Sri Lanka Guide

Sri Lanka Travel 101: When is the Best Time to Visit Sri Lanka?

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The weather of a particular destination is one of the most critical factors the will affect the entirety of your travel plans. It’s a good sign that you’re taking notes of when’s the best time to visit Sri Lanka. This sets you off on the right foot in planning your ultimate tropical getaway! The thing is, Sri Lanka is actually a year-round destination, and that’s the beauty that caps off this stunning tropical island. You can spend a sunny holiday here anytime, so long as you know where to go at a specific time of the year.

Understanding Sri Lanka’s Two Monsoon Seasons

best time to visit sri lanka
Photo by Eddy Billard on Unsplash

First off, let’s get you familiarised with the island’s monsoon seasons—the southwest monsoon a.k.a. Yala monsoon and the northeast monsoon a.k.a. Maha monsoon.

  • Yala monsoon: rains in the southwest of Sri Lanka between May and September. The wettest months are May and June. In this region, dry season runs from December to March.
  • Maha monsoon: rains in the northeast between November and March. The wettest months are November and December. In this region, dry season runs from May to September.

There is also an inter-monsoonal period during the months of October and November. Throughout this time, rain and thunderstorms may occur across the whole island. The sky clears up during the second half of November, as December nears.

While these are true, it’s worthy to note that weather in Sri Lanka is not at all consistent. There may be times when skies are unusually blue during monsoon seasons, or there will be uncalled-for downpours during dry seasons.

Villa Finder’s Tip: The key here is to always be prepared. Have a sturdy umbrella in handy, which you can both use regardless if it’s sunny or rainy outside.

The Temperature in Sri Lanka

As the island is positioned close to the equator, it means that the temperature is pretty much constant across all months. Lowland and coastal areas experience an average daytime temperature playing between 26 and 30°C. As the altitude increases, the temperature decreases. The highest parts of the island enjoy a pleasantly mild temperature of about 14 to 17°C.

Humidity, on the other hand, can be high everywhere. The southwest part of the island experiences higher humidity from about 60% to as high as 90%, while the rest of the island averages between 60% and 80%.

Villa Finder’s Tip: Always have a reusable water bottle to keep you hydrated. Bring along sunblock, sunglasses and hats.

The Best Time to Visit Specific Areas of Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka weather - best time to visit

As mentioned, the best time to visit the island depends exactly on where you are planning to go around. It may be a little bit confusing at first, but here’s a brief summary to help you out on that.

West Coast – Bentota, Colombo, Negombo, and Kalpitiya

The best months to go here are from late November to April. Expect an average temperature of about 30°C. If a huge chunk of your itinerary consists of visiting these areas, avoiding flying in on rainy season between June and September.

The South – Galle, Weligama, Mirissa, Tangalle and Yala National Park

best time to visit galle

Those leading to the southwest are expected to have the same weather as those in the west coast, with best months between November and April. Move further to the southeast, and you’ll see the weather much like of those on the east coast, with best months from May to September. Check out our villas in South Sri Lanka here.

East Coast – off-the-beaten-path areas

The east coast consists of Sri Lanka’s least developed tourist destinations. This includes cities and areas such as Passekudah, Trincomalee, Arugam Bay, Batticaloa, Nilaveli, and Kuchchaveli. The best months to go here are from May to September. While not many tourists aim to set their foot in these areas when they first visit the island, it is still worthy to note that October to January is the period to avoid when flying in.

Tea Country – Kandy, Ella, Nuwara Eliya, Haputale, Hatton, and Adam’s Peak

best time to go to kandy

Because of its higher altitude, Kandy area tends to have lower temperatures and lower chances of rainfall. While the weather in Tea Country is affected by both Yala and Maha, resulting in much cooler temperatures as compared to the rest of Sri Lanka.

The Cultural Triangle – Dambulla, Anuradhapura, Sigiriya, and Minneriya National Park

Areas within the “dry zone” are expected to experience fairly arid weather across the year, with the exception of high rainfall in the months of November and December.

As with other tourist destinations, Sri Lanka is often flocked with excited visitors during the holiday season of December to April. As noted a while ago, the island is a year-round tropical attraction. If you want to get away with the mass of tourists and plan for a peaceful getaway, all you have to do is refer to the weather tips above and work your way around the schedules!

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