As of August 2018 there are 2 luxury night buses with ac and 3-4 regular non-ac buses operating between Colombo and Pottuvil. The road is bumpy and has many sharp bends so only the very tired will sleep. You can expect two 20 minute stops on the way for food, drink and to use a bathroom.
The price for a regular bus ticket is about 500LKR and double that for the luxury bus, about 1000LKR.
For the latest Colombo to Arugam Bay bus times and info on how to book tickets in advance see Latest News. This journey will take about 7 hours by night and 10 hours by day.
The luxury Colombo to Pottuvil buses have storage available for surfboards and luggage. However, the regular buses are limited in space. Small items of luggage can be stored overhead in the luggage racks. See the many comments below for first-hand experiences!
Day or Night
All direct buses travel through the night, but if you want to travel by day then there is an option to take the number 98-2 bus to Monaragala (some of these are ac), and then take the number 303-1 bus to Pottuvil or Panama. This journey will take considerably longer as there is much more traffic during the day. In addition it is possible to take any number 98 bus as they all route through Monaragala before turning north. In fact some will take you as far as Siyambalanduwa which is the next town from Monaragala. From here there are local buses to Pottuvil and Panama. The last bus from Monaragala to Pottuvil leaves at 17:30.
Pottuvil or Arugam Bay
If the bus goes to Panama then it will stop in Arugam Bay and you will not need to get off in Pottuvil. If you are unsure of this then when you arrive in Pottuvil simply wait to see if all the locals leave the bus. Many tuk tuk drivers will come on the bus and offer you an inflated price to Arugam Bay and tell you that the bus does not go there. If the conductor does not tell you to get off then the bus is going to Arugam Bay.
Arriving in Arugam Bay
There are four stops on the main road arriving in Arugam Bay from Pottuvil, shown on the map below.
After you cross the lagoon bridge from Pottuvil at the top of the map it will take the bus approximately 1 minute to reach Bus Stop 1, a distance of 1km. From there, the bus stops are about 30 seconds apart. The bus stops for taking the bus to Pottuvil or Monaragala are shown on the Leaving Here page.
If the Colombo to Arugam Bay bus stops in Pottuvil then a tuk tuk to Arugam Bay will be between 200 and 300LKR depending on which end of the town you need.
- Bandaranaike Airport to Colombo
- Colombo to Arugam Bay by Bus
- Colombo to Arugam Bay by Train and Bus via Ella or Badulla
- Colombo to Arugam Bay by Train and Bus via Batticaloa
- Colombo to Arugam Bay by Luxury Bus via Akkaraipattu
- South Coast to Arugam Bay by Bus
- Independent Taxi Share
- Request Taxi Quote
Please read this page, all comments and the page Updated Bus Times before asking a question. Thanks 🙂
Searching for a Hotel? Read the Ultimate Guide to Arugam Bay Accommodation 2019