Best time to visit Sri Lanka

The best time to visit Sri Lanka is either Jan-Apr or July-Sep for the best odds of good weather countrywide. The weather in Sri Lanka is somewhat complicated given that it has two separate monsoon seasons affecting different parts of the country.

The best time for exploring the hiking trails around Ella is between Dec-Mar when the Hill Country is driest. The shoulder season of April and Sep-Nov is a decent time to visit while the Yala monsoon season of May-Aug brings rain to the Hill Country.

The best time to visit the south and west coasts is Jan-Mar when the region is mostly sunny. With April comes the monsoon season. Jun-Sep are the wettest months but are still sunny. In November, the weather turns hot and humid but it’s still a good time to visit especially for Diwali celebrations.

best time to visit Sri Lanka’s national parks

For the best time to visit Sri Lanka’s national parks use the table below.

Park Features Best time to visit
Adam’s Bridge National Park Marine life including dolphin, dugong and turtle; migratory birds as well as the brown noddy.  May-Aug
Bundala National Park Migratory birds, wetland park, coastal lagoon, some elephants. Year round
Gal Oya National Park Grasslands, evergreen forest, reservoir (tank), elephants, sloth bears, leopards, water buffalo and deer. Dec-Sep
Horton Plains National Park UNESCO World Heritage Site, hiking, montane forest and World’s End cliff drop. Dec-Mar
Kaudulla National Park Reservoir (tank), scrub jungle, elephants, deer, monkeys, sloth bear, leopards and waterfowl. Aug-Mar
Knuckles Mountain Range UNESCO World Heritage Site, hiking, traditional villages, caves, waterfalls and evergreen and riverine forests. Dec-May
Kumana National Park Grassland, jungle, lagoons and mangrove forests. May-Sep
Lunugamvehera National Park Grassland, reservoir (tank), water buffalo and elephants. May-Sep
Minneriya National Park Reservoir (tank), elephants, deer, monkey and waterfowl. May-Sep
Pigeon Island National Park Snorkelling, coral reef, blacktip reef shark, sea turtles.  May-Oct
Peak Wilderness Sanctuary UNESCO World Heritage Site, Adam’s Peak pilgrimage and hiking. Dec-May
Sinharaja Forest Reserve Rainforest, UNESCO World Heritage Site, sambar and barking deer, leopards, monkeys and birdwatching. Aug-Sep / Jan-Mar
Udawalawe National Park Open grassland, elephants, spotted deer, water buffalo and wild boar. Year round
Wasgamuwa National Park Evergreen forest, hilly ridges, grassy plains, elephants, leopards, sloth bears and purple-faced langur and toque macaque monkeys. Jun-Sep
Wilpattu National Park Dry woodland, leopards, sloth bears, deer and crocodiles. Jan-Mar
Yala National Park Elephants, sloth bears, leopards, water buffalo, spotted deer, reservoirs (tanks) and tropical thornforest. Nov-Jul