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Sri Lanka's Climate And Best Time To
Visit The Country


While Sri Lanka is a year-round destination, the finest time of the year for the western and southern beaches of the Island is December to March. While there will be occasional showers, most days are sunny and temperate. Between April and July, it becomes humid and hot in the western and southern areas. However, during this period on the eastern coast of Sri Lanka, the weather will be fine with the beaches amazingly inviting.

In the low land areas of the country from western to southern regions, noon temperatures range between 28-32C and peak in April before the monsoon rains. It can be hotter in the Northcentral, and Northwest & East Coast areas between 32-35 C. Daytime temperatures average about 24C in Kandy & Matale hill stations and gets cooler in the central hills to 14C. Sri Lanka weather along the shores is made more comfortable by cooling sea breezes. Humidity is typically rather high in Sri Lanka, averaging out at around 80% early round, lower in the highlands and cultural triangle.

Sri Lanka has two monsoons and two different climates in a space less than 300 kilometers across. The rainfall patterns influenced by the monsoon winds of the Indian ocean and Bay of Bangel and rainy seasons have been divided into two main seasons as Southwest and Northeast and into two inter monsoons as first inter-monsoon and second inter-monsoon. Rainfall is becoming increasingly unpredictable over the last 5 years. Sri Lanka averages about 250cms a year. But stats show the figures vary widely from region to region due to the geographic location.


  • First Inter-monsoon Season (March – April)
    The typical conditions of this season is thunderstorm-type of rain could be expected in the evening. The highest rainfall of this period is recorded in the southwest sector.


  • Southwest -Monsoon Season (May – September)
    Windy weather eases off the warm weather experienced in the first inter-monsoon during March and April, Southwest monsoon rains could be experienced at any time of the day and night mainly in the Southwestern part of the country. The amount of rainfall during this season varies from about 100 mm to over 3000 mm. The highest rainfall received in the mid-elevations of the western slope.


  • Second Inter-monsoon Season (October-November)
    Mostly the thunderstorm-type of rains could be expected in the afternoon or evening. The whole country experiences strong winds with widespread rain. The second Inter-monsoon period of October – November is the period with the most evenly balanced distribution of rainfall over Sri Lanka. Almost the entire island receives in excess of 400 mm of rain during this season, with the Southwestern slopes receiving higher rainfall in the range 750mm to 1200 mm.


  • Northeast -monsoon season (December to February)
    The dry and cold wind blowing from the Indian land-mass will feel you comparatively cool, but dry weather over many parts making the surrounding pleasant and comfortable weather except for some rather cold morning hours. Cloud-free skies provide days full of sunshine and pleasant and cool night. The highest rainfall figures are recorded in the North, Eastern slopes of the hill country, and the Eastern slopes of the Knuckles range.


Weather Patterns throughout the year and activities you can engage in:



Sri Lanka in January is warm, dry and sunny, especially in the south – great for cycling, hiking and wildlife watching tours. Early January especially is busy, so it’s best to book well in advance. Things start to dry up in the north-east as the monsoon season there draws to a close. This is a great time for hiking central Sri Lanka, which is at its sunniest and cooler than the coast.



With the rains dying down on the east coast and hot sunshine in the south, February is a great time of year to visit Sri Lanka – especially if you want to factor in some serious beach time. National parks such as Yala start their best season as elephants and leopards materialise to drink at the watering holes. Active hiking, biking and kayaking holidays take to the interior in Sri Lanka in February, where the mountains are a cool escape from climbing temperatures.



The beginning of March is the best time to see blue whales in Sri Lanka as they gorge on the abundant krill. In fact, most wildlife tours are in full swing now, welcoming families on their spring break. Sri Lanka in March sees hot and sunny weather in the south, with temperatures above 30°C. This is one of the warmest months to be in the cool tea-growing climate of the Hill Country. March is also a good month for adventurous honeymooners.



Sri Lanka in April starts to get quite humid as the dry season ends in the south-west, but it’s still a brilliant time for families, especially when you choose to cool down with surfing or rafting. April is one of the best times to cycle and camp in the Hill Country, as the typically cool nights lack the usual chill; however, the rains descend again at the end of the month. It’s also an excellent time to add the Maldives into your itinerary. The tourist season winds down at the end of April, when it’s also your last chance to see blue whales.



For many, May is the best time of the year to visit Sri Lanka, seasonally positioned in-between both monsoons and very quiet. This is when you’ll encounter the least number of fellow tourists; those that are here tend to have come for specialist food and wildlife tours. The focus shifts in Sri Lanka in May as the south-west monsoon season approaches, with visitors aiming for the beautiful, undeveloped beaches out east as they bathe in sunshine and mid-20°C temperatures. May is your last chance to pilgrimage to sacred Adam’s Peak before the weather turns.



June is one of the best months to see northern Sri Lanka as the monsoon season starts in the south. It’s an excellent time to explore the Tamil temples of Jaffna and sandy north-eastern beaches under dry, sunny weather and with few other visitors. Bird watching and elephant tracking tours in national parks throughout Sri Lanka in June make the most of active wildlife.



Northern Sri Lanka basks in sunny, warm weather, while the intermittent monsoon storms in the south ease off. This combo makes July a great time for exploring the whole island; just pack your umbrella for any sudden downpours. This month is your last chance to get the best wildlife viewings at Yala National Park. Temperatures hover at around 30°C all over Sri Lanka in July.



Families love Sri Lanka in August. We can’t blame them – the north is still hot, dry and sunny, while the monsoon downpours are considerably less frequent in the south-west. Whale watching season is in full swing off the coast of easterly Trincomalee. Although you can still see leopards in Yala National Park, the noise from crowds can make viewings less likely in August. The Cultural Triangle is less windy in August, but be prepared for temps of over 30°C.



September is an excellent time to explore northern and eastern Sri Lanka before the region’s monsoon begins. It’ll probably be your last chance for dry, sunny beach days in the east. Things get rainier and windier in the south and west at the end of the month. Yala National Park is usually closed to let wildlife seek out water undisturbed after a long dry season. Watch out for lower prices and fewer crowds in Sri Lanka in September too.



This is one of the wettest months in Sri Lanka. There’s a chance of heavy showers wherever you are in Sri Lanka in October as the north-east monsoon season begins, sometimes encroaching on the whole island. Other times, however, the rains don’t arrive on time at all. Temperatures are at their lowest on the south-west coast – a not-too-shabby 28°C. The hottest, driest weather is often found around the Cultural Triangle; there are also fewer visitors at this time of year. In fact, it’s very quiet all over Sri Lanka – think of October as the calm before the main tourist season begins.



The key tourist season begins in November, so you’ll find a wider choice of small group tours. Part of the month is still between monsoon seasons, however, so expect lots of sudden downpours as well as long periods of hot sunshine. Umbrellas are essential packing when visiting Sri Lanka in November. Don’t give up on the north-east, though. The monsoon might be approaching here, but it’s less severe than the south-west’s rainy season.



December to early January is a very busy time in Sri Lanka. Although you can find quiet spots off the beaten track, you do need to book well in advance. Thanks to the number of visitors, you’ll find the biggest choice of activities in Sri Lanka in December – from Ayurvedic and cooking retreats to hiking, cycling and family-friendly adventures.


Travel tips:


  • The best times to travel around the west, south and hill country areas of Sri Lanka is during December to March.
  • Travel season to the east coast is April to September.
  • The country attracts Europeans fleeing the Northern Hemisphere’s winter weather between December to March, high tourist season.
  • Christmas and the New Year are particularly popular for a Sri Lanka Holiday, while July and August represent festival season on the Island -travelling during either time it is recommended to book well in advance to guarantee accommodation.
  • If you are planning to explore the cultural and archeological sites best is to select between February & September.
  • Best period to visit the dry zones, such as Yala, Udawalawe for wildlife enthusiast is from February to August.