Most popular Arugam Bay Hotels are now almost fully booked.
For the 2014 main season.
Reserve Now – To grab the last few remaining good rooms in our village.
Sri Lanka's hidden pearl
Most popular Arugam Bay Hotels are now almost fully booked.
For the 2014 main season.
Reserve Now – To grab the last few remaining good rooms in our village.
An International Circus in Town
Giullari Senza Frontiere
Performed at Lahugala, Komari and Arugam Bay
Their last night here will be Friday, 21st February, 2014
Arugam’s History and more photos on the above link
(This article was first published with a different headline 9th Febr. 2007)
The entire Bay is in shock
We have been informed of the loss of our Greatest legend:
Guru RAM of Sooriya’s.
We have just been notified that the cremation will take place today
In or near PottuVille Town.
Monday, 17th February, 2014 at around 15:00 hrs.
Our local correspondent will attend and report.
Everyone is VERY, VERY sad.
What a great loss – what a great, humble man he was.
The above photo, taken in Arugam Bay today tells a long story in one single shot.
Shown is Ramana Sooriya with a copy of the Travel novel by Claudia Ackermann.
“Der Krokodilfelsen” is based on true events in the early 1980′s, focused on Ulla village which Arugam Bay was known as then.
Arugam.info will provide more details, one is working on an English translation of this relevant and interesting novel. We also have added a direct link to Amazon for you to be able to order any book directly through our site.
2014 Mid Feb. update:
The Bay of Arugam
New buildings are going up everywhere
Even a shopping mall is said to be under construction
Still, there is a shortage of good quality rooms
New capacity is being added now.
Questions? Want to participate?
Free advice here:
arugam.info and “Arugam Surf”
are being asked, daily, what kind of weather we have ?
Right now, in the so-called “Rainy” Season.
Instead of long replies, here is our answer:
So why is there nobody in the Bay?
Because the Travel books state:
It’s “Off” – Season in the beautiful East !
“Tourist” Police action shuts down AbaY’s Info pages
This week the so-called “Tourist” Police raided the premises of arugam.info‘s only sponsor.
The resulting fine – for a small technicality, held up by the local in-famous ‘Red Tape’ came to about 1 year’s salary.
That alone took everyone by surprise.
With no funding we can no longer continue to support this as well as all of our other Tourist Promotion initiatives.
This Community and Tourist promotion web site
Plus all our other, associated Info & promo pages, worldwide
are strictly non-commercial.
They are paid for and maintained by a private initiative only
As bad luck has it, all annual hosting fees are due now.
Our sponsors are forced to pay a huge fine (Rs./ 100,000) or $780
That means that any further support for Tourism will come to a halt, due to cash flow problems. This usually pretty minor case was caused by weird police action over the sale of a few bottles of local BEER.
All other “Tourist” Resorts in Sri Lanka do NOT face similar drastic action and totally over the top penalties. Why Arugam Bay?
Sorry for the inconvenience.
Gold Medalist’s jubilant welcome
On 1st of February 2014, everyone in Pottuvil gathered to greet the champion sprinter A.L.M. Ashraf, who bagged a gold medal as a team member at Lusofonia Games held in Goa, India in 4×100 relay. The Happy procession also traveled through Arugam Bay.
At a friend’s wedding recently, about halfway through the best man’s speech, I suddenly realised I was embarrassed about something I’d never been embarrassed about before.
Back in the late 1990s, when my family lived in the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo, my brother and I, still in our teens, took full advantage of the island’s enticing surf geography, exploring the reef breaks of Hikkaduwa on the west coast and the endless point break at Arugam Bay on the east Coast.
The journey to Arugam was a bit of a mission, involving a long, noisy overnight bus ride and bleary-eyed stop-and-searches at various military checkpoints on the way into Eastern Province, but at this stage in Sri Lanka’s history, hostilities between the Tamil Tiger separatists and government forces were at a relatively low ebb, so Arugam, although sandwiched between two parts of the country deemed out of bounds, was considered quite safe. As a result, during the dry summer months, when Colombo and the west coast were battered by monsoonal rains, Arugam was busy with tourists, and in particular surf tourists – mostly Australians and a few Brits – happy to put up with the gruelling bus journey and basic living conditions in exchange for days on end of perfect, warm-water waves.
Arugam was heaven, but as with all popular surf spots there was a pecking order. When a big set rolled in, the wild-eyed, tangle-haired Aussies living in the jungle on rice, water and whatever bugs they could catch got priority, and everyone else had to wait their turn. There were plenty of waves to go around, but in between sets there was much talk of other spots nearby, almost as good as Arugam but – because they were outside the government declared safe zone – going completely unridden, day after day, season after season. One of these waves was called Okanda Point, and when my friend Phil flew out from the UK for a little surf safari, we decided we’d try and ?find it.
The road running south out of Arugam had been closed by the army, so the only way in to Okanda was by boat, and for that we’d need to find a fisherman who was prepared to take us. Thanks to some subtle enquiries from our friend Gamini, who ran the B&B where we were staying, we found a guy who would ferry us there for a reasonable fee. He hardly spoke any English, so Gamini translated the rules for us before we left: “He’ll take you to Okanda, but no further; he doesn’t want to drop you too close to the shore so you’ll have to paddle in to the break; he’ll motor against the current while you surf so he can keep you in sight; and when he starts waving it means he’s running out of fuel, so you’ll need to paddle straight back to the boat.” We agreed, and ten minutes later, Phil and I were sitting in a little fibreglass skiff, bouncing in and out of a promising five-foot swell and heading – technically, at least – into a war zone.
Which brings us back to that wedding – Phil’s wedding – and his brother’s best man’s speech. After winding up a choice anecdote about Phil’s early sartorial choices he glugged a bit more champagne and said: “And then, of course, there was the time Phil and Roger went surfing in a war zone…” I’d never had a problem with our Okanda adventure before, but – stated baldly like that – the whole idea made me cringe. It made us sound like Jeremy Clarkson and AA Gill racing tanks in Iraq. “There’s a war there? Great! Let’s go and get some extreme kicks!”
All of a sudden, I felt like the most culturally insensitive guy in the room.
Still, at least Phil and I have the excuse of having been young and naive. Ever since the wedding, I’ve become increasingly aware of how the extreme sports industry and associated media are using conflict zones as backdrops for films and magazine articles. Take, for example, this idiotic headline to a recent feature in a national paper about climbing on Nanga Parbat: “Facing down terrorism on the killer mountain”. Subtext: climbers are gnarly, but these guys are even gnarlier – they climb in a place where terrorists are trying to kill them! Extreme sports are supposed to be about celebrating life, not fetishising death; somehow, somewhere along the line we seem to have forgotten that.
Those of my vintage and earlier remember Vakarai with nostalgia. This was in an era now long gone. Many, including planters, used to go to places like Arugam Bay, Passikudah, Panichankerni, Vakarai and Verugal, all of which are on the East coast, for rest and relaxation and to also indulge in shooting, fishing and sea bathing. Wild and undeveloped, these places offered a totally different environment and atmosphere in which to relax. Shooting pig and jungle fowl was for fun and the spoils were for the pot. Excess wild boar flesh was given to the trackers and the villagers who lived in those areas.
To reach Vakarai you had to cross a ferry at Panichankerni. Now there is a brand new bridge that was opened recently. On the other side of the ferry was a two bed-roomed Rest House and visitors generally booked the entire Rest House. The Rest House Keeper at Vakarai was, in the manner of many of his kind all over the island, a great cook and good at general hospitality. Some Rest House keepers were great raconteurs sometimes drawing the long bow. This Rest House is now no more having gone in the tsunami.
I have a small beach house in Panditivu, North Vakarai and these observations on the fishing in the sea in front of my place and along the beach were made from many visits to Vakarai. Continue reading ‘A fishing they go in Vakarai’
Our unique weather is fine & mellow.
Most hotels have plenty of vacancies
Why not see the New Year in with us, at Arugam Bay?
Come and Join us – be the first to welcome the New Year!
We, on Sri Lanka’s most Easterly side are well ahead….
The Sunday Times:
Well before the sun makes its patient ascent into the sky’s magnificent canvas of crimson, blue and white, Gabriel Villaran’s silhouette is etched against Arugam Bay’s think sand dunes.
With his sleek surf board tucked like a wand under his arm, one of the world’s top surf stars makes a beeline to the brilliant blue sea, to conjure his unique magic on the rising tide.
Gliding majestically across the waves, Gabriel evokes two powerful and distinctly different emotions.
First there is the passion which seems to constantly linger over him during his entire time in the water, mottled with boyish exuberance and excitement.
And then a sort of naked aggression, present in each graceful twist of his lithe and muscle-bound body, as he battles to master the raging waters.
The 29-year-old Peruvian has now had plenty of opportunities to size up the seas of Arugam Bay and has seemingly blended seamlessly with its surroundings.
When he first arrived at the popular surf destination in 2010 for official competition, Gabriel realised that the waters near A-Bay possessed huge potential for the adrenaline-fueled acrobatic maneuvers he regularly pulls off.
This understanding prompted Gabriel to respond positively when Red Bull searched its pool of surfers for a suitable candidate to lead its Local Hero Tour in Sri Lanka and the Maldives, and unearth a top surfer from each country.
“When they asked for a volunteer athlete from Red Bull I was like, ‘Yea I want to come’.
That’s why it is so important to have international contests because then you show the world that you guys have good waves and a nice country,” Gabriel explains.
Gabriel quickly re-immersed himself in the waters and ways of Arugam Bay, mentoring the gifted local surfers on the finer points of the sport while grabbing every possible chance to test his own considerable powers in the waters.
His artistry at the crest of each wave and his rugged good looks easily communicate why Gabriel is such a top-ranked surfer on the international circuit as well as a global poster child for the sport.
His fearlessness while surfing is exemplified by his regular participation in Big Wave events, which pit participants against tsunami-sized walls of water.
Surf sites across the internet are littered with videos of Gabriel navigating these gigantic waves, which would leave most people paralyzed with fear.
For Gabriel though, these monstrous bodies of water are enormous caches of adrenaline and once on them he is a sight to behold.
His arms confidently outstretched and eyes aflame with focus, he waits crouched in anticipation for the right moment to unleash his own flood of creativity.
Back at Arugam Bay, the waves, although smaller, propose their own unique field of obstacles to Gabriel and a battalion of other surfers from Sri Lanka and the rest of the world.
“It’s a really good wave. It’s a proper wave. It’s long and has good sections which you can do a lot of stuff on. It’s really hard to find a wave like this. There is a lot of potential here and a lot of potential for the near future,” Gabriel opines.
This environment has fashioned a fine bevy of Lankan surfers, and the Red Bull Local Hero Tour threw a bright spotlight on the best of them.
After several rounds of competition and a series of lectures from Gabriel, Praneeth Sadaruwan was crowned the country’s Local Hero, after he was found to be the surfer who demonstrated the most promise in the water while also proving to be the most receptive to the advice given.
Praneeth, who is now in the Maldives with Gabriel helping him search for their Local Hero, says that he benefited greatly from Gabriel’s guidance and would continue to adorn his style and preparation with the technical nuggets and training tips he received.
“Everyone learnt a lot from Gabriel. He kept saying you’re doing good but you need to keep trying new things and do them properly. So he taught us very well,” Praneeth revealed.
After he is done with the pristine beaches of the Maldives, Gabriel will pick up his board and head back into Big Wave competition in his continual quest for the perfect wave and a top place finish.
“The Big Wave event has five contests a year with the biggest waves in the world. Right now I’m in the top six in the world and in the near future I would like to make it into top three and eventually go on to win the title.”
His career is likely to haul him across varying pattern of waves, cultures and people.
If the unrestrained love he expresses for the Arugam Bay surfing landscape is a suitable barometer for his future travel plans, Sri Lanka is likely to see a lot more of Gabriel Villaran and his exhilarating brand of surfing.(0)
The unusually large waves, bellowing like blue behemoths performing a roaring symphony to an enraptured audience of the sun’s finest rays, draped in gold and crimson garments.
The droves of surfers, carrying their sea-scarred boards along the deep dunes while gazing toward the water in anticipation of the battles ahead. The uncomplicated cabanas and roadside shops, filled with people wearing bright smiles and colourful beachwear. Nothing at Arugam Bay seems normal to an outsider. It is as though someone switched channels on life and brought the volume down by several decibels.
Yet ironically, it is the outsider who has essentially built and come to define this quaint little beachside community, a few kilometres from the town of Pottuvil. Following the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, much of Arugam Bay, known locally as Ullai, was left in ruins. With its infrastructure in shambles, Arugam Bay banked on its reputation as a surfing hotspot with foreign visitors to rebuild.
As it turned out, this strategy did not just resuscitate local life, but imbued it with a fresh dimension as travellers from all parts of the world, who flocked to Arugam Bay’s pristine beaches, transformed it into one of the world’s top surfing destinations.
In a way, according to a cook at one of the many compact restaurants that line the main road (who, in line with the skewed reality of the area, is an economics graduate), these events also isolated Arugam Bay from the rest of the country.
This is felt keenly in every aspect of life here. A careful glance in any direction will quickly reveal to you a large and diverse international population. For the majority of them Arugam Bay is now a regular exotic retreat, a place with which they have integrated seamlessly. Along the beach it is not at all unusual to see Sri Lankans and tourists from everywhere between Australia and America engaged in the animated conversation which only blossoms between close friends.
Along the beach this deep familiarity and friendship is even more conspicuous as local and visiting surfers exchange opinions on the waves and surf techniques as well as personal anecdotes. Their echoes of laughter crescendo with the slap of a back, thigh or arm, a familial gesture in an atmosphere of acceptance. There is an electrifying bolt of camaraderie, which surges as high as the tide, whenever someone, who pulls off a masterful sequence of manoeuvres in the water, is applauded.
After an exhausting spell amidst the waves, most surfers gather at the small restaurant housed at the main Surf Point, the principal battleground where the water is at its most violent.
The sparsely furnished yet charming eating house opens out on to the Surf Point in a way where it has become an essential part of it, a recuperation zone where surfers take stock of their day’s performance while refuelling for another run of the waves.
Away from this central hubbub, in a quieter corner of the main surfing area, 15-year-old Dixon cradles a board almost thrice his size as he trots enthusiastically through the water’s white wake. Although particularly pint-sized for his age, Dixon sheds his diminutive stature once he weaves his way among the sea’s mighty ridges and caverns. With his body tilted, arms aloft and face twisted in concentration, Dixon transforms himself into Prospero, conjuring up a magical repertoire through his board to tame the encroaching tempest.
Although most of life at Arugam Bay is shrouded in a mist of friendship, understanding and respect, it does possess an exploitative underbelly. The main manifestation of this is the exorbitant pricing of food, lodging and transport. Do not be surprised if a plate of rice and curry sets you back over Rs. 1,000 or a ride of a few kilometres from the beach in a tuk-tuk lightens your purse by more than that amount.
But looking away from the huge rippling waves with their hordes of surfers and the crass capitalism of some establishments and individuals, there is one more mask on Arugam Bay’s eclectic visage: a unique nightlife.
By 11.30 p.m. on a Saturday night, beachside clubs are packed like a can of sardines. With strobe lights flashing, beautiful and exotic women gyrating and bare-chested, long-haired Lotharios bordering the dance floor, Arugam Bay’s nocturnal haunts are oftentimes more alive than any of Colombo’s.
Yet there is no sense of superficiality, no intoxicating clouds of perfume and cologne, no judgmental glances or legions dressed in their Sunday best. There is just music, dancing, conversation and uninhibited fun. You are free to be yourself and are toasted for it.
In a way that pretty much is the underlying philosophy of the entire Arugam Bay experience. It is a soothing brew which calms your senses and speaks to your soul. And much like the cascading waves and procession of picturesque sunsets, it is easily accessible to anyone who wishes to find it.
There is NO doubt that many investment opportunities exists on Sri Lanka’s under developed East Coast.
We are certain, that this area has our island’s greatest potential.
And everyone will do well here, specially at ARUGAM BAY
We are often asked to assist in finding investors.
Our mission is to support some small business in the Bay.
(But we are also concerned about investor’s safety & security)
Here is – without our own comment – the most recent and also rather professional one:
Please be advised that arugam.info (and all of our associated sites and pages) do not check, endorse or recommend any of the published ofers or any financial transactions.
This is a matter purely between you and the advertisers!
For confidential, impartial & non commercially minded advice contact: