Have you ever travelled to Arugam Bay on a motorbike? This week we spoke to an ardent adventurer Eshan, who shared his gruelling journey travelling across Sri Lanka from the furthest corner in the West Coast to the East.
Taking a slightly unconventional route to go to Arugambay, Eshan and his crew decided to head out at 3 a.m. on a Friday morning on their motorbikes.
The route they opted for would take them through Nuwara Eliya, to Haputale and through Monaragala they would reach Arugam Bay.
He shared that they chose this route as it is the most scenic and they hoped to make a longer stop in Nuwara Eliya. When they reached Nuwara Eliya that morning they decided to spend a few hours exploring the city.
He said that just as they passed Hatton they were welcomed with a thick cloud of mist breaking through the barrier to enter the city and after enjoying a lazy breakfast they headed out to their next stop in Haputale.
For anyone passing by Haputale, Diyaluma Falls is a sight you simply cannot miss. Because they were slightly ahead of schedule they decided to spend some time enjoying the sights of Sri Lanka’s second highest waterfall. However, this is when they first noticed some mechanical failures in one of their bikes which required some repairs.
While they were able to repair it to an extent in Haputale, about 30 kilometres (km) later, when they reached Buttala the issue resurfaced and they were forced to wait for the bike to be repaired. Eshan shared that they had to spend nearly three hours in Buttala which really set them back.
However what they didn’t realise was that the worst was yet to come, because when they called their rest house to inform them that they will be late to check in, the owner had informed them that their route now would take them through the Lahugala Forest at nighttime which is ill-advised and incredibly dangerous. The route that leads to Arugam Bay through the forest has an elephant corridor which sees elephants passing through around that time of the night.
Left with no choice, they completed their bike repairs and entered Lahugala Forest at 8 p.m. Finally after travelling the eight km in absolute fear, they were faced with the additional worry of their recently repaired bike potentially acting up again and of course the possibility of coming face-to-face with an elephant in its environment while on a motorbike.
He shared that the time they spent racing through the forest, covering those eight or so km, were the longest minutes of his life. He emphasised that there have been many elephant attacks on these roads, and that when you cross elephants while they are with their family especially, you are not likely to get out of there unscathed.
However, despite their worries they were able to exit the thickest of the forest safely and they finally reached their destination in Arugam Bay.
Eshan shared that because they had planned to stay two days they were able to explore Panama and the East Coast quite leisurely, and they visited the famous Sangaman Kanda and also the Muhudu Maha Viharaya. After visiting Panama Lake where you can see some of the largest crocodiles on the island, they headed over to their rest house for the night and left the first thing next morning. Although, they didn’t forget to catch the sunrise from Arugam Bay as they bid farewell to the East.