Arugam Bay – How To Get There (Bus, Train, Car).

Arugam Bay is a magical place, when it’s in season (roughly June to September). It offers perhaps the best surfing in Sri Lanka but is also a great place for hanging out, dining, biking, etc. The only catch is that it’s mega-far – at least 6 hours, but probably closer to 7 or 8. If you’re going there, it’s good (and easy) to stay for a while.

Getting There

The best way to get to Arugam Bay is actually to make it part of a broader tour. If you go to Kandy, then take the train to Ella, then hire a van down to Arugam Bay it doesn’t feel that far. 

If you’re going straight, there’s one main route. As a note, do not use Google directions. They take you down some terrible B roads. Always stick to A roads wherever possible.

The Ratnapura Way (E01-A8-A4)

This route is pretty simple, but it can go bad pretty quick if you get diverted onto B roads. As a rule of thumb, always take the low road (ie, at a fork go right). Always try to go away from the hilly country rather than into it.

  • E01
    • Get on the Expressway
    • Take the Gelanigama Exit (Panadura/Horana)
    • Turn right onto the Horana Road (the A8)
  • A8
    • Stay on the A8 till you hit Ratnapura
    • Get thru Ratnapura town somehow
    • At the Malwala Handiya, for the love of all things holy, turn right. DO NOT TAKE THE B ROAD
    • Stay on the A4
    • Get to Pelmadulla

From here you can go two ways:

1. The high road (shorter but hillier)

    • Pass Pelmadulla
    • At Beragala, take the right fork, stay on the A4
    • Pass Wellawaya
    • Arrive at Arugam Bay

2. The low road (longer but flat)

    • Turn down the A18 at Pelmadulla
    • Head to Uda Walawa
    • Take the B427 along Uda Walawe Park
    • Turn up the A2 at Thanamalwila
    • Turn right at Wellawaya back onto the A4
    • Arrive at Arugam Bay

Other Routes

You can also either go up and over (through Kandy) or down and around (through Matara). We’ve heard that you can also take the Expressway all the way to Matara then take the A2 to Tissamaharama and then take the Kataramaga Road thru to Buttala. This may be more pleasant driving, but would take an hour or two longer. Haven’t tried it. Would not recommend driving through Kandy, but if you want to make a tour out of it that’s a nice set of contrasts.

Modes Of Transport


If you’re have a car or motorbike that’s best. You can rent cars for a pretty good day rate from places like Central Finance. You can get a Maruti for Rs. 1,500 a day.

If you’re staying at someplace in Arugam Bay, they often have vans running from the Airport or Colombo, call them and ask.


The Pottuvil bus takes 10-12 hours (!). It leaves from Colombo at 5 AM and 8 PM (we think, you need to check), from Colombo Fort. Costs around Rs. 500. Pottuvil effectively is Arugam Bay, it’s the nearest town.


The train ride to Ella is incredibly beautiful… and incredibly slow. From there you need to hire a van (around Rs. 10,000, not sure) or take a bus (a few hundred rupees but slow). Again to Pottuvil.


So that’s a rough guide to getting to Arugam Bay. Once you’re there you can rent bicycles but most people take trishaws. If possible get a trishaw recommendation from the place you’re staying. When it comes time to getting out, again try to go with recommendations if you’re taking a van out. 

Arugam Bay remains a trek to get to, but that’s part of what makes it so great. It used to be even harder and, during wartime, actually dangerous but people still went. There’s something magical about the waves and the climate and the whole vibe there that makes a day on the road worthwhile.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on whatsapp




Marine Spice: Colombo’s Global Fusion Gem

Indulge in a culinary journey at Marine Spice, Colombo's latest Indian-inspired restaurant. Open daily from

Kamu Trending

Oktoberfest 2023 at Hilton Colombo

The oldest and by far, the most authentic of the Oktoberfest is back with a

Highlights Kamu Trending

“Delightful Vegan Feast: Savor the Flavors of Compassion and Health”

Indulge in an expertly crafted meal featuring an amazing array of fresh healthy and delicious

Highlights Kamu

Sri Lankan flavors with a Mexican Twist at Taco Shack

See here Tacos but make it Lankan? A legacy that began in the humble confines

Kamu Test

Keells : Your one-stop destination for quick meals and more

By Shamrina C In the fast-paced world we live in today, convenience is key, especially

Highlights Kamu

Exploring rich Italian Pasta and Pizza at Penne

By Sahasni Gamage Ambiance Penne Colombo offers a captivating aesthetic ambiance with soft, ambient lighting

Highlights Kamu


Courtyard by Marriott Colombo partners with Magzter to become Sri Lanka’s first Smart Reading Hotel

With sustainability increasingly taking centre stage in the hospitality industry, hotel chains worldwide are implementing


Mount Lavinia Hotel hosted the grand Christmas tree lighting ceremony

Mount Lavinia Hotel hosted the grand Christmas tree lighting ceremony on 26th November 2023. Dignitaries,


Gary Mehigan: Celebrity Chef and Former MasterChef Australia Judge is finally here in Sri Lanka

Internationally acclaimed Celebrity Chef and former MasterChef Australia judge, Gary Mehigan, has officially arrived in


Quick Chat with Celebrity Chef Gary Mehigan

Former MasterChef Australia Judge talks about the Culinary Extravaganza awaiting in Sri Lanka! Colombo, 21st


Unveil the Enchantment of the Tropics: Festive Luxury with Minor Hotels Sri Lanka

An unparalleled host of festive celebrations and getaways await you with Minor Hotels Sri Lanka,


The most inspired Christmas Tea Gifts from t-Lounge by Dilmah.

Embracing the festive season, and just in time for your Christmas shopping, t-Lounge by Dilmah's

Highlights Trending

Yamu Guide.

Colombo’s Top List of Christmas Events happening in 2023!

Written by: Shamrina Carim Step into the magic of 2023's Christmas Events!  From cozy gatherings

Yamu Guide

Colombo’s Top List of New Year Parties happening in 2023!

Written by: Shamrina Carim As the countdown to the New Year begins, dive into the

Yamu Guide

Colombo’s Top List of Christmas Buffets happening in 2023!

Written by: Shamrina Carim Experience the festive joy in Colombo as we unveil a delectable

Yamu Guide

“Deck the Halls: Christmas Decor Roundup”

“Top 5 Destinations for Your Christmas Shopping Spree.” Unwrap the Magic is

Yamu Guide

11 Reasons not to miss Daraz’s 11.11 Mega Sale!

By Shamrina Carim Are you ready for a shopping extravaganza like no other? Daraz's 11.11

Highlights Yamu Guide

Yaal Virindu – Jaffna Food Festival: A Culinary Journey of Joy

In collaboration with My Sister’s Kitchen by Thushara & Danu Innasithamby By Shamrina C Sri

Highlights Yamu Guide