It’s Sri Lanka’s answer to Bondi Beach and the tourist capital of the country, but 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.
2. Kumana National Park Safari
Kumana National Park is one of the hidden delights of Sri Lanka. It’s a very special place with lots of wildlife and stunning scenery!
Also know as Yala East, many tourists choose to take a jeep safari from to Kumana National Park. It’s certainly one of the top things to do in Arugam Bay if you’re into rare 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 it’s 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 rare to spot a leopard and other incredible animals. Such as, elephants, crocodiles, turtles, white cobras, wild buffalo and tons of birds.
A dozen or so bears 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.
3. Relax At 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 the beach life.
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.
4. Tuk Tuk To Peanut Farm Beach
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.
5. Shop Till You Drop
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 Sri Lanka.
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.
6. Hang Out At 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.
7. Check Out The Arugam Bay Restaurants
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.
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!
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.
More Sri Lanka Blogs
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The 3 Best Surf Spots In Sri Lanka – You MUST Visit
The Best Things To Do In Unawatuna
Udawalawe Safari – The Best Sri Lanka Safari
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.
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!
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.
Monday 2nd of October 2017
Hey Malith! Thanks for having us. We fell in love with Sri Lanka and especially Arugam Bay! :)