Blog Destinations Sri Lanka

The Best Time to Visit Sri Lanka

 

Provinces of Sri Lanka

There are nine provinces in Sri Lanka. Seven are named based on geographical location: Northern, North Western, North Central, Central, Eastern, Southern and Western. The other two provinces are called Uva and Sabaragamuwa, located in south-central Sri Lanka. 

Districts of Sri Lanka

Northern province

There are four districts in Northern Province; Jaffna, Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu, and Mannar.

north Western Province

There are two districts in North Western Province; Puttalam and Kurunegala.

North Central Province

There are three districts in North Central Province; Vavuniya, Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa.

Central Province

There are three districts in Central Province; Matale, Kandy and Nuwara Eliya.

Eastern Province

There are three districts in Eastern Province; Trincomalee, Batticaloa and Ampara.

Western Province

There are three districts in Western Province; Gampaha, Colombo and Kalutara.

Southern Province

There are three districts in Southern Province; Galle, Matara and Hambantota

Sabaragamuwa Province

Two districts form Sabaragamuwa  Province; Regalle and Ratnapura.

Uva Province

Two districts form Uva Province; Badulla and Moneragala.

 

Best time to go to Sri Lanka?

There are some rules of thumb but the best time to visit Sri Lanka. However, the answer will depend on the area of Sri Lanka you are visiting and the particular monsoonal effects. First, it is essential to understand the complexity of the weather in Sri Lanka.

What is the weather like in Sri Lanka during the year?

Tropical monsoons govern the weather in Sri Lanka. Due to the geographical location of Sri Lanka, the island experiences two monsoonal seasons; northeast (October-March) and southwest (June to October). The area on the island you are will dictate the effect from those two monsoonal seasons.

There are two inter-monsoonal periods.  One is from October until mid-November. During this period, thunderstorms and further rain is common-place.

To further complicate the weather equation getting a torrential downpour in the dry seasons is not uncommon. Vice-versa, getting a clear blue sky during the wet season is not unusual!

Given the proximity of Sri Lanka to the equator, the temperature is relatively consistent year-round. It is obviously colder in the higher altitudes (tea country) with temperatures averaging mid to high teens (°C). The coast has average temperatures of mid 20 °C to low 30 °C

Luckily even if you do experience heavy rain, it is short-lived. We have experienced some flash flooding during our stay, and it is amazing how fast it rises and also how quickly it falls.

Southern Sri Lanka coast

  • Notable towns: Galle, Mirissa, Tangalle, Hambantota, Tissa, Yala National Park

Best time to travel: November to April

Worst time to visit: September- October

Western Sri Lanka coast

  • Notable towns: Negombo, Colombo, Bentota

Best time to travel: Late-November- March/April

Worst time to visit: June-August (high rainfall)

Cultural Triangle

  • Notable towns: Sigiriya, Minneriya National Park, Anuradhapura

Best time to travel: December to May

Worst time to visit: high rain in November and December

Tea country

  • Notable towns: Kandy, Ella, Nuwara Eliya, Adam’s Peak

Best time to travel: December to March/April

Worst time to visit: June to October

Northern Sri Lankan coast

  • Notable towns: Jaffna

Best time to travel: July to September, December to February

Worst time to visit:  April to June is very hot

Eastern Sri Lanka coast

  • Notable areas include: Trincomalee Arugam Bay

Best time to travel: April-September

Worst time to visit:  October to January

Specific seasonal attractions in Sri Lanka

Blue Whales

Mirissa/Dondra: November – April

Trincomalee: June – October  Best: July

Humpback Whales, Sperm Whales or Orcas

Mirissa/Dondra: November – April

Sperm Whales

Trincomalee: June – October

Dolphins

Kalpiytya: November to April

Marissa/Dondra and Trincomalee – same as whale season

Birdlife

Bundala or Kumana National Park: December to April

Flamingos

Mannar Island: August to March

Leopards

Although leopards are seen year-round, your best bet is during the driest months when water is scant. If you visit Yala or Wilpattu National Park during July to September, you are increasing your chances of an encounter.

Sloth Bears

Yala National Park and Wilpattu National Park during the Palu and Weera fruit season: May – July

Elephants

Minneriya National Park – July- September (to watch The Gathering)

When to visit Sri Lanka | Tourist numbers

High seasons in Sri Lanka

The peak tourist season in Sri Lanka from December to March

Shoulder season in Sri Lanka

There are two shoulder seasons when numbers of visitors are lower to Sri Lanka. The first is April and the second is September- November

Low season in Sri Lanka

May to August

So, when should I visit Sri Lanka?

Most people visit both the tea country, the western coast and southern coastal areas of Sri Lankan. As such, the best time to visit Sri Lanka is from December to mid-April.

If you are after a beach holiday and are coming from December to April, your best bet is the South and West Coasts. Whereas, May to September is the best months for North and East Coast beach holidays.

If wildlife is more your plan, June to September are the best months to visit Yala and Wilpattu National Parks. If you are after the feathered creatures August to April is an excellent time as there are many migratory birds in Sri Lanka.

If aquatic animals, whales or dolphins is the aim. You should visit Mirissa from November to April or  Trincomalee from June to October. The most festive time of year is July and August when the Esala Perahera festival occurs, although, they do love a festival in Sri Lanka.

 

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