Solo trip to Arugambay

Tour to Arugambay

Surfing in high waves
Surfing Person Photo by Sincerely Media on Unsplash

Arugambay

Arugambay is a coastal tourist attraction destination in southeastern Sri Lanka. Well known for bluish beaches, sacred places, and wildlife.

Prominent income mode of Arugambay people is fishing and agriculture. With the high number of visitors now tourism is another income source for them.

Main income sources of Arugambay People
From left to right a greeny paddy field with rice crops and People dragging a fishing net known as “Madela”

Sri Lanka and its coastal region famous for the intense sunny climate that because of the geographical placement near to the equator. The high season of Arugambay is from April to October because fine wind starts to blow from the southeast. Temperature varies between 32ᵒ C-36ᵒ C and the humidity in the air varies between 60%-70%. Seawater temperature stays between comfortable range 29ᵒ C – 30ᵒ C. All these natural elements make an ideal atmosphere for the surfers.

Each year approximately 7500 tourists visit ArugamBay from many countries such as Australia, Indonesia, France, Venezuela, Israel, the USA, Portugal, New Zealand, Mexico, Spain, Great Britain, Brazil, South Africa, Costa Rica, Argentina, Japan, Ireland, Chile, Belgium, Peru, India, the Maldives, Malaysia.

There is a surfing event every year and the 2019 tournament was named “so Sri Lanka pro”. The event is organized and supported by the tourism bureau of Sri Lanka with the Sri Lanka surfing federation including the World Surf League. More than a hundred well-known world rank obtaining surfers participating each year and making this event happen.

If you visit Arugambay in the season you can find surfing classes in the main surf shores of whiskey point, the main point, and peanut farm beach. Within a few days of with the right guidance, you can be a surfer.

Apart from surfing, there are several other exciting activities in Arugambay that are worth your visit. You can rent a tuk-tuk or a bike and explore. There is Panama tank, Kumana national park, Panama beach, crocodile rock, and Balumgala temple.

Reaching Arugambay

Trip to Arugambay
Google map for the destination

I visited Arugambay in November of 2017 which is offseason. I rented a scooter from travel logic and began my trip from Colombo by morning 6 am. That was a sunny day and with the assistance of google map, I kept riding. My route was through Rathnapura, Thanamalvila, Mahiyangana, and finally Pothuvil. I reached Arugambay by 4.30 pm which is nearly 10 hrs ride on the basic commuter scooter.

The local person helped me to find out a Guesthouse from the center of Arugambay. Friendly owner and his delegates welcomed me and offered me a triple bedroom for $13 which may cost above $60 in season. Spacious and clean room and toilet really helped me to get back my energy that spent in riding for 10 hrs.

I spoke to the owner and requested a plan to utilize my next whole day with the best spots that worth my visit.

He got me a list of places in the next morning that shown below. That kept me away from the guest house till 5.00pm.

I packed myself with a bottle of water, bottle soft drink and a packet of crackers to avoid spending time searching for restaurants and meals.

Second-day plan

Muhudhu Maha vihaaraya

Look of Muhudu Maha Viharaya in Arugambay
Ruins of ancient Muhudu Maha Viharaya and white Sthoopa

 

I visited Muhudu Maha Viharaya by 8.30 am and on my way, I met fishermen fishing with huge nets locally known as “Madhela”.  Also, They were very friendly and welcoming.

Newly painted Sthoopa visible to the shore and it shines with morning sun spark.

You can find the ruins of 2000-year-old Buddhist temple structures like walls, columns, purely made from granite carving. Also, there is a historical incidence that connects with Muhudu Maha Viharaya about flooding.

 

Crocodile Rock

look of the Crocodile Rock in Arugambay
View of the crocodile rock in the morning time and the shore

 

On my way to crocodile rock, I was stopped by a policeman and requested license, insurance. This is a regular procedure and as Sri Lankan, I am familiar with this activity. After going through my license policeman was wowed about my solo trip Arugambay. Also, he was telling about an incident that happened yesterday ”a photographer somewhere from Europe dragged by crocodiles”. That news increased my adrenaline level but not my courage.

Crocodiles are cold-blooded creatures and they absorb sun heat to maintain an optimum heat in their blood. Morning rays are ideal for them and when the heat gets gradually high these animals seek shelter to avoid overheating. Crocodiles use to lie on these rocks in the morning and fortunately, I reached the place around 10 am and I couldn’t find a single one of them. Huge rock placed on the shore gives you a 360ᵒ degree view. When I was leaving crocodile rock my scooter slightly stuck inside the loose sand and again, fortunately, managed to overcome the situation.

Peanut farm beach

Peanut Farm Beach and beach in Arugambay
Peanut Farm and in a beautiful seashore

After that, I started riding towards Peanut Farm Beach, one of the best and crowded surfing spots in the season.

The ride was through a sun-baked sand track you can really listen to the cracking sand block sound. In-between you can find a Sri Lankan army base inside the lush.

You can find cabanas, Peanut trees specially designed for outdoor hangouts. When I am leaving the place I met a Russian couple who are looking for surfing experience in November.

When you are planning tours consider high and low seasons, and stay aware of what you can find in the particular season to avoid disappointments and frustrations.

Okanda Dewalaya

Okanda Devalaya in Okanda
The secondary sacred place situated on a top of a rock and natural water pond on the rock

Way to Okanda Dewalaya was creepy. It’s a drive from of few kilometers through the dry zone forest. Like the places I visited in the beginning, there was no one in this place. I am the only one who rolling on that dry road. On the same road, you can find a way to Kumana national forest for birds.

Okanda Dewalaya is the first spot I met a huge crowd in offseason. It’s a sacred place for Hindus and Buddhists who believe in Lord Murugan. People from all around the nation particularly north and eastern people visit this temple to please god for prosperity and many different needs.

Okanda beach is another surfing coast too. Also, you can find fishermen and fermented fish laid on shore to get dry.

Kudumbigala Viharaya

Kudumbigala Viharaya in Okanda
Scene of Information board, trail, ruins of Sthoopa, and Balumgala mountain in Kudumbingala Viharaya

Kudumbigala Viharaya situated 30 Km away from Arugmabay city and situated inside the dry zone forest. I reached Kudumbigala Viharaya by 4.30 pm and the spot will be closed by 5.00 because of the incoming of wild creatures to the road. I have to manage my visit within half an hour to leave the place safely.

The atmosphere was very silent and filled with fresh air among that you can listen to wild bee buzz, the sound of different bird species soothe your soul. Buddhist monk visits this place to stay away from busy cities and practice to a religious medication known as Bhavana. There are five rock peaks and each rock has Sthoopa, only one is operational and rest were ruins of ancients structures.

I met a monk in a peek and he advised me to stay safe and finish my tour before sunset. Also, he asked me to visit Balumgala one of the important Sthoopa situated and also the highest peak.

The way begins with a natural trail made with tree roots and stacked. Once you reach the base of the rock you can find steps carved into the rock. However, there is a cable attached to the rock surface with concrete that really helps you to climb the rock when you are exhausted. After that, I reached the peak, the sky turned in grey and start thundering. I finished the visit and rode as Quickly and carefully towards the main road.

Panama beach and lagoon

Panama Lagoon few kilometers away from Arugambay
Panama Eco-Tourism Center, fishing lagoon, and hatching tanks in drizzling climate.

Finally, I visited Panama fishing pier and beach. After the strong drizzle sand road became slightly slippery. Because of that I unable to use the full throttle.

Most of the fishing boats were at the jetty because of the evening and rain. I found a closed office of the tourist board and if anyone visits in the season they can get information from them about Panama.

Meanwhile, returning from shore, I met this guy who came out from his shelter to feel the refreshed earth.

I reached the hotel by 6.00 pm my whole day was a hundred percent utilized as I planned. I looked for a place to get Ayurveda physiotherapy session but all the places were closed due to the off-season.

The first day I grabbed Koththu from a nearby restaurant it did not work for me. I am from the western province of the country and I have tasted delicious verities of the same dish.  The second day I changed the place tried western dish apparently burger with lime soda both worked well for me. Following day morning I left Arugambay by 6.00 am and reached home by 3.30 pm.

Conclusion

This is the first and solo bike tour that I had in my life.

Actually, this trip planned for four persons on two bikes. A few days earlier two of them rang me and told me that they were unable to join. Reasons are acceptable, till the day of leaving I thought two persons are getting this done.

When I went pick him up that person also refused to join because he didn’t get permission from his parent’s that means either I have to go alone or go back to home as looser.

I decided to make this alone and check my courage.

Making a trip alone is a different mentality. People surrounded by you may speak on different points of view.

But if you are really able to make it you can achieve many important qualities such as empower your personality, self-confidence, meet new people, learn to attract them with your approach, adaptable to any situation or person, self-control, overcome situation on own self.

The best way to finish a trip is by reaching home with wonderful memories and great clicks. I believe I done this extraordinary and I invite everyone to-have one of such journeys in your life.

Also, I invite everyone to visit Arugamby in season and off-season as well.

 

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