Arugam Bay has a special kind of energy, I had a feeling that I'd love this little surfer town on the East Coast of Sri Lanka, and I was right. Everything moves at a slower pace than the other places we've visited (I didn't think that was possible) and we feel really relaxed and happy after being here for almost a week, with one week to go. We're easily able to spend two weeks here, whereas some of the other places we've visited we were ready to move on after a few days.
We're staying at East Surf ; lovely, spacious cabanas set back from the main road and away from the louder party places, which suits us as most nights we're in bed by 10... and up bright and early with the call to prayer from the various mosques around town.
Mostly we've been chilling out. We've been practising yoga in the evening at the beautiful Hideaway resort in the centre of town. The open shala is next to the pool and yoga is a great way to end the day; moving our bodies and stretching our stiff muscles from surfing.
Other than yoga, we've been back in the waves with a couple of surfing lessons. So far we've had two classes, both at Panama beach, a 20 minute drive from Arugam Bay and a great place for beginners to learn. Tomorrow, we're graduating to hard boards and an intermediate class! Hopefully it will be fun and not too painful! After a bit of research we went for Dylan's surf school to find an instructor and we've had our best (and safest) lessons so far from our teacher there, definitely check them out if you're looking for lessons in Arugam Bay.
Some days we've just taken our books to the beach in the morning and chilled at Mambos, where you can use their sunbeds free of charge. We've also been sampling lots of the different restaurants in the town and so far our favourites have been Tandoori Hut for Indian food in a tree house (not licensed so bring your own beer/wine) and Hideaway restaurant for delicious, fresh food (a short menu with high quality ingredients).
The Hideaway bar also does 2 for 1 cocktails from 6-8pm and seems like the place for meeting fellow travellers whilst sipping on a G & T. We're yet to try one of the many BBQ places that line the main road, they all look very popular so we'll try one before we leave. For lunch we've been enjoying hanging out at the rooftop cafe in the Bay Vista hotel, they have a yummy vegetarian menu and lots of healthy drinks to choose from. We've also enjoyed delicious coffee & cake at Bite Bake Bar. There's a lot of good food to choose from in Arugam Bay, you definitely won't leave hungry!
On Friday night Sudu (one of our lovely hosts at East Surf Cabanas) took us and 6 other guests on a night safari into the jungle surrounding Arugam Bay. It was one of most magical moments in Sri Lanka so far. We were the only jeep driving through the bush as we spotted elephants, crocodiles, monkeys, wild pigs and more. We almost got stampeded by an angry elephant which got our adrenalin pumping a bit before our BBQ dinner.
Sudu cooked lots of delicious curries and fresh fish for the group which we washed down with beer & arrack, (a local spirit that tastes a bit like coconut rum) whilst star gazing, chatting and laughing till our bellies hurt. It was a really great evening that went by too fast and I'd highly recommend going if you're staying in Arugam Bay.
Over the next week we plan to hire a scooter to explore some of the surrounding area, improve our surfing, try more of the local produce, swim in the sea, practice yoga, read in the sun & just relax in this beautiful part of the world.