There are now over 100 places to stay in Arugam Bay. Accommodation ranges from the simplest $10 rooms with a fan to $100 air-conditioned 4-star hotel rooms with a TV and minibar. Here are some points to consider when making your choice.
A reservation on Agoda or Booking.com does not necessarily mean that there will be a room waiting for you. This is a common problem during high season (July to September). Sometimes business owners will give away your reserved room a day or two before you arrive if they can get a better price. They will then offer you a room of a lower specification or something in a neighbouring hotel. Reputation is everything here so be sure to read the reviews carefully.
The beach side is more expensive but there is a huge advantage to this beyond having a nice view. The temperature is cooler at the beach due to the sea breeze. Be warned that it is still very hot especially during April to August. Nearer the sea it is easier to sit outside and not be constantly attacked by flies and mosquitoes.
“The fact it is so sheltered meant no breeze which allowed these little midge type bugs to take total control of any outside area especially around morning and dusk. Even tropical strength insect repellent wouldn’t allow you to sit outside. This may have been just a seasonal thing.” – Tripadvisor Review
During the high season it is becoming more of a party town every year. This means incredibly loud techno music killing the chance of sleep until 6 or 7am. All is not lost, however, as the town is basically split in two. There is a noisier area to the south and a quieter area to the north. In the southern area you can expect parties for 3 or 4 nights a week. However, as of 2016 there is now a new venue called Ocean Sky. They are staging a weekly party at the far northern end of town near the Stardust Hotel.
There are serious issues with water and electricity on the East Coast as the supplies are being upgraded in an ongoing project. From April to November 2016 the government water supply was limited to 2 hours per day. It is likely the same situation will occur in 2017. Therefore, if your hotel or guesthouse does not have its own well and water tanks you will only have water for this time. Most places do have a water tank which they fill once a day. However during busy times, when this is empty, there will be no water in your accommodation.
Power cuts , although becoming less frequent every year, still happen often during the rainy season and during the busiest months of the year in high season. Check to see if your hotel has its own generator or you could be spending the evening hours in the dark.
The beach in Arugam Bay is stunning but some areas are notably better than others. The southern end in the corner of the bay is perfect for swimming. However, this is where the majority of fishing boats are stored so it is not the best place to lay out on the sand. The northern end of the beach is more open and quieter although you need to be a stronger swimmer to enjoy the sea in that area. Nonetheless, it is safe and there are no dangerous currents but more care is needed, especially at the shore where large waves can break unexpectedly.