We arrived in Arugam Bay a little under a week ago – the town is small and full of small independent guest houses, restaurants and bars. Its a real surfers town, the type of place where everybody knows each other. You can walk from one side of town to the other in 10 minutes, the locals are super friendly, the signs are hand-painted and everybody here is up for a party, the beach here is probably not everyones idea of paradise but its got a lot of character, fishing boats line the shore and the sand is a rich golden colour and although the sun hasn’t stopped shining its not a place you see many people sunbathing – its everything we expected Goa to be, We have finally found our beach town.
Being typical english folk, me & Jay have never tried surfing but Arugam Bay is one of the top surf spots on the planet so while we’ve been here we have given it a bash, if like us you’re new to surfing there are 2 main spots that people go to learn here – Peanut Farm and Whiskey Point. We prefer whiskey point as its been a lot less busy and you don’t get loads of pro surfers getting annoyed with you falling off in front of them. if you’re more of a confident surfer then head to main point to catch the real waves! You can rent boards at both spots and both serve food and drink so you don’t starve to death or die of dehydration during the long days surfing in the sun! You can also get an hour and half lesson for Rs 2500 (£12) which is reasonable and you’ll learn all you need to catch your own waves and generally look cool by standing up on your board. Jay managed to stand up seven out of nine times on her first lesson!
One thing we loved about our stay here was the fact you can rent a scooter for Rs 800-1000 a day (£4). This was a highlight as Sri Lanka really does have the best views and weather for scooting around. One way out of town gets you to whiskey point and the other to peanut farm and on the way expect to see goats, water buffalos, monkeys, peacocks, lizards, snakes and maybe even elephants in the distance.
The grass is so green here it look almost cartoon like and next to the blue sky it really is stunning and eve more perfect if you are seeing it on a moped with the wind in your hair and the sun setting in the background. An epic sight we will never forget and I hope one day to be back to get our fix.
Tuk-tuks are everywhere too and you will need one of these if you are taking a board with you from town to either surf spot however you can rent them there for around Rs 1000 a day, sometimes cheaper. For those that aren’t learning to surf though, there is the main beach which is equally as picturesque right behind the main street but this surf is more for pro surfers and be careful here last there is a lot of coral so can be dangerous without surf booties. OUCH!
We loved the food here and found you could get an equal amount of both Asian and Western food. As there is quite a lot of (healthy) competition with there being so many places to eat, everyone is on top of there game here and I don’t think we had bad meal. Here are a couple of our favourites;
Hideaway – Amazing bar for juices, smoothies, sandwhiches and a gorgeous restaurant behind for dinner with a kick ass team of peeps. this has become our local haunt and were regulars for the happy hour 6-7pm every day, there is also live music from 6pm saturday – Hideaway is wnoed by two brothers Yanik and Yeven who can also give you great advice on things to do around the bay. Hit them up!
Breakpoint – Great falafel wraps and chicken shwarma curry wrap. Also a mean chicken schnitzel sub.
Tandoori Hut – One of our favourites. Set in a tree house just off the main strip, amazing fish and chicken with freshly prepared side dishes each day.
Kumutay (opposite buddha state end of main street) – open 24 hours great little spot for cheap food. Try the vegetable Kottu with cheese or egg. Ahhh gonna miss these beauties!
Gecko – Run by an Sri Lankan and english couple. Nice fresh food but need to up their bacon portions. One slice of bacon in a bacon and egg sandwich is not acceptable, especially to a Londoner. Also service was a little slow but still worth a go.
The Seahorse Inn– Best pizza we had in Sri Lanka in a lovely garden setting with cool lighting and chilled music. Great vibes.
Theres a party every night here in Arugam Bay, the bars always rotate who has the party each night so theres no competition between them, our favourite place to party has been Mambos, which was on saturday night as you can spill out of the bar onto the beachfront and watch the light show as the sun comes up – don’t miss this!
We stayed at two hostels during our time in the Bay, but there are lots of guest houses along the Main street so there is no shortage of places to stay – no matter what kind of budget you’re on. It is by no means a high end resort town though so do not come here expecting 5* hotels as that really is not what Arugam Bay is about. It embraces Sri Lankan culture and does to have any plans to fill up with large skyscraper hotels appealing to the masses. Every guesthouse is original and standing in its original state.
We stayed at Hiro guesthouse which is at (we think) the best end of the street. Close to the late night Kottu place and just a bit ore of a buzzier feel going on. It is run by a cool Japanese lady who makes banging sushi and thai curries. This place was Rs 4500 per night and came with two comfortable double beds, air con and a bathroom. This would be very affordable for four friends too as it is not per person so you could cut some serious cash off the bill that way.
Overall Arugam Bay has been one of our favourite places so far, we’ve made some great friends here and there is a real sense of community, You can see how people would easily get stuck in a place like this, especially if you’re a surfer. we’re going to have a tough job dragging ourselves away from here if we stay here much longer but I’m sure we’ll be back here one day!