Arugam Bay in Lonely Planet’s 2018 list of best travel destinations in Asia

Arugam Bay, located in the south-east coast of Sri Lanka, is one of Asia’s best destinations to visit this year, according to the travel guidebook Lonely Planet.

A sleepy town with an idyllic bay named after the city, Arugam Bay is home to an internationally-reputed point break, considered to be the best waves for surfing in all of Sri Lanka.

Surfing enthusiasts from around the world have been visiting Arugam Bay since the late 1990s, but it is today popular with non-surfers too for the stunning coves with white-sand beaches and calm waters.

There are a number of beaches within minutes from each other in the town of Arugam Bay, in the event any one beach gets too busy.

“Asia is such a vast and diverse continent for anyone dreaming of an escape,” Lonely Planet‘s Asia-Pacific media spokesperson Chris Zeiher told CNN about the travel publication’s 2018 Best in Asia list, which was first started in 2016.

“Our experts have combed through thousands of recommendations to pick the best destinations to visit over the next 12 months.”

Along with Sri Lanka, Lonely Planet has also recommended destinations in South Korea, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, India, Japan, Thailand, Nepal and China in their 10 best places to visit in Asia list.

Despite Sri Lanka emerging as one of the world’s hottest travel destinations, Arugam Bay, a surf town on the country’s east coast, has miraculously managed to retain its cool. While holidaymakers swarm the country’s ancient citadels and hiker-strewn hill stations, here you’ll find barefooted boarders sprawled outside vegan cafes and scrawled signs on hotel doors reading: ‘gone surfing, back soon.’

Renowned as a long-time surf haven, the town boasts breaks to satisfy all levels, along with a number of schools to get everyone hanging 10. If the turquoise swells can’t tug you in, Arugam has authentically grown its on land offering, with an increase in beachside bars and makeshift music festivals; plus a handy proximity to Kumana National Park, home to leopards, elephants and crocodiles.

© Island Life