Arugam Bay is a beautiful small surfer town located on the east coast of Sri Lanka. Its waves are world famous and surfers come from all over just to surf it. As awesome and laid back as this town is, it’s very different if you visit in the wrong season! Follow this Arugam Bay guide to get the best out of your visit.
Arugam Bay Guide
How to get to Arugam Bay
Arugam Bay is slightly disconnected from the main route in Sri Lanka, although with some extra planning you’ll easily be able to make it with no problem. We found that the cheapest way to get around Sri Lanka was by public bus.
We got the bus from Ella at 9am that headed to Monaragala which is a big bus interchange and cost us 450 Rupees ($3.50) for 2 people. From Monaragala we got onto another bus headed to Panama which cost 500 Rupees for 2 people. The bus to Panama stops in Arugam Bay. You can also get a bus from Monaragala to Pottuvil, although from Pottuvil you will then have to get a 10 minute tuk tuk into Arugam Bay. The bus from Monaragala to Arugam Bay also stops in Pottuvil for a few minutes so you will have many tuk tuk drivers coming up to the bus telling you that the bus doesn’t go to Arugam Bay or that the bus doesn’t leave for over an hour.
Where to stay in Arugam Bay
There are many places to stay all throughout Arugam Bay. Wherever you stay in town, you’ll be close to restaurants, cafes and shops. We stayed at Surf And Sleep which was a budget option located right on the beach. A fancier place to stay located on the other end of the beach is The Blue Wave Hotel. They have a large pool with spacious rooms also located right near the ocean.
↠ Check availability: Arugam Bay accommodation
Leaving Arugam Bay
From Arugam Bay we headed over to Udawalawe. To get there, hop on a bus from Arugam Bay that is going towards Monaragala. From Monaragala get onto a bus towards Colombo. The bus to Colombo will pass through Udawalawe.
If you’re new to the buses in Sri Lanka, they’re very straight forward. The bus will always have the last stop either on the top of the bus or on a sign in the front window. The locals are also very helpful and will get you onto the right bus.
Ella to Monaragala Timetable
7am, 7:45am, 9am, 1pm, 1:10pm, 3:30pm, 4:45pm.
We recommend going around 9am to get a seat because the 7am buses are full with school children.
Arugam Bay to Monaragala Timetable
The bus leaves Arugam Bay ay 6am, 8am, 9am and 11:30am.
When To visit Arugam Bay
The busy season runs from June until August where surfers come from all over to surf the famous beach. If you visit in these months, the town will be full of bustling cafes and exciting nightlife. If you visit outside of these months, you’ll find the complete opposite. We visited in November and found out that it was an absolute ghost town. There were 2 restaurants open in the whole town, every hotel was empty and the beach stank of fish and was also full with fishermen boats. We’ve heard so many amazing things about Arugam Bay in high season although we wouldn’t recommend visiting outside of high season.
We unfortunately visited in the wrong season but hopefully this Arugam Bay guide will help you out if you’re planning to visit. Even though we visited when it was completely dead and quiet, we can imagine how busy and exciting this area would be in high season. There are plenty of cool cafes and places to eat and the beach is perfect for surfing!