Best Time To Visit Sri Lanka

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What is the best time to visit Sri Lanka?

The best time to visit Sri Lanka is generally from December to March, marking the dry season in most tourist parts of the country. However, Sri Lanka is a year-round destination, with April/May to September being the ideal time to explore the East Coast of Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka experiences 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.

Peak Season: December to March is the best time to visit Sri Lanka on the western and southern coasts. These months are optimal for exploring beach destinations like Mirissa, Galle, or Colombo, and even the highland destinations of Ella and Nuwara Eliya. The temperature ranges from 25°C to 30°C on the coasts and 15°C to 18°C in the highlands, offering pleasant weather for outdoor activities.

Shoulder Season: April, September, and October constitute the shoulder season with fewer crowds, but it's not rainy during these months.

Off-Season: May to August is the off-season. Frequent showers and higher humidity can characterize the weather in the touristy southern coast. Travelers during these months may experience limitations in outdoor activities and sightseeing due to the rain. However, this is a very good season to explore the East Coast of Sri Lanka, such as Trincomalee, Arugam Bay, etc. with dry weather and clear skies. 

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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, South Coast, and Hill Country. Temperature ranges between 26°C-30°C In the coastal and lowland areas. It can, however, climb up to 30°C during the hottest part of the day. However, the time during Christmas and New Year is famous for tourist attractions but also the most expensive. But if you wish to explore 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, one of the most predominant festivals in Sri Lanka.
  • February or March (dates vary) is a grand celebration of Mahashivatri.
  • The Sinhala & Tamil New Year is celebrated on April 13th and 14th. This festival marks the Lunar New Year and the end of the harvest season and spring.

Sri Lanka Offseason

Low season May to August, is when the Yala Monsoon hits the state. This time is yet a reasonable time to visit the North and Eastern parts of the country. Ocean winds keep the climate of Sri Lanka tropical and warm. Yearly average temperature ranges fluctuate between 28°C to 31°C. 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 festival 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 celebrates the victory of Skandha, the war god over evil forces.
  • Besides these, a 25-day festival is celebrated in August and September. It is called the Nallur Festival, which honors Lord Murugan.

East Coast of Sri Lanka

While the rest of Sri Lanka is experiencing rainfall, the eastern coast has its mood. The northeastern 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 on the West Coast; hence, rainfall is highest between June and September. The best weather conditions are between late November and April when the average temperature does not drop below 30°C. 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 southwest 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 that pass quickly during this monsoon season, with temperatures between 28°C-31°C.

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°C. Beaches are hot and dry, offering a good time to travel.

October and November are 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. Is there also a temperature drop to around 24°C.

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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