While the monsoon season in southern and western Sri Lanka runs from May to September, this doesn’t preclude travel to those areas. Monsoon rains are unpredictable and usually don’t last all day. Most of southwestern Sri Lanka experiences between 20-120 inches of rain over this five-month period.
Sri Lanka’s coastal areas are hot year-round, with temperatures regularly hovering in the 90s Fahrenheit. At altitude, the climate is significantly cooler. In June, Colombo experiences highs around 88°F and lows of 79°F, while in Kandy, highs are around 84°F. At the hill station of Nuwara Eliya, lows can get down to 57°F.
In the north and east of the island, cities like Jaffna (with highs of 91°F) and Trincomalee (with highs of 95°F), are hot and dry in June. The Cultural Triangle doesn’t get much rain at this time either, although conditions may be windy.
Crowds & Costs
Generally, Sri Lanka is considered a year-round destination. However, the majority of tourists come from December to April, with thinner crowds over the summer and an “off season” in October and November.
Because Sri Lanka’s most popular tourist areas (in the southwest of the country) are rainy, the island sees fewer visitors than usual in June. However, school vacations do attract some visitors from the Northern Hemisphere from June to August, regardless of the weather.
Where to Go
Visitors can head to Trincomalee and Batticaloa, on the island’s east coast, to take advantage of the dry weather and peaceful atmosphere. These less-visited locales offer a respite from the crowds of Sri Lanka’s southern beaches and Cultural Triangle. They’re home to historic architecture and colonial-era hotels, and offer easy access to surrounding beach towns.
Those who want to learn more about Tamil culture can visit the city of Jaffna in Sri Lanka’s far north, to see its ornate Hindu temples.
For more information, see Best Time to Visit Sri Lanka.
What to Do
June is the beginning of whale-watching season in Trincomalee. At this time of year, you’ll have a good chance to catch a glimpse of dolphins, blue whales, and sperm whales off Sri Lanka’s east coast.
It’s also an ideal time to visit the national parks in northern and eastern Sri Lanka. A notable park that’s popular with visitors is Yala National Park. Yala is famous for its leopards, but it’s also home to elephants, crocodiles, wild boars, and many different types of birds. The dry weather in June leads animals to congregate around watering holes, so there’s a higher chance of seeing the most interesting types of wildlife in the park.
If you decide to check out Yala National Park, one interesting attraction in the area is Kataragama. Located on the edge of the park, this sacred pilgrimage town is holy to Buddhists, Hindus, and Sri Lanka’s indigenous Vedda people. The focal point of the town is the Kataragama Temple complex.
Events in June
Holidays and events take place year-round in Sri Lanka, including in June.
Sri Lankan Buddhists celebrate a Poya day on the full moon day of every month, and June is no exception. June’s Poya day is called the Poson Poya, and is one of the most important holidays of the year. Poson Poya commemorates the introduction of Buddhism to Sri Lanka by the Indian-born Buddhist monk known as Mahinda.
As Anuradhapura is said to have been one of the first Sri Lankan cities to convert to Buddhism, celebrations are centered there and in the neighboring town of Mihintale. If you visit the Cultural Triangle in June, you may see Buddhist pilgrims dressed in white, buildings decorated with paper lanterns, and stalls distributing free food and tea. Be aware that meat and alcohol isn’t sold in some parts of Sri Lanka during the festival.
Traveling to Sri Lanka in June? Check out these great itineraries.
Best of Sri Lanka’s Wildlife - 7 Days
See Sri Lanka’s wildlife on this seven-day tour, which covers some of the island’s extensive coastline and lush national parks.
Honeymoon in Sri Lanka - 12 Days
If you’d like to celebrate a romantic honeymoon in Sri Lanka, this itinerary will help you create the experience you’ve been dreaming about. You’ll be able to experience whale-watching in Trincomalee and animal-spotting at Yala National Park, plus beaches and the beautiful scenery of the Hill Country.