35 °C / 30 °C (May. avg. temp.)
– Low season
Towards the end of the month the monsoon will hit the south and west parts of the island which can also contribute to floods (as witnessed in the May 2017 floods). Begin the month in the Southwest and End in the Northeast.
Some key places: Trincomalee (beach), Arugam Bay (beach), Kandy, Nilaveli.
May marks the start of monsoon season along the south and west coasts so the main beach destinations are generally out of action. The highlands are also hit by rain and best avoided.
Fortunately, wildlife spotting is a year round activity so if you do decide to travel in May you will find animals in abundance in Minneriya, Wilpattu, Uda Walawe and Yala national parks. There are also lots of blue whales at this time off the coast of Trincomalee.
All main sites in the highlands are hit by rain and best avoided (cold, rainy and windy; horrible hiking conditions). Adam’s Peak will be less popular as pilgrimage season tails off but the weather won’t be ideal for hiking and the view may be obscured by mist.
Of all the Poyas (every full moon is celebrated with a poya), Vesak Poya is the most important. This day celebrates the life, enlightenment and death of Buddha. Across the island, Buddhists will be meditating and fasting at the country’s temples while the less devout will be enjoying free street food.
It is worth noting that selling meat, fish and alcohol is prohibited for 6 days during this time. However, some hotels are able to get around this law. Also bear in mind that accommodation might be difficult to find around this time.