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ARUGAM BAY: YOUR SURFING HEAVEN

A travel report by Crazzy Travel

ARUGAM BAY: YOUR SURFING HEAVEN

We’ve been to many beaches, swam in many oceans and seas, but wherever we go we will always remember two weeks we spent on the most unbelievable beach in the world. We love literally everything about Arugam Bay and now it’s high time for us to share our experiences with you.

What is Arugam Bay?

That is a 3 km long beach, situated on the Eastern coast of Sri Lanka. Waves here are big (the Indian Ocean, you know), and fishermen huts are tiny. It used to be a little forgotten village until it was discovered by surfers in middle-late 20th century. Since then, every June and August (high season), it’s crowded with people in search of their perfect wave…

Why Arugam Bay?

Because of SURFING! It holds the 5th place in the list of world’s best surfing spots, and doesn’t seem to slow down. You don’t need a special swim suit, license, or anything. Just come, and surf. The spot is perfect both for beginners and advanced surfers. You can take classes for just 1000 rupees ($10) and hire a board for just 800 rupees/ day ($8).

Don’t take surfing classes

We took surfing classes and don’t recommend it. Better learn on your own – just ask a tourist where’s the nearest spot and watch what others are doing.

Illia after 2 hours of surfing, happy and tired :)

How to get there?

There are two direct buses daily from Colombo to Pottuvil (a town near Arugam Bay). The bus number 98 departs from Pettah Bus Stand in Colombo at 04.45 AM and costs 400 rupees ($4). The journey takes approximately 7 hours. Then take a tuk-tuk to Arugam Bay for 500 rupees ($5).  Otherwise, you can always hire a minivan for 18000 rupees – $180 (share it with other surfers to save money!).

Tuk-tuks are ready to help you out anywhere, any time of the day or night.

Where to stay?

We stayed at a lovely Sooriyas guesthouse (free WiFi, movies and cartoons, quality service, clean bed sheets,  air con + fan,  monkeys in the garden) and paid for 3000 rupees per night ($30). However, there are cheaper options, starting from 1000 rupees ($10). They are good as well, but without air con and with noise from the restaurants nearby.

Where to eat?

As most places on Sri Lanka, all restaurants in Arugam Bay have very slow service (you can easily spend 1-2 hours waiting for your meals). The only way to avoid this is either to eat at food stalls for locals (not extremely clean), or choose restaurants run by Europeans (like Gecko restaurant, for example – more expensive, but faster and cleaner). A meals for two would cost you around 600 rupees ($6).

Isn’t it lovely? Most places in Arugam Bay have their little surprises.

Here is our small selection of the best restaurants at Arugam Bay:

Mambo’s – located right near the point, a bit overpriced, but one of the greatest places to chill out and eat after surfing (they even have ping pong and pool!)

Chili – best pizzas

Samanthi’s – very cheap local food, spicy!

Hakeem – cheap, close to European food, closed on Fridays

Gecko – very expensive, but fast service

Siam View – great for drinking

Plus, don’t forget about Sri Lankan unique bakeries on wheels: they come around 5-6 pm, play silly childish music so that you know they arrived, and sell extremely tasty and cheap bakery stuff (be sure to try their muffins!).

Anything to do except surfing?

Of course! You can enjoy hammocks on every corner, swim in the ocean or play ping pong. There is a nice Buddhist temple, yoga classes and numerous gift shops.

Something else I should know?

Again, yes. There are a lot of Muslim men working as tuk-tuk drivers, shop owners, etc. at Arugam Bay, so, girls, avoid walking wearing only bathing suit along the main road. Otherwise, you will experience irritate looks and hear someone shout at you. Also, the majority of such shops and restaurants are closed on Fridays.

One of the surf schools in Arugam Bay.

Did we inspire you to add surfing in Arugam Bay in your to-do list? Or maybe you are surfer and can share with us your experiences? In any case, we’re waiting for your comments!

About us:

Illia and Nastia

We’re a couple in love with each other and traveling. We’ve been to 32 countries, and it was amazing.

CrazzzyTravel is where we tell our story.

Want to get in touch? Contact us at crazzzytravel@gmail.com or via the form below!

source:

http://crazzzytravel.com/arugam-bay-surfing-heaven/

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Mind the Wild Life

Two die in jumbo attacks

Two men who went into the jungle to collect bee hives, died after being attacked by an elephant in Lahugala (nr. Arugam Bay) and Wellawaya on Thursday. E. A. Ajith Senaratne, 33, of Kirivehera road faced the mishap when he went into the Lahugala Forest Reserve to collect honey.

Wild Elephants are often seen on the A4 main Road to Arugam Bay

The body was sent to the Lahugala Hospital morgue for the post-mortem. Pottuvil Police are investigating. Meanwhile, D.A. Premadasa, 56, of Thanamalwila was attacked by an elephant near Kumbukkote tank in Aragama. He was pronounced dead at Wellawaya hospital.

The body was handed to his relations after the post-mortem. Wellawaya Police are investigating.

- See more at: http://www.dailynews.lk/?q=police-legal/police-log-10052014#sthash.4XhvwIiE.dpuf

The Island

Arugam Bay. And the progress.

"The Island" article

Environmentalists, nature lovers and some holidaymakers are up in arms against the rapid haphazard development taking place in Arugam Bay which is one of the most sought after and un-spoilt tourist resorts in Sri Lanka.

Michelle Mitchel of Sydney, Australia, born to Sri Lankan parents, expressed her displeasure at the adhoc and rapid development taking place in the area and added if the government allowed the trend to continue, very soon the country would see that the steady flow of tourists to the resort would reduce drastically.

Michelle Mitchel of Sydney

Mitchelle in an interview with “The Traveller” after holidaying in Arugam Bay said that the tourism authorities and other stakeholders should make every effort to protect the area and ensure that there was no overdevelopment in the resort.

Arugam Bay with its pristine and un-spoilt beaches, the laid back and rustic atmosphere had attracted thousands of holidaymakers to the country. Another reason why it has become popular all over the world as a destination among tourists is because Pottuvil Point is one of the best surfing areas in the world. Pottuvil Point has attracted large number of surfers from different parts of the world and it is a gold mine for Sri Lanka’s tourism industry which should be protected at any cost,” she said.

Building of high-rises and similar construction , overdevelopment and overcrowding would definitely ruin  the  character of the area  and it would become just another tourist resort  with a concrete jungle  which would eventually result in holidaymakers who loved the ‘paradise’ turning to other exotic destinations in the region or elsewhere and this could be a dangerous precedent, Mitchelle said. Continue reading ‘The Island’

Best Beach. Arugam Bay ?

Best Beach is …. Arugam Bay ?

I had a lot of non-beach activities planned for my two weeks in Sri Lanka – the cultural wonders of Anuradhapura, the Ceylon tea country and hectic Colombo, to name a few – which left me with enough time to visit just one of the island’s countless beaches, realistically. I had to make the right choice!

My friend Helene, whom I met last year in Australia, where she attempted to teach me how to surf, recommended a small spot on Sri Lanka’s east coast called Arugam Bay. Helene assured me that although “A Bay” has mostly gained fame among surfers – this is why she has visited it so often over the past decade – it’s also awesome for swimming, sunbathing and generally lazing around.

I knew Helene was correct in her recommendation immediately upon my arrival in Arugam Bay – the sexy, shirtless man who greeted me when I arrived was just the beginning. Let’s take a look at why I’m so certain Arugam Bay is the best beach in Sri Lanka, even though it’s the only Sri Lanka beach I’ve sunned my white ass on.

Arugam Bay Beaches

After checking into Arne’s Place, a simple, comfortable strip of bungalows near the northern end of Arugam Bay beach, I grabbed my camera and headed out for a stroll.

Arugam Bay’s main beach immediately won points with me because of its exotic, multicolored sand, sparking, turquoise waters and its half-moon shape, which reminded me of Palolem Beach in Goa, India. Its waves are also really something to behold, even if you don’t surf – they’re huge!

I assumed my walk, which allowed me to traipse among the dozens of wooden fishing vessels being prepped for the morning catch, would end once I reached the surf point at the far end of the beach. But I continued walking to see what appeared to be literally miles of unspoiled, virgin beaches extending into the distance.

Having explored many of these beaches during the subsequent days I spent in Arugam Bay, I can promise you that no matter what you’re looking for – swimming, sunbathing, surfing or eye candy, be it sexy surfers to perv at or pristine, natural scenery – Arugam Bay has you covered, from a beach perspective.

Activities Near Arugam Bay

Sri Lanka is a small island, and while Arugam Bay is considered a relatively remote destination (more on why in a second), it is in close proximity to a number of non-beach activities. The most popular of these is Yala National Park, home to a diverse range of wildlife that includes elephants and cheetahs, among other highlights. Continue reading ‘Best Beach. Arugam Bay ?’

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Crocodile Rock Legend “Ram” Cremated

https://www.facebook.com/OldArugam?ref=stream&hc_location=stream

Arugam’s History and more photos on the above link

1951 – 2014

Sooriya's Main Entrance

The Unique Sooriya's Hotel

(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.

Sooriya’s Story
img_9978.JPG

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.

Gold Medalist’s welcome

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.

Sprinter A.L.M. Ashraf. On the white D.S. Pickup truck

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Arugam Bay: An exotic, eclectic experience

By David Stephens
Why travellers from around the world flock to this surfers’ paradise

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.

Sun RISE at Arugam Bay

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.

Getting ready to ride the waves

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.

source:

http://www.sundaytimes.lk/131020/plus/arugam-bay-an-exotic-eclectic-experience-66102.html

Fishing boats, Arugam Bay

Image by james_gordon_losangeles
Arugam Bay is on the list of the top ten surf points in the world. Situated on the SE coast of Sri Lanka, Arugam Bay receives the same Antarctic winter swells that hit Indonesia. The best surfing conditions are between May and November when the predominant wind is offshore for at least the first half of the day.

Boats on Arugam's Beach

Due to its location and southerly swell direction the area is dominated by right hand point breaks. Three of the point breaks Arugam Bay Point is a ten min. walk from town, Pottuvil Point and Crocodile Rock are within a half hour tuk tuk ride from Arugam Bay. There are several other surfing points that are within an hour tuk tuk ride, Panama and Okanda are south of Arugam Bay.

Nilanthas’ Tuk tuk Service provides reliable transportation to and from any of the surfing destinations at a very reasonable rate. Nilantha also has ….. Continue reading ‘Fishing boats, Arugam Bay’

This weekend @ AbaY

A busy and very important weekend ahead.

H.E. The President. Expected at Arugam Bay.

Preparations, repairs, construction, cleaning up and painting operations are in progress all around Arugam Bay and nearby PottuVille Town.
It seems that a New Beach Approach Road is going to be opened.
This picturesque road leads to one of the island’s perhaps most important Temple site:
“Muhudu Maha Vihara”

Muhudu Maha Vihara (ancient Temple) Road

PottuVille has a huge potential.
To become yet another Tourist and Pilgrim destination
Next to famous Arugam Bay

A New Bus & car park

New Temple near the ancient, historical site

The perhaps oldest Temple on the island?

Arugam Information -SUMMARY-

Arugam Bay, the surfer’s paradise

(March to October)
a useful summary & description.

Surf, Beach, Lagoon, Village, Beautiful Inland Landscape, Jungle, Elephant Rock & Crocodile Rock

Arugam Bay is one of the TOP 10 surf points in the world. It is also a pristine sandy beach of stunning natural beauty. Arugam Bay’s proximity to Lahugala National Park & Yala East National Park makes it a unique surfing beach.

Ladies & Lady Surfers are happy in remote AbaY

Location

Arguam Bay is located 320 km from Colombo. Some 60km due east from Monaragala, Arugam Bay is a tiny fishing village 3km south of the small fishing village of Pottuvil (12000 inhabitants) at the remote southern end of the Eastern coast & on the edge of Yala East National Park.

To the beach

The journey to the beach here takes you across some attractive meadows teeming with wildlife.

Orientation

The bay lies between two headlands & is excellent for surfing.

Beach

The wide, sweeping sandy beach in front of the village is an attraction for swimming all year-round. The beach is usually deserted, except at the southwest corner, where some fishing boats & thatch huts reveal the tiny fishing village of Ulla, just to the south of the guest house area. This is also the safest area for swimming.

Surf

‘The Point’ in Arugam Bay is regarded as a top world surf destination. It is a well lined up right hand point break, generating a clean peeling glassy wave that barrels a surfer a 400m ride right through to the inside. Additionally there are four or five high quality breaks within a radius of 30 minutes. Continue reading ‘Arugam Information -SUMMARY-’

Rough Guide to AbaY

ARUGAM BAY

There’s not much to ARUGAM BAY village itself: just a single main road running parallel to the beach dotted with guesthouses, cafés and shops, including some of Arugam Bay’s trademark quirky homespun architectural creations – rustic palm-thatch cabanas, teetering treehouses and other quaint structures (not to mention the distinctive wooden pavilion restaurant and red British telephone box of the landmark Siam View Hotel ).
The beach is now looking better than ever following recent clearances during which the authorities ordered the removal of all buildings within 20m of the waterline (albeit at considerable cost to local hoteliers and other residents, who were forced to watch as the government bulldozers rolled in and summarily razed significant slices of prized real estate).

A-Bay also marks the rough border between the Sinhalese-majority areas to the south and the mainly Tamil and Muslim areas further up the coast, and boasts an unusually eclectic but harmonious mix of all three ethnic groups – as well as a growing number of Western expats. Fears that the village’s uniquely (for Sri Lanka) alternative and slightly off-the-wall character will be erased by larger and more mainstream tourism developments remain, however, especially given the forthcoming opening of the new Hambantota airport, which will make the village significantly easier to reach for international visitors. For the time being, however, Arugam Bay preserves its own enjoyably eccentric charm.

ARUGAM BAY AND AROUND

Easygoing Arugam Bay is by far the most engaging of the east coast’s resorts. A-Bay, as it’s often known, has long been popular with the surfing fraternity, who come here to ride what are generally acknowledged to be the best waves in Sri Lanka. It’s also a good launching-pad from which to explore the gorgeous surrounding countryside and its varied attractions, from the elephant-rich Lahugala National Park and the little-visited Yala East National Park to the atmospheric forest hermitage at Kudimbigala.

SURFING AT ARUGAM BAY

With waves fresh from Antarctica crashing up onto the beach, Arugam Bay is sometimes claimed to be one of the top ten surf points in the world, and periodically plays host to international tournaments. The best time for surfing is between April and Oct/Nov.

WHERE TO GO

There are several breaks close to Arugam Bay, plus others further afield. The biggest waves in A-Bay itself are at The Point Continue reading ‘Rough Guide to AbaY’

Riding (Arugam’s) new wave

Travel Magazine

There are not many places on Earth where travellers can surf world-class waves in the morning, have a close encounter with an elephant at lunchtime and be back in the water by mid afternoon. Arugam Bay, on Sri Lanka’s eastern coast, is one such place, and since the country’s civil war ended three years ago, the small town has been busier than ever – despite how hard it is to get to.

South of Arugam. nr. Panama

Other than a highway from Colombo, the capital, to Galle, a city in the south, most of Sri Lanka’s roads remain practically as they were in the 1950s – which means narrow, dual carriageways shared by everyone, including cyclists, buses and trucks. As such, the coast-to-coast haul from Colombo to Arugam Bay by public bus is a 400-rupee, 320km journey that takes nearly 12 hours. It is hot, uncomfortable, occasionally terrifying and utterly worthwhile.

Panama - to Kumana track

On a recent trip, a young man with an AK-47 boarded the noisy bus and prodded the barrel of his assault rifle into the belly of a middle-aged woman. Rather than panic and scream, she politely asked him to refrain, and the young man, a soldier in the Sri Lankan army, looked a bit embarrassed and apologised. The weapon, hanging from his shoulder, had accidentally prodded the woman as he leaned forward to stow his luggage in the cramped overhead compartment.

Well-marked busses leave frequently from the Bastian Mawatha Bus Terminal in Colombo. Alternatively, visitors can make the journey by taxi, which will take less time and has the added bonus of privacy and air-conditioning, but will cost about 16,500 rupees.

Once you get to Arugam Bay, there is not much to do.

..."not much to do" ....

The town – nicknamed “A Bay” by locals – is basically a thin strip of road with bars and restaurants frequented by young surfers and partygoers, a smattering of places to stay, a few surf shops and not much else, but travellers are lured by the excellent food on offer, easy access to exotic wildlife and waves that are widely regarded as some of the country’s best. It seems like a place on the cusp of something, which, in a way, it is. Many of the local tourism operators, tuk-tuk drivers and restaurant staff say that 2012 has been the busiest year yet.

The hometown surfers have grown up on Arugam Bay’s many breaks, and run the town’s surf shops and schools. Continue reading ‘Riding (Arugam’s) new wave’

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$1 “low Season” fun @ AbaY

This full 2 hour show costs just 100 Rupees.
Same rate for foreigners & tourists, too!
Bonus:
A superb nostalgic  trip into past Glory Years of showmanship!
A traveling Circus visiting Arugam Bay & PottuVille

Remarkable fact:
Just two non local visitors came to watch this unique, authentic show.
Others are said to be in the South & West. Complain about high rates and bad weather:
See what they are missing - soon Arugam Bay will also be fully Commercialized.
Quiet Christmas Greetings from the dry and pleasant Bay of Arugam to All!

Arugam’s New Street Signs

A few days ago, the local Authority based at nearby PottuVille planted  new Streets signs.
Here are all the ones we  managed to capture  this afternoon:


Tuskers without Borders

Spotted by Dhammika.

Wild Elephants without Borders

On the side of the main road to PottuVille.

Beautiful East Coast Tusker

Crossing Lahugala, 15 min. due West of Arugam Bay
source:
http://www.jokeroo.com/pictures/animal/wild-elephant-of-sri-lanka.html

Birding For Beginners

A Boat Tour of Pottuvil Lagoon
by:
Jürgen and Mike, from Germany and the USA. Born wanderers.
There’s more to do in Arguam Bay than just surfing and chilling out in beachside bars. The village is surrounded by some amazing and largely undeveloped nature. One sunny morning, we took a tour of the Pottuvil Lagoon, just to the north, hoping to see the elephants and crocodiles which make their home there.

Arugam-Bay-Lagoon


Bright and early at 6am, we piled into a tuk-tuk and set off for Pottuvil, where a boat and its conductor were waiting for us. The vessel looked rather homemade, a wooden pallet tied to two skinny canoes, and if we had been venturing into deeper water, I’d have been nervous. But this water was merely crocodile-infested, so I happily clambered on.

We glided silently out into the water, with the rising sun slowly bringing color to the sleepy scene in front of us. Thick forests of mangroves line the lagoon, their roots providing shelter for fish and their branches for birds. Our guide navigated us around the lagoon, alternating between pushing and rowing, depending on the depth of the water.

Along with diving birds, eagles and water buffaloes, the only other living creatures we saw were fishermen, returning home after a long night of work. They were moving as silently as us, cutting quickly across the surface of the still water, and waved hello instead of shouting. We didn’t see any crocodiles or elephants, but that was fine by us. It was as if everybody — animal, nature and man — had conspired to make this as serene an experience as possible.

-Book Your Sri Lanka Flight Here

http://srilanka.for91days.com/2012/04/16/a-boat-tour-of-pottuvil-lagoon/