There is a lot of confusing information regarding the weather and when is the best time to visit Sri Lanka. For a long time we tried to work out when was the best time to visit and got really lost trying to work out which part of the island was in monsoon and when. You hear the word monsoon and think of huge down pours and floods, hardly the ideal weather for a holiday.
We soon found out was that the monsoons were at their worst in April (South & West) and October (North & East). We knew that peak season was during the European school holidays (Mid-July to September) and November to February.
Eventually we just took a gamble and went with June and it turned out to be a brilliant decision. We couldn't have been happier. Here's why.
Why June is the best time to visit Sri Lanka
No one's there!
Due to the information online, most people steer clear of Sri Lanka in June.
There are a lot of pretty nasty descriptions of the Yala Monsoon that hits the South and West coasts, and it had clearly put a lot of people off.
This became to our advantage and made it the best time to visit Sri Lanka.
The South Coast was so empty that frequently we were the only people in the entire hotel.
The beaches were deserted and we were able to travel around without having to worry about crowds.
The Yala Monsoon is virtually gone by June...
The biggest surprise was that there was basically no monsoon.
At the start of June we would see a very short (less than ten minutes) rain shower once every three days maximum.
Sometimes it rained at night but that doesn't impact you and towards the end of the month there was no rain at all.
The skies were clear and it was incredibly sunny. The South-West during this time is actually surprisingly cool (for Sri Lanka) with temperatures in the low thirties and dropping to the low twenties at night.
In general, the weather was very good, similar to a European Summer. There was very, very occasional rain, but the majority of the time it was dry with pleasant temperatures.
However, Nuwara Eliya can still get rain
Nuwara Eliya is the odd place out as it rained for a prolonged period every day.
We were told that the dry seasons at this point are a lot shorter as the hot, humid air from the lowlands drive a lot of rain up to Sri Lanka's highest town, Nuwara Eliya.
Nuwara Eliya is the wettest place in Sri Lanka so we had been expecting this anyway. There is still plenty you can do, so check out our guide to things to do in Nuwara Eliya in the rain.
It is a much cheaper time to visit
Money isn't everything when it comes to once in a life time trips, but everyone likes a bargain!
We found that we were able to book hotels for just over half the price that would normally be charged during low season.
This allowed us to save money and stay in slightly nicer places than we might otherwise have done.
Given that food, transport and most things to do in Sri Lanka are moderately priced, saving on your accommodation - which can get very pricey in peak season - can mean a significantly cheaper trip overall.
Yala Safaris are at their best
The low number of tourists made it a great time for a Yala Safari, as there were less than 50 jeeps in the park (at peak season we were told it can get to 500).
This meant that you could get closer to any animals you spotted and have a quieter experience.
I'm actually not sure we would visit Yala in peak season after what we heard about the jeep numbers.
The Hill Country is cooler and quieter
The Hill Country is even cooler at this time of year and was dry (apart from Nuwara Eliya).
Hotels in places such as Kandy, Haputale, Nuwara Eliya and Ella were easy to come by and the prices were lower than peak season.
However, the Kandy to Ella Train was still pretty busy, so we fear what that would be like in peak season.
You may be just in time for the Elephant Gathering
The Elephant Gathering in Kaudulla/Minneriya National Park usually starts in July, but it can be as early as June.
At this time, there are very few people on the safaris, so you'll have the chance to see this amazing spectacle with few others around. Check with the tour operators in Sigiriya before you go.
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