When to go to Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka must be one of the few countries that host religious and cultural festivals almost every month. The island packs a huge punch for such a small size and promises year-round vacationing while offering its travelers with a taste of so many landscapes, all bottled up in its 65,610 square kilometer land area.
You can be strolling through disciplined tea estates up in the hills and then be stargazing with the sea breeze down in the coast, all in a day’s span. Make the best out of your holiday by finding the perfect time to visit this heavenly island.
When to go to Sri Lanka? Well, the answer to this question solely relies on Sri Lanka’s two short monsoon seasons. Even the weather packs a punch! Have you heard of a tiny island with two monsoon seasons? Each of these monsoons affect opposite sides of the country at different times of the year. To put it simply, Sri Lanka has pleasant weather year round.
The Seasons of Sri Lanka
Locally known as Yala monsoon affects the south coast and west coast, just like its name suggests and the hilly parts of the country. Being the milder monsoon of the two, showers are short but heavy and tend to stop quickly. This season lasts from April to August, with the wettest time being from April to June. Some of the cities that are affected by this season are Colombo and Galle. The dry weather of the south-west region begins in December and lasts up till March.
Absorb the history and culture of the island by visiting the UNESCO world heritage bearing cultural triangle.
Affects the entire country and lasts from September to November. There is possibility of occasional rain or thunderstorms. Other than that, the weather is perfect around this time of the year with average temperatures sticking to 29 degrees Celsius. This is the best time to go on a sudden tip around the country.
Choose your pick! Surfing in Arugam Bay, Whale watching in Mirissa or admiring the frescoes of Sigiriya, do whatever your heart desires.
Also referred to as Maha Monsoon begins in Decmber and lasts up to the first weeks of March. Being the heavier Monsoon of Sri Lanka, it tends to affect the east and northern coastal areas as well as the cultural triangle. Showers are pretty unpredictable, heavier, or lighter, even irregular with slight drizzles. Sometimes it doesn’t rain at all. Expect pleasant weather from May to September in this region. The Maha Monsoon affects cities like Trincomalee and Arugam Bay to name few.
This is the best time to soak in the sun of the stunning southern coast beaches.
The best time to visit Sri Lanka is from January to April or Mid-July to September. These are the predicted patterns; however, downpours never stick to the schedule and end up being spontaneous. The shoulder season has the best climate and a lower tourist number. There are possibilities of a sudden shower while you go camping in the dry season or a pleasant sunny day when you visit the museum in the monsoon season.
When to visit Sri Lanka to enjoy the festivals
Where? West Coast
Duruthu Full Moon Poya Day
A colorful procession (locally known as Perehera) takes place in the sacred temple of Kelaniya, which is situated near Colombo. This celebrates the first time Lord Buddha visited Sri Lanka. One of the most fascinating things of the island is the colorful parade where elephants are decked out with richly decorated coverings followed by drummers, dancers and musicians playing the win instruments. The spectacular finale known as the Randoli Perehera is held on the next day.
This is one of the best times to visit the west coast and check out Sri Lanka’s commercial capital, Colombo. Pleasant weather is a promise at this time of the year, allowing you to also give the famed beaches of Bentota a try.
Where? West coast
The Navam Perehara
An amazing spectacle with around 100 decked out elephants gathered from all parts of the island. It takes place at the Gangaramaya Temple which is located at Hunupitiya, Colombo. The temple overlooks the Beira Lake and looks magical at night, with all the colorful lights reflecting off the water creating a delightful scene perfect for a photograph.
Where? Whole Country
Sinhala & Tamil New Year
This is when the hurried pace of the country slows down, with everyone travelling back home to celebrate ‘Avurudu’ with their families. It is also the time when shops put up New Year discounts, so go grab that gorgeous top you saw at one of the leading stores. Join in on the celebration and go have a plate of Kiri Bath and Lunu Miris, the traditional Avurudu Dish, in any of the top restaurants.
Where? Whole Country
Celebrating Lord Buddah’s birth, achievement of enlightenment and attaining Nirvana, this Buddhist festival turns the entire country into a picturesque possibility. Roads decorated galore with fairy lights and lanterns known as ‘vesak kuduwa’ by the locals. Streets will be lined with gigantic Vesak constructs, each one a unique display of craftsmanship and creativity. Roadside stalls put up by locals distribute anything from ice-cream to noodles, all for free!
Where? Whole Country
This festival honors the switch of Sri Lanka to a Buddhism dating back to the 3rd century BC. Illuminated stages are put up that narrate stories of different battles known as ‘thorana’. The whole country is brightly lit up. However, the best place to be is Mihintale, where the decorations and celebrations are the most grand. This ancient city was where, the Sri Lankan King converted to Buddhism.
The grandest of all processions, the Esala Perahara initiates from the Kandy Dalada Maligawa which is the Temple Palace of the Tooth Relic. The tooth relic of Buddha is encased in a golden treasure chest and mounted atop the temple elephant. The most spectacular parade in the whole Asia consists of thousands of dancers, fire-dancers, torch bearers, whip crackers, acrobats and more than hundreds of elephants caparisoned with fine clothes and grand accessories. The parades keep lengthening every day with torches lit throughout the streets.
Making an appearance in the travel itineraries of many, Sri Lanka is small, but has a lot going on. The Hills, the Beaches, the culture and history and the locals all contribute in etching the magnificence of this gorgeous paradise into your memory. A vacation cannot last all year, but with Sri Lanka you will wish it did.