Sri Lanka in September: Weather and Travel Tips
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Sri Lanka gets a brief break from its two battering monsoon cycles—Yala and Maha—in September. Barring a few odd showers, the month offers a spectacular tropical treat, a perfect time to take advantage of sparse tourist crowds and shoulder season deals.
There is a lot to do in Sri Lanka in September. Go on a sightseeing tour of the famed ‘Cultural Triangle’ of Sri Lanka in September, and see the ancient cities of Sigiriya and Polonnaruwa. Nature lovers can head to Minneriya National Park to witness the elephant herds gather in the rain-fed reservoir, while culture and history enthusiasts can see the unique blend of contemporary and colonial Sri Lanka in Jaffna, the country’s northern tip. This is also a great time to enjoy the beaches of Sri Lanka. Head to Trincomalee for a perfect beach getaway and tons of water activities.
Sri Lanka Weather in September
As Yala prepares for an exit, travelers will find contrasting weather in Sri Lanka in September. While the northern and eastern coasts are dry and sunny, the south and west coast remain wet. Towards the end of the month, as the Maha monsoon starts to enter the country, the north and eastern parts will start seeing substantial rain again. The temperature remains stable throughout Sri Lanka in September, with daytime temperatures averaging 25°C. The mercury can peak at a maximum of 30°C, but due to its altitude, an average minimum temperature can sometimes reach 12°C.
For a seasonal overview, check out our guide on the best time to visit Sri Lanka.
Weather in Sri Lanka in September - Rainfall and Temperatures
|Avg Daily (°C)||31||31||32||32||31||30||30||30||30||30||30||30|
|Avg Nightly (°C)||22||23||24||25||26||26||25||25||25||24||23||23|
|Avg Daily (°F)||87.8||87.8||89.6||89.6||87.8||86||86||86||86||86||86||86|
|Avg Nightly (°F)||71.6||73.4||75.2||77||78.8||78.8||77||77||77||75.2||73.4||73.4|
|Avg Rainfall (mm)||62||69||130||253||382||186||125||114||236||369||310||168|
Why Visit Sri Lanka in September
Besides good weather conditions, there are several enticing reasons why you should plan a trip to Sri Lanka in September. Below we have listed some:
- Wildlife spectacle: Witness the dramatic congregation of elephants at Minneriya National Park. Considered the largest gathering of Asian elephants, this is one spectacle that visitors should not miss out on when visiting Sri Lanka in September.
- Festivals: To experience a Buddhist festival of profound spiritual and historical significance, travel to Mahiyanganaya. Join a parade or perahera to celebrate Binara Poya—a full moon day festival commemorating the day when females were allowed to join the monastic order. To learn more about the Tamil heritage of the country, attend the Nallur Festival in Jaffna, a 25-day-long celebration of Lord Murugan at Nallur Kandaswamy Kovil. The dates change according to the Tamil calendar but generally fall in August or September.
- Cultural Triangle: September is one of the best times to explore Sri Lanka’s ‘Cultural Triangle,’ the ancient Sinhalese kingdom in the northern-central plains of Sri Lanka. The region is full of historical, cultural, and natural sights, including the rock fortress of Sigiriya, Minneriya National Park, and Dambulla cave temple.
- Shoulder season benefits: With the August rush of summer vacationers on the wane, September has sparser crowds at Sri Lanka’s top attractions. So, relish the spectacular sights across the country without dealing with the peak season crowd. Also, take advantage of the shoulder season deals on accommodations and tourist activities.
Insider's Tips: Shoulder season September is one of the best months for exploring the country. Some rain may still be expected, especially on the south coast. But the east coasts are drier and has abundant water and beach activites. Squeezed between the two main monsoons, Sri Lanka in September offers good weather right across the country, with fewer crowds and lower prices. — by Justyna Radomska from Exemplary Voyages
Where to go and what to do
September is an ideal time to visit Sri Lanka. This is the time when the eastern and northern coasts are dry, allowing surfers to ride on the high waves of Arugam Bay and enjoy the local beaches. During your stay in Arugam Bay, also check out the Kumana National Park, which is famous for its birdwatching tours. For more beach fun, head to the port city of Trincomalee in the northeast. The place is famous for its beautiful beaches like Uppuveli and Nilaveli, and its coral reefs. While at Trincomalee, also visit the famous Pathirakali Amman Temple, a colorful and ornate Hindu shrine, and Fort Frederick, a bulwark made during the Portuguese colonial period. You can also go for a half-day snorkeling trip to Pigeon Island National Park off the shore of Nilaveli Beach, or go on a whale-watching tour.
September is one of the best times to tour the ‘Cultural Triangle’ of Sri Lanka, home to many Unesco world heritage sites. Take advantage of the sparse tourist footfall and climb the rock fortress of Sigiriya and explore the Minneriya National Park. Tour the ancient ruins and monuments of Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa, and in Kandy, visit the Temple of the Tooth Relic.
Take advantage of the brief weather window between two monsoons to explore the top attractions of Sri Lanka. Plan and pick your destinations and activities according to the weather pattern, and you won’t be disappointed with your trip.
If you are unsure about which weather-approved activity to choose, talk to our local experts to create a customized trip to Sri Lanka in September. For more information, check out our trips to Sri Lanka in September.