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Exploring Sri Lanka

When To Go

Sri Lanka benefits from fairly consistent temperatures of 25-29ºC all year round, and thanks to the monsoon pattern it’s sunny somewhere at all times.

Rainfall varies drastically depending on your location and the time of year you travel. And of course, its a tropical location so it has its unpredictable moments!

The optimum time to travel is from mid December – April. During these months the weather is at its best in the hills and on the popular southwest coast. Having said that, you can travel to Sri Lanka at almost any time of year, because when the rains start to effect the southwest coast in early May the sun conveniently appears on the east coast. This is also a good time to visit the national parks as the dry conditions makes animal sighting a lot easier.

Come mid July – mid September things temporarily brighten up again on the southwest coast due to a break in the monsoon period. August is in fact the country’s third driest month and a great time to travel throughout the island. It’s as though the travel gods planned it that way, to allow families to travel in the summer holidays!

The only months you can’t really travel to Sri Lanka for a great beach holiday are October and November. For anyone not looking for a beach stay however, there is no reason not to travel. The Cultural Triangle is located in a dry zone environment and so sees very little rain throughout the year. As for the tea plantations, it rains for a few hours almost every day there so you will have a similar experience at anytime of year. The temperatures are also significantly cooler in the hills due to altitude. This makes it ideal for many outdoor pursuits and fantastic as an alternative Christmas destination. What better way to spend Christmas than in a old British plantation bungalow, with an open fire, Christmas tree and all the usual trimmings before driving down to the coast for New Year celebrations on the beach!

There is only one word to describe Colombo and that is hectic! It can be fun with a handful of good shops and restaurants to explore but we wouldn't overly recommend it as the first point of call for newcomers to Sri Lanka. It isn't a must see. More
Kandy is 3 hours from Colombo and the religious heartland of Sri Lanka. It was made a world heritage site in 1988. The city's main attraction is the Temple of the Tooth, home to Sri Lanka 's most precious Buddhist relic which becomes the focus of a fortnight long festival known as the Perahera each July. Other points of interest include the Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage, Royal Botanical Gardens and the Commonwealth Cemetery. More
Originally a fishing town the long beaches of Negombo are nowadays dominated by tourists who like the short transfer times from Colombo International Airport. With a few good hotels, Negombo is a popular jumping off point for visitors but it is by far the most touristy town in Sri Lanka and so may not appeal to everyone. More
Bentota is just 2 hours from the airport and as such has a good range of facilities such as watersports and local restaurants. There are a number of larger hotels along the main beach, but your likely to have the smaller beaches to yourself. The area is ideal for families with elephant rides on the beach, banana rides year round and Kosgoda Turtle Hatchery nearby. More
Hikkaduwa is traditionally a surfer town and so has a number of laid back beachfront bars and restaurants, as well as two of the only discos on the island. We have a few accommodation options in Hikkaduwa and recommend it as a day trip from both Bentota and Galle for the glass bottom boat and chance to swim with turtles in the bay. More
Galle Fort
The Galle Fort is a UNESCO World Heritage site thanks to its Dutch colonial past and makes a great day trip from a coastal villa. It has a real cosmopolitan feel due to boutique gift shops and hotel restaurants, mixed with Moorish, Portuguese, Dutch and British history. It is possible to stay in the fort and definitely fun for a few nights. It is approx 3 hours from the airport.
Adam's Peak
Adam's Peak at 7500 ft high is the most famous physical feature in Sri Lanka and a place of pilgrimage. Sri Lankans come mainly in the month of April to pay their respects to the mountains deity Sumana, while foreigners come to admire the sunrise. The climb takes several hours and is done at night, therefore only suitable for the physically fit. More
Yala National Park
Yala National Park on the southeast tip of the island is the most well known of Sri Lanka 's 15 wildlife reserves. Yala is prime leopard spotting territory, especially in August when the area is at its driest, but it is also home to a healthy population of elephants, sloth bears, crocodiles, wild boar, buffalo, jackal and an abundance of bird life. More
Ella has one of the best views in Sri Lanka - through the Ella Gap to the Kirinda Lighthouse on the coast 1000m below. Ella can be reached by road or rail, 7 hours from Colombo. Home to some lovely waterfalls, working tea estates and mini Adam's Peak you can happily spend a few nights in this charming little hill town. More
Home to the Kelani River, Kitugala is a pretty riverside village dedicated to white water rafting, canyoning and kayaking. More
Arugam Bay
Arugam Bay on the east coast of Sri Lanka is a surf paradise, popular with backpackers during the months of April - September. Best avoided in the off season when most of the local businesses close down. More

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