Sri Lanka Holiday Season 2024: when is the best time to go?

Сезон для отдыха на Шри-Ланке — 2024: когда лучше ехать?

They say it’s always the season in Sri Lanka. Is it so? Let’s figure out when it’s best to go, with details by month.

I have been to the island of Ceylon 4 times — I got into the beach season in Sri Lanka, and celebrated the New Year, and the May holidays. There is always something to do and a year-round warm climate if you like to spend time actively. However, the country is not always good for lying on the beach and swimming in the sea.

Is it possible to go to Sri Lanka now?

Sri Lanka is now a rare tropical destination where you can fly directly from Russia. And she also took 5th place in terms of the number of tourists from Russia in the first half of this year — the island is ahead of the Maldives and Bali, but behind Thailand.

For me, this is a comfortable and welcoming place: there are many hotels for every taste and budget, the water temperature in the ocean is never cold, the number of cloudy days is minimal (especially relative to my native gray Urals). Prices, as in neighboring India, are low relative to the rest of Asia, and nature is similar to the Maldives, which are nearby.

Not so long ago, an energy crisis occurred in Sri Lanka, because of which many are afraid to go to the resorts of Ceylon. I was here shortly after him and I tell you for sure: these events did not affect the vacationers in any way. The only caveat is that if you decide to rent a vehicle, you will fill up with gasoline using a QR code. But even now, he is rarely asked anywhere. Otherwise, you will not notice any restrictions.

There are no problems with security either: if you don’t mindlessly throw your things anywhere and grossly violate the laws, there will be no problems. Often, local police even allow you to drive with a Russian driver’s license, despite the fact that they do not operate in the country — the main thing is that you wear a helmet.

How to fly to Sri Lanka in 2024?

Сезон для отдыха на Шри-Ланке — 2024: когда лучше ехать?

Сезон для отдыха на Шри-Ланке — 2024: когда лучше ехать?

Flying over Sri Lanka

Both an independent trip to Sri Lanka and a vacation with a tour operator suggest that you will have to take care of a Sri Lankan visa yourself. Yes, it is needed, but it is easy to get it:

  • Or you fill out a short application on the website and pay $52 per person (with a card from a foreign bank or Unionpay from an unsanctioned Russian bank). The visa will be sent to your email in 15 minutes. It is possible to stay in the country for up to six months.
  • Or you can not worry at all and put a visa at the airport upon arrival. You will have to stand in line and pay $8 more (that is, $60).

Sri Lanka and Russia have been connected by direct flights for a long time, but there is a gradation by season and departure cities. In autumn, winter and spring, planes depart from Russia and directly to Sri Lanka from Moscow, Yekaterinburg, Samara, Tyumen, Novosibirsk and other million-plus cities. In summer, there are flights only from Moscow and Yekaterinburg.

And as for the organization of the trip, there is also a place to roam:

✔️ Choose a ready-made tour with flight, accommodation and transfer on a Travelat
✔️ Or buy airline tickets separately and find a hotel or guesthouse on the Island (if there is no foreign bank card)

Closer to our winter, when the holiday season in Sri Lanka comes into full force, the prices are not inspiring at all – from 90,000 rubles for a direct round—trip flight per person, from 200,000 rubles for a week-long tour for two. A connecting flight will help you save money: we did not hesitate to take a Moscow–Colombo ticket with a stop in the UAE for 60,000 rubles (and tours with this way of getting there cost from 150,000 rubles for two). In summer, the price tag is sometimes slightly lower, but not much.

When is it better to go on vacation to Sri Lanka: high season and rainy season

Сезон для отдыха на Шри-Ланке — 2024: когда лучше ехать?

Сезон для отдыха на Шри-Ланке — 2024: когда лучше ехать?

The most important thing to understand when studying the hot tourist season in Ceylon:
The island is located in the Indian Ocean between two monsoons, which have a direct impact on its weather. One monsoon comes from the northeast and the other from the southwest. They bring rains and storms to different coasts of Sri Lanka in turn: when it is sunny and dry on the northeast coast, it rains and cloudy on the southwest coast. And vice versa.

So it turns out that the season in Sri Lanka is always here and there. There is seasonality, but in general, you can always find the sun and a calm sea on the island. At the same time, there are good waves for surfing on both coasts during the dry season.

To put it simply, the weather for destinations in Sri Lanka looks like this:

  • Southwest (Hikkaduwa, Weligama, Unawatuna, Galle): The comfortable, rainy and sunny season lasts from November to April. After that, the rainy season in Sri Lanka comes with cloudy skies, night showers, strongly noticeable humidity and dangerous waves.
  • Northeast (Batticaloa, Trincomalee, Passikuda): it’s exactly the opposite, that is, it’s better to go here from May to October.

Another thing is that the west coast is much more popular than the east coast. The resorts of the latter are located 4-5 hours away from the airport and are more “provincial”. Although someone will say – more authentic, real ones. In any case, you can’t find a special hazelnut milk latte here. Therefore, often by “the best holiday season in Sri Lanka” they mean the high season in the southwest.

So find the island on the map, check the estimated month of the trip in the table and determine where the weather is adequate in Sri Lanka at this time.

When is it better to go on vacation to Sri Lanka:

Jan Feb March Apr May June July Aug September Oct Nov Dec

Red background — I advise you not to go here

The green background is the best month to relax in Sri Lanka on this coast

Yellow background — an incomprehensible month, the weather changes from ⬆️ to ⬇️ or vice versa

Surfing Season in Sri Lanka

Сезон для отдыха на Шри-Ланке — 2024: когда лучше ехать?

Сезон для отдыха на Шри-Ланке — 2024: когда лучше ехать?

No matter which coast you are on in a good season, you will find spots for board riding with any level of training everywhere. And you can swim comfortably in the gentle sea.

In low season, beaches in Sri Lanka are unsuitable for swimming! The waves are getting big, the undercurrents are dangerous even for experienced swimmers. Keep this in mind: if you intend to swim, especially with children, choose a family hotel with a swimming pool. They work all year round in Sri Lanka.

  • From November to May, surfers feel great on the spots of the southwest (especially in Veligam and Ahangam), and from May, when the waves here become uneven and unsuitable for skiing, they move to Arugam Bay. Here in 2024 is a real mecca for board lovers (which, although we planned, we never reached), and international competitions are held during the season.

Now you know when is the best time to surf in Sri Lanka: always. Just, depending on the season, move from Colombo Airport to where the dry season is — there are waves and surfers.

Weather and seasons in Sri Lanka by month

Сезон для отдыха на Шри-Ланке — 2024: когда лучше ехать?

In any month of the year, the weather on the Ceylon coast is good: the air temperature does not fall below +27 ° C, and the sea knows no other water temperature except +25 ° C and above. So it’s never cold here. But high humidity is almost constantly present (which means that the heat is felt more strongly). Regardless of the season, there is always fruit in Sri Lanka – only the assortment varies at different times of the year.

However, the comfort of being on the beaches varies greatly by month.


Where to go: to the southwestern resorts

Sri Lanka is unconditionally popular in winter. In January and February, almost the entire island is dry and hot: temperatures up to +33 °C, water up to +28 °C. There is little rain — this is the best time for excursions. In the center of the island, where it is mountainous and hilly, it is quite cool (about +20…+25 in the city of Ella), and it is great to celebrate the New Year here. Which is what we did a couple of years ago.

It is cooler in the northeast, in Trincomalee and Batticaloa. The average is +26 degrees with more rainy and cloudy days than in the popular Unawatuna in the southwest.

Find a tour to Sri Lanka >>


Where to go: to the southwestern resorts

In southwestern resorts, the season is slowly coming to an end: the closer to the end of April, the more often the sky is cloudy, and it rains at night. However, it is still comfortable to relax — all the same + 30 outside and the warm sea, the waves are small. By the end of April, however, it gets more stuffy.

At the same time, in March and April, the weather in the northwest is getting better and better: there are a lot of sunny days, there is almost no rain, the air temperature is close to +30, the beach season is about to begin.

Sri Lanka is especially interesting in the spring because Russian airlines are starting to sell tickets – the charter season is also winding down at the same time as the high season in the popular part of the island. Tickets for 15,000-20,000 rubles per person in one direction from Moscow and the regions (even Novosibirsk) are our real and repeated find on Air Sales in April 2024.


Сезон для отдыха на Шри-Ланке — 2024: когда лучше ехать?

Сезон для отдыха на Шри-Ланке — 2024: когда лучше ехать?

Where to go: east — Trincomalee, Passikuda, Arugam Bay

The worst month for the southwest coast. Because May is the rainiest month. Even the summer months “behave” better than the end of the calendar spring.

In Unawatuna and Galle, cloudy days stretch all the time, and it often rains, and most importantly, it gets incredibly stuffy. The thermometer shows +30, but it feels like +37 because of the high humidity, and you want to constantly sit under the air conditioner (we did that). Swimming in the sea is risky: the waves are high, the undercurrents are dangerous, and the conditions are completely unsuitable for surfing.

In May, it is better to leave the south for the east, where it is dry, sunny and comfortable to swim at this time. Surfers at this time move to Arugam Bay — here is a real paradise for professional wave lovers, although the sun is quite nuclear (the daytime temperature does not drop below 30 degrees).


Where to go: to the east

Sri Lanka whispers in summer: go on vacation to the northeast! It is the best season to relax in Sri Lanka: sunny, dry and not too hot, beautiful clear sea and good surfing. In the west and south — in Unawatuna and other resorts — it rains for twenty days out of thirty and the incredible stuffiness continues, and it is dangerous to swim.

To show that the east is still not a village forgotten by the Lankan gods, but an adequate coast with beautiful beaches, here are some examples of cool resort hotels:

  • 5* Uga Escapes Jungle Beach (Trincomalee)
  • 5* Karpaha Sands (Passionwood)
  • 4* Cinnamon Trinco Blu (Trincomalee)

What happens to tours and air tickets? Direct flights remain only for Moscow. But competition in the form of hot and much closer Turkey and the native Black Sea contributes to the frequent release of burning tours to Sri Lanka to the market (80,000-100,000 rubles for two for a week).


Сезон для отдыха на Шри-Ланке — 2024: когда лучше ехать?

Where to go: to the east; in principle, it is possible to go to the southwest

The southwest is making progress: the heat is subsiding slightly, but 20 days of rain and a rough sea are still on the schedule. But it is not at all a fact that there will be 20 days of continuous rains — they usually come in the evenings. If we discard this flaw, then everything else in popular resorts is fine: housing prices are low, the ocean is free, there are no queues at surf schools — choose the best coach. Locals say that it is much better to relax in this part of the island in August than in September!

Things are going well in the northeast: it is still sunny, but hotter than usual – the average temperature is +33 degrees. There is no rain, swimming is perfect.

If you are very attracted to an inexpensive tour to Sri Lanka – and only trips to the southwest are inexpensive at this time — choose the Unawatuna resort. It is conveniently located in a bay protected from strong waves.


Where to go: in September — to the east, in October — to the southwest

And again, the seasons change places: rains come to the northwest (in October they come every second day) and heat. Clouds and general overcast will not save you from sunburn — be on your guard. Showers come in the evenings, during the day they get a little bit of rain. Here we have to deal with wisdom from the locals: choose a hotel or resort in the bay, and you will be happy in the form of a calm sea. Such places include Unawatuna, for example.

In Veligama and Mirissa, surfers and tourists joyfully arrive at the coast: comfortable sunny weather comes again, when it is not stuffy, and the waves become smooth and suitable for board riding. The season starts in September-October! In autumn, it becomes comfortable to relax in Sri Lanka with children.

Meanwhile, Russian tour operators and airlines continue the parade of generosity for everyone who is able to get to Moscow airport by jet — Travelat still comes across relatively inexpensive tours (80,000-120,000 rubles for two for 7-8 nights for a good hotel in the southwest), air tickets (40,000 rubles in both directions direct flight).


Сезон для отдыха на Шри-Ланке — 2024: когда лучше ехать?

Where to go: to the usual southwestern resorts of Sri Lanka

In November, my favorite time comes in the south, the best time to travel to Sri Lanka: warm, sunny, beautiful sea, rains every two weeks. It’s hot and beachy in the afternoon, and cool in the evening, 23 degrees. Reviews from all tourists at this time are excellent, which is not surprising — Ceylon is turning into a paradise.

And in the northwest, it rains for half a month in November and December. There is not much to do there — this is a period when you should not go to Sri Lanka in that direction.

Closer to the traditional season, tour operators set charters and make tours from many Russian cities — Samara, Tyumen, Novosibirsk, St. Petersburg, Moscow.

What about the whales?

By the way, I am often asked about the whale season in Sri Lanka. They are here, yes, but when is it worth going to see them, which month is better?..

I answer: in summer, go east to Trincomalee or Batticaloa; in autumn and winter, as well as in early spring, to the western part of the island, to Kalpitiya and Mirissa. From mid-April to June, the chance to see whales is minimal, so it’s better to look for other excursions on these dates. And at other times, you can go to see whales, for example, with these guys — their reviews are excellent (but you need a foreign bank card to book).

My review and tips on Sri Lanka

Сезон для отдыха на Шри-Ланке — 2024: когда лучше ехать?

Сезон для отдыха на Шри-Ланке — 2024: когда лучше ехать?

I will share with you the important points that should be taken into account when planning your trip to Sri Lanka:

— Take coral slippers and a powerful sunscreen. The first ones will help you not to scratch yourself on the stones, of which there are many underwater, and the second one will protect you from heat stroke, which is possible even on a cloudy day.

— Come with dollars or euros and change them at the airport. I don’t know how it is, but here is always the most profitable course. The World map in Sri Lanka does not work.

— If you come with working gadgets like an expensive laptop, rent a house at least a kilometer from the sea, or keep the air conditioner on more often: there is very high humidity in Ceylon, and the equipment may deteriorate. As a last resort, you can buy a special dry-box with a moisture-absorbing gel and put the equipment in it at night.

— If you do not have enough communication with compatriots who came here to live, like you, look for them in telegram chats with the word “Sri Lanka” by interest or in Russian cafes (for example, Om Surf Club in Veligama).

— If you come out of season, rent an air-conditioned apartment. always. Yes, it will be twice as expensive as an apartment without it, but you will definitely survive in the stuffiness!

— Alcohol, by the way, is allowed in Sri Lanka, but it is not cheap.

Where is the best place to stay and book accommodation?

Сезон для отдыха на Шри-Ланке — 2024: когда лучше ехать?

Сезон для отдыха на Шри-Ланке — 2024: когда лучше ехать?

Is it possible to travel to Sri Lanka as a tourist and is it comfortable? Of course, yes! There are enough good hotels with food and a range of services for every taste. Where to settle is up to you: I like Veligama and Unawatuna. I wrote about the first one, housing and other nuances here.

You can also go to paradise island on your own: in this case, I recommend that you book a guesthouse for a few days in advance, and then go on foot to ask local and foreigners living here who rents housing and where. You can find much more interesting options with your feet than on websites from abroad.

Is it possible to travel to Sri Lanka without a travel plan?

Sure. Many people just want to relax on the beach — then you can move to a certain point (for example, Unawatuna) and stay there. You can travel by buses and rented transport along the coast, or you can go to the center of the island to watch tea plantations and walk along the cool hills. It is definitely worth visiting the town of Ella, visit the Horton Plains plain and visit my favorite Dialuma Waterfall.

When and where is it better to go to Sri Lanka with children?

I don’t have children, but if I were choosing where to go with them, I would choose the inhabited Unawatuna in the southwest among all the resorts in Sri Lanka. Both at the beginning and at the end of the season, there is everything you need for a comfortable family holiday, plus the child will have a place to play and swim in the calm sea with other children.

But the ideal time to fly with children is still New Year’s Eve (prices in Sri Lanka in 2024 bite during the holidays, as always at all resorts on popular dates), or the period from mid—January to the end of March. At this time, the weather is great and, importantly, many mothers with children spend the winter in Ceylon.

In general, I would not go to Sri Lanka with children: there are big problems with children’s infrastructure here. It is very difficult to find playgrounds, not to mention the fact that in the country, with the exception of the capital, there are no sidewalks at all. Therefore, considering whether it is worth going, I would choose Thailand with a child that is more habitable and adapted for children.

To summarize all of the above: as you can see, in any month in Sri Lanka, there is a season on one of the coasts. This is a very convenient country — you just need to choose the right directions after your plane has landed in the capital Colombo. Both there and there there is a beautiful sea, good surfing and interesting sights, and most importantly — good weather.


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