Arugambay, situated on the South-eastern coast of Sri Lanka , just next to Potuwil, around 320 km from Colombo , is a unique and versatile tourist destination. The uniqueness is that unlike many other coastal areas, it is unaffected by both the monsoons – South-west and North-east – which affect almost all other coastal areas for at least half the year. Even the rain during the monsoon is not continuous but intermittent, making it an year round tourist destination.
The versatility of Arugambay is that, apart from being one of the Top Ten Surf Points in the world , it offers a vast clean beach, beautiful inland landscape, very rich birdlife, equally rich wildlife and even ruins of ancient Buddhist Culture. Excavations outside Potuwil have unearthed a 2000 year old Buddhist Temple named “ Muhudu Maha Viharaya”
Despite being a popular Tourist Destination, Arugambay has remarkably preserved its' beauty, tranquility, charm and has remained unspoiled. This, coupled with the availability of cheap transport, low cost accommodation and its' friendly people, Arugambay is an ideal tourist destination to the ordinary tourist. However Arugambay has several star class hotels too, opening its' doors even to the high class tourist.
Arugambay, only 2 km away from Potuwil which is the closest town with a population of around 12,000 inhabitants, consists of three villages, namely Ullae , Perie Ullae [ Bigger Ullae- Perie in Tamil is Big] and Sinne Ullae .[ Smaller Ulle-Sinne in Tamil is small ] Though there are Sinhala and Tamil communities living in these areas, these are predominantly Muslim areas.
Ullae, which is in the centre of these villages, is a very famous place among the Sinhala fishermen in the west coast. The village, being in the corner of the bay, has a very quiet sea and is an year round fishing area and is a very colourful place bustling with activity. As such, the fishermen from the west coast flock to this village during the South-west monsoon which hits the west coast.
Apart from fishing, people in these areas and in Potuwil are engaged in cattle farming and paddy cultivation.
The fishing boats go out around 4.00 am about one and a half hours before the sun rises.
Starting a jeep drive or a walk along the lagoon towards the south a little before sun rises and between 5.00 pm and 7.00 pm, one can encounter wildlife such as elephants, boar, dear, crocodiles and many other animals in addition to bird watching.
With the North-easterly wind starting to blow and temperature being lowest at around 28-30 C , November and December is a good period for bird watching especially with the advent of lots of migratory birds. Though this is the rainy season in the east, the rain around this area is not continuous with many sunny days.
The blowing of refreshing wind in January, February and March dissipates the slight increase of humidity and temperature (to about 30-32 o ) and make the weather and wave conditions very good wind surfing, swimming and fishing. This period is also the best for bird watching.
Months of April and May are the hottest and most humid months. The temperature from April to August varies between 36-32 o . The changing of the wind direction to South-easterly in April/May starts the body surfing season which spans up to October. During this season, the sea in the west coast being very rough, holiday makers and surfers from these areas flock to Arugambay.