On the East coast of Sri Lanka, a surfer’s paradise beckons, offering lazy beach days, world-class waves and a buzzing town with huge character.
You don’t have to be a surfer to enjoy Arugam Bay, as there are endless beaches, chilled beach bars and plenty of luxurious hotels.
If you do choose to surf, you certainly won’t be disappointed. With several breaks all within tuk tuk distance, there are waves a plenty for everyone – from beginners to pros.
Arugam Bay is a world renowned surf spot, offering a first-class right hand beach break. Numerous equally enjoyable waves are also nearby, making it a surfer’s playground.
My favourite surfs were at Pottuvil Point. 6km from the main town, it offers less crowded waves and although it’s slightly smaller, it’s more protected from the wind. If you chose the correct wave, you can catch it all the way into the bay. You then walk around and jump out the back again, taking away tedious paddle outs and making for a long leg-burning ride.
On my last day, I decided to fight a rock. I walked into the sea and managed to lose my footing as a wave crashed into me. I was then dragged over rocks and, not surprisingly, they came out on top. I ended up having stitches in my foot and my toe nail pulled off. So be careful where you jump in, as the rocks aren’t friendly!
Unsurprisingly for a beach town, fishing is a quintessential part of the community.
Every restaurant offers catches of the day and extensive menus centred around our favourite swimming friends. The day’s haul are proudly displayed in large cabinets outside restaurants, showcasing delicious whole fish and huge crustaceans.
You don’t have to search far to find out how fresh it is, as hoards of fishing boats line the bay every morning sorting out the catch. A great way to pass some time is walking from boat-to-boat, watching the fishermen struggle with tangled nets and seeing plenty of exotic fish.
As with most surfer towns, beach bars are very much part of their identity. Arugam Bay is no exception and there’s a multitude of places to get your good vibes fix.
My favourite was definitely Mambos. It’s located right on the beach opposite Baby Point (where all the beginners surf). It’s a great place to sip on a cocktail at sunset, whilst watching beginner surfers struggle to their feet and the sky change different hues of red. Happy hour is also 5pm to 7pm, which is perfect timing – and also pretty dangerous!
Being on the East coast of Sri Lanka, Arugam Bay is blessed with phenomenal sunrises. The sun comes out of the ocean and illuminates the town in beautiful shades of red.
Regrettably I only managed to get mental photographs, as I got up every morning to surf, which isn’t very useful I know! I’ve got plenty of sunset photos, though, so I’m sure you’ll get the idea….
Whether you’re looking for some chill time at the beach, or wanting to surf some unbelievable waves, pack your bags for Arugam Bay. My time there was short but sweet. Three days definitely wasn’t enough, as there was so many happy hours to participate in, restaurants to try and endless waves to surf.