Sri Lanka in November: Transitioning to Monsoon


Home to ancient cultures, historical sites, tropical jungles, and beautiful beaches, Sri Lanka is an exotic travel destination. The island nation has a tropical climate with two monsoon seasons, and November is one of the inter-monsoon seasons. Sri Lanka in November is also a lot quieter and more relaxed. Not many travelers visit the country, on account of the weather characterized by strong winds and thunderstorms. But if you do not mind the rain, November is a great time to travel on a budget, as well as avoid crowds at popular tourist traps. Accommodation costs are lower around this time. If you travel to Sri Lanka in November, you will practically have all the attractions to yourself.

Sri Lanka Weather in November

Colombo night sky, Sri Lanka in November
During the inter-monsoon period, expect frequent rainfall across Sri Lanka, but not as much as during the peak monsoon season.

October and November in Sri Lanka are transitional months between the southwest and northeast monsoons. As the southwest monsoon blows out and the northeast monsoon continues, rain is spread evenly across the country during November. Known as the inter-monsoon period, November sees plenty of rain, but not as much as during the peak monsoon season. Even though it is wet, coastal cities can still experience warm temperatures. Colombo sees lows of 23°C and highs of 30°C, while temperatures hang around the mid to high 20s in Kandy. The northeastern parts of the country are just entering the monsoon season, and temperatures cool down considerably. The higher you go, the cooler it becomes. The hill station of Nuwara Eliya has the coolest temperatures on the island, with chilly lows of 12°C.

For a seasonal overview of the weather in Sri Lanka, visit our guide on the best time to visit Sri Lanka.

Weather in Sri Lanka in November - Rainfall and Temperatures

Avg Daily (°C)313132323130303030303030
Avg Nightly (°C)222324252626252525242323
Avg Daily (°F)87.887.889.689.687.886868686868686
Avg Nightly (°F)71.673.475.27778.878.877777775.273.473.4
Avg Rainfall (mm)6269130253382186125114236369310168

Why Visit Sri Lanka in November

Diwali, festival of lights
Head to one of the many Hindu temples in Sri Lanka to experience this incredible fiesta during the festival of lights.
Young Buddhist monk in Sri Lanka in November
The majority of Sri Lankans follow Theravada Buddhism, making it the largest and official religion of the country.

Do not let the rain put you off because there is plenty to see and do in Sri Lanka in November. Here are some of the top things to do on a visit to Sri Lanka in November:

  • Celebrate Diwali: Also known as Deepavali in Sri Lanka, Diwali is one of the most important Hindu festivals that generally falls in late October or early November depending on the lunar calendar. It is a vibrant and energetic celebration with plenty of fireworks and food. Devotees make offerings to the goddess of wealth, Lakshmi by lighting diyas (oil lamps), setting off fireworks, and enjoying special holiday sweet treats. Head to one of the many Hindu temples throughout Sri Lanka to experience this incredible festival.
  • Honor Buddhist Missionaries: Another celebration to enjoy in November is the Buddhist holiday of Uposatha or III Poya. Join the locals in Anuradhapura to celebrate a Poya day in honor of the first Buddhist missionaries at the Thuparamaya Stupa every full moon. Buddhist devotees perform activities such as giving alms, meditating, and listening to Buddha’s teachings at the temple.
  • Hit the River for Rafting: November’s rains cause the rivers to swell, making them excellent white-water rafting spots. Head to the Kelani River at Kitulgala and paddle your way down tumbling rapids in an adrenaline-pumping adventure. Kitulgala is just 90km from Colombo, so it is an excellent idea for escaping the city for a day.

Where To Go and What to Do

Take train from Ella to Kandy and enjoy the scenic view of green hills
Bask in the view of the peaceful green hills while you enjoy your train ride from Ella to Kandy.

November in Sri Lanka may be rainy, but it is an ideal time to explore the country without tourist crowds. One of the best things to do in Sri Lanka in November is to take a scenic train journey from Ella to Kandy. This incredible trip takes you through some of the country’s most beautiful landscapes, from forested mountains to vast tea plantations.

Near the end of November, the southwestern region of Sri Lanka starts enjoying lovely weather with sunny skies and warm temperatures. This makes it ideal for getting out and exploring. Head to the city of Galle, where you can stroll around the historic Dutch Fort, learn about its churches, and see the iconic lighthouse that protects sailors in the bay.

November is also a great time to explore the city of Colombo and enjoy its many attractions without bustling crowds. Wander around the magnificent Gangaramaya and Seema Malaka temples, marvel at the Jami Ul-Alfar Mosque, and spend a few hours in the National Museum.

Sri Lanka offers a wealth of incredible attractions and activities throughout the year, even in the rainy season of November. Pack your umbrella if you plan to explore the northern parts of the country with fewer crowds around. Or head south towards the end of the month for some fun in the sun.

Design your tailor-made itinerary with the expert guidance of our local travel expert for a customized trip to Sri Lanka. You can also check out our guide on how many days to spend in Sri Lanka to plan an itinerary comprising all the highlights. For some instant inspiration, check out Sri Lanka tours in November.

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Traveling to Sri Lanka? Chat with a local travel specialist in Sri Lanka who can help organize your trip.

  • Hazan Anver
    Hazan Anver
    Travel Expert in Sri Lanka
  • Evanjalin Fernando
    Evanjalin Fernando
    Travel Expert in Sri Lanka & Maldives
  • Rajika Dileeshi
    Rajika Dileeshi
    Travel Expert in Sri Lanka
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