Skip to Content

7 Best Things To Do In Arugam Bay

Located on Sri Lanka’s south east coast, Arugam Bay is a laidback, popular tourist town. Famous for being home to the best surfing spot on the island, it definitely has a relaxed surfer vibe.

As well as surfing, tourists are also attracted to this area for the beautiful beaches, temples, lagoons and nearby Kumana National Park.

As Sri Lanka’s answer to Bondi Beach, and the tourist capital of the country, what really are the best things to do in Arugam Bay?

1. Learn To Surf

The top activity on the list of things to do in Arugam Bay is surfing.

There are plenty of places to hire boards from in town. We paid 500 rupees for a half day which gave us 4 hours of surf time.

So whether you’re a beginner or an international veteran, this is the place to get out on a board and ride with the big boys.

With pros flocking from Australia and Bali to hit the waves on the East coast, Arugam Bay is the most popular place to surf in Sri Lanka.

It’s not only a spot for professionals, there’s places for beginners to learn too so don’t worry! There are many places where you can discuss having some lessons.

Surfing Arugam Bay Beach Things To Do In Arugam Bay Sri Lanka
Things to do in Arugam Bay – SURF!

2. Kumana National Park Safari

Kumana National Park is one of the hidden delights and best things to do in Sri Lanka. It’s a very special place with lots of wildlife and stunning scenery!

Also known as Yala East, many tourists choose to take a jeep safari to Kumana National Park. It’s certainly one of the top things to do in Arugam Bay if you’re into wildlife.

This 357 square km park is visited way less frequently than its busy neighbour, Yala National Park. Consequently, it’s no where near as crowded, and offers much less of a zoo-like experience. This is even during high season.

The density of animals in the park is lower than other Sri Lankan national parks, but it’s not unusual to spot a leopard as well as other wild animals. Including elephants, crocodiles, turtles, white cobras, wild buffalo and tons of birds.

A dozen or so bears also live in the park, but they’re rarely seen.

There are jeep safaris available to book around town starting from 10,000 rupees per vehicle. 

Many people choose to add it to their things to do in Arugam Bay list, however we decided to wait and visit Udawalawe National Park.

If you are looking to experience a safari at Kumana, then we recommend booking a Private 3-Hour Kumana National Park Safari in advance.

Elephants Udawalawe Safari Udawalawe National Park Best Safari In Sri Lanka
Elephant spotting at Udawalawe National Park

3. Arugam Bay Beach

Arugam Bay Beach is a major chill spot where everything moves in slow motion.

The beach is a crescent moon-shaped curl of soft, golden sand and it’s the home to what is known as one of the best surf spots in the country.

Although there’s a lot of fun to be had in and around the area like shopping and surfing, one of the top things to do in Arugam Bay is hit the beaches and relax!

Grab a coconut, get your suncream on and take this time to enjoy one of the best beaches in Sri Lanka.

Arugam bay is only a small place with a population of a few hundred. Everything is dotted along one road, parallel to the coast.

So even if you’re not on the beach, everywhere in Arugam Bay has that laid-back beach scene and that’s what first drew surfers and sun-seekers to Sri Lanka.

Arugam Bay Beach Things To Do In Arugam Bay Sri Lanka
Charlie making friends at Arugam Bay Beach

4. Peanut Farm

There are plenty of other bays and beaches within driving distance of the main strip, so strap your board to the roof and head out exploring.

Peanut Farm Beach is another epic surf break, south of Arugam bay.

This was our favourite spot of them all. It is a great, unspoilt location with a beautiful white sand beach, rock formations, trees & thatched huts.

It’s popular for swimming, sunning & surfing. Not only that but they have an awesome beach shack that serves up fresh food and smoothies.

There’s only one guest house in the area and it’s made of tree houses. It’s just around the corner from Peanut Farm Beach.

Years ago, actual peanuts are believed to have grown there but now only the name remains due to the disastrous Tsunami effects in 2004.

It’s one of the top things to do in Arugam Bay, especially if you want to try out a quieter surf spot with lesser tourists.

It’s a chilled out vibe away from the main stream guest houses in the main land.

Surfing Arugam Bay Beach Things To Do In Arugam Bay Sri Lanka
Surfing the day away at Peanut Farm Beach, one of the best things to do in Arugam Bay.

5. Shop The Markets

As far as tourist places go, Arugam Bay has some pretty cool shops.

It’s home to some authentic local brands and local bikini tailors. So if you’re looking to get a dress made or replace your bikinis this is your place!

Directly parallel to the coastline, this hippie town attracting surfer’s and sun seekers is a great place to buy all your unique locally branded clothing. From t-shirts with cute logos, to bohemian floaty dresses, it’s the style hub of the country and worth a spot on your Sri Lanka itinerary.

There are other quirky pop up shops that also sell beach towels and handmade shell souvenirs.

Be sure to check out Maya for some awesome treats or gifts before you head out.

Tuk Tuk Arugam Bay Beach Things To Do In Arugam Bay Sri Lanka
You may need a tuk tuk to bring home all your souvenirs

6. Hideaway Arugam Bay

If you just fancy a chilled evening, Hideaway Arugam Bay is an awesome place to kick back.

Their are loungers sprawled out around the ground as well as happy hour between 6-8pm.

Situated across from the main surfing beach, Hideaway is a boutique guesthouse in Arugam Bay with a charming laidback ambience.

It is a family-run guesthouse set on six-acres of lush tropical gardens in the heart of town.

So if you’re looking for a nice way to end a day of beach time, make sure to add Hideaway to your list of things to do in Arugam Bay.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for something a bit more lively we heard good reviews about Whiskey Point.

We’re not big party animals, however our friends vouched that Friday night is a party not to be missed! As dusk sets in, party lovers can unwind and dance the night away.

Arugam Bay Beach Things To Do In Arugam Bay Sri Lanka
Lauren taking a stroll along Arugam Bay Beach

7. Eat Local

Roti Shop

For a cheap, pleasant and fulfilling meal we cannot recommend this little family run restaurant enough!

We spent most mornings or lunch times hanging out with their 2 young boys who will be happy to help serve you or play football with you.

Tandoori Hut

For something a little fancier and more of a restaurant vibe.

Tandoori Hut does the best curries in the East. It is an elegant, classy and traditional Indian cuisine, located on the 75m away on land side from the Main Street of Arugam bay.

You must add this place to your list of things to do in Arugam Bay!

Sri Lankan Food Sri Lanka Curry Best Things To Do In Trincomalee
Typical Sri Lanka curry

Where To Stay In Arugam Bay

Luxury

Jetwing Surf

Jetwing Surf is located in Pottuvil, 1.9 miles from Whiskey Point. Guests can enjoy the on-site restaurant.

Free private parking is available on site. Some accommodations include a sitting area to relax in after a busy day.

You will find a kettle in the room. For your comfort, you will find bathrobes and slippers. Hairdryers are also available on request.

Mid-Budget

Babar Point

Babar Point offers 6 private and spacious bungalows with a large terrace and a view on the swimming pool.

Each air-conditioned bungalow comes with free WiFi. In addition, each room has a large outdoor bathroom with 2 showers. 

The hotel is located in Pottuvil (6.2 miles from Arugam Bay).

Many activities are available near the hotel like the Unrani Eco Lagoon Safari (200 yards from the hotel), Whiskey Point and Pottuvil Point (350 yards from the hotel), and Kumana National Park (1 hour drive).

Budget

Long Hostel

Offering a barbecue and a coffee shop, The Long Hostel is situated in Arugam Bay in the Ampara District Region.

The Long Hostel is 100 yards away from the center of Arugam Bay. 

Guests can enjoy the on-site restaurant. Free private parking is available on site too. Certain units feature a seating area where you can relax.

The Long Hostel is one of the best hostels in the area and it’s always pretty packed, so it’s best to book in advance.

It tends to be where all the backpackers head, as it’s very social. It’s a great place to meet new people if you’re travelling alone. 

For more places to stay in Arugam Bay, you can check the latest prices on Booking.com.

Planning Your Trip

Book Your Flight

Use Skyscanner to find a cheap flight. 

They search websites and airlines around the globe to find you the best possible routes and prices.

Book Your Accommodation

Use Booking.com to find the best accommodation deals.

They consistently return the cheapest rates on everything from guesthouses to hotels for all of your budget needs.

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance

Use SafetyWing to find the best travel insurance for you.

They provide travel and medical incident insurance built specifically for digital nomads.

Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations.

Book Your Tours & Activities

Use GetYourGuide to book your activities in advance.

They sell the best tours, excursions and activities to attractions around the world.

Conveniently book, download and access your tickets on the move all from your mobile. 

Book Your Rental Car

Use RentalCars.com to find the best deals on rental cars in the area.

They compare all major car rental companies and allow you to easily book the perfect vehicle for your trip.

Buy Those Last Minute Bits

Use Amazon to buy everything you need for your adventure.

They offer next day delivery and you can use my travel packing checklist to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything.


Pin It For Later

7 Best Things To Do In Arugam Bay

Eroshini

Thursday 9th of June 2022

Great review of Arugambay, Thanks. It was very interesting & informative for a 1st time visitor. Hope you will visit again, we certainly hope to.

Best Wishes

Charlie Pauly

Thursday 9th of June 2022

Thanks so much for the feedback! Definitely one of our favourite places in Sri Lanka and would love to get back!

Malith Fernando

Monday 2nd of October 2017

Greetings from Sri Lanka, Thank you for visiting our lovely motherland and coming up with a great post about Arugam Bay. Hope you had a memorable stay there.

Charlie Pauly

Monday 2nd of October 2017

Hey Malith! Thanks for having us. We fell in love with Sri Lanka and especially Arugam Bay! :)