Arugam Bay, Beach Sri Lanka
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21 EPIC Things To Do In Arugam Bay, Sri Lanka

Nestled on Sri Lanka’s eastern shores lies the rugged tropical paradise of Arugam Bay.

Arugam Bay is one of Sri Lanka’s many surfing hotspots that is loved by surfers from all over the world. 

But, It’s not just surfing that you can find at this coastal gem

Arugam Bay is a wildlife haven, home to monkeys, crocodiles and wild elephants freely roaming through the nearby villages. 

Whether it’s wildlife you’re after, surf or sunshine, peace or parties, Arugam Bay truly has something for everyone. 

Arugam Bay comes alive between mid-May- September and is the best place to visit, weather-wise if you’re heading to Sri Lanka during this period of the year. 

Having visited Arugam Bay three times and fallen head over heels for its palm-fringed beaches and vibrant atmosphere, I’m excited to share all of the best activities this enchanting beach town has to offer.

So, what are the best things to do in Arugam Bay?

Read on below to find out. 

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Prepare for your trip to Arugam Bay

🛏️Accommodation: When you’re hunting for great deals, make sure to check out different sites like Booking.com and Hotels.com! If you’re on a budget then make sure to check out Hostelworld.

🚆Transport: Need to book a bus, plane or train whilst travelling? Check out your options on Trip.com, 12goasia.com, Bookaway.com and thetrainline.com.

🚗Rental Cars: Looking to rent a car for your adventures? Check out prices on Rentalcars.com and Discovercars.com.

🐘Activities: Check out Get Your Guide and Viator for 100’s of activities whilst travelling.

🦋Insurance: Make sure you’re covered against any incidents during your trip. Get affordable and flexible insurance with SafetyWing.

📱Download an eSIM: Avoid roaming fees, and have peace of mind that you have internet access when WiFi isn’t available. Download sims from either Airalo or Holafly for your time abroad.

Go Surfing 

Surfing is the most popular thing to do in Arugam Bay. 

Whether you’re an expert or a beginner there are waves to suit all levels. 

Along the main street of Arugam Bay, you will find a plethora of surf shops where you can either rent a board or sign up for one-off lessons. 

However, if it’s something a little more in-depth you are after then I would recommend signing up for a surf camp. 

Some of the best surf camps in town include Banana Surf Camp and Safa Surf Camp

If you’re keen to know about the best surfing spots in Arugam Bay I have listed them below: 

Practice Yoga 

After surfing, yoga is the 2nd most popular activity in Arugam Bay. 

Again there are lots of yoga classes taking place throughout the town but my top favourites have to be the following: 

Stay Golden 

Yoga classes at Stay Golden are in my opinion the best in town. 

Not only do they have a wide variety of yoga classes running seven days a week, their yoga shala also has the most gorgeous ocean view. 

There really was nothing better than being able to do a yoga class whilst listening to the sound of waves in the background. 

They also occasionally host breathwork sessions. 

Yoga classes at Stay Golden cost 3000lkr.

Hideaway

You’ll find yoga at Hideway located in a peaceful garden oasis. Their classes run 7 days a week and they offer mainly Vinasya and Hatha classes. 

They also run cacao ceremonies and sound healing sessions here too. 

Yoga Classes at Hideaway cost 3000lkr. 

Want more yoga options? 

Check out yoga at Waypoint and Deepsea too. 

Chill at the beach

It would be criminal to come to this beautiful beach town and not have a lazy beach day. 

There are many restaurants along the main part of Arugam Bay beach that offer free sunbeds for customers. 

I personally recommend either sunbathing at Arugam Bay Surf Resort or Hangout

The waves at Arugam Bay Beach can be quite strong at times so if you’re looking for slightly calmer waters then I would recommend choosing to sunbathe at Hangout. 

Eat at all the incredible restaurants

One of my favourite things to do in Arugam Bay was to try out all of the restaurants as the foodie scene here is extremely impressive. 

For such a small town there are so many incredible restaurants to choose from. 

Here are some of my favourite places to eat in Arugam Bay: 

  • Mothers Kitchen – For the best local food 
  • Shady Lanes – For the best pancakes and waffles 
  • Meoris – For the best coffee in town 
  • Salty Swamis – For some incredible sandwiches 
  • Buffet Arugam Bay – For the best rice and curry buffet 

There are so many more amazing food spots in town so make sure to read my full guide to the best restaurants in Arugam Bay here

Live Music Nights 

As someone who doesn’t really like to party anymore, but still likes to go out for an evening, going out for live music nights was one of my favourite things to do in Arugam Bay. 

There are so many live music nights in Arugam Bay (and again you can find out when these are on just by walking through town as there will be lots of adverts and fliers). 

Some of the best live music nights are hosted at: 

Looking for more Sri Lanka inspiration? Check out my other guides here.

Pool Day 

If you want a respite from the hot sand and powerful waves then opting for a pool day in Arugam Bay is a great choice. 

There are 3 main places in town that will allow you to use their pool even if you’re not a guest at their hotel. 

Stay Golden 

To use the pool at Stay Golden all you have to do is order from their restaurant. 

They have recently updated their menu so there are lots of new choices on there. 

I recommend the cheese and tomato jaffle and the peanut butter smoothie for the perfect afternoon snack. 

Paddyway Resort

Much like Stay Golden, all you have to do to use the pool at Paddyway is order from the restaurant. 

Funnily enough, they also do a very mean peanut butter smoothie so I recommend ordering yourself one of those too.

Spice Trail 

To use the pool at Spice Trail you will be charged a 3000lkr entrance free and also get a free welcome drink. 

As there is an entrance fee there is no requirement to order from their restaurant. 

Grab a fresh juice

Usually situated on the side of the road close to the “Tesco” supermarket and opposite the “Avatar Surf” shop is this juice man (see picture).

He mixes up THE BEST fresh passionfruit and lime juice for only 100lkr.

If you see him around I highly recommend stopping to try some of his juice.

It is honestly the most refreshing drink for those hot Sri Lankan days.

Visit Muhudu Maha Vihara 

Looking to immerse yourself in history and culture? 

Head over to the Muhudu Maha Vihara Buddhist temple. 

This temple, located next to Pottuvil Beach, is believed to have been built over 2000 years ago by King Kavan Tissa of Ruhuna. 

On site, you are able to see the ruins and remains of ancient stupas.

Admire the local fisherman

Arugam Bay has a huge fishing industry.

If you walk along Arugam Bay Beach you will see fishing boat after fishing boat.

One of my favourite things to do of a morning and of an early evening was to watch the fisherman go out to sea and come back onto the shore.

The fisherman are super friendly, and if you want to they will also happily take you out fishing with them.

Rent out bicycles for the day

One of the top things to do in Arugam Bay is to hire bicycles for the day to go out and explore some of the surrounding countryside areas. 

You’ll find bike rental shops along the main road and prices start from around 1000lkr. 

I highly recommend heading out in the direction of Peanut Farm Beach

You’ll pass through some lush green rice fields and get to see a whole host of wildlife along the way. 

If you go out for either sunrise or just before sunset you might get lucky enough to encounter some wild elephants along the way (don’t worry the elephants stay among the fields so you don’t have to worry about attempting to cycle past one). 

Please also make sure that you don’t get too close to stagnant bodies of water and rivers as there are crocodiles in this area. 

This is such a cheap and wholesome day out so I’d definitely recommend adding this to your itinerary.

Go out partying

If you’re in the mood for a party then Arugam Bay is the place to be. 

There is pretty much a party every night of the week but the two big ones have to be Sababa at Whiskey Point on a Friday night and Mambos on a Saturday night (and these go on till at least 3/4 am in the morning) 

During the rest of the week, you can find parties and Ocean Sky, Funky De Bar and so many more places. 

Don’t worry if you’re not sure about what’s going on, on what day. 

There are always people handing out fliers in town promoting their nights so you won’t miss a trick. 

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Watch the sunset at Elephant Rock or Crocodile Rock

Elephant Rock and Crocodile Rock are two of the best spots to watch the sunset in Arugam Bay. 

Both rocks are located just a stone’s throw from each other at Elephant Rock Beach. 

And if you’re wondering if these rocks look like the animals they are named after, yes they do (from a distance anyway).

Grab a coconut, climb up the rock and watch the sun go down. 

Please note if you are headed to this area, please stay in the crowded areas/where you can see other people and do not venture near the rivers here. 

As mentioned earlier there are crocodiles in this area and a British tourist was killed in a crocodile attack near Crocodile Rock back in 2017.

Visit The Kudumbigala Monastery Complex

Located an hour from Arugam Bay lies the Kudumbigala Monastery Complex.

It was constructed in 246 BC and originally served as a sanctuary for Buddhist monks seeking respite from the bustling cities.

Make sure to hike up to the 360 viewpoint to get spectacular views of the jungle. 

Visit the Aliya Hippie Market

The Aliya Hippie Market pops up all over Sri Lanka selling trinkets and gifts as well as hosting wellness events.

When the Arugam Bay season is in full swing you can find them here so make sure to keep up to date with their events on their Instagram.

Day Trip to Lighthouse 

Lighthouse Beach is a 45-minute drive from Arugam Bay and perfect for a day trip if you fancy a little change of scenery and something a little more peaceful. 

There are one or two restaurants dotted along the beach but the food at Hilltop Cabanas has to be the best. 

Watch the sunrise 

If you’re an early bird and can drag yourself out of bed around 5:30 am then watching the sunrise is one of the top things you can do in Arugam Bay as it’s just so beautiful. 

You can watch the sunrise directly from Arugam Bay Beach or head out to Peanut Farm Beach. 

Like surfing? Then why not head to Peanut Farm for a sunrise surf and combine the two activities? 

Get some work done 

The coworking scene in Arugam Bay is still a bit behind compared to the south coast of Sri Lanka, but it’s starting to catch up. 

If you are after a dedicated coworking space then check out the coworking space at  Wavehunters

If you’re not too fussed about having a dedicated space then most of the cafes in Arugam Bay will let you work there as long as you order a drink or two. 

Watch the surfers at Main Point 

I’m not sure if this is a niche pastime but I absolutely love to watch surfers out in the water. 

If you’re anything like me then you’ll love this activity in Arugam Bay.

Take a walk along the beach to Upali Beach Cafe and Surf Resort

This is located directly opposite the Main Point surf break so it is the perfect place to grab a drink and watch the surfers. 

The best time for this is just after sunrise and just before sunset. 

Safari at Kumana National Park 

A Safari at Kumana National Park has to be the ultimate thing to do in Arugam Bay. 

You’ll probably have heard of Yala National Park and a lot of people make the trip there during their time in Arugam Bay. 

However, I recommend skipping Yala and choosing Kumana instead. 

It’s a lot smaller and you have really high chance of seeing a leopard as there are 72 in the park. 

Whilst I didn’t see a leopard on mine, I did see a sloth bear which is even rarer than a leopard. 

I booked this tour and we had the best time. 

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Peanut Farm and Whiskey Point Beach days

Peanut Farm and Whiskey Point Beaches offer more than just great waves for surfers. 

These spots are both perfect for relaxing and sunbathing too.

Both beaches are situated just 15 minutes from Arugam Bay (in opposite directions). 

Again if you are looking for a change of scenery or want to watch surfers in action, these beaches are both great choices. 

Visit Arugam Lagoon 

One morning I hopped into a random tuk-tuk and said “Can we go and find some animals please”, and that’s exactly what we did. 

My driver took me on a little adventure out of town and we went to see some crocodiles and went in search of Elephants. 

Towards the end of our adventure, my driver took me to the village that sits on the banks of Arugam Lagoon and not only did we get to see some Elephants in the distance it was a great chance to get to meet some of the locals. 

The locals also offered to take me out on a lagoon safari for just 2000lkr so that I could get a closer look at the elephants (I decided not to do this but the option is there for you if you wish).  

This is one of the most unique things to do in Arugam Bay so If you’re feeling a little spontaneous then give this a try. 

Lagoon Safari 

Head out with Surf n Tours on a sunset lagoon safari for something a little different. 

You’ll cruise along the water and get to spot elephants and crocs as the sun goes down as well as enjoy a small sunset BBQ…. Perfect! 

Arugam Bay FAQ’s 

Where is Arugam Bay in Sri Lanka?

Arugam Bay is located in the South East of Sri Lanka 

When is the best time to visit Arugam Bay? 

The best time to visit Arugam Bay is between mid-May to October 

How many days should I spend in Arugam Bay? 

I recommend spending at least 3-4 days in Arugam Bay in order to get the most out of this beautiful part of the country.

When can you surf in Arugam Bay? 

The surf in Arugam Bay is the best between June to September. 

Can you swim in Arugam Bay?

Yes, you can swim at the beaches in Arugam Bay.  

Although rare, sometimes crocodiles do make their way into the ocean.

Make sure you follow the advice of local lifeguards.

Is Arugam Bay worth visiting? 

100%

As you will see from this guide there are so many things to do in Arugam Bay, and it’s such a beautiful, untouched part of Sri Lanka so it is definitely worth visiting. 

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Happy Exploring

I hope this post has helped you uncover all of the best things to do in Arugam Bay.

If you have any questions please feel free to reach out.

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