The famous beach resort Arugam Bay is situated in one of the most isolated corners of Sri Lanka. It has a very relaxed, laid back lifestyle and attracts many surfers from all corners of the world, despite the long distance from Colombo. During the season, which in this part of the island runs from May to October, the town is packed and full of life. Arugam bay is not a posh destination, but merely a simple, uncomplicated resort, attracting mainly surfers, but also nature lovers and those who would like to visit the ancient Buddhist and Hindu monuments in the surrounding area. It is highly ranked in the international surfing community and well known for its many surf points. The high season and best time to chill out and party is during the months July and August with many surfers from Australia, the USA, the United Kingdom and Israel. Nature lovers, dolphin watchers, lagoon travelers, day trippers and backpackers are drawn to this tourist resort from many countries, but also many locals travel to Arugam Bay during school holidays, weekends and public holidays.
The main road in Arugam Bay, which connects Pottuvil with Panama, is also called ‘A’Bay Strip. It is the touristic center of activity in Arugam Bay; from this road several small side roads lead directly to the beach. Along the ‘A’Bay Strip, which runs from the Stardust Hotel till the Buddhist shrine, you will find many hotels, guest houses, restaurants, bars, shops and surf shops. The southern part of the Strip is the area where the loud music is played in bars and where the parties are being held. For a quitter area to stay you better choose the northern part of the Strip. The road at the end of the ‘A’Bay Strip (turning left), is called the Beach Road and leads to the main surfing point and other surfing spots. During the high season the place is full of activity and entertainment; then Arugam Bay is a good place for fun loving people. The best beach area and fishing harbour are all in this part of Arugam Bay.
Mind that during the off season (November to April) there are only a few tourists; many tourism providers are empty, closed or maintaining their places. The advantage is that you can have a quit holidays if you prefer that and you can bargain the accommodation rates. It’s not the good surfing season and when you are unlucky you will have some rainshowers.
Accommodation, restaurants, bars en entertainment
There are many hotels, guesthouses, cabanas, restaurants and bars in Arugam Bay in different price levels. It is recommendable to compare prices and consider whether you want an accommodation immediately on the beach or on the other side of the Strip and if you are a party animal (search on the south part of the strip)or if you prefer a quit place (search on the north part of the strip). In the list of tourism providers you can find most of the accommodations available in Arugam Bay; the ones in bold will give you detailed information and pictures.
The best places for big parties, disco and to have a drink are Siam View (for a drink with good music), Sababa at Whisky Point (disco on Friday night till the morning) and Mambos (disco on Saturday night) during the high season. Every year more places are being opened; The popularity of Araguam Bay is growing.
Many surfers from Israel visit Arugam Bay during the season every year. For those who need a place to worship, to buy kosher food, who want to meet fellow Jews or need assistance, it is good to know that there is a Jewish center available in Colombo, called Chabat House, 70 AnandaCoomaraswamyMawatha, Colombo 03000 (Kollupitiya), tel. 077 340 9048.
Ullae Fishing village
At the end of the ‘A’Bay Strip the fishing village Ullae is situated, with a mainly Tamil and Muslim population. The village is divided into two sections, the Muslim PeriaUllae and the Tamil SinnaUllae.While strolling on the beach in the early evening you can see the fishermen preparing their boats and nets to sail out. Fishing takes place in the night time, to return around 06.00 in the morning with a full load of fresh, delicious sea food. You can watch the busy activity on the beach of people bargaining with the fishermen for the best products, after they have shoved their boats on the beach.
· Note that all prices and times mentioned in this article are based on the information obtained in January 2015; they are indications and subject to changes.