Start planning your fall trip to Sri Lanka
Trains, tea, and turtles are the highlights of fall in Sri Lanka. Waves are still large enough for surfing in early September, while sunbathers can enjoy the beaches throughout the season. See the country’s natural wonders, explore its history and heritage, and indulge in some piquant Sri Lankan cuisine. Sri Lanka is a small country, but packed full of fantastic things to do, including eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Why visit Sri Lanka in the fall?
Visiting Sri Lanka in the fall usually means fewer crowds and great value accommodation. Despite the risk of monsoon rains, the weather is generally good for both lazing on the beach and active adventures. It's also the season of colorful festivals such as Deepavali, the Hindu Festival of Lights. Taking place in late October or early November, expect to see thousands of oil lamps lit to celebrate good triumphing over evil. Fireworks go on throughout the night, too, so expect a memorable show.
The best things to do in Sri Lanka in the fall
Train journeys, exploring historic sites, and trekking in stunning countryside—there's so much to do during fall in Sri Lanka. Here are five suggestions to whet your appetite for a fall visit to Sri Lanka.
Step back in time on a train ride
For a ride into the past, hop on one of Sri Lanka’s old railways. The trains trundle slowly over hills and through green valleys with tea plantations and occasional waterfalls. One popular, scenic route is from Nuwara Eliya to Ella.
See birds and elephants in Udawalawe National Park
It's hard to pick a top national park in Sri Lanka, as they all have their own unique appeal. But for bird-lovers, Udawalawe is at the top of the list. The park's elephant orphanage and rehabilitation center can be visited all year, but fall is the best time for spotting migratory birds. The likes of the booted eagle and common kestrel start arriving from November.
Watch turtles hatch at Kosgoda
Turtle hatcheries play an important role in Sri Lanka's efforts to sustain its turtle population. To see it in action, visit Kosgoda, where rescued turtles are released back into the ocean every night. In fall, you might be lucky enough to see turtles emerging from their eggs on the beach.
See history at Polonnaruwa
Polonnaruwa is an ancient site dating back over a thousand years, when kings used to rule here and it was a busy commercial center. With many of its buildings and monuments still standing, albeit a little ruined, this World Heritage Site provides an atmospheric place to see some Sri Lankan history.
Escape the monsoon in Colombo
If monsoons strike while you’re in Sri Lanka, Colombo offers plenty of places for escaping the rain. Explore colorful markets and intriguing boutiques, or its many museums and galleries. It is also a good place to catch the colorful celebrations of the Vap Full Moon Poya Day in October, a festival dedicated to Buddhist monks.
What's the weather like during fall in Sri Lanka?
Generally, in fall, the weather should be warm and sunny across Sri Lanka, but unpredictable heavy rain showers can be expected during October and November. Go prepared and pack rain jackets and umbrellas alongside your suntan lotion.