Our girl on the ground bringing us all things Sri Lanka, straight from the elephant's mouth, is travel blogger and all-round island girl Demi Perera. Demi is the creator and editor of her own popular e-zine Girl Travels World. In her spare time she loves to recline on her hammock under a coconut tree. What we have here is a match made in heaven... 👏👏👏
Arugam Bay, locally known as Arugam Kudah, on the East coast of Sri Lanka is the island's undisputed surf capital. This traditional fishing community has been welcoming wave-riders for decades. It's a match made in coconut heaven as the region is renowned for the unity between the surfing community and locals. So much so that after the Boxing Day Tsunami, of 2004, the UK surfing fraternity raised funds to build a community surf foundation in A-Bay.
There are several quality breaks here; Main Point, Whiskey Point, Pottuvil Point and Elephant Rock, to name a few, which are amongst Asia's best. This little low-key town is also home to Sri Lanka's most talented surfers who have recently dominated national competitions. The best time to visit, to ride the waves, is between May and September, which is also helpfully, the region's dry season.
As you might expect the vibe in the bay is relaxed and laid back. It's the perfect place for sipping an ice cold Lion Beer as you watch the sunset. If you'd like to get a taste of the A-Bay sunset try the Drunken Bananas on The Coconut Tree menu; caramelised bananas in Lion Beer batter and dipped in treacle. When you've done that let's go right back to Sri Lanka where the bay's local guest houses, cabanas and inns on the beach are your best options to stay. They offer a good choice for all budgets. When you get here do expect to be part of community beach clean-ups and local recycling initiatives which are common place. Look out for the Waste Less Arugam Bay facility on Panama Road which is dedicated to reducing plastic waste by up cycling and also providing the community with filtered water and refill stations.
If surfing is not your thing you can visit the nearby Yala National Park (2.2km away) and Kumana National Park (44km away) to watch wild elephant herds grazing around water holes. Alternatively, hail a local tuk-tuk and visit the nearby hamlet of Pottuvil. Wander through its narrow sandy lanes and be greeted by warmhearted locals and experience hidden Sri Lanka on your own terms.