click above & see all 160+ signs and establishments.
And be part of our progress !
Sri Lanka's hidden pearl
click above & see all 160+ signs and establishments.
And be part of our progress !
Every year. Around the 1st July. Our local reporter takes his simple camera. And takes a walk. From one end of Arugam Bay to the other. This Walk from Bridge-to-Bridge has become a tradition.
It presents a unique insight into AbaY’s Rise & Fall Take a look. Compare. We just publish a few of our older photo walks here. Others are already online. Older ones are still only on paper.
Here is the 2014 update:
Here is a link to 2010:
Here is an older link to 2006:
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.
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…
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).
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.
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!).
We stayed at a lovely Sooriyas guesthouse (free WiFi, movies and cartoons, quality writing 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.
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).
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!).
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or via the form below!
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:
And here are the photos of all signs & establishments
Situated on the Eastern Side of the Main Road
i.e. Sea Side places
This is just our attempt to document constant changes in the Bay.
This year there are many changes & fine improvements.
The Bay of Arugam does not seem to have lost it’s unique character …
Every year, on the 1st Day of July we try to document the annual changes of Arugam Bay.
This is done, since 1999 or so, by taking a photo of all visible signs in the village.
From Bridge to bridge.
This year we took advantage of the rising sun.
And took all photos of the land side Establishments first (as they are located to the West)
Links to our earlier year’s walks will be posted later.
#05a Panama Village Resort
We have been informed that this guesthouse is now under a new management.
It was formerly known as “No Worries”
Below is a description which was sent in to us by the new owners.
More and better recent photos will be posted.
We’re a 15-minute walk along the beach to Main Point, and a short motorbike or tuktuk ride to Whiskey Point and Crocodile/Elephant Rock.
We have 12 clean and affordable rooms including Singles with ensuite and fan, Twins/Doubles with ensuite and fan or AC, and a 4-bed dorm with fan and shared bathroom.
We offer free WiFi, motorbike and tuktuk rentals, safari tours and laundry service.
Our restaurant serves breakfast daily, and family-style dinners when we’re full.
A laid-back village on the eastern coast of Sri Lanka, Arugam Bay is one of the best places in the world for surfing, and has been a favorite of the long-term community for decades. Thanks to the steady presence of chilled-out expats, the town has a cool, low-key vibe which we’ve not seen anywhere else on the island. Great restaurants serving a variety of cuisine, comfy beach-side lodging, hip lounges, a happy mix of foreigners and expats… and of course, incredible waves.
Although we’re not surfers, we enjoyed the way of life here so much that we stayed for five days. The restaurants alone were worth the extended stopover.
Our favorite was the Siam Lounge, owned by a Dutch guy who’s been here since 1977 (and looks exactly like a Dutch guy who’s been in a Sri Lankan surf town for 34 years) and his Thai wife.
The upper-floor lounge area serves potent German-style brews and delicious Thai cuisine, while a 60s-heavy soundtrack accompanies surf-dude highlights playing in a loop on a projection screen. After so many nights spent scarfing down rice and curry in dingy restaurants while Sinhalese pop squealed from cheap speakers, the Siam Lounge was paradise.
Our last couple nights were spent in a beach-side cabin, complete with hammock and deck mattress. We should have tried surfing, but this was our vacation. After two months spent running around Sri Lanka, we didn’t want to do anything except turn our brains off and lounge around.
But although we couldn’t be bothered to get on boards, we did take a trip to Whiskey Point to watch surfers ply their trade. This was during the off-season, but the waves were still decent — they come all the way from Antarctica to crash on Arugam Bay’s shores, with no other landmass to impede them. We had fun watching the guys and girls catch the waves, and I felt a pinch of envy. Next time I’m at Arugam Bay, I’ll try it out.
Facebook seems to replace many traditional web pages.
To keep up with developments, we have now added all known Facebook PAGES of Arugam’s Establishments. Contact them tru the link display on the left of this page!
….. several illegal constructions in Arugam Bay were demolished last week……
* More powers to CCD by new law
*Demolition costs to be recovered from offenders
The Coast Conservation Department (CCD) has decided to take strict action against illegal constructions in the coastal belt using the new powers vested in it under the amended Coastal Conservation Act approved by Parliament recently.
CCD Director General Anil Premaratne told the Daily News that court cases will be filed against owners of these illegal buildings and a fine not less than Rs 5,000 and not more than Rs 25,000 will be imposed on them at the first conviction.
He said that if the offenders who maintain the illegal constructions continue the same offence disregarding the court decision, the amended Act has the provisions to impose a fine not less than Rs 1,000 and not more than Rs 5,000 per day on them.
He said that unauthorized constructions in the coastal belt have resulted in accelerated coastal erosion and pollution and therefore the CCD has decided to strictly implement these laws.
Premaratne said that the unauthorized buildings which are built very close to the sea will be demolished and the expenses spent on them will be recovered from the offenders. He said that several illegal constructions in Arugam Bay were demolished last week and this process will also be carried out in other coastal areas.
He observed that the coastal stretch in the Southern Province comprises the majority of illegal constructions.
He also explained that legal action will also be sought for the illegal fillings of water bodies and sand mining. The amended Act has also made provisions to arrest an offender without a warrant for violating its laws and regulations aiming for an efficient coastal conservation and coastal resource management.
Link to Facebook page “Save Arugam Bay”:
…..” 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’
After all these years of travelling to Sri Lanka, and living for months in Arugam Bay, i have failed to hail the unsung hero’s and heroin’s of this tropical isle. So, i’m going to start with the one person that provides me with all the fuel i need to surf! Samanthi is affectionately known as ‘Number 1 sister’. I have known Samanthi and her family for the past 6 years. She and her sister, Erandathi, were the teachers at the Pre-School, near the Buddhist Temple, at the south end of the village. Samanthi and her family have fed and watered me over this time. They have even tolerated me living in their cabanas and at times the castle. I have to surf and go fishing to prevent the weight piling on! The problem is the food! Samanthi’s cooking is the best. It is not only the Rice n Curries that she serves up, but the cakes, pizzas, desserts and short eats. I never come home to Devon lighter than when i went out. Samanthi heads a team of sisters in the kitchen. She is up and starting the kitchen duties at six every morning, and regularly works through until midnight during the tourist season. Way back, when i first arrived, it was Amma doing the cooking, and forever supplying me and the brothers with Tea. Now it is Samanthi, with the assistance of younger sisters Gayani and Ruwanthi, and cousins Geeva and Sudu. There is a constant call for me to come and eat from the kitchen, and if i miss a meal, it is always waiting there for my return. Not only is Samanthi an awesome cook, but she is also beautiful. Be warned though! She has four protective brothers, a father, and a brother in law!
These family run cabanas have recently been refurbished. They are sporting new tiled bathrooms, ceilings, mosquito nets and verandas. The garden now has grass and feels so good underfoot.
Come and enjoy a touch of family life in Arugam Bay. Beautiful home cooked traditional Sri Lankan food as well as western dishes for those desiring a touch of home. Sunday Roast on request. Party BBQ’s and Buffet Dinners for those wishing to celebrate a special occasion. Birthday Cakes made to order.
The family also provide Tuk Tuk Hire, Taxi Bookings, Wildlife Safari’s, Boat Trips, Surf Lessons and Surfboard Hire. This is truely a family run business by one of the original families from Arugam Bay. So remember Freedom Beach Cabanas, Samanthi’s Restaurant and Thaththa’s Tea Shop for all your holiday needs in Arugam Bay.
Email – FreedomBeachCabanas@hotmail.co.uk or
fish had already escaped once, having broken the 4kg breaking strain line following a series of powerful dives into the sharp reef. Unfortunately for the big mouthed greedy fish, it chose to go for a second plug that had been quickly tied to the main line, this time with a short 70lb leader, and cast out into the same spot. It not only looked beautiful but tasted fantastic. Samanthi’s Restaurant can be found next to Freedom Cabanas at the southern corner of Arugam Bay, only a very short walk to the highly prized right hand point break.source: http://www.paddle4relief.co.uk/blog/index.php?s=arugam&searchbutton=Go! (0)
– 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’