When to go where in Sri Lanka
Unlike most Asian destination, Sri Lanka can lay claim to being a year-round vacation destination. This is possible if you understand the monsoon patterns and plan your trip accordingly.
Between May and September, the southwestern monsoon brings regular rains to the southern and western regions of Sri Lanka while the dry season in this region runs from December to March.
The weather in the north and eastern coastal regions of the country is influenced by the northeastern monsoon, meaning a lot rain between October and January and warm and dry conditions weather between May and September. The inter-monsoonal period from October to mid-November causes rains and thunderstorms all across the island. As December approaches, weather conditions get balmier by the day.
Hence, the period from December to April is considered to be the best season for tourism. This means that during this season, as in many other countries, you can end up paying a very high price as all the island’s top spots are reserved by tourists from Europe wishing to get away from wintry skies. Other peak seasons are around festivals like the Sinhalese New Year, the Esala Perahera in Kandy and Kataragama in July and August.
It is also better to remember that weather patterns in tropical lands are not a mechanised system that stick to plans and roll out like sheet music. So, chances are there that you can enjoy great weather when you least expected to.
In any case, do not consider the monsoon as a permanent hindrance for your tourism plans. It does rain a lot and each day brings its share of downpour. However, there are plentiful moments of sunshine that intersperse the days. The best way to undertake a trip during the monsoon if you do not have a choice is to do the way Sri Lankans do: carry a large umbrella, avoid leather footwear, dress up in garments that will allow you to pull them up in case you need to cross a puddle and go with the flow! Just remember that swimming can be very dangerous during the monsoon due to strong undercurrents and winds.
To sum it up, the best months to visit are December to April for anywhere on the island and May to September for the North, East and Central regions.