Welcome to Arugam Bay

A quick Guide to Arugam Bay

Arugam Bay is a magical place on the East Coast of Sri Lanka. It’s a bit of a trek, but it’s worth it, whether you’re a surfer or not. As it’s hosting the Red Bull Ride My Wave competition now, we thought we’d do a quick guide.

Getting There

Arugam Bay is far, and you generally have to go thru the hills. It’s best enjoyed as part of a tour, after a night in Kandy and Ella. You can also take a flatter detour through Matara and Hambantota.

When To Go

Arugam Bay is a seasonal town. The beach is in season from around June until September/October. That also means that during this time the place is packed and even the most basic places are booked out.

What To Do

Arugam Bay is a great place to surf, internationally great in fact. Red Bull is having the Ride My Wave competition there now. Even if you don’t surf, the water is quite fun to swim in, but you definitely need to be able to swim. There are relatively still areas, but waves here can get quite big. It’s not deep water and there aren’t strong currents that pull you out, but the waves are definitely strong.

Surfing/Swimming

The main places people go to surf or swim are:

Main Point: This is where Mambo’s is, and the site of frequent parties. It’s also a good place to surf, or watch people surfing. Just before the point there’s a bit of a shielded beach where you can swim, but be aware, even here can get treacherous.

Whiskey Point: Also a surfing point, this is recommended for strong swimmers. Mambo’s brother runs a chill cafe here (SaBaBa’s) and there’s a cool rock to chill on. It’s the furthest away from the town out of this lot.
Peanut Farm: This is a spot down the road towards Panama (you’ll need to drive or catch a tuk). It’s considered a good spot for beginning surfers.

Pottuvil Point: This beautiful location is through a winding road near Pottuvil town. There are strong but swimmable waves here and it’s generally a bit less crowded.
Crocodile Rock: Crocodile Rock is a bit croc shaped rock near town. The beach here is swimmable and it’s a good spot to watch the sunset.

Nature Stuff

Arugam Bay has interesting nature stuff all around.

Kudumbigala Sanctuary: South of Arugam Bay, near Panama, you get the Kudumbigala Sanctuary, a rock temple. You can climb up there and get a good view of the surroundings, and it’s relatively shady inside.

Kumana National Park: Further down, essentially where the road ends, is Kumana National Park. Once called Yala East, this park is home to lots of migratory birds (April to July is best) as well as animals and a diverse range of plants.

Mudu Maha Viharaya: On the other side, before the bridge into Arugam Bay, you get this temple of almost Polonnaruwa style pillars and statues. This is supposedly where Vihara Maha Devi, sent into the ocean as a sacrifice by her father, was washed ashore.

Lahugala National Park: You actually pass through Lahugala on the way to Arugam Bay, and you would be wise to look out for elephants on the road. If you decide to stop there’s an ancient temple as well as plenty of flora and fauna to see.

Finally,

Arugam Bay is a magical place. It’s a bit far, but that’s also part of its charm. It’s best enjoyed for about a week at a time, swimming, eating and exploring the nature stuff around.

Hiking

Hiking is the preferred term, in Canada and the United States, for a long, vigorous walk, usually on trails (footpaths), in the countryside, while the word walking is used for shorter, particularly urban walks. On the other hand, in the United Kingdom, and the Republic of Ireland, the word “walking” is acceptable to describe all forms of walking, whether it is a walk in the park or backpacking in the Alps.

The word hiking is also often used in the UK, along with rambling (a slightly old-fashioned term), hillwalking, and fell walking (a term mostly used for hillwalking in northern England). The term bushwalking is endemic to Australia, having been adopted by the Sydney Bush Walkers club in 1927. In New Zealand a long, vigorous walk or hike is called tramping. It is a popular activity with numerous hiking organizations worldwide, and studies suggest that all forms of walking have health benefits.

Hot Air Ballon

A hot air balloon is a lighter-than-air aircraft consisting of a bag, called an envelope, which contains heated air. Suspended beneath is a gondola or wicker basket (in some long-distance or high-altitude balloons, a capsule), which carries passengers and a source of heat, in most cases an open flame caused by burning liquid propane. The heated air inside the envelope makes it buoyant since it has a lower density than the colder air outside the envelope. As with all aircraft, hot air balloons cannot fly beyond the atmosphere. Unlike gas balloons, the envelope does not have to be sealed at the bottom, since the air near the bottom of the envelope is at the same pressure as the surrounding air.

In modern sport balloons the envelope is generally made from nylon fabric and the inlet of the balloon (closest to the burner flame) is made from a fire resistant material such as Nomex. Modern balloons have been made in all kinds of shapes, such as rocket ships and the shapes of various commercial products, though the traditional shape is used for most non-commercial, and many commercial, applications.

Jungle Safari

A safari is an overland journey, usually a trip by tourists in Africa. In the past, the trip was often a big-game hunt, but today, safaris are often to observe and photograph wildlife—or hiking and sightseeing, as well.

In 1836 William Cornwallis Harris led an expedition purely to observe and record wildlife and landscapes by the expedition’s members. Harris established the safari style of journey, starting with a not too strenuous rising at first light, an energetic day walking, an afternoon rest then concluding with a formal dinner and telling stories in the evening over drinks and tobacco. The hunting aspect traditionally associated with the safari is said to have its origins in the early 1800s in the region of Évora, Alentejo, where villagers got together to hunt wild boar and reclaim land for farming.

Paragliding

Paragliding is the recreational and competitive adventure sport of flying paragliders: lightweight, free-flying, foot-launched glider aircraft with no rigid primary structure. The pilot sits in a harness suspended below a fabric wing. Wing shape is maintained by the suspension lines, the pressure of air entering vents in the front of the wing, and the aerodynamic forces of the air flowing over the outside.

Despite not using an engine, paraglider flights can last many hours and cover many hundreds of kilometers, though flights of one to two hours and covering some tens of kilometers are more the norm. By skillful exploitation of sources of lift, the pilot may gain height, often climbing to altitudes of a few thousand meters.

Peak Climbing

Mountaineering is the sport of mountain climbing. While some scholars identify mountaineering-related activities as climbing (rock and ice) and trekking up mountains, others are also adding backpacking, hiking, skiing, via ferrata and wilderness activities, and still others state that mountaineering activities also include indoor climbing, sport climbing and bouldering.However, to most of the scholars, the term mountaineering is understood as climbing (which now refers to adventure climbing or sports climbing) and trekking (hill walking in ‘exotic’ places).Hiking in the mountains can also be a simple form of mountaineering when it involves scrambling, or short stretches of the more basic grades of rock climbing, as well as crossing glaciers.

While mountaineering began as attempts to reach the highest point of unclimbed big mountains, the sport has branched into specializations that address different aspects of the mountain and consists of three areas: rock-craft, snow-craft, and skiing, depending on whether the route chosen is over rock, snow or ice. All require experience, athletic ability, and technical knowledge to maintain safety.

Scuba Diving

Scuba diving is a mode of underwater diving where the diver uses a self-contained underwater breathing apparatus (scuba) which is completely independent of surface supply, to breathe underwater.Scuba divers carry their own source of breathing gas, usually compressed air, allowing them greater independence and freedom of movement than surface-supplied divers, and longer underwater endurance than breath-hold divers. Open circuit scuba systems discharge the breathing gas into the environment as it is exhaled, and consist of one or more diving cylinders containing breathing gas at high pressure which is supplied to the diver through a regulator.

They may include additional cylinders for range extension, decompression gas or emergency breathing gas. Closed-circuit or semi-closed circuit rebreather scuba systems allow recycling of exhaled gases. The volume of gas used is reduced compared to that of open circuit, so a smaller cylinder or cylinders may be used for an equivalent dive duration. Rebreathers extend the time spent underwater compared to open circuit for the same gas consumption; they produce fewer bubbles and less noise than open circuit scuba which makes them attractive to covert military divers to avoid detection, scientific divers to avoid disturbing marine animals, and media divers to avoid bubble interference.

Sightseeing

Tourism is travel for pleasure or business; also the theory and practice of touring, the business of attracting, accommodating, and entertaining tourists, and the business of operating tours. Tourism may be international, or within the traveller’s country. The World Tourism Organization defines tourism more generally, in terms which go “beyond the common perception of tourism as being limited to holiday activity only”, as people “traveling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other purposes”.

Travel

Dedicated road bicycles have drop handlebars and multiple gears, although there are single and fixed gear varieties. Road bikes also use narrow, high-pressure tires to decrease rolling resistance, and tend to be somewhat lighter than other types of bicycle. The drop handlebars are often positioned lower than the saddle in order to put the rider in a more aerodynamic position. In an effort to become more aerodynamic, some riders have begun using aerobars.

And when aerobars where invented is unclear but they seem to date back to the early 1980s. The light weight and aerodynamics of a road bike allows this type of bicycle to be the second most efficient self-powered means of transportation, behind only recumbent bicycles due to the latter’s higher aerodynamic efficiency.

Mountain bikes fitted with slick or semi-slick are also popular for commuters. Though less efficient, the upright riding position allows the cyclist a better view of traffic, and they can also be readily fitted with mudguards, cargo racks and other accessories. Mountain bikes are usually ridden on unpaved roads and tracks but they are not to be confused with cyclocross bikes.