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August is an annoying time to visit Asia because a lot of Asian Countries are experiencing the monsoon rain in August, it’s incredibly hot, or both!
When researching the best places in Asia to visit in August, Sri Lanka came up a number of times because it’s said that there’s never a bad time to visit Sri Lanka as it’s an all year round destination, you just have to be flexible with where you visit in Sri Lanka and work around the two monsoon seasons!
I decided to go for it, I arrived in Sri Lanka on 12th August and stayed until 2nd September totalling 3 weeks in Sri Lanka exactly.
I noticed a lot of Europeans and North American’s visiting Sri Lanka in August because of the School Holidays so if you’re wondering – is August a good time to visit Sri Lanka? Here’s what the weather was like in August in Sri Lanka based on my experience.
Sri Lanka in August
The Best Time of Year to Visit Sri Lanka.
Before we get into the weather in Sri Lanka in August, let’s be clear that although Sri Lanka is a good country to visit all year round weather-wise, technically the best time to visit Sri Lanka is December to April which is Sri Lanka’s peak season and when the country experiences the best weather, aka no rain and clear sky, sunny days. So by going in August, you are visiting Sri Lanka in low season and off-season, but that comes with some positives too!
Sri Lanka’s Monsoon Seasons.
Generally speaking, Sri Lanka has two main monsoon seasons:
The South-Western Monsoon which hits the South and West side of the island from about May to September.
The North-Eastern Monsoon which hits the North and East side of the island from October to January.
TRAVEL INSURANCE FOR SRI LANKA
Have you got travel insurance for Sri Lanka yet? Make sure you take insurance out before you go! I am insured with World Nomad’s who I really like because they designed by travellers, for travellers, you can even purchase insurance with them once you have left for your trip.
Get a quote from them here whilst you’re thinking about it:
Best Places to Visit in Sri Lanka in August.
Even the quickest bit of research will tell you that in August, the best places to visit in Sri Lanka are along the East Coast and in the North because this is where the South-Western monsoon in Sri Lanka isn’t as strong or focused on. Whereas during the winter months, these parts of the country become quite wet.
Trincomalee and Arugam Bay are the most popular places to visit on the East Coast, I visited them both and both have their own charm.
Trincomalee is a city so as a tourist you need to head up the coast a bit to the two main beaches in Trincomalee – Uppuveli and Nilaveli. I decided to stay in Nilaveli as I read the beach is much nicer and cleaner in Nilaveli. Both are pretty quiet but Nilaveli particularly is very quiet made up of a few dusty roads with guesthouses and restaurants a long them, and a long stretch of beach with the odd beach bar on it.
I spent two days in Trincomalee in August and although the journey was pretty long to get there from Sigiriya by bus, and it took me 7 hours to get from Trincomalee to Arugam Bay by bus I am glad I went. Whilst I was in Trincomalee I went to Pigeon Island, one of only two marine reserves in Sri Lanka, on a snorkelling trip and I went out Dolphin Watching where we spotted a Whale too!
Trincomalee is popular for its Whale Watching, just like Mirissa in the South of Sri Lanka is but only in the right season. In August the chances of seeing Whales in Trincomalee are slim and it’s more and most likely earlier on in the year.
Although the weather was nice on one of my days in Trincomalee we did have a torrential downpour one day too for an hour or so showing that the monsoon is not exempt to this area in August.
You can see the weather in Trincomalee in my YouTube video here of the day I went snorkelling!
Arugam Bay is a lot busier than Trincomalee and June- August is the best times to visit Arugam Bay as it’s buzzing with people and everything is open!
You can read my full travel guide to Arugam Bay here. If you want to find out where the best place to surf in Sri Lanka in August is, then Arugam Bay is the answer! Just be prepared that if you book for 2 nights you might end up extending for a week because you love it so much!
The weather in Arugam Bay in August for me was pretty good, it was very windy when on the beach, but I guess that’s why the surf is so good, and it was generally hot and sunny with just one downpour of rain.
Moving onto the middle of the country, from my trip to Sri Lanka in August I found Sigiriya and Dambulla to be good places to visit because the weather was good with blue skies, hot but not too hot, and only the odd cloud and rainstorm.
Sigirya should be on every Sri Lanka itinerary so you can see the famous Sigiriya Rock, although my recommendation is to go up Pidurangala Rock to see Sigirya Rock (see my youtube video here on this!).
August is also an amazing time to see lots of Elephants on a Safari in Minneriya National Park near Sigiriya as they migrate at this time of year.
The Highlands of Sri Lanka like Ella, Nuwara Eliya and Kandy and also on everyone’s Sri Lanka bucket list and August is a good time to visit them. Being so high these areas get rain all year round, especially Nuwara Eliya which is often referred to as being like Britain and can get pretty chilly and wet.
I found the weather to be great in Ella when I was there in August, it was dry, sunny and warm. Towards the end of August when I was in Kandy I did experience about 3 downpours of rain per day but they came and passed quickly.
I didn’t make it to North Sri Lanka and to Jaffna but certainly, along with the East Coast, the Northern part of Sri Lanka is a great place to visit during the summer months when the South Western Monsoon hits. The weather in Jaffna in August is pretty dry and sunny. It’s also less visited by tourists so if you want a quieter and more authentic look at Sri Lanka, heading up North to Jaffna is a good idea!
Finally, the South Coast of Sri Lanka is possibly the most popular part of Sri Lanka, the beaches of Mirissa, Unawatuna and Tangalle are what a lot of people think of when they think of Sri Lanka. In August the South Coast of Sri Lanka is in the middle of the South Western Monsoon.
I thought I’d take a risk in heading from Arugam Bay to Mirissa to check out what it was really like and I won’t lie to you, it was pretty wet, I’m glad I went as I enjoyed my days in Mirissa chilling out in cafes and catching up with work and I was surprised with the amount of tourists there. The surf is great on the South Coast of Sri Lanka and the best thing is is that you can do this in the rain!
However after I left and as early September approached I saw via Instagram that these beaches brightened up a lot and were a lot nicer to visit so I guess I just got unlucky in Southern Sri Lanka in August.
How Much Does it Rain in Sri Lanka in August?
Without a doubt, if you are visiting Sri Lanka in August you need to be prepared for rain, either way, no matter where you go, you will have rain!
Even when I was on the East Coast which is in high season from May to September, I had pretty bad rain in August! And when it rained on the East Coast, it really rained too, I really experienced this monsoon season!
Talking of monsoon rain, if you’re going to visit the South Coast or West Coast of Sri Lanka in August, you’re going to experience the monsoon- monsoon rain and cloudy days! Oh and the mosquitos were out in full force in August on the South Coast too because of the weather, whereas luckily, the East Coast didn’t have many mosquitos!
What to Pack for Sri Lanka in August?
To ensure that the rain doesn’t disrupt your trip to Sri Lanka in August I would recommend taking the following waterproof items:
Dry Bag to store your phone and technology in safety
Rain Cover for your backpack, because I do think it’s best to take a backpack to Sri Lanka over a suitcase!
Overall, I still enjoyed my time in Sri Lanka in August. I had a pretty different experience to many people who visit Sri Lanka and stick mainly do the South Coast beaches like Mirissa, Weligama, Tangalle and Unawatuna during the winter months when it’s high season and very sunny there. But I felt lucky to be able to visit the East Coast because I loved Arugam Bay, it’s such a gem and for example, in January Arugam Bay is totally dead because it’s low season then.
So if August, or September, or June or July, are the only times you can visit Sri Lanka, you should go but be prepared to be flexible with where you visit, be prepared for some rain and take some waterproofs.
Travel Insurance for Sri Lanka.
Remember you’ll need travel insurance before your trip to Sri Lanka. I am insured by World Nomad’s and I really recommend them as they were created by travellers for travellers and I have always had and heard positive things about them. Get a quote here whilst you’re thinking about it.