What Is The Best Time To Travel To Sri Lanka And Weather
Image (c) Scott M Salt
There is no actual “best” time to visit. Sri Lanka is really a four season destination
If you're looking for the best (low season) rates for accommodation in Sri Lanka, think of traveling in March, May, June or September.
What you need to be aware of are the monsoon seasons – of which there are two, and plan your route accordingly. Due to these monsoons, one side of our coastline is ‘in season’ at any given time of year with great beaches and warm weather.
However, like elsewhere in the world, weather has become completely erratic in Sri Lanka but you could take the following as a rough guide;
January: Lovely, warm weather. Great beaches on the south and west coasts. Early January (until around the 10th ) is peak season (with rates and supplements to match!)
February to March: Nice warm weather continues but beginning to get really hot by March - think mid 30°C with humidity making it feel hotter(stay well hydrated), best hotel deals during the month of March. South and west coast beaches still in season. February is a lovely quiet time to travel if you want to avoid crowds.
April: The hottest and driest month with temperatures reaching mid 30°C. Avoid sightseeing from late morning 11 am till about 3 pm especially in the Cultural Triangle and North Central regions. Local school vacations and Sri Lankan New Year holidays can make cultural sites and wildlife parks crowded. Tail end of the beach season in the south and west coasts but the east coast beaches just beginning to look good.
May to June: South-West monsoon time with sharp bursts of rain along the south and west coasts including Tangalle, Mirissa, Galle, Weligama and Colombo. Humid nights. Great beaches on the east coast though. Great rates on offer for accommodation as it's a rather quiet time of year for tourism.
July: A great time to travel especially towards the east and south east coast. Nice hot weather. Early July is not yet the peak tourist season. Cultural Triangle and the North Central Province being extremely dry. Great time to see wildlife across the country. (The Annual Kandy Perahera sometimes falls during a 10 day period in July, when peak season supplements apply and accommodation gets booked up pretty fast).
August: Not as hot as April but hot weather across the island. Peak Summer holiday season and local school holidays, so a busy period across Sri Lanka. Lovely beaches in the East and south east coast. (If the Annual Kandy Perahera falls during a 10 day period in August peak season supplements apply and accommodation gets booked up pretty fast).
September: Dry weather with temperatures around 30°C. Drought conditions may arise in the deep south, south east and north central regions and some wildlife parks may be closed for visitors until mid October - please check before you book your safari. Tail end of the season for east coast beaches.
October : Low tourist season. October is when the inter-monsoon period begins. Rainfalls are intermittent and does not last throughout the day, but rains are far more likely to happen than in September. So if it's just a long stay beach holiday that you are after, its not ideal. However, for a holiday with a mix of culture, wildlife and a few days by the beach it's actually a lovely quiet time to travel with uncrowded sites and national parks and great rates on offer. The weather has become very unpredictable (like elsewhere in the world).
November: Low tourist season. North-east monsoon begins to hit the east coast. Inter-monsoon conditions across the island make it a less than ideal time to travel even to the south in terms of weather. Continuous rainfall during the day with thunder and lightning. Cool days and nights. Great rates on offer across the island.
December: Monsoons taper off only towards mid-December and temperatures can reach mid 20°Cs across the island and may even be low single digits in the Hill Country. Very comfortable weather to travel. Great beaches in the south but peak season rates apply across the island.
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