User Tools

Site Tools



Surfers Paradise

Arugam Bay by Tia Goonaratna

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push();

Located at the South Eastern coast of Sri Lanka, Arugam Bay is an old fishing village, which turned into one of the best surfing spots in the world. The village is 320kms away from Sri Lanka's commercial capital, Colombo, and can be reached in about 6 to 8 hours by car.The distinctive beach, the surf and the atmosphere has made Arugam Bay a destination hotspot over the last few years. Visitors enjoy the almost deserted beaches and most travel great distances to surf some of the best rips and curls the world has to offer.

The beach offers no land mass until its South Pole and visitors can wade into the sea about 50-80 metres without any trepidations. Combined with the permanently warm crystal clear water, Arugam Bay is one of the best holiday and adventure spots in Sri Lanka. One main singularity that sets it apart from other beach destinations is that it is unaffected by the two monsoons that hit the island from the South West and the North West. The season lasts from the beginning of March to Mid-November, and may get a few rainy days and floods during off-season. However, from mid-November to end of February is when the grass is greener, beaches are less crowded and the accommodation is inexpensive. The weather tends to be a bit chilly than the rest of the months of the season, but visitors may still get a slightsunburn.

The living expenses also entice those travelling on a budget such as backpackers and campers. Regardless of the tourist influx, the village has held on to its old fishing village charm with small hotels, guesthouses and by offering an authentic local experience. The village is not taken over by the conveniences of a city and has managed to retain its natural beauty the way it was intended.

ArugamBay boasts of a rich history, and in the last 25 years, it has grown into a surfing hub attracting surfers from all around the world. The primary fishing village caught the attention of a few American Engineers who were working on the Gal Oya Development Project in the 1950s. Discovery of the surfs encouraged them to make their own surfboards and head out to the sea. However, word of mouth and veterans of Arugam Bay would suggest the surf of Arugam Bay was discovered much earlier than the 50s.

In the 1960s, only a handful of visitors were around the village; mostly expats who were working on development projects around the area or those who were informed by others. The village had no electricity or decent accommodation, but that did not discourage the adventurous traveller. In the 1970s, word travelled to Australia about the wild 'tubes' of Arugam Bay surf and the more laid-back surfers, who were just in search of an undisturbed place to surf, started to arrive. These surfers, with their basic need being surfing, often slept in their vehicles, out on the beach under a tent, or in coconut thatched huts. The villagers provided them with meals and a place to wash up. The remarkable rips and curls started making headlines in the surfing communities around the world and Arugam Bay achieved its status as one of the top surfing spots in the world.

Then the civil war began. The 1980s brought in the civil conflict, which spanned over three decades in Sri Lanka. The rush of 1970s died down with the many obstacles that arrived with the war. Even though there were few guesthouses and facilities opened for surfers, the road blockages and the extreme war conditions discouraged surfers from visiting Arugam Bay. Amongst the accommodation spots, which opened, Hideaway, Stardust and Siam View were some of the first to open and some of them are still very much active today.

For those who braved the journey, Arugam Bay introduced some of the world's first 'Full Moon' Parties. Originating from Thailand, 'Full Moon' parties were held the night before the full moon and was attended by tourists for a night of wild entertainment. Arugam Bay embraced these unique parties and continues to hold the occasional 'Full Moon' party even today.

Even though the inflow of tourists reduced, the surrounding areas began housing NGO workers; thus keeping the momentum going for this fishing village. As Arugam Bay was not under direct threat, the surfers took to the ocean with fewer disruptions and crowds. The late 1990s and the early 2000s brought in a hotel boom with small hotels and guesthouses dotting along the main beach stretch. These new hotels situated themselves around the Ullae fishing village; which is the best surf spot in Arugam Bay.

The 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami brought in much devastation to Arugam Bay, and affected the entire bay strip. The guesthouses were flooded, but there was minimal loss of life and physical damage compared to the rest of the country. Not disheartened by the recovery process, the passionate surfers still visited the village and helped restore Arugam Bay to its former glory.

In 2009, with the end of the Sri Lankan civil war, the road blockages and checkpoints cleared, offering unobstructed access to Arugam Bay. Currently, Arugam Bay has become a tourist destination not just for the foreign surfers, but also to the local travellers who wished to enjoy the old world charm of new world. This growth of visitors created opportunities for new accommodation units to be built and currently the Arugam Bay strip boasts a collection of hotels, guesthouses, restaurants, bars and surf strips.

Currently, Arugam Bay not only cater to surfers, but to day-trippers, nature enthusiasts and those in search of a serene holiday. The village comes alive early morning with a backdrop of surfboard carrying tuk-tuks, fisherman returning home, and nature lovers starting the day early to travel to many wildlife sites around Arugam Bay. Instead of the dark, quiet nights with fires on the beach, the entertainment has grown to offer live music, quiz nights and evening filmscreenings. The possibilities are endless for those in search of diverse activities from Whiskey Point, Kumana, Lahugala, Crocodile Rock, and ElephantRock toMuhuduMahaViharaya and SamudraMahaViharaya.

Even though the accommodation options are modest and comparatively limited, here are afew places offering a real Arugam Bay experience catering to individual needs and wants.


(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push();

Hideaway, with a history of more than 30 years, is one of the first establishments in Arugam Bay. It comprises of 14 rooms in total, with double rooms, a triple room, three family bungalows, four double bungalows and 2 air-conditioned double rooms. Hideaway was originally a holiday home for the Tissera family and the place still holds on to the same love and attention it received throughout the years. For those in search of a tranquil experience and some privacy, Hideaway offers big gardenswithclose proximity to the beach and offers friendly and efficient service.

The Blue Wave

The Blue Wave opened its doors November 2015, and is the first star hotel in Arugam Bay. Just 100m away from the beach, the hotel also offers a swimming pool, gymnasium, free Wi-Fi and 24 hours service. For those looking for luxury and comfort while being close to the major action, the Blue Wave hotel is the perfect choice as it offers distinctive services and facilities to suit the area. It's the best place for surfers as well as those who would want to see the surrounding areas and capture the beauty of Arugam Bay wildlife.

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push();

a_ugam_bay_hotels_s_i_lanka.txt · Last modified: 2020/07/24 17:12 by tobiasstacey23