When visiting Sri Lanka or any part of the Indian subcontinent near the equator, tourists should know that they are headed to a hot place. Sri Lanka is a tropical country, which means it is hot, humid and could rain anytime. Weather in Sri Lanka has two rainy seasons: the North-East monsoon from October to January and South-West monsoon from May to July. These may not be the best months to visit Sri Lanka, although many tourists do come in the cooler months of November to January.
Other than the rains, however, weather can be very balmy and inviting, especially when visiting the beaches. Some of the best Sri Lanka beaches are found in the southern city of Galle, about 116 kilometers from Colombo, the capital city. It is a natural city harbor where ancient international trades were made, which is why there a number of ancient ruins, old European buildings and museums to enjoy. The Dutch and Portuguese settled here. A popular beach in Galle is Anawatuna Beach. Other leading beaches are found in Hikkaduwa, a glamorous city about 98 kilometers south of Colombo. Tourists come here not just to swim or bum around the pristine beaches but also to snorkel and dive. Other beaches to check out are Bentota Beach, Ambalangoda Beach, Nilaveli Beach, and beaches in Negombo, Weligma, Trincomalee and the East Coast. The best months to visit Sri Lanka beaches are from November to April, which are considered the drier months. When going to the East Coast, however, best months to visit Sri Lanka are May to September.
The climate may change dramatically any day from one part of the island to another. Sri Lanka’s central regions are very mountainous. The temperature in hilly Nuwara Eliya in Central Sri Lanka ranges from a pleasant 20° C to a biting -5° C throughout the year. However, the island is mostly low and flat rolling plain that is very warm and humid. In Hambanthota, for instance, average temperature is around 30-35° C as in most cities and regions within the dry zone. (The island’s highest point is Pidurutalagala at 2,524 meters.)
Other than the world class beaches, popular destinations in the island include the Sri Dhalada Maligawa and Peradeniya Gardens in Kandy, tea estates and more lush gardens in Hakgala, ancient temples in Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa, scenic villages in Nuwara Eliya, the Yala National Park and Safari wildlife in Wilpattu, Udawalawe and Kumana, or whale watching in Mirissa and Kalpitiya. As an island, Sri Lanka has a lot to offer, despite not having the most comfortable climate. Also, local Sri Lankan or Indian dishes are very savory, delicious and hot, which often leave Western tourists wanting for more. But perhaps, the best tourism draw is the friendly locals. They love entertaining tourists and can speak English very well. Since the Indian subcontinent has been colonized by several European nations, the locals speak and understand English quite fluently.
Foreign tourists and vacationers should expect weather in Sri Lanka to be very different from the West. Sri Lanka weather, however, is not as bad, really, since it just complements the exotic and tropical beauty of the island. It is best to bring light clothes and an umbrella.