Arugam Bay is a beautiful crescent-shaped sandy beach located along Sri Lanka’s Eastern Coast. This famous surf spot has a super laid back vibe that draws in surfers, yogis and visitors from all over the world. A-Bay (affectionately referred to by the locals) is a great place to chill out for a few days and soak up the sun.
There are a ton of things to do in and around A-Bay. However, we were only there for a few days so we had to maximize our time. Here some of my favorite ways to spend a few days on this side of Sri Lanka.
INCLUDED IN THIS BLOG POST:
- Top things to do & see in Arugam Bay
- How to get there from Ella
- Where to Stay in Arugam Bay
Top Things to Do & See in Arugam Bay
1. Give Surfing a Try
These beaches are well known for their killer waves, so why not take a board out for a spin! There are many places around Arugam Bay where you can rent a board for a fairly inexpensive rate. Watch or join in on the surfing that Arugam Bay is known for.
We would have given it a go if we had stayed a few days longer!
2. Enjoy the Beaches of Arugam Bay
Spend your days lazily lounging on the beautiful beaches of A- Bay. We let the hours slip away as we relaxed amongst the sandy shore, soaking up the warm summer sun and breathing in the intoxicating scent of salty sea air.
Browse the many food and drink spots located at the top of the sand and grab an avocado smoothie while you relax!
You’ll see a number of stray dogs that call these beaches home and they like to enjoy laying at the beach just as much as the humans. And don’t worry, they won’t bother you.
3. Wander the Town and Check Out the Local Shops
A-Bay’s main street is bustling with artisan shops and local restaurants that are dishing up deliciously cheap entrees . As we were strolling through the streets we stumbled upon a tiny shop where a Sri Lankan man was stitching up custom-made bathing suits.
One of the patterns in the window caught my eye and I went in to get a closer peek. The bottoms weren’t quite the right size so he measured me and told me to come back in 45 min. Sure enough, the new bottoms fit perfectly and for a total cost of 4500 LKR ($28) I absolutely couldn’t pass it up! My only regret is that I didn’t get more!
Just up the street I discovered a beautiful handmade hammock that I purchased for only 2700 LKR ($17)! So be sure to take some time while you’re in Arugam Bay to admire some of the local goods, you never know what you’ll find!
4. Go on a Safari to Kumana National Park
The safari to Kumana National Park was arranged through our hotel and cost 5000 LKR per person ($31). This particular tour through Yala East lasted from 1pm to 7pm. There were 4 other people who joined our safari and I’m sure that helped lower the cost had it been a private trip. We headed out of town and one hour later we entered the park where we immediately had our first elephant sighting of the trip.
During the next couple hours we saw 7 crocodiles, 4 elephants, 3 mongoose, lots of peacocks, buffalo, deer, storks, other birds and even 2 rabbits. I’d say it was a success!
The safari was pretty good especially considering the price. We didn’t see any leopards despite the fact that Yala National Park is known for having a large leopard population.
I did appreciate that the guides respect the animals and don’t detour from the well worn paths just to get a closer look. This park was also not very crowded and busy with tourists or many other safari jeeps so it made the experience much more enjoyable.
How to Get to Arugam Bay From Ella
Departing from Ella we first stopped at the Monaragala bus station. After arriving, we asked around and learned that we needed to take another bus that would bring us to Pottuvil. From there we would then have to take a tuk tuk to our guesthouse. Upon arrival in Pottuvil we quickly found the tuk tuk waiting area. All the drivers argued back and forth offering us their “last price” so we ended up getting a ride for pretty cheap.
Where to Stay in Arugam Bay
We stayed at the lovely Garden Beach Hotel. Here, we each had our own basic but super cozy room complete with a private bathroom and a/c. The owner was very friendly and helpful. Additionally, the location was perfect, right off the main street next to the beach.
During our last night, the owner and his staff were having a big bbq for the guests for dinner. The dinner consisted of chicken, white snapper, pumpkin, potato, fresh cabbage salad, rice and curry. It was very delicious and I ordered another avocado juice (because I may be slightly obsessed) for dinner.
The breakfast (not included, but well worth it) is very hearty and delicious. One morning I had a delicious breakfast of fresh fruit, yogurt, muesli and honey with an avocado lassi.
Have you visited Arugam Bay? Leave a comment below!
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