Non of those photos have been taken in Arugam.
They could have been.
All is possible to experience in a condensed little corner of our island:
At Arugam Bay !
Sri Lanka's hidden pearl
Non of those photos have been taken in Arugam.
They could have been.
All is possible to experience in a condensed little corner of our island:
At 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.
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’
Surf, Beach, Lagoon, Village, Beautiful Inland Landscape, Jungle, Elephant Rock & Crocodile Rock
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.
The journey to the beach here takes you across some attractive meadows teeming with wildlife.
The bay lies between two headlands & is excellent for surfing.
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.
‘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-’
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.
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.
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.
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’
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.
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.
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.
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’(0)
“Have you guys ever done this before?”
That’s the first thing I should have asked our drivers before we headed into Kumana National Park, about twenty miles south of Arugam Bay on the east coast of Sri Lanka.
And yes, we had two drivers: the first guy was the one who drove us from Arugam Bay to Panama in his three-wheeler scooter taxi, and the second guy was the one who drove us from Panama to Okande and Kumana in his jeep. They both sat upfront in the cab (Tyrone and I and the guide from the wildlife department were in back) and between them they managed to startle a leopard and spook a small herd of elephants.
Not that I’m complaining, mind you, because Tyrone and I had the greatest time (you really can’t have a bad day in Kumana). Besides, the drivers are both good guys, and I’ll hire them again without hesitation the next time I’m in Arugam Bay. So what if they were just learning the ropes of the safari business? At least they weren’t learning to drive.
Hey, it’s Arugam Bay. If you want to be happy here, just let it happen.
Copyright © David Graham
The person who probably knows this best is Continue reading ‘A wild afternoon at Kumana’
Sri Lanka Holidays: Sunken Treasure, Golden Pearl Island and Ravana’s Swaymbhu lingum by bunpeiris
If a sheer single word could bring about the most divine joy, the word “treasure” would take the pole position to race against the most precious of all words: father, mother, son, daughter and lover. Of course, you may re-order the words, for your lover would hardly approve the sequence. Of course, you may hold the sequence at your peril but nobody would twitch a muscle nor bat an eye. Keep your eyes peeled and ears open for there’s more to swing low and final thrust of the argument is still ahead. If such is the magic of the single word, the ultimate magic could perhaps be encapsulated in a pair of words: sunken treasure.
In the year1958, Mike Wilson discovered a hitherto unknown spectacular underwater territory that sparked interest in snorkling, scuba diving (skin diving), wreck diving and submarine photography (underwater photography) in the southern coast of Sri Lanka Holidays. The location was the Great Basses Reef, 6 miles away (as the crow flies) from Kirinda in the mainland (island of Sri Lanka). Great Basses Ridge and Little Basses Ridge run almost parallel to the southern coast of Sri Lanka. The wave-swept line of submerged rocks of Great Basses is home to Great Basses Light house while the Little Bases Ridge houses Little Basses Light house. Both light houses were then run by Imperial Light House Service of Great Britain. Close to the location of Little Basses light house is Daedalus Rock the site where Her Majesty’s ship Daedalus had been wrecked upon.
In the year 1959, Arthur C. Clarke and Rodney Johnklass joined Mike Wilson on an expedition. Arthur narrates: around the lighthouse was a fantastic submarine fairyland of caves, grottoes, coral-encrusted valleys-and fish in numbers such as I have never seen anywhere else in the world. Sometimes they crowded round us so closely that we could see nothing but a solid wall of scales and had literarily to push our way through. They were inquisitive and completely unafraid. During our visit we met eagle rays, turtles, angelfish, jacks, tuna (up to three hundred pounds!), groupers, and sharks, especially the latter. Arthur C. Clarke: The Indian Ocean Treasure (1972)
In the year 1961 Mike Wilson was once again at the Great Basses Reef. Arthur C, Clarke and Rodney Johnklass missed him. But then Mike managed pretty well without them, for he was accompanied by a couple of first class divers, members of the official U.S. community. They were young fellows. Arthur C. Clarke had no idea how his buddy Mike had managed to persuade the parents of Boby Kriegal and Mark Smith. They were only fourteen and thirteen years of age respectively.
Travel to Kirinda from Colombo (175 miles)
Quote Arthur C. Clarke: Mark Smith’s (14) diary, March 12, 1961 “Arrived.” That one word covers a 175-mile drive down the beautiful, palm-fringed, southwest coast of Ceylon-surely one of the loveliest in the world-past dozens of fishing villages with their picturesque outrigger boats drawn up on the beaches. The journey goes through the ancient port of Galle-which, say some historians, may be the Tarshish of the Bible–and beyond that into a lonely landscape of still lagoons and patches of jungle. You may meet wild elephants here, but they seldom bother motorists. Unquote
The seaport of Galle is home to VOC Galle Dutch Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Galle is a conveniently located to make visits to Sri Lanka Holidays Wild life sanctuaries Udawalave, Ruhuna Yala as well as to Sri Lanka Holidaysancient cities of Kataragama andTissmaharama of Ruhuna, the cradle of the heroes of then Lanka and now Sri Lanka.
Boat ride from Kirinda to Light house of Imperial Light house Service at Great Basses Ridge (10 miles, as you sail)
Kirinda, a small fishing village is home to the boat house built by the imperial Light house Service of the colonial ruler, Great Britain. The boat “Pharos” leaves for the Light house Continue reading ‘The Basses. Just South of AbaY’
….it’s been an exception here (at Arugam Bay) and we’ve been a bit more sociable and met loads of nice people from all over – Poland, Germany, Israel, UK et al Weirdly enough we…….
It was sad to leave Ella again but Andrew was chomping at the bit to get to Arugam Bay before the (surf) season was well and truly over. So after a last curd and honey we drove out past the Rawana Ella falls and eastwards towards the coast – the temperature climbing as we drove
After we hit Pottuvil a little Muslim town on the coast we drove on through the edge of the Lahugala National Park where we were really lucky to have our own ad hoc safari! First we saw a cobra -when we almost hit it when it reared up at us from the middle of the road, then we saw elephants in the wild – Continue reading ‘Oz to AbaY overland: drivingoz2uk2.com’
At long last!
The air conditioned bus service, which we last proposed back in 2007 (see article below) has become a reality.
Two new purpose build coaches serve the Colombo – PottuVille (Arugam Bay) sector every day now.
Departure: 21:00 daily at SLT office, Punchi Borella, nr. Maradana, Colombo10. This is near the Immigration Dept.
Arrival at Arugam Bay: approx. 04:00 am
Departure 21:00 PottuVille Town Cente,
Arrive : Back in Colombo before sunrise.
Price: Rs./ 750 per journey
Just for the record, here is an extract of our ideas 4 or 5 years ago:
Published on: Mar 19, 2007 @ 6:33
Apart from security concerns the main problem facing the Bay is the distance from the only International Airport, Colombo. And the high cost of getting across the island.
To hire a taxi, van or minibus to take you over 320km of bumpy roads today cost you even more than a flight ticket to Bangkok ($110).
So far, there is no comfortable, reliable bus service connecting the Bay.
Arugam.info thinks that a good, say 60 seater air conditioned, second hand Tourist Bus could be purchased for about the same price as one of the houses (nobody really wants anymore) is being put up in the back woods of the Bay, i.e. 1.4Mill. rupees (14,000$).
By removing half the seats, fitting the bus out well, including a good sound and vision system and with a team of 4 drivers on rotation shifts this service could travel EVERY day:
06:00 Airport- 08:00 Colombo/Galle Face- 18:00 Arugam Bay
20:00 Arugam Bay- 06:00 Airport- 08:00 Colombo/Galle Face
With the new Southern Highway a motorway a stop off at Hikkaduwa should also be possible. Making this a very interesting and highly lucrative bus route linking the Nation’s capital City with the island’s two main Surf resorts. We are certain, that even locals would love to use this kind of service in future.
Furthermore, Arugam.info would totally paint the Tourist bus all round with nature motives of the Bay and Yala East for three reasons:
Indeed, if the operator, drivers and conductors would be security trained: Continue reading ‘New A/c Bus Service. A Logic logistic Idea’
…..” Then he told me about a strange building above the bay called ‘the castle’:
‘It’s thirty years old – very old.
It was made by an English guy called Richard” …..
Arugam Bay has been known as a top surfing area for many years now. During the season, from about May to November, it is easily the most popular destination for foreign visitors to the east coast. It’s a working fishing beach and there is quite a lot of rubbish on the sands, compared with the southern beaches, and is perhaps not the best place to come just for a beach holiday: most foreigners I met were there for the surfing. Many locals want to clean up the beach, however – see below – so this may change. For now it’s still very pretty, and quiet, if you want a place to gather your thoughts, and you can visit nearby mangroves on Pottuvil lagoon, or go to Kudimbigala Forest Hermitage to see Buddhist shrines. The Lahugala-Kitulana National Park is 16km inland from Pottuvil and large herds of elephants move there during the dry season (July and August).
The road from Arugam Bay is now completely open so you can travel south to Okanda and visit Yala East National Park. This park was Continue reading ‘Arugam Bay and the Arugam Bay Surf Club’(2)
….. Curiously Lahugala has no boundary fences or entrance fees allowing visitors to simply stroll into the park at will whilst elephants stroll right through the little hamlets and villages at its boarder and are often seen roaming around Arugam Bay at dusk…..
The ride to Arugam Bay is not without incident; a few minutes in to the journey we narrowly avoid colliding with a rather large lorry, sending our hearts racing and our stomachs reeling! As we descend down the winding road to the plains below the landscape changes from lush jungle to dry bush and the roads become heavily potholed; an hour in and there’s a large bang- a flat tyre- so we pull over and Polly replaces the wheel while driver and Sam lift the tuk-tuk. We’re soon driving through the ‘Elephant Corridor’, a long straight road that cuts through the wilderness of Lahugala National Park, and sure enough, to our amazement, we spot a herd of wild elephants Continue reading ‘Living Dreams’
The bus journey from Ella to Arugam Bay involves a change at Moneragala and takes 5-and-a-half hours, all for a mere 500 rupees or 2.75 pounds for the two of us.
Good value even if we do have to stand for the first 50 minutes of this two hour journey, but grindingly slow. The bus is heaving, not only with people but luggage as well and we only just manage to squeeze on with Andy half hanging out of the door! Luggage, stowed alongside the driver, is re-arranged to accommodate our rucksacks, but I feel sorry for the people who are sitting adjacent to the driver who spend most of the journey trying to prevent the mound of luggage toppling on top of them. The bus to Monaragala leaves Ella at 9am and arrives in plenty of time to spare before the 11.20am leaves for Arugum Bay, giving us time to use the non-too salubrious facilities (10 rupees) round the back of the station and purchase a much welcome ice cream and some snacks. Moneragala is Continue reading ‘Ella to Arugam Bay’
- Land of the Lotus Eaters
Arugam Bay is the amalgamation of the Tamil word for six – Aru and the Sinhala word for village – gam. Juliet Coombe discovered the area has a lot more on offer than surf, sand and sea, when travelling with 2nd Partner – a tour company with a difference.
Arugam Bay is a long way from everything, and in the early years when there was no bridge to the area, this was part of the attraction to the ‘real’ adventure traveller, who discovered this spot of the island in the 1970s. Known for its love gurus, nude bathing and nirvana lifestyle it fast became the spot to surf the waves by day, and the area by night looking for fun times. However, today, this ‘Shangri la,’ tipped to be the next best thing is a rather sad strip of hotels and restaurants that makes Hikkaduwa in comparison look like the South of France. The food is at best terrible, and the only place worth hanging out in is Siam, according to the first film crew, SBS from Australia who have just been filming My Sri Lanka with world famous chef Peter Kurivitas. They are the first crew to go through the area in 30 years and only Siam was worth eating at, where a dude called DJ Nihal calls the shots and the food is the best on the strip. Not really on the surface worth an eight to 10 hour trip from Colombo depending on the weather and traffic conditions.
However step out of this artificial boomtown and discover amazing places like Kudumbigala Monastery (11 miles from Panama), which is the only cylindrical stupa in Sri Lanka. Surrounded by 200 caves in the area that used to be used by monks, they have paintings older than the ones of the girls painted on the Sigriya rock Fortress palace. Appu Hami, a 64-year-old village elder, held in high esteem and the best jungle guide in the area comes from Panama, which dates back as a settlement to 1818. His face is a gnarled as the trees from the jungle, eyes as sharp as a hawk’s, and has a lifetime of stories to tell.
Appu Hami – a legend
in Arugam Bay Appu Hami advocates that before any trek you should eat well from the local indigenous vegetables which include seven different types of yams and two types of Lotus plants which are pulled by the roots from the lakes, famed for their beautiful water lilies. Lotus eating is good for the heart, blood sugar (diabetes) and other things that he says, brings a sparkle to one’s eyes. It seems women also mix the lotus seeds together and make facial scrubs and the pulled up flowers are used as offerings at the Buddhist temples.
The lakes have always been fished in and this is how the people of the Bay discovered the benefits of the Lotus. Until the 1960s no money exchanged hands, and the community-bartered goods instead, and everyone was much better off. The average wages were only Continue reading ‘Arugam Bay and beyond’
For bird watching, Sri Lanka is the best country in the world for it is indeed a birds’ paradise. You could view birds throughout the year because of its favourable climatic conditions being a tropical island and throughout the country in forests, jungles, lakes lagoons, streams, villas etc..