Sri Lanka is so-so in May because…

35 °C / 30 °C (May. avg. temp.)

Low season

Weather:The monsoon season starts! Great weather until mid-to-late May

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.

   What to do:To avoid the rain & rough seas, go to the North and East

  • Generally speaking, May is not a great time to visit Sri Lanka. The monsoon weather brings rain and rough seas to the south and west coasts. This makes going to the beach unpleasant and swimming impossible.
  • Instead, head to the North and the East. The beaches in the North and East, such as in Arugam Bay and Trincomalee are accessible and sunny in May.
  • The good news is that its low season, so you ought to find cheap accommodation and in general save money, but still get the good weather now that you know where and when to go.

   Where to go:Head to the North and the East

Some key places: Trincomalee (beach), Arugam Bay (beach), Kandy, Nilaveli.

   Where to avoid?South and West coasts, and the Higlands

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.

   Wildlife:Wildlife spotting is a year round activity, no exception for May

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.

   Hiking:Poor conditions for hiking. Don't climb Adam's Peak.

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.

   Festivals & Events:Vesak Poya is the most important event of the year!

Vesak Poya festival in Sri Lanka

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.

Tell us what you think about Sri Lanka in May

I’d love to hear your experience of Sri Lanka in May in the comment area below! 🙂
Have any questions about travelling in May, don’t hesitate to ask me!


Joanna, world traveller and Sri Lanka specialist

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Head to the North and the East