Activities & Local Attractions in Arugam Bay
Arugam Bay is actually a small town with one main street full of restaurants, hotels and shops which makes it charming in a simplistic manner. From annual surfing competitions to mega beach parties, the stay can be an amazing experience. Below are some of the local attractions to see and activities to do in this vibrant destination.
Recognized as one of the top ten surfing sports internationally due to the fact that the long point break at southern end of Arugam Bay offering consistent surf between the months of April to September, this location has been attracting surfers all around the world to test and hone their skills. There are several surfing spots which are all situated within twenty to thirty minutes away from the town. The surf shops sprinkled around the areas rent surf boards, offer lessons and tours to few of the furthest points.
Yoga & Ayurveda Spas
There are few hotels in and around the main street of Arugam Bay that conduct yoga classes and retreats where tourists can participate and rejuvenate the mind, soul and body. From mantra chanting, breathing exercises and deep relaxation; you can enjoy a fulfilling stress relief experience. Now there are some conventional Ayurveda spas too that have sprung up in the area in the recent past.
For those who wish to unwind by taking a swim in the sea, the southern end of Arugam Bay provides the ideal safest site to do so. This side of the beach is also known for fishing activity.
Take a tour around the mangrove on Pottuvil Lagoon where you are bound to see kingfishers, crocodiles, monkeys, pelicans, peacocks and elephants etc mingling in harmony. A cruise along the lagoon surrounded by the sight and sounds of the animals coupled with the flow of the calm water is enchanting.
The beach festival happens between the surfing period which begins in April and ends in November with several beach parties organized with games such as beach volleyball, tap rugby, tug of war championship tournaments and other fun activities and stalls for the entire family. Numerous surfers from around the globe come and participate in the main annual surfing competition, usually held in August, sponsored by Red Bull and Sri Lankan Airlines.
One thing that you need to savor is the seafood cuisine specially prepared by experienced local chefs in the surrounding beach huts and restaurants near the seashore. You can enjoy some decent sized dishes of delicacies and BBQ nights at reasonable rates.
Panama is where the beach and jungle meet together. This place is a serene hamlet with a pristine sandy beach which intersects with lagoons blessed with several species of birds and mammals. At the northern end of the seashore, somewhere near the jellyfish processing plant, novice surfers can find their ideal spot where a lame right-point break awaits.
If you are interested in a boat safari with a local fisherman among the mangrove swamps clothed with various species of birds and mammals, then this is the perfect place for you. This rich ecosystem is a paradise for nature lovers to experience.
Lahugala National Park
Lahugala National Park lies a short way inland from Arugam Bay with a broad strip of evergreen forest rich in satinwoods and rosewoods coupled with the famed Lahugala Tank where elephants quench their thirst and feed on the beru grass surrounding the tank. Since the park can be accessed via several entry points, its best to stick with a safe one due to the large population of elephants. Ask the locals or arrange a guide from any of the hotels since vehicles are not allowed to enter the forest and trekking is the only option at the moment.
Yala East & Kumana Bird Sanctuary
Yala East Park and Kumana Bird Sanctuary are yet another wildlife adventure to be cherished. The forest is home to elephants, leopards, deer, aquatic birds and several other mammals. May to June is the nesting period.
Muhudu Maha Vihara
This ancient legendary Buddhist temple built two thousand years ago has several mystical folklore concerning it. Few historical artifacts buried under the sand dunes were discovered later. Supposedly this temple was considered to be the landing site of Viharamaha Devi, daughter of Kelani Tissa, who was destined to become the queen of King Kavan Tissa of the Rohana kingdom.