Arugam Bay known locally as “Arugam Kudah”, is a bay situated on the Indian Ocean in the dry zone of Sri Lanka’s southeast coast, and a historic settlement of the ancient Batticaloa Territory (Mattakallappu Desam). The bay is located 117 kilometres (73 mi) south of Batticaloa, 320 kilometres (200 mi) due east of Colombo, and approximately 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) south of the market town of Pottuvil. The main settlement in the area, known locally as Ullae, is predominantly Muslim, however there is a significant Sri Lankan Tamil and Sinhala population to the south of the village, as well as a number of international migrants, largely from Europe and Australia. While traditionally fishing has dominated the local economy, tourism has grown rapidly in the area in recent years. Arugam Kudah’s literal Tamil translation is “Bay of Cynodon dactylon”. Tourism in Arugam Bay is dominated by surf tourism, thanks to several quality breaks in the area, however tourists are also attracted by the local beaches, lagoons, historic temples and the nearby Kumana National Park.
The nearby (4 kilometres (2.5 mi)) Muslim village of Pottuvil is the center of commerce and transportation while tourist accommodations lie along the beach to the south of Pottuvil Arugam Bay (4 kilometres (2.5 mi)) is also the gateway and the only road access to the Yala East National Park. In 2.2 kilometres (1.4 mi) distance there is Pasarichenai Beach. This area is known as Kumana (44 kilometres (27 mi)), to be reached via the Tamil/Sinhalese settlement of Panama (Sri Lanka) (17 kilometres (11 mi)) and the Tamil shires at Okanda (32 kilometres (20 mi)). The local area is home to a number of elephants, often travelling between Lahugala and Kumana national parks.