The best overall times to visit the entire country are January- April and Mid-July - September. The weather in the north and east of the country is also excellent between February - September.
The best times of the year to enjoy the beaches of Sri Lanka are January - April for the south coast such as Bentota, Hikkaduwa and Galle. The best times for the east coast beaches are May - July. These beaches include Pasikuda, Arugam Bay and Nilaveli. At these times the weather is dry , hot and sunny.
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Leopards - July - September at Yala and Wilpattu wildlife sanctuaries.
The best surfing in Sri Lanka is at Arugum Bay. This is a small seaside town to the south-east of the island still retains its bohemian charm and life-style from when it was a haven for hippies of the 70's.
What to Wear
Dress in loose cotton, linen or breathable fabrics. Sunglasses are a good idea to protect your eyes. Any footwear suitable for the tropics is fine. Don't forget a broad brimmed hat and sunscreen. Also remember you need to wear "proper" clothing when visiting religious sites such as temples and Anuradhapura. This means your clothes must cover your shoulders and be below your knees.
Get on board a small boat and head off to sea. The sight of these awesome beasts gliding gracefully past and playfully breaching the surface of the water close to you is exhilarating. Whales can be seen near Mirissa near Galle, Trincomalee and Kalpitiya. The best time for whale watching is December - April.
November - April are excellent times to see dolphins at Kalpitiya.
January - February
January and February are the peak tourist season months and also the best time of the year to visit Sri Lanka. The weather throughout the country is generally dry and temperature warm in the low lands and a bit cooler in the Hill Country.
March - April
The weather is the driest and hottest during these months. Central Sri Lanka, around the Cultural Triangle, reach temperatures in the mid-30s Celsius during this time. Early morning are balmy and lovely to go out in. It is best to avoid the mid-day sun and relax in the shade during these times. These are great months for some beach-time.
The south-west monsoon brings inclement weather to the south-western part of the country affecting areas such as Negambo, Colombo, and Galle through Hambantota. Brief showers are frequent and the weather is still warm and more humid.
Areas to the north and east, such as the Cultural Triangle, Kalpitiya, Trincomalee and Jaffna usually have mostly fine warm weather. So concentrate you holiday towards the north-east of the country.
July - September
These months are great to visit Sri Lanka too. The temperature is in the high-20s Celsius. Being the period between the two monsoons the weather can on occasion be showery .But these downpours are usually brief and infrequent. The beaches are lovely during this period.
October - November
The weather in the south-east part of the country is fine and mostly dry. The weather in the north-east will be impacted by the north-east monsoonal rains and winds.
December is the start of the tourist season, with most visitors arriving towards the end of the month. Many hotels have special Christmas Eve dinner menus and celebrations. The weather throughout most of the country is excellent. Being toward the end of the in the north-east monsoon period,the weather in the north-eastern part of the country can still be wet and unpredictable.