one from Ella to Monaragala. Change bus at Monragala and take one heading to Pottuvil.


How Long to Stay For:

We originally set aside 3 nights in Arugam Bay and ended up booking another 2, and wishing we had just stayed a whole week! There’s just so much to do and see and the atmosphere is one of a kind, which leads me on to my final subheading…


Things to Do in Arugam Bay:


Everything you could need is a short sandy walk away. The main road is set parallel against the bay, which means you can spend the day hopping back and forth from the main beach, whilst also browsing the many shops, cafes and bars before treating yourself to a sunset ice-cream. So yes, whilst there’s lots of do, I think the best way to get to know Arugam is by soaking up its mellow, carefree atmosphere which has seeped its way through the bay and its fast development.


Once you’ve had enough relaxing time take advantage of the many break points across the coast, which attract surfer’s world-wide. It’s not called surfer’s paradise for nothing. So whether you’re a pro surfer, or a beginner, make the most of this surfing pick n’ mix and head for the waves.

Some of the most popular points include:

  • Main point
  • Elephant Rock
  • Baby Point
  • Panama
  • Okanda

Many of the points are only a 10-15 minute tuk tuk drive away.

If you’re a beginner (like me!), I suggest keeping to the following:

  • Pottuvil Point
  • Peanut Farm
  • Whiskey Point
  • Elephant Rock

These points offer nice clean waves where you can touch the bottom, saving your energy and offering a much more gentle introduction into surfing.

If you’re looking for surf lessons in Arugam Bay, I’d recommend The Surf City – Surf School and Rental shop. They have excellent local knowledge, good instructors and reasonable prices. I had a one-to-one lesson at 6AM at Pottuvil Point and it was some of the best surfing conditions I’ve ever experienced.


Take a day trip safari to Kumana National Park and get the best value safari of your life. Although we didn’t get to see any leopards we still enjoyed breath-taking views of the vast landscape and its inhabitants for just 5000 LKR (£22). Our guide pointed out to us even the smallest of creatures, including iguanas, mongoose, pigs and an array of birds. Other wildlife included a number of water buffalos, crocodiles, mouse deer and even some elephants!


With the influx of surfers and an increasing number of tourists, Arugam Bay also hosts a great party scene. Think beach parties, bars with live music and diverse crowds of tourists taking to the dance floor. You can’t go wrong.

Right, I think that’s me done. As always, feel free to drop me a message with any questions or queries, I’ll be happy to answer them! Happy travels,

Bri xxx