Arugam Bay Travel Guide: The Complete Guide


Arugam Bay in Sri Lanka is regarded as the oasis of peace and tranquility. This is a small land with a population of only 3500 people. It is located on the Indian Ocean, which is in the dry zone of Sri Lanka’s southeast coast. In addition to this, Arugam Bay is situated 320 km due east of Colombo. Local people call Arugam – “Ullai” and this place is renowned worldwide for surfing and touristic attractions.

In fact, this place is one of the top ten best places for surfing. However, this moon-shaped curling soft land is much more than surfing. You can go on a lagoon tour or just enjoy watching the elephants. Also, you can opt to visit the cultural sites and there are plenty of wildlife retrospectives as well. So, let’s take a tour to Arugam and unearth its wonders.

Nillaveli Beach

Things to see in Arugam Bay

Pottuvil Lagoon: If you go two kilometres from Arugam Bay, you will see the beautiful inland called Pottuvil Lagoon. A picturesque lagoon tour in the scenic Pottuvil will be something extraordinary. When you paddle out into the lagoon, you will be amazed to see the eye-catching mangrove swamps. These swamps are just lively with birds are chirping and it is filled with lizards, elephants, and crocodiles. All of them would provide you a taste of the Sri Lanka wildlife of Arugam Bay.

Panama: Panama is the last inhabited village in Arugam Bay, which is located 12 km south. It goes before the Yala East National Park and Panama intersects as an inland with the lagoons of Arugam Bay. Now, Panama is blessed with endless beaches, wonderful lagoons, rock stones, and sand dunes. All of these sightseeing elements make Panama a captivating landscape. Panama is combined with two gigantic rocky projections known as – Crocodile Rock and Elephant Rock. The Crocodile Rock is famous for surfing spots and the Elephant Rock is popular for wild elephants.

Okanda Sri Lanka: The village of Okanda is 20 km south of Arugam Bay and it is hugely popular for surfing spots. It is home to the admired shrine that is situated at the point in which God Skanda had landed on the island (the legend says). This shrine is the opening point of ’Paada Yaathra’ (Pilgrimage on Foot). Moreover, Okanda is the entry point of the Yala East National Park where the mangroves alongside the Kumana Reservoir and these places happen to be the breeding ground of aquatic birds.

Yala East National Park Sri Lanka: Yala East National Park in Sri Lanka is a twin sister of Yala West or Yala Ruhuna National Park. The main stumbling block between these national parks is the River Kumbukkan Oya and precisely, the river flows segregates both these sanctuaries. Now, Yala East is just as popular as the Yala West and it is home to precious leopards and mammals. Plus, there is a great amount of elephant population, but the herds are smaller than the Yala West.

Kumana Bird Sanctuary: Kumana Bird Sanctuary is nationally and internationally recognized as an important wetland habitat for both local and migratory wading birds. Kumana Bird Sanctuary is hosted by a channel from the River Kumbukkan Oya. It is about 20 km into the Yala East national Park; you will observe the Kumana Reservoir. This reservoir is packed mangrove trees and it hosts a wide range of aquatic birds. Among these aquatic birds, the most seen are herons, egrets, storks, little cormorants, and Indian darters. You can also see one of the rare breed birds – Black-necked stork in this bird sanctuary.


Things to do in Arugam Bay

Surfing and Diving: Arugam Bay is widely popular for surfing spots and this place is ranked among the top ten surfing hubs in the world. This place is renowned for some extraordinary waves that draw thousands of surfers from across the world. Usually, the mean height of these waves ranges from 1.5 to 2.5 meters. The perfect season for surfing in Arugam Bay is in between May and November. In this time, the wind will be largely offshore for the first half of the day. There are several right-hand point breaks in Arugam Bay and it is like this because of its geographic location alongside southerly swell direction.

Furthermore, the most famous three-point breaks are – ‘The Point’, ‘Pottuvil Point’ and ‘Crocodile Rock’ and they are the best point for surfing. Local people are just obsessed with surfing and are willing to guide you through to the unknown point breaks. Besides, Arugam Bay is much more than surfing because it is home to wide array of tropical fishes and this place is considered to be a gorgeous snorkeling paradise. So, if you love diving, you can hire boat and head towards to the Basses Reefs. This is the best scuba diving site in the entire Arugam Bay.

Experience the Wildlife: Arugam Bay is filled with wildlife spectacles and some of the rarest of creatures live in Arugam Bay. Now, if you want to have some glimpses of wildlife Arugam Bay such as – wild boar, deer, crocodiles, and colossal elephants, you should go out on tour in the dawn or sunset (this is the best time to catch the glimpses of wildlife). Also, if you head towards to the southern part of Arugam, you will found the famous Yala National Park, which one of the leading eco-tourism destinations in Sri Lanka. This national park covers an approximate area of 1,300 square kilometers and boasts the highest bulk of leopards in the entire Asia. These creatures live peacefully with wild elephant, sloth bear, striped necked brown and ruddy mongoose, marsh mugger crocodile, sambar, wild boar, several civet species, and chital.

Visit the Cultural Site – Magul Maha Viharaya: When you are heading towards Lahugala National Park, you will come across Magul Maha Viharaya. It is a hidden pearl that has roots from the 2nd century B.C. The history and background information is not clear, but people cited that it was created by King Dathusena (he ruled the Anuradhapura Kingdom from 516AD to 526AD). This fact is proved right as all these events were claimed on the stone inscriptions (dates back to 14th century). Nevertheless, the legend says that this temple was made by King Kavantissain throughout the 2nd century B.C.

Additionally, this site covers an area over 10,000 acres and it is a symbol of culture and history. It is beautifully portrayed with unusual architectural establishments along with vast lily ponds. Plus, the remnants of an ancient palace would ‘Wow’ the tourists.

Also check our guide on best hotels in Arugam Bay.


How is the weather of Arugam Bay?

Since Arugam Bay is situated on the Indian Ocean in the dry zone of Sri Lankan South-East coast, Arugam Bay has its own weather. Compared to other islands in the country, this place experiences the least amount of rain. On top of that, surfers would enjoy surfing in the months of April and August as these are the best time for surfing with perfect waves. Generally, Arugam Bay has a warm and tropical weather. In the months of November, December and January, the mean temperature in this place is in between 28 – 30 degree Celsius. Additionally, the months of February March, September, and October experience an average temperature of 30 -32 degree Celsius and lastly, the months of April, May, June, July, and August will provide you with a temperature of 32 -36 degree Celsius.

How to reach Arugam Bay?

In order to reach Arugam Bay, you have to go through a significant amount of travelling. In addition to this fact, getting around Arugam Bay with a preferred choice of will be easy. The en route to Arugam Bay from the Katunayake International Airport or from the capital city of Colombo, the capital city contains several means of transportation. With that being said, you can opt to hire a car, van, taxi or any forms of vehicles. However, it will depend on your budget also. Besides, the public transportation facilities such as – train, air-conditioned buses are always available for taking you to Arugam Bay.

Finally, Arugam Bay is revered in Sri Lanka and in the world because there are only a few places similar to Arugam Bay. This tiny piece of land will set you free with unlimited freedom. You will find a plenty of pleasure in the landscapes and the attractions. All in all, it is a magical place that will make you feel heavenly and explore it with our Arugam Bay travel guide.

For inquires contact Olanka Travels. Check our Sri Lanka itinerary for 6 days to include Arugam Bay.

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