Weather in Sri Lanka in December

Thinking of jetting off to Sri Lanka this December? With warm temperatures, minimal rain, and plenty of cultural festivities, this can be an absolutely fantastic time to visit. Here is our guide to the weather in Sri Lanka in December. Get ready to embrace the humidity, soak up the sun, and more during this high tourist season month. 

Weather in Sri Lanka in December at a glance

  • December falls during the northeast monsoon season, affecting the northeastern and eastern regions with increased rainfall.
  •  The southwest, including popular tourist areas like Colombo, Galle, and the southern beaches, experiences drier and more favorable weather.
  • Average temperatures range from 24°C to 30°C (75°F to 86°F), with cooler temperatures in the central highlands.

Is December a good time to visit Sri Lanka?

Yes, December is a great time to visit Sri Lanka – you get sunny weather, cultural festivities, and loads of outdoor fun. 

As the country shifts gears from the northeast monsoon to the dry season, you can expect pleasant warm weather. Temperatures tend to hover around 25°C to 30°C (77°F to 86°F), with minimal rainfall and plenty of sunshine. 

December in Sri Lanka isn't just about soaking up the sun and lazing on the beach (although that's definitely part of the plan).  December is also when Sri Lanka comes alive with cultural festivities and events, including Christmas and New Year celebrations. This is a great time to enjoy colorful parades, traditional dances, and mouthwatering local cuisine.

December is also an ideal time for wildlife safaris in Sri Lanka's national parks. Spot elephants, leopards, and a variety of bird species in their natural habitats.

Ready to take your trip without the hassle of planning and booking? See our tailor-made trip service.

Nilaveli beach in Trincomalee, Sri Lanka © Shutterstock

The weather in Sri Lanka in December is great for exploring Nilaveli Beach © Shutterstock

Temperatures in Sri Lanka in December

The weather in Sri Lanka in December is generally warm across the country. The north tends to be slightly warmer with minimal rainfall, and the southwest and southeast regions experience similar temperatures but with more frequent rain showers.

North Sri Lanka

In December, North Sri Lanka experiences average high temperatures ranging from 29°C to 31°C (84°F to 88°F) and lows from 22°C to 24°C (72°F to 75°F). Rainfall during this time is minimal, with occasional short showers. Major cities in this region include Jaffna and Kilinochchi.

Southwest Sri Lanka

December brings average highs of 28°C to 30°C (82°F to 86°F) and lows of 23°C to 25°C (73°F to 77°F) in the southwest region. Rainfall is more frequent compared to the north, with intermittent heavy showers contributing to the lush vegetation. Major cities in this area include  Colombo and Galle.

Southeast Sri Lanka

In December, temperatures in the southeast region of Sri Lanka range from 27°C to 29°C (81°F to 84°F) for highs and 22°C to 24°C (72°F to 75°F) for lows. Rainfall is relatively low, with occasional showers. Major cities in this area include Batticaloa and Trincomalee.

Learn more and compare the weather in different months with our guide to the weather in Sri Lanka.

Tranquil relaxing holidays in Sri lanka - Tangalle © leoks/Shutterstock

Tranquil relaxing holidays in Sri lanka - Tangalle © leoks/Shutterstock

Can in rain in Sri Lanka in December?

If you're considering a December trip to Sri Lanka, you're in luck with the weather. Expect warm temperatures and generally dry conditions across most of the country, making it an opportune time for outdoor activities and sightseeing. 

While occasional brief showers might interrupt your plans, particularly in the central and northern regions, the coastal areas typically enjoy more consistent sunshine, perfect for beach vacations and water sports.

On average, Sri Lanka receives around 100-150mm of rainfall in December, primarily in the central and northern regions. The rainfall tends to be sporadic and lighter compared to the monsoon season, allowing for uninterrupted outdoor activities and sightseeing.

Overall, December presents an excellent opportunity to explore Sri Lanka's diverse attractions, from its beaches to its cultural sites and natural beauty. Just keep in mind the higher prices and larger crowds.

Rough Guides tip: crafting a Sri Lanka itinerary can be time-consuming. Entrust the planning and booking to our knowledgeable local experts.

What about crowds and costs?

When December hits, Sri Lanka kicks into high gear for tourists. The weather's top-notch – sunny skies and dry conditions make it a dream for outdoor enthusiasts and beach lovers alike. But there's a catch: everyone else wants a slice of that paradise too, so expect crowds, especially in hotspots and along the coast.

December is considered the high tourist season and crowds are typically at their peak this month, especially around popular tourist spots. 

With more people traveling here, prices start to climb. You may find that accommodation, tours, and getting around can become more expensive in December compared to other times of the year. That said, many will argue that the prime weather makes the cost worth it. 

But if you're not keen on visiting during such a busy time, consider sneaking in during September, October, or November. You'll still snag some sweet weather without the sky-high prices and throngs of tourists.

Still planning your trip? Browse our Sri Lanka itineraries for inspiration. 


The weather in Sri Lanka in December is great for exploring towns like Ella  © Shutterstock

What to do in Sri Lanka in December

If you’re planning your trip to Sri Lanka, you’ll want to check if your visit coincides with the country’s incredible festivals and events. Don't wait too long to book your accommodation for the best options. Looking for more ideas for your Sri Lankan adventure? Dive into our selection of the best things to do in the country. 

Bentota Perahera

The Bentota Perahera is a colorful religious procession held in the coastal town of Bentota, featuring beautifully adorned elephants, traditional dancers, and drummers. Travelers can witness the spectacle of this cultural event, which celebrates the sacred Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha.

Adam’s Peak Festival

Adam's Peak, also known as Sri Pada, is a revered pilgrimage site in Sri Lanka. The festival held here in December attracts devotees of various faiths who undertake the arduous climb to the summit to pay homage to the footprint believed to be that of Lord Buddha, Adam, or Shiva. Travelers can join pilgrims in the challenging ascent, experience the spiritual atmosphere, and witness breathtaking sunrise views from the peak. 

Colombo Night Races 

Night Races is a thrilling motorsport event held on the streets of Colombo, featuring high-speed racing, exhilarating entertainment, and a vibrant atmosphere. Travelers can experience the adrenaline rush of watching professional drivers navigate the challenging circuit under the city lights. The event also offers live music, food stalls, and family-friendly activities, making it a must-visit for motorsport enthusiasts and families alike. 

View on Jami-Ul-Alfar Mosque or Red Masjid Mosque is a historic mosque in Colombo, Sri Lanka © streetflash/Shutterstock

Jami-Ul-Alfar Mosque in Colombo, Sri Lanka © streetflash/Shutterstock

Ready for your dream trip to Sri Lanka in December?

Planning a trip to Sri Lanka? Why spend hours of research and planning when you can instead book your trip today with our tailor-made trip service? Our Sri Lanka itineraries are designed by local travel experts and are completely customizable. 

  • Off the beaten track Sri Lanka (12 days): The perfect Sri Lankan adventure: hike historic temples, experience village life, tour tea factories, and relax on the beach.
  • Unforgettable Sri Lanka (15 days):  Sri Lanka entices outdoor enthusiasts with its golden beaches, ancient sites like Sigiriya, wildlife encounters, and breathtaking landscapes.
  • Sri Lanka for adventure lovers (16 days):  Explore forests, mountains, and paddy fields while enjoying activities like abseiling, water sports, trekking, and cycling.

Want to learn even more useful information for your upcoming trip to Sri Lanka? Read our travel tips for travelling to Sri Lanka and how to get to Sri Lanka.

Dre Roelandt

written by
Dre Roelandt

updated 06.06.2024

Dre Roelandt is originally from the United States but lives and works in Berlin, Germany. Dre is a freelance writer and artist with a passion for travelling. They are an in-house Content Editor at Rough Guides.

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