Imagine this… You walk outside your accommodation and straight onto the untouched sand to head out on your surfboard to watch the sunrise from the water. You feel the power of the ocean swish against, across and underneath your body as you float, glide and ride over the waves. There is nothing that could make you feel more weightless, free and soul-happy, but then you remember that your day is only just beginning.

Next on the cards is rooftop yoga overlooking the bay, followed by a fresh juice and a stroll along the beach. Just like any other afternoon, you spend it atop one of the extremely large rocks, watching the sun transform the night sky into a beautiful array of pastel colours, snacking away on fresh fruit & playing eye-spy in hope to spot an elephant (or two). And once the day is done and the night has come, there is nothing that excites you more than to know that tomorrow can, and most likely will be just as fulfilling as today was.

Well, welcome to a day in the life at Arugam Bay. To know that this is considered the usual for those hanging out in Arugam Bay, you’d think whoever goes, would never leave (which is true, to an extent). For those who have never heard of Arugam Bay before, it is a laid-back, colourful beach village on the east coast of Sri Lanka which attracts both wannabe & professional surfers from all walks of life.

The village is basically made up of one strip, which is overloaded with surf-shops, roadside yoga signs and thatch roofed smoothie and juice bars. With everything within walking distance of the beach, it’s not hard to find a spot to chill out, whether it be at a beach front cocktail bar or in a hammock inside one of the beautiful, homely cafes.

It didn’t take long for me to fall in love with Arugam Bay and start trying to convince my family to stay just one extra night. So here is why I think everybody should add Arugam Bay to their Sri Lankan itinerary.

Arugam Bay oozes with charm and colour.

The beach is lined with bright coloured boats, dwarf-sized beach huts and local fisherman bringing in their daily catch. If you head down early, you can watch the community come together and help the fisherman bring their boats up onto the shore. It’s basically a free live show!

The healthy lifestyle will make you glow.

When the ‘norm’ for a day consists of sunrise, surfing, yoga and smoothie bowls, there is no wonder everyone in Arugam Bay looks so sun kissed and healthy. Everyone you bump into radiates so much happiness and it’s just a huge chain effect on the whole village- you’ll know what I mean when you get there.

It has kept to it’s traditions.

Arugam Bay hasn’t been exposed to rapid commercialisation like other similar spots on the coast. There are no big hotel names, fast food chains or hawkers trying to sell you souvenirs. Although I haven’t been to Bali yet, I think Arugam Bay would have been what Seminyak and Kuta used to be like before it became Australian’s favourite beach destination.

The sunrises and sunsets are out of this world.

With so much open land surrounding the bay and so many different rocks to climb up, it is almost guaranteed that you will get a killer sunrise or sunset no matter where you find yourself. My favourite sunset spot was atop Crocodile Rock which is just a 10 minute drive from the main strip. Only the locals really know about Crocodile Rock, so it wouldn’t come as a surprise if you have the rock to yourself.

There is something for everyone.

Whether you want to become the next Kelly Slater, find your inner zen with some yoga or become a star at Sri Lankan cooking, there is something for everyone in Arugam Bay. It really is the ultimate Sri Lankan beach destination. You can also do many day trips from Arugam Bay, whether it be going to Yala National Park to try your luck at spotting leopards or hopping around to all of the different bays just a short distance away.

It is both solo traveller and backpacker friendly.

For solo travellers, it is extremely safe and there are so many opportunities to meet new people from over the world, whether it be at your yoga class or in your beach front hostel. It is also well suited to backpackers due to the affordability of the accommodation, food and size of destination- no need to be catching tuk-tuks to get to the beach, grocery shop or dinner when it’s only a 10 minute walk away to EVERYWHERE in town.

The sense of community – both with the locals and travellers.

No matter where you go in Arugam Bay you will always be greeted with the friendliest smile from both the locals and fellow travellers. It’s one big community where everyone seems to know each other and helps each other out, so don’t be surprised if you end up making a bunch of friends, even with the tuk tuk drivers.

If there is one destination in Sri Lanka that I could rave on and on about, it would be Arugam Bay and I am sure you now understand why. If you are planning a trip to Sri Lanka (lucky you) please get in touch with me in the comments below or swing me an email at sophie.m.spencer@gmail.com – I’d love to share my stories and advice!