What to do in the East of Sri Lanka?

 

You’re planning to visit the East coast of Sri Lanka and in particular Arugam Bay ? 

Here the perfect travel guide of the town and its surrounding areas. 

 

As our name suggests, Arugam Bay is very popular to surf and practice yoga

However it will be a shame to miss the other activities that Arugam Bay has to offer.

 

Whether for its wild side, its parties or its wellness centers you will find a reason to have a really good time in Arugam Bay

Let’s start with the nature and wildlife of Arugam Bay

Located between Pottuvil and Panama, Arugam Bay is mainly a dry-zone forest. This means that a lot of wildlife can be seen in this area.
Thus you have the choice between lots of different safaris, sanctuaries and hikes.

  • Lagoon Safari: This 2 hours safari is the most popular in the area. Indeed, it is a very peaceful experience. You will soon be able to see the beauty of this untouched and rich lagoon by seeing crocodiles, elephants or large lizards.
  • Kudumbigala and Lahugala sanctuaries: Lots of elephants can be seen but watch out while driving ! They often cross the road !
  • Kumana national park (Yala East National Park): Birds, deers, leopards, elephants, sloth bears… the list goes on. A safari jeep is a must do at least once in a lifetime, so grab the opportunity by booking it from the main road of Arugam Bay.
  • The Elephant rock: Located at the end of the bay, it will provide you a stunning view of the whole area. Beautiful pictures can be taken from this rock.
  • The most fearless will enjoy the Crocodile rock where lots of crocodiles can be seen, you can even continue and drive to the jungle if you are in the mood.

Besides all these excursions, you can choose to immerse yourself and do one or two nights camping here. A night in the middle of the jungle with a direct view on the stars is priceless.

Nightlife and restaurants of the city

The beach is lined with lots of restaurants and bars. During the main season, every night is a special night in at least one of the Arugam Bays bars. You will encounter live music from local bands for sunset .. and the parties can go on till sunrise ! 

Lots of local restaurants offer Sri Lankan food but also western food. Have a look at the fishermen on the beach, and give them a hand to drag the boat on the beach and see their fresh catch of the day… that goes directly to the restaurants. 

Historicals and religious sights

Want to take a break from the waves ?

Arugam Bay is also known for its several historical places. Listed below are the main places to learn about Sri Lankan religious culture :

  • Muhudu Maha Viharaya : This Buddhist temple located in Pottuvil town and built more than 2 000 years ago can be seen from the main beach of Arugam Bay. Jump in a Tuk Tuk and learn more about the Buddhism history of Sri Lanka. 
  • Kudumbigala Monastery : This monastery is one of the first refugees of Sri Lankan monks who wanted to escape from big cities. 

Please remember when visiting a temple to respect the traditions of the religion in question: cover your shoulders and knees, take your shoes off and respect the calm and re-energizing silence you will find there. 

Shop local

The main road is full of local brands and surf shops ! Enjoy your free time to buy new ethical clothes, souvenirs or surf gear. 

Surfers and yogis of Surf & Yoga recommend in particular the bikini tailor who will make the bikini of your dreams cut to your dimensions for a very special price !

 

Treat yourself and enjoy a relaxing massage or an Ayurvedic treatment :

Lots of massages are offered in town to release your muscles after an intense surf session or just to enjoy your holidays. Whether it be sports massage, deep tissue massage or Swedish massage… you will find  your happiness. 

Nonetheless let me share a little secret : the massage therapist from our Surf camp is the best that you can encounter in town 😉

If you’re opting to stay  longer then taking an entire week off for Ayurvedic treatment is also an option. Discovering ancient eastern medicine and its healing powers is the best option to immerse in Sri Lankan culture.

Or … just chill and relax

By enjoying a yoga class : As we do twice a day, multiple yoga sessions are available all day in beautiful shalas. Whether hidden in the jungle or open directly to the sea.

And taking a dip in the ocean, play some beach volleyball, or just grab your suncream and relax on the main beach by enjoying a coconut, a cocktail or a healthy smoothie with local fruits. 

How far from the camp?

Here we have made your life a whole lot easier by estimating the journey length from our camp to the different places. This will help you plan your days in the simplest of ways:

DestinationDistance from camp
Lagoon Safari15 min – 5km
Kudumbigala sanctuary1h – 32km
Lahugala sanctuary15 min – 12km
Kumana national park1h 20 min – 38km
Elephant rock23 min – 14 km
Crocodile rock7 min – 3 km
Muhudu Maha Viharaya7 min  – 3 km
Kudumbigala Monastery1h10 – 32km

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