Arugam Bay

MapCrew : 7

Transportation : Cars (Kandy > Mahiyanganaya > Ampara > Akkaraipattu > Pottuvil > Arugam Bay > Pottuvil > Lahugala > Siyambalanduwa > Wadinagala > Ampara > Inginiyagala > Bibila > Mahiyanganaya > Kandy)

Duration : Two Days

I had plans to visit Arugam bay beach and spend a night there during the surfing season (May to September), But it kept postponing. There was a free weekend coming and seven of my friends confirmed participation. This time our plan was to spend more time on the beach as possible, So I wanted to reserve a place closer to the beach unlike in our previous visit (Read about our visit to Arugambay and Kudumbigala).

The gathering point was Kandy as most of my friends were there. One came from Kurunegala and another one all the way from Colombo. I was already in Ampara and planned to join them from there onward.  It was around 6.15 am when others left Kandy and they took around 4.5 hours to reach Ampara Via Padiyathalawa. As soon as they arrived Ampara we had a quick breakfast and started our drive to Arugam bay via Akkaraipattu. There was almost no traffic, so we reached Arugam bay just around an hour. We directly went to the hotel we reserved. It took another half an hour for us to settle in, before starting our search for a good place to have the lunch. The staff at our hotel recommended a place (Ranga’s Beach Hut) which reminded us that we have been there in our previous visit. It was just a couple hundred meters away next to the beach and we decided to walk up there by the main road. Even though it is off season, there were few groups of travelers in the restaurant area. We asked for their famous “Rice and Curry with Fried Fish” but sadly it was finished by that time. So we ordered Fried rice and soft drinks after settling to a table under a shady tree. Environment was way cooler than the outside road because of the giant umbrella of trees branches. They took some time to prepare the food but we didn’t noticed that as we were busy with catching up and admiring the surrounding.
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We spent a more than an hour there and decided to walk back to the hotel through the beach. It was easier than walking on the main road plus we had a perfect view of Arugam bay. My friends were sleepy as they started the journey in the early morning and decided to take a quick nap until the burning sun rays fade away. But no one could sleep but talk lying in beds and chairs!
😀

We took a shower first to cool off and then decided to walk to the beach around 3.30pm. Even though our hotel was next to the beach, famous Arugam bay surfing spot was another one kilometer away. We saw many places that was threatened by sea erosion (may be a seasonal thing due to the changing tide patterns). There were quite a lot of people on the surfing spot, but only a few were surfing. We walked further to avoid the crowd and spent hours lying on the beach. The tides were so strong that sometimes it dragged us along the beach for couple of feet reminding our younger days! We didn’t wanted to worry about getting our cameras wet, so couldn’t capture any photo during our “floating in the beach” session. It was around 6pm when we decided to head back to our hotel. The sun just sank behind the coconut trees within couple of minutes, making us to walk back under the dark starless sky. Lights from the hotels marked the beach, up until the Arugam bay bridge. It took us more time than we expected to walk back to the hotel and had to spend another hour or so washing away the sand from our clothes and hair.

We decided to go for another cafe for dinner just for a change and looked up for few restaurants with good reviews on the internet. There was a Pizza place and we walked along the main road towards panama side. After about a 700m walk we reached to a cozy looking place and decided to settle down there as we were bit tired of walking to the place we initially planned to go. Gladly they too had wood oven pizzas and took some time to prepare it.
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One story lead to another and suddenly realized that we were the only group left in the restaurant and it was almost their closing time. So we left there and walked back, admiring the atmosphere created by dim lights of the nearby boutique hotels. We all were so tired and just went to sleep as soon as we came back to the hotel.

It was around 7 am when I woke up in the next morning. Sun was already up and making the morning tides shine. There were two hammocks fixed in the hut on beach, and i decided to hop on. It was my first experience about hammocks and it was better than i imagined. Everything was so calm and peaceful that I even noted pros and cons of living next to a beach in my mind. We decided to go to the same place that we had the previous day lunch for the breakfast. It was much closer through the beach, so we walked there. It was one of the best satisfying breakfasts that I have ever had. Tasty eggs with crunchy toasts and a hot cup of tea under the shade of a tree along with the company of good friends; that was perfect!
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After spending more than an hour on the breakfast we walked back and stepped in to the sea from the beach just next to our hotel. Some waves were higher than us, which tried to throw us back to the beach. We didn’t realize the time passing and it was almost 1 pm when we came out of water. It was time for us to pack our bags and check out from the hotel. Few friends wanted to buy souvenirs and there was a shop closer to hotel on the main road.
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Breakfast made a really good impression on us that we went to the Ranga’s Beach Hut for the third time to have Rice and curry for the Lunch. They had a tasty fried fish dish, which we ordered extra just because it tasted better. It was few minutes passed 3pm when we bid farewell to Arugambay and started our drive back to Ampara through Siyambalanduwa. There was a herd of Elephants near the Lahugala tank, so that we took  a break to add some photos to the memories. We all reached Ampara around 5 pm and my friends went towards Kandy after having a good cup of good bye tea.

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Arugam Bay and Kudumbigala

MapCrew : 11

Transportation : Public Bus and a hired Van

Duration : Two Days

After a long time we have planned to go on a trip to Arugam Bay. Me and three other friends rushed to the Colombo – Panama CTB Bus, which leaves colombo fort bus stand at 7 pm while other seven friends started their journey around 4 pm from Kandy by the hired Van. The bus was too crowded but fortunately we have reserved our seats in the morning of the same day so we had seats though we arrived to the bus stand in the last minute. Most of the people were to Rathnapra and Awissawella and almost only the people who were seated were left after passing Rathnapura.

The bus took nearly 8 hours to reach Pottuvil Town after stopping at two places to eat, rest and refresh. Our friends who came by the van were arrived two hours earlier even after stopping at one friends’ house for dinner in Monaragala. We just went to sleep after having a bath though we slept almost all the way down to Pottuvil. It was around 8 am when we all got up and prepared to explore the east cost. Before starting our journey, we had parata for breakfast in a small cafe in Pottuvil town and then went straight to Kudumbigala Aranya. Kudumbigala aranya is a place where Buddhist monks use to Meditate and stay apart from the disturbances of the secular world. The route to Kudumbigala is through the Kumana National Park, which has the highest Bird density among all the National parks in Sri Lanka. We were fortunate to see a Fox, Crocodile, Monkeys, Sri Lankan Junglefowl (Gallus lafayetii), Peacocks (Peafowl) and many other birds that i haven’t seen earlier. The Friends came by the van have seen couple of elephants in the previous day evening.

Kudumbigala aranya is surrounded by a heavy grown forest and there is a pathway to the top of the small hill, which a vehicle cannot access. The path was looked that it is being swept daily. The surrounding is calm and it was surprisingly cool environment.
On the top of the hill there are ruins of a pagoda, and a newly built statue of Lord Buddha. There weren’t many people in Kudumbigala at the time we visited. The monks were at the “Daana shalawa” (a place which has built to serve food to the monks) when we go there.

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Then we went to “Balum Gala” which is near the Kudumbigala. It is said that this place has been used to communicate with distant places by smoke or voice signals since a vast area is visible to that place. After a long photo shoot we came back to Pottuvil town to have the lunch. We went to a place called Village Hut, where accommodation is provided in small tree houses. Since it was almost the evening we had to wait for some time until they prepare our lunch. So we thought of playing beach rugby. After some time we went back there. The food seemed tastier as we were starving. After the lunch, we went to Arugam Bay by our van and played until we were dead tired. Since it was the off season there weren’t much surfers. We had the chance to pull few fishing boats to the sea shore. Then we came back to our lodge to have a wash and refresh before going to have the dinner. We found a decent place called Bay Vista to buy the dinner (But the food was a bit over priced). People there were good and friendly. We came back to the lodge at around 11 pm and all went to sleep straight away.

After having a good nap we woke up a little bit earlier than the previous day and left pottuvil early in the morning even without having the breakfast. One of our friends live in Monaragala and he invited us to have brunch there. The food which was made by my friend’s Mom was tasty and all ate more than they could. 🙂 He gave us steamed corn to eat on the way. We arrived Kandy around 4 pm even after stopping at another friend’s house in theldeniya for tea.

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