Best Time To Visit Sri Lanka

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What is the best time to visit Sri Lanka?

The island country can be visited all around the year, however December to April is considered the best time to visit Sri Lanka. The only major point of focus is which side of the country is to be visited in a particular month. If you decide to visit the West and South coasts and discover the hillsides, December to March is an ideal time. However, April/May to September is best to see the Eastern Coast. Also, this country receives two different monsoon seasons at different times. So it implies that where one part of the country is wet, the other can be dry simultaneously. With Sri Lanka’s position being close to the Equator, the temperature of this island country remains relatively constant throughout the year.

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Sri Lanka Peak Season

Peak season in Sri Lanka is from December to April. This is a dry season in the West and South Coast and Hill Country. Temperature ranges between 26-30℃ in the coastal and lowland areas. It can, however, climb up to 30℃ during the hottest part of the day. However, the time during Christmas and New Year is famous for tourist attraction but also the most expensive. But if you wish to explore the entirety of the country, April and September are the best months.

Events and Festivals
  • The festival of Duruthu Perahara marks the beginning of the Buddhist calendar. This traditional festival is celebrated on the full moon day in January.
  • Another festival celebrated in mid-January is the Thai Pongal which is one among the most predominant festival of Sri Lanka.
  • The month of February or March (dates vary) is known for a grand celebration of Mahashivatri.
  • The Sinhala & Tamil New Year is celebrated on the 13th and 14th April. This festival marks the Lunar New Year and the end of the harvest season and spring.

Sri Lanka Offseason

Low season in May to August is when the Yala Monsoon hits the state. This time is yet a reasonable time to visit the North and Eastern part of the country. Ocean winds keep the climate of Sri Lanka tropical and warm. Yearly average temperature ranges fluctuate between 28℃ to 31℃. September to November is the second monsoon period that experiences occasional showers which doesn't affect the entire country. The weather is pleasant during this time with unpredictable rainfall, hence it's advised to cross-check weather reports of the region you're visiting before planning a trip.

Events and Festivals 
  • Vesak Poya is a festival celebrated on the full moon day of May. It is one of the most celebrated festivals of Sri Lanka.
  • Following Vesak Poya comes to another festival in June. The festival is known as Poson Paya and is the second most important festivals celebrated by the Buddhists.
  • The Kandy Esala Poya Perahara is celebrated on the full moon of July or August. It is also known as the 'Festival of the Tooth.'
  • Another significant Hindu festival is the Kataragama Esala Festival which coincides with the Esala Perahara of Kandy.
  • The same months witness another major cultural festival known as the Vel Festival. The festival is to celebrate the victory of Skandha, the war-god over evil forces.
  • Besides these, a 25-day long festival is celebrated in August-September. It is called the Nallur Festival which is in honor of Lord Murugan.

East Coast of Sri Lanka

While the rest of Sri Lanka is experiencing rainfall, the eastern coast has its mood. The north-eastern monsoons influence this side of the country. However, the best time and weather is from April to September. The East Coast offers minimal beach accommodation and if you want you can experience Asia’s least developed beaches here.
Places: Passekudah, Arugam Bay, Nilaveli, Trincomalee, Batticaloa, Kuchchaveli

South Coast of Sri Lanka

The south-western corner experience similar weather conditions to the west coast. The places closer to Galle is best to be visited between late November and April. If you go further east, i.e., beyond Yala National park, north-eastern monsoons can influence the weather patterns. October to January witness higher rainfall and May to September is dry.
Places: Galle, Mirissa, Weligama, Yala National Park, Tangalle

West Coast of Sri Lanka

South-western monsoons govern the weather in West Coast; hence rainfall is highest between June and September. The best weather condition is between late November and April where the average temperature does not drop below 30℃. However, there can be sudden heavy rainfall and stormy conditions which might spoil your beach plans.
Places: Bentota, Negombo, Colombo, Kalpitiya

Monsoons in Sri Lanka (May - November)

May-June is the time when the South-West monsoon hits the country. But as the name suggests, places in the south-west quarter of the country like Colombo and Galle, receive showers during these months. Notably, this is the shorter monsoon of the two monsoons that Sri Lanka receives. You will experience sharp showers which pass quite quickly during this monsoon season with temperatures between 28-31℃.

July to September is the ‘inter-monsoon’ period of the year. The weather is great during this time when the temperature is high throughout the country at around 29℃. Beaches are pretty hot and dry offering an essentially good time to travel.

October and November is the time of the second monsoon phase. The North-East monsoon is more massive than the previous shower of the year. Again, this does not affect the whole country. It is nevertheless unpredictable for stronger, lighter, and more sporadic showers. There is also a temperature drop to around 24℃.

Dry Season in Sri Lanka ( December - April )

Sri Lanka in December is the best time to explore its rural side. The monsoon tones down leaving the country with beautiful, hot, and dry weather. The rural parts of the country will have lush green landscapes because the monsoon hence scenic natural beauty is at its best for explorers to enjoy.

January to March is the ideal time when tourists can plan their calendar well. You can visit the entire country during these months. Sri Lanka basks under ample sunshine and is relatively warm at this time. At this time of the year, Hill Country is more relaxed than the other parts of the country. Beaches towards the South and Western coasts are hot, dry, and sunny. The average temperature fluctuates between 30-32℃.

April is a great time to head to the beaches if you are looking for clear skies with long, sunny days. This month is arguably the driest and hottest of all. The temperature fluctuates in the mid-30℃s, especially in the Central part and Cultural Triangle.

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