Table of Contents
- The best time for Sri Lanka holiday package
- When does the monsoon season start in Sri Lanka?
- The average temperature in Sri Lanka
- What month is the best Sri Lanka holiday package?
- Winter holiday in Sri Lanka, with travel dates spanning December through February
- How to organise a trip to Sri Lanka in the spring
- When to visit Sri Lanka during the summer
- The best time for Sri Lankan holidays in the autumn is between September and November.
- Average temperature and rainfall
- Official holidays and festivals in Sri Lanka
- Sri Lankan festivals
The best time for Sri Lanka holiday package
Due to its two separate monsoons, Sri Lanka experiences difficult weather for a tiny country. On the plus side, this suggests that the island has nice weather most of the year.
When choosing the best time for a Sri Lanka holiday package, it’s crucial to keep in mind that Sri Lanka’s basic weather pattern—which is described below—can vary significantly from year to year. Moreover, it is a fact that global warming has disrupted these already complex weather patterns.
When does the monsoon season start in Sri Lanka?
It goes without saying that the pattern of rainfall will be one of the most important factors to take into account when choosing when to visit Sri Lanka. The main southwest monsoon, sometimes referred to as the “Yala” monsoon, brings rain to the hill country, the west and southwest coasts, and mid-to-late May. It is at its wettest from April to June.
The milder northeast (“Maha”) monsoon, which peaks in November and December, affects the east coast. It runs through March.
An unpredictable inter-monsoonal period between October and November precedes the Maha monsoon. During this period, thunderstorms and heavy rain are possible everywhere on the island.
The average temperature in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka experiences relatively constant temperatures all year-round due to its proximity to the equator. Daily highs in lowland and coastal areas often range from 26 to 30°C. In the hottest part of the day, they often reach temperatures well into the 30°C range. In Kandy, the temperature decreases with altitude and reaches a pleasant 18–22°C. Nuwara Eliya and the island’s higher areas get deliciously cold temperatures between 14 and 17°C on average. The nights in the mountains may get rather chilly at times, nearly freezing. Humidity is usually high everywhere. Over the rest of the island, it averages 60 to 80%, but in the southwest, it can periodically reach a blistering 90%.
What month is the best Sri Lanka holiday package?
In conclusion, due to variations in weather patterns, the best time to visit Sri Lanka depends on where you want to go on the island. Travelling to the west, south, or hill country is best done between December and March. If you intend to visit the east and north of Sri Lanka, April or May through September are the best months to go there.
Winter holiday in Sri Lanka, with travel dates spanning December through February
The island’s northern and eastern sections are a little wet at this time of year. Therefore, it’s not the best time to visit Jaffna’s coastal town of Trincomalee, the historic Batticaloa, or Arugam Bay to surf. Alternatively, take a surf at Weligama on the south coast, or simply unwind on the stunning beaches of Mirissa and Unawatuna Beach. This is also a great time to watch whales off the southern beach. Discover the quaint colonial fort town of Galle, which comes to life during the Galle Literary Festival in late January or early February. It’s also a perfect time to visit Horton Plains National Park and the hill country around Kandy, including Adam’s Peak Climb. Because Christmas is a busy time of year, make reservations in advance.
How to organise a trip to Sri Lanka in the spring
Visiting Sri Lanka between March and May
March is still lovely in the south and southwest, but by April, the effects of the monsoon are becoming apparent. Nevertheless, it’s an excellent time to watch whales off the south coast. Discover the lesser-known northern parts of Sri Lanka, such as the vibrant city of Jaffna, the eastern coast, and the Sri Lanka Cultural Triangle. May can be very humid in the south; head to the hill country for a more temperate environment. The main May celebration for Buddhists is the celebration of the Buddha’s conception, realisation, and death, known as Vesak Poya.
When to visit Sri Lanka during the summer
Visiting Sri Lanka between June and August
The hill country is nice and cool, but you never know when it will rain. This is the ideal time of year to venture outside and take in the Jaffna Peninsula and adjacent islands’ rich Tamil cultures. The stunning beaches on the east coast are just as seductive. The Esala Poya Perahera in Kandy, Sri Lanka’s most stunning celebration, happens in July or August. Avoid missing it.
The best time for Sri Lankan holidays in the autumn is between September and November.
The eastern and northern parts of the island continue to have nice weather throughout September. The weather on the island is a little unpredictable between October and November, with chances of showers wherever you are. The month’s position between the two big monsoons explains this.
Average temperature and rainfall
We made a chart showing the typical temperature and amount of rainfall. This should give you a general idea of what to expect from the weather in Sri Lanka in any given month. To give you a thorough rundown and help you decide when is the best time for a holiday in Sri Lanka, we have looked at three different areas of the country. We have covered the island’s capital city, Colombo, located on the western coast; Nuwara Eliya, located in the tea-growing region of central Sri Lanka; and Trincomalee, located on the northeastern coast.
Official holidays and festivals in Sri Lanka
There are a whopping twenty-five public holidays in addition to the four major religions, each of which has a long list of festivals marked in the calendar. You may want to include one or more of these festivals in your schedule, or make sure your trip dates match with them, as events usually come to a complete halt during these festivals.
The lunar calendar, to which Buddhism adds one month every two or three years to keep the solar and lunar calendars in alignment, is the basis for the vast majority of religiously themed events. As a result, most festivals have slightly different dates every year. The dates of Muslim festivals increase gradually because there are no corrective months and they follow the lunar calendar in a similar manner.
To commemorate the island’s most significant Buddhist holidays, numerous elephants with elaborate decorations participate in large parades called peraheras. Due to the large number of travellers, transportation and housing are usually congested on poya days. Although it is technically illegal to sell alcohol, the majority of guesthouses and tourist hotels will nonetheless serve you.
The main Hindu festivals in Sri Lanka are as vibrant as the Buddhist holidays observed on the island; in addition to the festivals listed here, there are numerous other local temple festivals, particularly in the north. In Sri Lanka, Muslim holidays are typically more sedate occasions with a focus on the Muslim community and special prayers held at the mosque. The three main celebrations are Id ul-Fitr, which ends Ramadan; Milad un-Nabi, which commemorates the Prophet’s birthday; and Id ul-Allah, which initiates the journey to Mecca. These three occasions are all public holidays.
Sri Lankan festivals
Duruthu Poya, observed on January 14th, commemorates the first of the Buddha’s three legendary journeys to Sri Lanka. A magnificent procession is staged at the Raja Maha Vihara in the Kelaniya neighbourhood of Colombo to mark the occasion. Moreover, the Duruthu poya marks the start of the three-month pilgrimage season to Adam’s Peak.
Thai Pongol is a Hindu holiday celebrating, without regard to order, the sun god Surya, the cow, and the rain-bearer Indra. During celebrations at Hindu temples, the first grains of the fresh paddy harvest are ceremoniously boiled in milk in a particular pot; the direction in which the boiling liquid falls is thought to augur good or ill luck for the future year. 14/15 January
Galle Literary Festival Celebrated authors and cultural vultures from throughout the world gather in Galle. Early February or late January
The Gangaramaya temple in Colombo hosts the grand festival known as February Navam Poya to honour the eighty-year-old Buddha’s announcement that he was going to die. This festival, which has only been going on since 1979, has developed into one of the biggest on the island, complete with a procession of roughly fifty elephants.
Freedom Day honours the day on February 4, 1948, when Sri Lanka gained its freedom, with parades, dancing, and games.
Hindus celebrate Maha Sivarathri, a day when they fast for one day and keep an all-night vigil in praise of Shiva. Feb. or March
March Medina Poya commemorates the Buddha’s first visit to his father’s palace following his enlightenment.
Cheers to Friday! There is a drama about the Easter Passion on the island of Duwa, not far from Negombo. (March/April)
Every year, the Jaffna/Galle Music Festival is a three-day event that alternates between Jaffna and Galle. It has an incredible array of local and international folk musicians, dancers, and other performers.
April Bak Poya commemorates the Buddha’s second visit to Sri Lanka.
Sinhala and Tamil New Year’s Celebrated as a family, the Buddhist and Hindu New Years coincide with the start of the southwest monsoon and the conclusion of the harvest season. Presents are exchanged and gifts are made, along with the traditional kiribath (rice cooked in milk and sliced into diamond shapes). Businesses close, horoscopes are readied, rituals are performed, and new attire is donned. April 14 is New Year’s Day, while April 13 is New Year’s Eve.
Day of May in On May Day, observe the traditional bank holiday. As of May
Tamil Poya The most important Buddhist poya, this triple celebration recognises the Buddha’s birth, enlightenment, and death, all of which are customarily thought to have happened on the day of the Vesak Poya. Moreover, the last of the Buddha’s three supposed visits to Sri Lanka is said to have taken place on a Vesak poya day. Lamps are lit in front of houses, and pandals—platforms decorated with scenes from the life of the Buddha—are constructed all around the country. While roadside kiosks (dansal) offer complimentary meals ranging from rice and curries to Vesak sweetmeats, streamers are used to decorate buses and cars. Meanwhile, devout Buddhists go to temples, fast, and practise meditation. Furthermore, the day after Vesak Poya is a government holiday. Vesak also marks the conclusion of the Buddhist pilgrimage season to Adam’s Peak. It is against the law for public eateries to serve liquor, meat, or fish during the six days preceding Poya Day. While serving their own guests, hotels and guesthouses might be able to circumvent this law.
June Poson Poya Only second in importance to Vesak, Poson Poya commemorates Mahinda’s introduction of Buddhism to Sri Lanka and is marked with massive pilgrimages to Anuradhapura and the ascension of Mihintale by thousands of pilgrims dressed in white robes.
Esala Poya is observed in July and commemorates the arrival of the Tooth Relic in Sri Lanka as well as the Buddha’s first sermon. The lunar month of Esala is filled with festivals, the most extravagant of which is the great Esala Perahera in Kandy, Sri Lanka. There are also celebrations at Dondra, Kataragama, and Bellanwila, a suburb of southern Colombo. A huge seven-day celebration is held in Unawatuna, bringing thousands of people to the beach and hamlet.
In Kataragama, Hindu devotees engage in a range of ritualistic self-mutilation practises, such as firewalking, piercing their bodies with hooks and weights, and sticking skewers through their cheeks and mouths.
Hikkaduwa Beach Festival: A three-day beach party hosted by international DJs in July or August
Vel, the most important Hindu festival in Colombo, honours Skanda/Kataragama and involves two colourful processions from the Pettah to the temples at Wellawatta and Bambalapitiya, where the god’s chariot and vel (spear) are carried. July or August
The monastic groups observe Nikini Poya, a day of fasting and retreat, to commemorate the Bhikkhus’ flight from the scene of the Buddha’s death.
At Binara Poya, people celebrate the Buddha’s flight to heaven, where he preached to his mother and other gods.
Maha Puja This Durga Puja-observed Hindu festival honours Durga and commemorates the day that Rama vanquished Ravana. Oct/Sept.
On October Vap Poya, people celebrate the end of the Buddhist fast and the return of the Buddha to Earth.
Extensavali The Hindu Festival of Lights commemorates the return of Rama, the main character of the revered Ramayana, from banishment. It is analogous to Diwali in North India. In Tamil houses, wearing new clothes and lighting lamps signify the triumph of good over evil. August/October’s end
International Spice Cooking Festival Ten days of gastronomic events spread over different parts of Colombo. August/October’s end
On November Ill Poya, people celebrate the Buddha’s ordination of sixty followers.
The celebration of Ashoka’s daughter Sangamitta’s arrival of the Bo tree sapling at Anuradhapura, known as Unduvap Poya, takes place in December.
Thanksgiving (December 25)
It is Christian New Year’s Eve on December 31.