Sri Lanka's Surfers' Paradise

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Asia » Sri Lanka » Eastern Province » Arugam Bay
July 2nd 2012
Published: June 21st 2017
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Geo: 6.8589, 81.8304

This is the ‘surfers' paradise' in Sri Lanka, the beach here is full of fit guys and girls who really know how to surf! Arugambay is highly rated amongst them and they come from all over to surf here, there are a few bays, one of which is used for learning and others are for the really experienced, they are amazing to watch. I'm staying with Sulfi at Another World Guest House which is the best place I've stayed in all my travel ling so far, it's got a great atmosphere and I meet many new friends. Sulfi is the most amazing cook and the first night I'm delighted that there are ten of us for dinner, we all eat together rice and curries, fresh prawns, avocado salads, delicious… it's nice to eat with people rather than on my own, it's one thing I really miss. Most of the guys all have their own surf boards and spend the morning out on the waves before heading in out of the midday sun. I meet really lovely people here and spend my time hanging out with Linda and Ollie, David and Patrick who are great company, it's down to the beach for a swim and a wee sunbathe then back up to cool off, it's a nice way to spend my days. The weather here is clear blue skies, although in the afternoon the temperature can be over 40 degrees, so you just need to shelter, stay undercover and try and stay cool, and in the evening it's a wander along the beach for sunset which is just stunning.

The nearest town is Pottuvil and I walk in one afternoon, umbrella in hand to shade from the sun, but I badly burnt my feet even though I was trying to shelter them… sore. It's a small town and everyone is very friendly shouting hello as you pass. There's a lagoon before town with small fishing boats on it, I love the boats in Sri Lanka, the way the extra ‘limb' balances them, they appear narrow and unstable but they are definitely not. These smaller boats generally throw a net out catching smaller fish, and I love watching them. Their normal attire is sarongs and shirts of all sorts of coral colors and they enjoy taking life pretty easy and laid back, it's a nice chilled out way of life they seem
to lead.

I love all the shops where you can buy your breakfast of banana roti which is amazing, or your rice and curry as early as you like, I love eating with my hand in all the local places and watching the looks I get if I'm doing it right or not… I've been taught well though between Nepal and here, and actually I can't remember the last time I used cutlery to eat, it's strange how accustomed you can become in s short period of time. It now seems alien to use a knife and fork and actually I don't like putting cutlery into my mouth when I don't have too, at the guest house I have them all eating with our hands now which is a kind of ritual and fun trial and error. When I leave Arugambay for the first time, I go to Ella with Linda, David and Patrick on the local bus which is hilarious as both the boys are well over six feet and have their surf boards with them, but they seem to enjoy the whole experience…

I end up coming back to Arugambay three times while I stay in Sri Lanka, twice
back with Fasloon which has been good fun, although one of the nights there were no beds to be had at all as it was the height of the season, and Sulfi let us bring the van inside the gates at the guest house and just crash out in one of the hammocks … I was OK in my hammock until someone jumped in beside me, crashing the hammock with the pair of us to the sand, but after sharing a bottle of Old Arrack and dancing the night away at a beach party until 3am I felt no pain and just stayed there until morning.

One of the young guys from the guest house took Fasloon and I out to a local lagoon where we could see wild elephants, they come down to the lagoon in the evening for water and to cool off and are spotted regularly. Although initially I love the thought of seeing wild elephants it soon becomes apparent how dangerous it actually is, I'm now sat on a motorbike between Fasloon and Aryan (I think) making our way across barren planes at sunset looking for wild elephants… it's maybe not the best idea I've had especially
the three of us on the motorbike, nothing between us and nature! Although Fasloon does an amazing job on the motorbike taking us across dirt tracks, he backs off at one point when we approach the lagoon, it ends up just two of us creeping towards the lagoon and by this point my heart is pounding. We spot four huge elephants all in, they are all massive and thankfully don't notice our arrival, I'm too nervous even to take a couple of pictures close up and wait until there is a bit of distance between us before running back to the motorbike and getting out of there. I mean what were we thinking coming away miles out here on the motorbike, if they had seen us or turned on us we would have been in serious trouble, although it was a magnificent experience.

On the way back we pass loads of peacocks, and monkey's and farmers tending goats and buffalo, some of the villages we go through are new, set up to house tsunami victims, but there isn't even water anywhere nearby for these people, they've been stuck in the middle of no-where, away from their stunning beaches and it
doesn't really seem like they are been taken care of, feels really sad, bit heartless to say the least.

My journey back to Tangalle from Arugambay on the motorbike was truly memorable, not only for the fact that it was a full five hours ride, but that we managed to see wild elephants at the side of the road near Uda Walawela which is one of Sri Lanka's many parks. As it is a main road, the park has set up a wire fence to keep the elephant's from wandering onto the middle of the road causing chaos especially come dusk. There are elephant warning signs on the road but I would hate to bump into one on just the motorbike… they're way too big for that. Fasloon buys some bananas which we both feed them with however, before we know it a coach stops and everyone piles out to see them but it spooks them and they give us a bit of a stand-off kind of warning to move away from the fence, it's very unsettling being stared at by a wild elephant and something I never thought I would experience, Sri Lanka has definitely been worth the visit.

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