The best time to visit Sri Lanka is largely depend on the nature of the trip you plan to have. e.g if you plan to have a beach holiday in Sri Lanka, it is very important to choose the beach holiday destination as well as the best time to travel to the chosen destination; otherwise you could ended up stuck in the hotel room for the entire beach holiday due to the adverse weather. Sri Lanka is all year round holiday destination e.g south-west Sri Lankan beaches provides best conditions for beach holidays from November to April. The beaches on the east coast provides best holiday experience from My to October. However, in order to visit cultural sites, historical monuments, wildlife parks and most other tourist places there is no specific time of the year to visit.
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO TRAVEL TO SRI LANKA?
If you are wondering what the best time to travel to Sri Lanka, note it down! It is from November to April to the southern and western coast. And the best time to travel to Sri Lanka’s east coast is from May to October. However, the peak holiday season in Sri Lanka occurs parallel to the north-east monsoon from November to April. During this period Sri Lanka attracts a large number of travellers and most of these travellers anchors on either the west coast or south coast due to dry and warm weather.
Travel to Sri Lanka in November
“Can we visit Sri Lanka in November?'”, “Is it possible to have a Sri Lanka trip package in November?, “How is the Sri Lankan weather like in November?”… are some of the questions we get often from our readers. The main tourist season in Sri Lanka starts in the month of November and remains until April next year. All stakeholders of Sri Lanka tourism have a very busy time during these 6 months.
- Dry season: November to April
- Wet / Rainy season: May to October
Sri Lanka weather can be broadly divided into 2 seasons, dry season and rainy season. Sri Lanka is a tropical island that has favourable weather conditions for outdoor activities at any time of the year.
The best time to travel to Sri Lanka starts in November
However, the best time to visit Sri Lanka is largely differs based on the destination you choose. E.g if you choose to travel to Sri Lanka in November, a large part of Sri Lanka has dry weather except north and east. If you opt to travel to Sri Lanka from April to November, a large part of the country under Monsoon, especially there is heavy rainfall on the southern and west coast.
The period from November to April considered being the best time to visit Sri Lanka and which is the high tourist season in Sri Lanka. November and December are the coolest months and relatively dry while July is the hottest month of the year.
From November to April most parts of the island has dry weather ideal conditions for taking in the highlights and hidden gems of Sri Lanka. Temperatures will always be warmer in western and southern Sri Lanka, with comfortable coastal beach weather.
Planning to visit Sri Lanka? But still not sure of the best time to visit Sri Lanka. Here are the guidelines to find the best places for your Sri Lanka trip based on the time you travel.
What is the best time to visit Sri Lanka? is a common question but as far as I know, this question is not applicable to Sri Lanka. Because Sri Lanka is a year-round holiday destination. This means that you can choose either the west coast or the east coast for a stunning holiday at any time of the year. Depending on the time you hit the Island, you should either travel to the east coast or the west coast.
The best time to travel to Sri Lanka starts with the advent of the north-east monsoon
Following beaches become most suitable for beach holidays and sea-based activities over the 6 months starting from November…
- Negombo Beach
- Mt.Lavinia Beach
- Wadduwa Beach
- Kalutara Beach
- Ambangoda Beach
- Bentota/Beruwala Beach
- Hikkaduwa Beach
- Weligama/Mirissa Beach
- Galle/Unawatuna/Matara Beach
- Hambantota/Tangalle Beach
Nov-April: Best time to travel to Sri Lanka’s west coast beaches
October is a rainy month for the most part of Sri Lanka. Usually, November is a dry month for western and southern Sri Lanka and the mountains. Main tourist traffic starts to come to the island in the month of November and continues until April of the following year.
This period is the best time of the year to have a beach holiday in beach areas of western and southern Sri Lanka, where rainfall is at a minimum. Most importantly the sea turns to be very calm and quiet allowing all form of saltwater activities such as swimming, boating, diving, snorkelling and all Other saltwater activities.
Bad weather in the month of October on the island except for north-east
Weather in the month of October is not very unfavourable for holidays in Sri Lanka due to the heavy rain throughout the country. The weather in Sri Lanka in the month of October usually wet. However, towards the end of the month, the dry weather consolidates over most parts of the country, especially south-west Sri Lanka in order to welcome the main tourist season.
However, if you plan to travel to Sri Lanka and have a beach holiday, the east coast is the best bet for the month of October. In the month of October, the east coast is spared from the monsoon and therefore the sea off the east coast and the north coast is good for a beach holiday and has dry weather.
The best time to travel to Sri Lanka largely depends on the weather pattern
Weather is perhaps the single most important factors when it comes to selecting a holiday destination. Therefore, I thought of making this note on Sri Lanka weather, to help our readers to get more insight on Sri Lanka weather pattern and choose the best time to travel to Sri Lanka.
In fact, a large number of our readers ask questions like “when is the Sri Lanka rain season ?“, “when is the Sri Lanka dry season ?“, “What is the Sri Lanka weather in November ?” and “when is the best time to book Sri Lanka tours ?” etc. So, I think this article going to help most travellers who are curious about the Sri Lanka weather pattern. If you need further information on this subject please don’t hesitate to write to me.
The main tourist season of Sri Lanka
Main tourist traffic starts to come to the island in the month of November and continues until April of the following year. This period is the best time of the year to have a beach holiday in beach areas of western and southern Sri Lanka, where rainfall is at a minimum. Most importantly the sea turns to be very calm and quiet allowing all form of saltwater activities such as swimming, boating, diving, snorkelling and all Other saltwater activities.
The best time to travel to Sri Lanka is largely decided by the Monsoon
The rain persisted throughout the month of October, which is a notable shift from the usual weather pattern, normally towards the end of the month the dry weather settles over most parts of Sri Lanka and rainfall suddenly diminishes from the south, west and north-west parts of the island as the south-west monsoon reduces its effect.
The weather is a major factor in deciding the best time to visit Sri Lanka (about Sri Lanka). Sri Lanka is a tropical country, the climate in Sri Lanka can be described as summer climate throughout the year. The main factors that are shaping the Sri Lanka weather are identified as temperature, rainfall and wind. While being located in the tropics, the influence of the Indian Ocean, proximity to the Indian mainland and central mountain range are the minor factors.
The effect of the monsoon is deciding the best time to travel to Sri Lanka
The climate is under the influence of the Monsoon in the Indian subcontinent. Seasonal monsoon wind is the main contributor to the island’s rainfall that has six months changing the pattern, Summer monsoon (from April to November) and winter monsoon (November to April). The central part of the island, which is mainly comprised of mountains, shows a totally different climate than the rest of the country. Summer monsoon or North-East monsoon brings the rain from April to November and soaks the North, East, Southern and some parts of the Island’s central region.
Sri Lanka is located between the 5 and 9.5 of north latitudes hence Sri Lanka weather can be described as warm and humid like in most of the tropical countries. The average temperature of the South-West part of the country records around 28C. The northern and eastern part of the country experiences a warmer climate, which measured to be around 30C.
The best time to travel to Sri Lanka: Temperature
There is a large difference between the temperature along the coastal belt and the mountains in the central part of the country. Every hundred meters above the sea level resulted in a reduction of the temperature by 1 Grade celsius; Since the island is surrounded by the Indian Ocean temperature on the land is moderated by the sea wind.
Even the high temperature is moderated by the sea wind. The rainfall is considered a major factor in deciding the weather of Sri Lanka. The country is divided into three climatic zones depending on the rainfall namely dry zone, wet zone and arid zone.
The monsoon rain that soaks the island throughout the year is a major factor in deciding the best time to visit Sri Lanka. The temperature of South-West Sri Lanka considerably drops during the South-West monsoon and the North-East monsoon reduces the temperature of North-East parts of the country.
Being an island close to the equator temperature of Sri Lanka estimated to be between 29 to 33 ˚C in the lower elevations, such as beach areas. The temperature in the island greatly differs in some parts of the country depending on the elevation. The central mountain records the highest variation of temperature.
The temperature fluctuation
The temperature fluctuates from 20°C to -2°C resulting in frost in the evening and night. Temperature fluctuation is comparatively low in the low-altitudes, where the temperature lies between about 35°C to 28°C. Day and night temperature variation in the low altitudes mostly recorded as 4°C.
May to June, is the hottest period of the year and February records the minimum rainfall on the island, coming under the best time to visit Sri Lanka. Yearly rainfall of the country is influenced by the monsoon wind, which occurs from Nov to April (North-East monsoon) and from April to Nov (South-West monsoon).
The best time to travel to Sri Lanka: summer monsoon
Summer monsoon wind enters the island from the South-West borders of the country and goes up upon encountering the Central Highland. Different parts of the country are soaked by the monsoon rain in the different periods of the year, making it rain somewhere in the country at any given time. Also, the monsoon pattern is very generous and giving the opportunity to travellers to have a holiday at any time of the year either in North-East Sri Lanka or South-West Sri Lanka.
The rising wind forms the clouds and uploads heavy rains in the South-West part of the country. Average rainfall in the region, where the summer monsoon occurs (wet zone) measured between 2500 mm – 5000 mm and nearly 30% of the island is coming under the wet zone.
The rest of the country records half of the yearly rainfall as the wet zone. Where the rainfall is measured between 1250 mm to 2500 mm. The dry zone mainly benefits from the winter monsoon that occurs from Nov-Apr.
The best time to travel to Sri Lanka: Humidity
High humidity is recorded in the South-West part of the country, where the moisture accumulates due to the constant wind from the Indian Ocean. The humidity of the South-West part of the country measured as high as 95% especially during the monsoon, while the average humidity is recorded as 85%. The humidity of the lower elevation measured around 85% making it adding some discomfort for the existing high temperature.
The constant wind of the beaches makes it more comfortable to live around the coastal best than the cities that are away from the coast. At the higher elevation of the island, is the more comfortable climate with low temperatures around 25˚C.
Humidity in the hill country
Nuwara Eliya the highest elevated city on the island records the lowest temperature on the island. The temperature of Nuwara Eliya can fall up to -2 ˚C after sunset in the months of November and December. The highest temperature of the island recorded in the North and Eastern parts of the island between 35 to 37 ˚C average temperatures.
Humidity in north-east Sri Lanka
North-East Sri Lanka records a low humidity percentage compared to the wet zone due to the low percentage of moisture in the winds that enters the country from the North-East border of the country. When the winds come from the Indian mainland it comes across a land thereby contains a low amount of moisture. In the mountains at an elevation of 500m above the sea level average humidity ranges between 70% and 79%. Dry zone regions such as Anuradhapura shows less humidity compared to the wet zone and measured between 60% – 79%.
The best time to travel to Sri Lanka: Rainfall
More than half of the island’s land area is covered by the North-East monsoon and the area is categorized under the dry zone. The estimated yearly rainfall in the dry zone areas of the island including the Jaffna peninsula is 1500 to 2500 mm.
The 6 months starting from November categorized has the dry season, during which large part of the island has dry weather.
Sri Lanka arid zone where the rainfall at its lowest
Yala and the surrounding of Kataragama are categorized under the arid zone with the minimum yearly rainfall on the island. As the name suggests the area is dry for most of the year and the yearly rainfall estimated to be less than 1500 mm. The temperature of the dry zone is very high compared to the rest of the island and unlike other climate zones, most of the green cover is comprised of throne bushes.
Sri Lanka wet zone with the highest rainfall
West, South and South-West parts of the island are recording the highest rainfall in the island, which is between 2500 to 5000 mm. Wet zone of the island mainly comprised of the low land of western Sri Lanka and the western slope of the central mountain range. The Winter monsoon is the main contributor to the yearly rainfall of the wet zone.
South-west monsoon rain
The monsoon wind enters the island from the South-West part of the island and soaks the Western parts of the central mountains; the leeward side of the mountain range remains dry owing to the dry wind that resulted from the rain in the western part of the mountain range. The wind which passes in the direction of the eastern slope of the mountain range is called “Kachchan wind” and that increases the oppressive heat of the North and Eastern parts of Sri Lanka.
Choosing the best time to travel in Sri Lanka based on rainfall
The unique pattern of the monsoon wind which changes its direction every six months makes Sri Lanka an ideal holiday destination (Sri Lanka weather, Sri Lanka rain season) with dry weather at any time of the year. Either the east coast or the west coast provides the best climate for outgoing activities at any time of the year.
Some parts of the island stay dry and show the best climate for holiday at any given time of the year. When the North-East monsoon soaks the North and Eastern Sri Lanka west coast experience the dry weather while the South and Western Sri Lanka experience the rainy season from April to November, North and Eastern parts of the island experience the dry climate.
The best time to travel to Sri Lanka: Effect of inter-monsoon
Sri Lankan weather is under the influence of the North-East monsoon which occurs from January to March and the South-West monsoon from May to October. The time in-between the two monsoons are known as inter-monsoon. During the inter monsoon, the island experiences wet weather owing to an inter-monsoon shower.
During the inter-monsoon mostly the rain occurred in the afternoon while the morning and mid-day stay dry and warm. According to the information of the Meteorology Department inter-monsoon rain period of inter-monsoon is widened in recent time, due to the activation of the Inter-tropical Conversion Zone.
Lightning is very often with heavy rain during the inter-monsoon and the Meteorology Department issues warning the public to take safety measures to avert the damages caused by lightning. Lightning is common on the island during inter-monsoon, especially in the month of April and which is called Bakmaha akunu. This weather pattern prevails on the island throughout the month of April and comes to an end mid-May, ahead of the South-West monsoon rain.
October is not the best time to visit Sri Lanka’s west and south coast
Usually, Sri Lanka experiencing extreme weather conditions covering most parts of the country in the month of October, therefore October categorized as a month that is not the best time to travel in Sri Lanka. With the monsoon fully settled in over most parts of the country frequent heavy rain occurs covering most parts of the island. The rain accompanies the heavy wind and lightning. Generally, October is a month that brings a lot of rain every year.
October is not good for swimming on the west coast sea but the east coast is suitable for a beach holiday
Apart from the heavy rain on the land, the sea around the country is also very rough and met-department urging the people to keep away from the sea. Therefore the sea is not suitable for a sea bath or any other recreation activities. Under-water current and gallant waves cripple the fishing industry during the month of October. Torrential rain in the mountainous area (west and southern Sri Lanka) comes under the landslide while some of the lower elevated areas are under the floodwater.
Minor floods in Colombo and west coast in the month of October
Every year, several areas in Colombo including Dematagoda, Armour Street, Kalubowila, Narahenpita, Pettah, Thummulla, Rajagiriya and Town Hall are also experiencing some difficulties due to the heavy rain. In some instances northern Sri Lanka, the eastern part of the island, as well as southern Sri Lanka (things to do in southern Sri Lanka), also comes under the water making many hardships for civilians.
Sri Lanka’s east coast is good for beach holidays in the month of October
The east coast of Sri Lanka is an emerging holiday destination in the country, the bad weather in October makes some unfavourable conditions for holidaymakers on the east coast as well. There were instances in which devastating effects due to the cyclone recorded on the east coast in the month of October. Usually, these cyclones are originated due to the changes in the atmosphere in the bay of Bengal.
What is the best time to visit Sri Lanka?
The best time to visit Sri Lanka is largely dependent on the region where you choose for the beach holiday. The monsoon effect mostly makes an impact on the people who look for a sunbath. The effect of monsoon is very minimal for sightseeing tours because the travellers can visit the important sites in the morning hours and during the days before the monsoon rain hammer the area in the evening.
The rain is the largest fact that deciding the best time to visit Sri Lanka because of the temperature, humidity, wind etc more or less the same throughout the island in the whole year. If you look for the best time to visit Sri Lanka you will not be able to find a specific period and make it the best time to visit Sri Lanka because Sri Lanka has suitable dry weather for travellers at any time of the year. But you should carefully look into the dry part of the country.
What is the best time to visit Sri Lanka West coast and South-west Sri Lanka?
NOVEMBER TO APRIL IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT SRI LANKA’S WEST COAST AND SOUTHERN COAST.
South-west Sri Lanka attracts a large number of beach holiday lovers every year. Most of this tourist traffic arrive here during the north-east monsoon from November to April. From November to April north-east coast of Sri Lanka is soaked up with the torrential rain of monsoon wind. But the opposite side of the country is dry and warm making the best settings for beach holidays.
Beaches such as Negombo, Bentota beach, Hikkaduwa, Weligama and other south coast areas attract a large number of tourist during this period. NOVEMBER TO APRIL IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT SRI LANKA WEST AND SOUTHERN COAST.
What is the best time to visit Sri Lanka North-East coast?
APRIL TO NOVEMBER IS THE BEST TIME TO TRAVEL TO SRI LANKA NORTH AND EAST COAST
Exactly the opposite of what we have written above. APRIL TO NOVEMBER IS THE BEST TIME TO TRAVEL TO SRI LANKA NORTH AND EAST COAST. If you plan to visit Sri Lanka from April to November choose north and east coast beach resorts such as Arugam bay, Kalkudah and Pasikudh for your beach holiday. During this time the west and southern coast areas are battered by the monsoon and there are instances that travellers can’t escape from beach hotels for many days due to the rain.
Dry Weather Sri Lanka holiday calendar
January: good weather for traveller over most parts of Sri Lanka
West coast is experiencing good weather conditions most of the days of the month with a sunny warm holiday-friendly climate. This is a month with low rainfall on the island. While the climate is dry on the west coast; the east coast experiencing heavy rain during the month. This is the main rainy season of the east coast and frequent heavy rain is usual.
February: favourable for beach holidays
February is usually the driest month of the year. Dry weather is very prominent in the whole country other than the east coast. This is a month with the highest number of tourist arrivals in Sri Lanka. The island has a very suitable setup for beach holidays and the ocean is calm and safe for sea bathing.
March: suitable weather for holidays over most parts of the island
Another dry month of the year attracts a large number of foreign travellers to the island. It is very warm during the month due to the closeness of the sun. Very high humidity also prevails throughout the sweaty month. Half of the beaches of Sri Lanka starting from north-west Sri Lanka to the west coast and to the southern tip of Sri Lanka is very suitable for saltwater activities such as diving, snorkelling, fishing, swimming.
April-primarily a dry month
The sea starting to get rough towards the end of the month, however, the west and southern coast is still suitable for beach holidays.
April is another very warm month while the sun is orbiting directly above the country. Warm conditions prevailed during the daytime as well as night. Casual rain may occur during the month and these rains called “Bakmaha akunu”. These rains accompany the lightning and mostly occurred in the late evening or at night. The ocean may not suitable for a bath on some occasions due to the rough sea and underwater current.
Is May a good to visit Sri Lanka
May is not a good month for beach holidays on the western and south coast.
“Is may a good time to visit Sri Lanka?”, this is a very popular question and we hear it from foreign travellers very often. However, I have to give you a mixed answer for this because may marks the beginning of the south-west monsoon and the start of the dry season on the east coast. Still, May is a good time to visit Sri Lanka however, you need to choose the best place to hist depending on the behaviour of the monsoon. If monsoon is already established over the west and south coast head on to the east coast.
May is the month of the beginning of the rainy season or monsoon on the south and west coast. Sudden rains occur during the month and they are known as “inter monsoon rain”. It is advisable to carry an umbrella or raincoat if you stay a considerable time outside. Sudden rains can occur over the west and southern coast while the east coast enjoys a very sunny, warm and rain-free climate. Set off to the east coast if you like to have a holiday in Sri Lanka.
Rough sea over the west coast in June
Rough sea and heavy rain over the south and western Sri Lanka.
June can be described as a rainy month with rough sea conditions on the west coast. Heavy rain is usual during the month and this is not the time for beach holidays on the west coast. The still east coast is very suitable for beach holidays.
Weather in Sri Lanka in July
This is one of the hottest months with an average temperature above 30 degrees Celcius. Frequent rain is can be seen on the south as the west coast.
Monsoon is starting g to settle over the west coast and soak the west and southern coastal regions. There can be heavy rain over most parts of the country, especially in the western province including the west, south and central mountain range. But the east-coast the weather can be described as dry during the month.
Dry weather in Sri Lanka in August
August is a typically dry month of the year, however, if you are eyeing at a beach holiday it is best to head on to east coast.
This is the best time to visit Sri Lanka during the monsoon (from April to October). As the rainfall lowered the tourist arrival increases in the month of August. However, the sea off southern as western Sri Lanka is not in the favour of beach holiday lovers.
The sea off the west and southern coast are not favourable for sea bath, snorkelling or diving. Guests on the west coast are severely warned against bathing in the sea during the month due to the underwater current that can be extremely hazardous for swimmers.
Sri Lanka Weather in September
September is a rainy month with heavy rainfall on the west coast. If you a beach holiday lover this is not the best time to visit Sri Lanka. The oppressive heat of the sun is subdued by the frequent rain. September is a month that records the least number of tourist arrival every year and one reason is the rainy weather. However, the east coast of Sri Lanka has good weather during this time of the year with dry weather.
October rainy weather in Sri Lanka
October is not considered as the best time to visit Sri Lanka, due to the monsoon rain over most parts of Sri Lanka.
The south-west monsoon starts to lessen its effect on the coastal belt along the south and west Sri Lanka preparing the west and southern coastal regions for outdoor activities. The effect of the south-west monsoon gradually decreases over the month of October, and the transitions complete before the advent of November.
October can be suitable for holidays towards its tail end, however, it is not the best time to visit Sri Lanka as the effect of the south-west monsoon is still in the sky. Unexpected rains occur often and sea conditions are still not favourable for a sea bath. During the latter half of the month, you see more sunny days than rainy days due to the fading monsoon effect.
Sri Lanka in November
If you are wondering when is the best time to visit Sri Lanka, I would say November is one of the best months of the year to travel to Sri Lanka. The Ocean turns to be very calm from November and making it looks like a lake.
November starts the peak holiday season on the island. The dry weather consolidates over the island from November to April except north and east coast. Therefore, November is coming under one of the best months to visit in Sri Lanka.
There is a notable upbeat of foreign tourist arrival on the month of November and the momentum remains over the next 6 months. November marks the start of the peak holiday season of Sri Lanka, from November to April, and 70% of foreign travellers touring the island during this period.
November is a relatively dry month and the west coast is suitable for beach holidays. The weather conditions on land as well as in the sea are very suitable for leisure activities. This is the start of the tourist season on the west coast, which lasts until April.
December: best time to visit Sri Lanka
If you are in search of the best time to travel to Sri Lanka, you can consider December for your Sri Lanka trip without any hesitation. December is one of the best months to travel to Sri Lanka.
December is another month with dry weather on the west coast, which is the best time to visit Sri Lanka for a large number of travellers. December is the best time to visit Sri Lanka, especially if you need to have a sun-drenched beach holiday in the western part of the country. Most travellers are heading to the west and southern coast during the month of December and enjoy sun-drenched beaches.