When best to go to Sri Lanka and weather by month (+ seasons and all holidays in Sri Lanka)
When is the best time to go to Sri Lanka – for a beach vacation or to the mountains – is an important question when planning a vacation. To rest well, before buying tickets it is necessary to find out when the best time to travel to Sri Lanka and what the weather is like there in the months. As you know, in the tropics, monsoons decide everything, so the seasonal change in weather affects the availability of rainfall and ocean conditions. In this article, I will detail which beach resorts you should go to in which of the seasons in Sri Lanka. I’ll also tell you what the weather will be like in other parts of the island of Ceylon at this time, where the cultural attractions of the country are that are worth seeing, and what holidays and festivities and processions take place in Sri Lanka throughout the year.
When is the best time to go to Sri Lanka
When is the best time to go to Sri Lanka is a question that concerns many travelers who are going to visit the island of Ceylon (which is another name for Sri Lanka). What should you do – adjust your vacation to the most enjoyable season in Sri Lanka, or go when you have a vacation, or maybe you should fly right now? What to expect on arrival: a gentle breeze and singing palm trees, soft sand and warm sea or clouds over your head and raging ocean?
As you know, the weather on the island of Ceylon is made by the monsoons. They are responsible for the seasons in Sri Lanka, as well as in neighboring Maldives. In contrast to Thailand and Cambodia, where there are three distinct seasons, in Sri Lanka there are only two (wet and dry). The first is determined by the southwest monsoon, which rains in parts of the island from May through October, and then the northeast monsoon, from October through April, brings the heat.
What is the difference between monsoons in Sri Lanka? They both bring bad weather, rain, wind and storms, but on different coasts of Sri Lanka.
Weather and Seasons in Sri Lanka
Here’s what tourists need to know about the weather and seasons in Sri Lanka:
From May to October during the rainy season, defined by the southwestern monsoon, it will be quite unpleasant to vacation in the south and west of the country. And this is where the most famous resorts and beaches of Sri Lanka – Hikkaduwa, Matara, Mirissa, Unawatuna, Tangalle and others. But in winter, from November to April, when in Russia there is snow and slush, and in Istanbul is already quite cool, on the south-west coast of Sri Lanka the best time for a beach holiday is the high tourist season. During this time, it is always sunny, the waves are calm and the ocean is clear.
- Conversely, from May to September, the northeast coast of the Bay of Bengal welcomes guests to relax on the less crowded, but clean and pristine beaches of Sri Lanka in the eastern part of the country. For example, in Batticaloa . The ideal time for a holiday in eastern Sri Lanka is August. And from September to April it will be windy, and the waves in the ocean will be strong and difficult to swim.
- The exception is the resorts of Trincomalee and Pasikuda on the east coast of Sri Lanka – it is good to vacation here from March to August.
Thus, most tourists can safely go on vacation in Sri Lanka in the winter season. It is best in December and January for the New Year, when the weather settles finally and it will be sunny and warm. And at the beginning of the year it’s good to rest in Sri Lanka, not only on the coast, but also in the jungle.
Good to know: In December off the coast of Sri Lanka you can watch the migration of whales (the best whale watching is in Mirissa ), which increases the chances of December to be called the best time to vacation in Sri Lanka.
When to go to the mountains in Sri Lanka
Now let me tell you the best time to travel in Sri Lanka . To explore the mountainous part of the country, the best times are March and April. During this period there is the most sunny days. We only need to remember that in the mountains of Sri Lanka at night is quite cold (night temperatures can drop to +15 ° C), so be sure to bring warm clothing, including for overnight hikes (such as the Adama Peak – Sri Pada).
Deciding on the best time to relax in Sri Lanka, you can safely begin preparing for your trip. Cheap air tickets to Sri Lanka, see here →.
Weather in Sri Lanka by months
Weather in Sri Lanka all year round is smooth. After all, the change of seasons there depends not on the temperature regime, but on the change of the monsoon. Thus, you can expect pleasant weather, and the air temperature will be +27-29 degrees and water temperature of +27 degrees. In the mountainous part of the island (cities Kandy, Ella) the average air temperature is +23-25 degrees. The coldest is in Nuwara Eliya. Here the average temperature is only +18-20 degrees, and at night it can drop to +10-15 degrees.
Here’s what the weather is like in different regions of Sri Lanka by month :
|Colombo||+30°C daytime, +22°C at night||+30°C daytime, +24°C at night||+29°C daytime, +22°C at night|
|Kandy||+31°C daytime, +17°C at night||+29°C daytime, +21°C at night||+28°C daytime, +18°C at night|
|Nuwara Eliya||+21°C daytime, +12°C at night||+18°C daytime, +16°C at night||+18°C daytime, +15°C at night|
|Trincomalee||+32°C daytime, +24°C at night||+33°C daytime, +25°C at night||+33°C daytime, +23°C at night|
|Unawatuna||+31°C daytime, +24°C at night||+30°C daytime, +26°C at night||+31°C daytime, +25°C at night|
Sometimes monsoons interfere with the tourist season, mainly by bringing in clouds and wind. Let’s find out which month is the best to go to which resort in Sri Lanka.
Where can I go in Sri Lanka depending on the month?
- In December, January and February it is best to go to the south and west of Sri Lanka, beach resorts: -) Negombo → -) Colombo → -) Bentota → -) Hikkaduwa → -) Mirissa → -) Unawatuna → -) Tangale → … and others. In March and April you can travel all over the island of Sri Lanka, including the hill country to Nuwara Eliya and Ella. There will be great weather everywhere.
- May, June, and July are best to go to the eastern resorts in Trincomalee. And July is ideal for exploring the Cultural Triangle (Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Sigiriya).
- In August in Sri Lanka there is a kind of “Indian summer”, the echo of good weather. At this time you can vacation at all beach resorts, but it will not be ideal conditions. The sun will please, but the wind and waves will sometimes be present,
- In September, a good season continues only on the east coast of Sri Lanka.
- October and November are the worst time to vacation in Sri Lanka. Monsoons begin to change, the weather deteriorates, and it will be uncomfortable to rest throughout the country, on any coast and beach in Sri Lanka. Only by the end of November on the south and west coast of the island of Ceylon sets good weather.
Conclusions on when to go to Sri Lanka depending on the weather:
- Thus, if you want to go to Sri Lanka for beach resorts, you should consider the winter and spring months for travel. In preparation for the trip read about the best inexpensive hotels in Sri Lanka with its own beach: http://paikea.ru/sri-lanka-horoshie-nedorogie-oteli-s-sobstvennym-plyazhem/
- And if you have a desire to combine a beach vacation in Sri Lanka with a trip to the major attractions in the hill country, it is best to fly to Ceylon in March or April.
- Those who do not want to spend a long holiday on the beach, and prefer to travel independently and explore the culture of the country, it is best to go to Sri Lanka in July. At this time in the arid region of Rajarata (Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Sigiriya and other ancient cities) you can explore the ancient architecture of a constellation of Sinhalese cities. However, please note that if you do want to finish your trip to Sri Lanka short rest on the beach, in this case you should go to the east coast in Trincomalee or Batticaloa .
So there you have it, when is the best time to go to Sri Lanka. It’s just a matter of a few things:
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- Or choose a ready-made tour to Sri Lanka on the site of Online Tours →
Holidays in Sri Lanka by month.
Another nuance that may interest all lovers of exotic countries, are the holidays celebrated in Sri Lanka. Some Buddhist and national holidays can intervene even in the lives of tourists. For example, the days of poja (full moon) is always an official day off. And on this day the stores selling alcohol are closed. However, this does not apply to beach resorts.
Overview of major holidays in Sri Lanka
Bak Poya in Nuwara Eliya.
During the holidays in Sri Lanka, everything seems to stop, and for a few days, people are in a rather relaxed mode. If the full moon falls on a Thursday, then Friday is likely to be off as well. The same goes for holidays that fall on a weekend, with Monday being added to the non-working days.
A special place is the Sinhalese New Year, which in Sri Lanka is celebrated in April. Many people take two weeks off to visit relatives or go on pilgrimages to holy places. The official pilgrimage season to Sri Pada (the highest mountain in Sri Lanka, also called Adam’s Peak) is from December to April.
Since Sri Lanka is home to representatives of different faiths – Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam, there are 26 different holidays and several major festivals. Some holidays in Sri Lanka do not have a fixed date but are calculated according to the lunar calendar, while other holidays are calendar-based and are held on strictly defined days.
Our experience with holidays in Sri Lanka
During our travels in Sri Lanka, we visited Bak Poya in Nuwara Eliya and the Buddha’s birthday celebration (Vesak) in Colombo. And I must say – it’s a very colorful spectacle. The fire procession is unforgettable!
Here is a list of official holidays in Sri Lanka:
|Name of the holiday||Date or period|
|New Year||January 1|
|Tai Pongal Harvest Festival (Tamil holiday)||January|
|Durutu poya||Full moon in January|
|National Day||4 February|
|Navam poiaya||Full moon in February|
|Milad-un-Nbi (birthday of Prophet Muhammad)||March 9|
|Good Friday||March 10|
|New Year (Sinhalese and Tamil)||April|
|Bak poiaya||Full moon in April|
|May Day||May 1|
|Vesak (Buddha’s birthday)||May 1-2|
|Poseon poja||Full moon in June|
|Esala poya||Full moon in July|
|Nikini poya||Full moon in August|
|Binara poya||Full moon in September|
|El Fitr (end of Ramadan)||September 21|
|Wap pooja||Full moon in October|
|Festival of Lights Deepavali (Hindu)||October 18|
|Il poya||Full moon in November|
|Eid al-Adha (Hajj end festival)||28 November|
|Unduwap pooja||Full moon in December|
What else you should know about Sri Lanka
For all tourists who are going on a trip to Sri Lanka or going there on vacation, I also recommend checking out a number of interesting articles with useful practical information about the country that may come in handy on the trip.
Seasons and Weather in Sri Lanka
Weather by months in Sri Lanka. Features of the climate. The rainy season and the dry season. We find out when and which part of the island is better to go to rest.
Sri Lanka is a small island state in the Indian Ocean. Tourists love the island for its mild climate. There are no sudden jumps in temperature, the difference between a cold December and a hot April is only a few degrees. The air temperature is slightly above a comfortable +30 degrees. The sea is warm, the temperature of the water in the ocean is +28 degrees.
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|Month||t air during the day||water|
|February||+29. +30 °С||+28°С|
Weather in Sri Lanka by months
A hot and almost dry month is the best time to vacation in Sri Lanka. The temperature in January during the daytime reaches +30. +33 ° C during the day, while the average night temperature is +23 . +24 ° C. The water in the ocean reaches +28 ° C. The rainfall is rare and insignificant. Precipitation is rare and insignificant: short refreshing showers at night, rain and bright sun at the same time during the day. The highest temperatures are in Colombo and Bentota – the temperature can reach +33 ° C, in Galle and Hikkaduwa – up to +32 ° C.
There is practically no precipitation. Many tourists find February the most suitable for holidays. During the day is warm – about +29. +30 ° C, at night from +20 ° C to +23 ° C, the water in the ocean about +28 ° C. The most comfortable weather is in the south-west of Sri Lanka: in Beruvela about +30 ° C, in Colombo up to +32 ° C.
The beach in Unawatuna. Photo: kerenby / Depositphotos.com.
Daytime temperatures of +31. +33 ° C, at night +24. +25°С. Water in the ocean is about +29°C. The number of rainy days increases, downpours become longer and heavier, can be with thunderstorms. In the southwestern part of the island – Bentota, Negombo, Vadduva – winds blow at the beginning of the month, sometimes with short and warm showers.
April is the last month before the rainy season and is the hottest. The amount of precipitation almost doubles. The air temperature rises and reaches +34°C during the day, +27°C at night, the water in the ocean is +28. +29°С. You can go on vacation in April to any resort in Sri Lanka, but for a beach holiday at the end of the month it is better to prefer the resorts on the north-eastern coast.
The monsoons begin to operate. It is very hot and humid: +32. +34 ° C during the day, +28 ° C at night, few sunny days, frequent tropical showers. The southwestern area is flooded. The water in the ocean is turning murky and unfit for swimming. In the northeast of the country is sunny and about +30 ° C, there is little rain. The coolest resort on the island, Nuwara Eliya, reaches maximum temperatures in May: +27°C during the day, +18°C at night.
View of Pidurangali on Lion’s Rock.
The rainy season is in full swing, with few sunny days. Most of the time it rains at night and is cloudy during the day. Very wet in the southern part of the island, the northeast is drier and more sunny. The water is +28 ° C, but it is difficult to swim because of the strong waves. The average air temperature is +31°C, although it feels much higher.
The heavy tropical downpours are joined by monsoons, and the hot and strong winds do not bring the expected coolness. In the west, it is very rainy and rivers sometimes overflow, causing flooding. The northeastern coast is hot and sunny – in Batticaloa and Trincomalee +35 ° C during the day, in Jaffna +32 ° C, ocean water +26 ° C. +28°С.
Rainy season in Sri Lanka (Photo: Denish C / flickr.com / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 license)
August brings less rainfall in Sri Lanka, but humidity remains high. It is cloudy, although sunny days slip in occasionally. The weather in Sri Lanka in August creates acceptable conditions for holidays on the southwestern coast of the island – in Kandy, Bentota and Galle (about +30 ° C), but sometimes waves appear. In the northeast, the ocean is calm and warm – up to +29 ° C, daytime temperatures of +34 ° C.
Weather in Sri Lanka
The weather in Sri Lanka in September has not yet settled down, it is still cloudy, zenithal rains are frequent. There are storms in the southwest, although the water is warm. In Galle it is +28. +30°C during the day, +26°C at night. In Bentota there is a strong wave, and in Unawatuna the lagoon protects from the waves. In the northeast, it is warm and there is much less rainfall.
The best time to vacation in October in Sri Lanka is in the east of the country, as the western monsoons are in effect. In Trincomalee and Batticaloa it is +33°C during the day and about +25°C at night. However, by the end of the month the weather in the north-east begins to deteriorate – the rainy season is approaching. For a beach holiday in the south of Sri Lanka, only the lagoons of Unawatuna are suitable, the ocean is calm and warm to +29 ° C. Colombo is hot and rainy.
The beach in Trincomalee. Photo: Images of Sri Lanka – Sequential Shots / flickr.com / CC BY-NC 2.0 license.
Sri Lanka’s high tourist season begins in the second half of the month. At the end of November it is already dry and warm in the southwest with temperatures of +29. +30 ° C during the day, +26 ° C at night. The water temperature in the ocean is +27°C. It rains in the northeast, influenced by the monsoon.
December in Sri Lanka is considered the coolest month. Rains are rare. Daytime temperatures are +28. +30 ° C, +23. +24 ° C at night. The ocean is warm – up to +28 ° C. In the south-west the beach season is in full swing, in the east it rains, but most often at night. In the mountains it is cold and humid.
Beach in Hikkaduwa (Photo: iris0327 / flickr.com / License CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Peculiarities of Sri Lanka’s climate in different parts of the island
In Ceylon, beach holidays are possible all year round. You just need to keep in mind that the climate of Sri Lanka is slightly different in different parts of the country. In the northeast, the climate is subequatorial, in the southwest – equatorial.
Sri Lanka has two seasons – the rainy season and the dry period. Monsoons have a huge impact: from October to March the northeastern monsoon acts, from May to September the southwestern monsoon. Monsoons bring rainfall and storms. During the inter-monsoon period, there can be zenithal rains, when there are short showers in the afternoon (sun at zenith).
The average air temperature during the day is +28. +30 ° C, the water in the ocean warms up to +27 ° C. The climate in the coastal zone is fresher and more pleasant than in places away from the ocean, where it is hotter and more humid.
The island is flat, divided by the Central Highlands. In the mountainous areas the average annual temperature is +23 ° C, while in the highlands the temperature can be much lower. One of the coldest places on the island is considered Nuwara Eliya: +16. +18 ° C during the day and +10 ° C at night.
Map of Sri Lanka resorts
Rainy season in Sri Lanka
During the rainy season, Sri Lanka receives 95% of the annual rainfall. It rains from October to January in the northeast of the island and in the summer (May to October) in the southwest, there is an increased likelihood of tsunamis and flooding from overflowing rivers.
Despite the fact that during the rainy season in Sri Lanka it is cloudy and wet, low prices for tours during this period attract some tourists. Even in cloudy weather you can get a tan here, and heavy downpours come mostly at night. During the day it may rain 3-4 times for 15-30 minutes. The main drawback for vacationers during the rainy season in Sri Lanka is the restless ocean and murky water.
Ahead of the storm on the beach in Hikkaduwa (Photo: unsplash.com / @maxkuk)
Sri Lanka’s holiday season: when is the best time to go?
From the reviews of tourists we can conclude that at any time in Sri Lanka enough heat and sun, and the water in the Indian Ocean is always warm. For a full beach vacation it’s better to go to the southwestern part of the island in December and April – it’s sunny, dry and no winds. But in the north-east coast of Sri Lanka vacation season runs from May to September. October and November are transitional months with inconsistent weather.