Are you an avid surfer? If so, you may instantly recognize the name Arugam Bay. Even if you are not, you may be interested to learn more about this popular tourist attraction. Arugam Bay is a sleepy little hamlet 320 km due east of Colombo, Sri Lanka’s capital city and is ranked among the top ten surf destinations in the world. In this article I am going to tell you 5 good reasons you should make a visit to Arugam Bay.
Arugam Bay is not your typical surf destination with modern facilities. It is more a community based destination, where little guest houses and the odd star rated hotel lie side by side. This does not make it any less attractive to regular visitors who make repeat visits every year. Although this destination was devastated by the 2004 tsunami and the conflict, the enterprising community of Arugam Bay have brought the destination back to its old glory. Much improved roads, which have reduced travel times by almost an hour and a half and the return of peace has made Arugam Bay a destination you should not miss visiting.
Here are the top 5 reasons to visit Arugam Bay:
- It is the third highest ranked among the world’s top ten surfing destinations. So, if you are a surfing enthusiast or are interested in learning to surf this is just the location for you. You need not even bring your gear along, as you can hire surfing gear from local outfits, who also provide training for newbie surfers. It boasts of over 10 surf points and the waves are great between April and October and it also is the scene for local and international surfing competitions staged during this period.
- During November to April the sea is fine for swimming and snorkeling and conditions are just right if you are looking for a quiet get- away. The prices for accommodation can get pretty low and you can find a pretty decent room with basic facilities for around $15 per night.
- If you are a wild life enthusiast you excellent wild life sanctuaries are just minutes away from this destination. The Lahugala sanctuary famous for elephants is not more than a 20 minute drive from here. You may even pass some of these majestic beasts if en-route if you take the inland route to arrive here. The Kumana bird sanctuary lies just 10km south of Arugam Bay and birds from as far as Siberia are known to migrate to this location to escape winter.
- The sand dunes at Panama allow you to wander around an unspoilt stretch of land, and even go on a jeep safari to the dunes. The Pottuvil dunes are much closer, but it is situated in the midst of a busy little town, but none the less attractive in its own little way.
- The area close to Arugam Bay also boasts of a host of ancient monuments. The Kudumbigala archeological reserve is host to monastic caves dating from around the 12th Century AD. The ancient Okanda temple dedicated lord Skanda situated on a rocky outcrop south of Arugam Bay is believed to be featured in “Sinbad the Sailor’s tales”. Monuments related to the Southern kingdom of Magama almost a thousand years old are found in Pottuvil town, by the dunes and within the Lahugala sanctuary. They are said to be built to honour the mother of the warrior king Dutugemunu of the Anradhapura kingdom.
The attractions of Arugam Bay are so, numerous and cater to visitors with different interests. It is just amazing that so many attractions should lie so close together. Coupled with the extremely friendly service by the villagers who run the facilities, I would strongly recommend that you visit here especially if you are on a tight budget.