Everyone who found out we were going to Sri Lanka told us that we shouldn’t go during Monsoon Season.
The funny thing is though that none of these people had ever been there.
We’d researched online to find out ‘why’ and even ‘what’ a Monsoon was.
Monsoon Season always sounded bad to me – like a Hurricane. Perhaps a really bad Tropical Storm with torrential rain and winds that knock out power and blow out windows and create flooding.
A Monsoon is a seasonal prevailing wind in the region of South and South East Asia, blowing from the south-west between May and September and bringing rain (the wet monsoon ), or from the north-east between October and April (the dry monsoon) – Thanks Google!
We were headed to Sri Lanka in November – the Dry Monsoon Season. WTF is a Dry Monsoon anyway?
Everything we’d found on Monsoon season was pretty vague really. We couldn’t find much on the blogs we’d read, weather sites or any travel pages. So, we decided to gamble and go anyway with our fingers crossed.
Here’s the REAL Deal with Monsoon Season during the time of year we visited, mid-November through mid-December.
It’s just not a big deal.
The weather is much more bearable along the coast during this time of year.
It’s LOW Season which means that there aren’t many tourists so you have beaches to yourself as well as entire hotels and BnB’s. Hostels are still more active however.
The weather on the coast, at least the West Coast where we visited, was about 10 degrees warmer than in the center of the island around Kandy.
When we were on the Coast the average temperature was around 85-90 degrees. In Kandy it was about 75 on average.
Every evening there is a Rain. It comes on fast and you can actually see it coming if you look up into the sky. Search for the big grey clouds coming from either the North or South. Once you see them you have about 30-60 minutes to pack up from the beach and head inside.
We always headed out early every morning and stayed out until at least 3-4pm because most of the rains come early evening and last anywhere from 1 to 3 hours generally but sometimes it lasted all night.
The rains are heavy only for a short while and again, they come on fast.
We are from Seattle so to us, rain isn’t a big deal. In Sri Lanka though it is very hard to get around as the roads are poorly maintained, Tuk Tuks are open air and you will get soaked unless they put down their rain walls. Taxi’s are not aplenty unless you are in Colombo or in Galle. And, the streets and roads are not well lit at all.
If you wash your clothes and hang them to dry, Wash your clothes very early in the evening and then pull them off the rack or balcony or wherever you’ve hung them outside to dry – by 3pm.
We were along the coast the last two weeks in November. We got into a nice pattern with the rain. The further you are away from bigger towns the less there is to do in the evenings anyway so go to bed early and rise as soon as it’s light out.
Now, as you get into December the rains die down.
We were in Kandy by December 1st and it didn’t rain at all for a week. Not a bit. Then it rained overnight a few days in a row.
There was only one day that it rained very hard. That was when we were in Mount Lavinia, a beach town on the western side of Sri Lanka just South of Colombo. It was a fast and hard rain and it lasted all evening. We were staying in a small hotel with great food so were were good to go. Here’s a video of the Rains shortly after they started:
Also, during Monsoon Season, the weather really is the least of your worries. The biggest issue will be that there are less tourists around meaning you will be hounded on the beach and in towns.
This could be different if you are a solo traveler or just as a couple but for our family of 4 it meant that we were bombarded by beggars, sellers and especially Tuk Tuk drivers.
Sri Lanken people need to make a living of course and I don’t begrudge them but just know that this is a potential issue.
Knowing all of this, we’d absolutely travel during Monsoon season again. I’d much rather have some clean air (from the rain) and more manageable heat. 80-90 is good with us. I can’t even imagine being in Sri Lanka in April. That sounds unbearable to me really.
Let us know if you have any other questions about Monsoon Season.