Sri Lanka’s tropical climate brings temperatures around 27°C – 30°C (80 ºF – 90 ºF) to most regions of the island. The hill country in the central province is the coolest and the mildest place, where Nuwara Eliya tops the list with a mean average of 16°C. Other upland areas also experience a temperate climate that can span between 16°C to 20°C (60 ºF – 68ºF). The coastal areas are warmer with average temperatures around 27ºC (80ºF). The March-June season experiences slightly higher temperatures of up to 33ºC (92ºF), while the temperatures in November-January are a few degrees lower at around 24ºC (75ºF) at the coast. Jaffna in the most northern part of the country, records a temperature of 28°C – 32°C (82 ºF – 92 ºF).
Monsoon rains bring the two main rainy seasons here. The Yala monsoon brings rainfall to the country’s western and southern regions from May to September and has a dry season during December through March. The Maha monsoon affects northern and eastern Sri Lanka and often lasts from December to February, with the dry season usually lasting from May to September. This region receives significantly less precipitation than the other half of the country. There is also an inter-monsoonal period in October and November during which rain and thunderstorms occur frequently across the island.
Sri Lanka is a year-round destination as while one area can have poor weather, the other region is likely to be experiencing good conditions. The most popular season for tourism is between December and March, when the country attracts a large number of Europeans looking to escape the Northern Hemisphere’s winter weather. Christmas and the New Year are particularly popular for a Sri Lankan holiday. You can find balmy weather for beach holidays on the east coast from April to November, while in the west it is ideal from December to March to hit the beach. However, be aware that Sri Lankan weather can be unpredictable during any season.
What to wear
Pure, lightweight cotton clothes are the most comfortable to wear, since Sri Lankan tropical climate is hot and humid. For cooler hill areas, you will need a light sweater at night. Dress standards are conservative on the island, and it is appropriate to wear loose, long and lightweight clothing. When visiting religious areas, you are required to wear clothes that are well-covering. Gents can wear long trousers that cover the knees, or a sarong with a shirt or t-shirt. Ladies may wear long trousers, long skirts and blouses and shirts that are not deep necked or sleeveless. Comfortable flip-flops, shoes, sandals and cotton socks, are essential too.