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A Surf Guide to Eastern Sri Lanka.

We did it again.  We took our twentieth (or something like that) trip to Sri Lanka, but this time we made a pact to do it differently.  It’s easy to always just go back to what you know is already good.  But sometimes you need to liven the old truck up with a new carburetor, ya know what I mean?  And that’s just what we did. We explored!  And god, do I love exploring! 

We traveled through the south (Galle to Ahangama) on our way east to the surfing Mecca of Arugam bay. In this blog, I will share a few of the zen little sanctuaries we found along the way.  

I can’t lie to you.  I have been to Sri Lanka more times than I can count, and I am a little embarrassed to say that I have never stayed in Galle. 

On the last trip, we stayed in the most amazing penthouse (room 2) in Arabella on Bossa, which is only about ten minutes from Galle which helped us to fall in love with the calm and peaceful little fort town. 

First Stop: Galle Fort

Sleeping in Galle. 

So, this trip.  We stayed for two nights.  We found a little place called Muhsin Villa within the fort to stay since we had some business to take care of within the fort for the next few days. And it was nice to not get in a tuk-tuk, a train or a car for two whole days!  Ahhhh, that’s relaxing.  Two days strolling along the seaside path, stopping beneath the lighthouse to sip on a coconut and watch the turtles swimming in the little rock pools.

Eating in Galle.

One of the greatest reasons to spend time in Galle is because there are some amazing restaurants.  Crepe-ology (which has since permanently closed) and Poonies Cafe are a few of my personal favorites.  Like; we pretty much just go back to these over and over and over again. 

East coast bound.

Next, it was time to head east.  It’s a long drive no matter which route you take.  By heading to Galle and the south coast instead of driving through straight through from Colombo that we were taking a long way, but we wanted to visit friends in Weligama on the way. So that’s what we did.  

Staying in Arugam bay. 

When we arrived in Arugam, we were so happy to arrive at the beautiful little sanctuary that goes by the name is Forcus cabanas.  The thoughtful 4-room guesthouse run by one of the sweetest and gentle souls I have ever met in my life, ranga is brand new, so clean and fresh.  The water was hot. The vibes are peaceful. And there isn’t even the tiniest smell of mold in the whole place (which is a miracle for Sri Lanka). The cabanas are located just near all the restaurants and still walking distance to the main point (the town’s main surfing break). 

Surfing Arugam bay. 

Each morning our favorite tuk-tuk driver would come and load up our boards before driving us to one of the surf spots outside of town. Nearly all the famous point breaks (and the insta-worthy photos you are seeing from this coast) are a short tuk-tuk ride away from the quaint little town of Arugam bay. 

So. If you came to Arugam as recently as even three years ago, you might have been thinking the same thing that I was on this trip.  Pottuvil Point is heaven and I can’t wait to get back there. Let me be the first to warn you.  Things have changed. 

Warning: Whiskey Point is a little town now.  Full of beginner surfers.  And I have never seen a more perfect point break destroyed by wave hungry beginner- learner surfers.  It’s honestly not even worth checking out anymore. Go elsewhere.  And there are lots of elsewhere’s worth checking out. 

A few other places I would certainly consider staying or visiting are the hilltop cabanas near lighthouse point. It is a quiet, more into-nature alternative to Arugam Bay. If we had more time I definitely would have stayed there.

Eating in Arugam bay. 

After surfing, it is always time … to eat! So we ate.  and ate. and ate. We usually tried to make it back to town in time to stop into the coffee/cafe Hideaway Blue before their closing time of 2 pm for a coffee and a surfer-style breakfast.  It’s a gem of a spot. In fact, when we didn’t make it back before 2, I was always a little disappointed. It is that good. Nowhere else really compares.

We would often frequent Gecko Restaurant for dinner and sundowners where the food never disappoints, but I believe there are many more options then we were able to explore on our short little trip.

Most of our friends frequented hideaway for dinner, but since dinner doesn’t start until 7:30 pm, that late for us with Kona.  We like to be at home and him in bed at that time. 

Other activities in Arugam Bay

And what else is there to do if you don’t surf?

Elephant, crocodile and bird tuk-tuk safaris at Panama Lake. Visit the old temple at the northern end of Arugam bay.  Most of it was destroyed by the tsunami.  But I still always love popping in there when I am in town. 

And of course. Just go looking for wildlife.  Every. Single, chance. You. Get.  Because there is so much around.  It’s insane actually! Kona (my two-year-old toddler) had the most amazing time and always says it is his favorite vacation and he doesn’t surf (yet!) lol.

So.  Finally. It was time to head back south.

After a 6 hour drive down south.  We made the call to stop back at one of our ol’ favorites Verse Collective in Dickwella to get a coffee and a meal.  You only need to eat there once to want to go back there time and time again. 

Final Stop, Ahangama

Then; out last stop of this trip was back to Ahangama.  And the kind folks at Abode Ahangama offered us a few nights stay at their incredible art-deco 4 bedroom retreat.  And What a treat it was. Abode Ahangama is the latest project from the team behind Abode Bombay, Mumbai’s first socially responsible luxury boutique hotel. Designed for the style-conscious global traveler, our guests have come to expect beauty, generosity, and attention to detail in everything we do.

The four thoughtfully-styled rooms feature reclaimed vintage furniture, cool artwork, beautiful clay pottery and come served with a complimentary breakfast (which last for hours). But I am going, to be honest, the number one reason to stay at Abode is the zen palm tree- surrounded the pool with monkeys and peacocks running around its perimeters. In all my trips to Sri Lanka, this is my favorite hotel pool I have ever come across (and since there are only four rooms, the pool is never crowded).

Eating in Ahangama

Ahangama and the surrounding areas are starting to rival Galle in becoming the food capital of Sri Lanka for hipster and healthy food options. On this trip, I tried two new restaurants that certainly did not disappoint. The Kip (just a short walk or tuk-tuk ride from Abode offers a simple, healthy, but incredibly inspiring brunch menu. You are handed a menu of about 10 selections and you get to check off as many as you would like, self-creating your own perfect breakfast platter. Their drink menu is divine as well. It isn’t often the entire family falls in love with a restaurant, but we did with The Kip.

Another new restaurant I tried was Bunkyard Hostels street-side cafe in Weligama. They might have the world’s smallest menu (with only three dinner options), but they do those three things very very well. And is super healthy! We will be frequenting this one for the beers and jackfruit burger a lot when we finally make the move and are living here more permanently.

Thank you for reading. If you have some additional tips for this article please send them to me to check out next time.