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The Best Time to Visit Sri Lanka and the Maldives

Author: David Pettitt

Are you dreaming of a picture-perfect twin centre holiday to Sri Lanka and the Maldives? These enchanting destinations offer a wide array of experiences, from exploring Sri Lanka's rich history and fascinating culture to immersing yourself in the pristine beauty, turquoise seas and palm-fringed beaches of the Maldives. To ensure you make the most of your holiday, it is helpful to understand the best time to visit these tropical nations, the different climatic patterns and seasons and to have a good understanding of some of the key cultural sights to see in Sri Lanka.

Understanding Climate Patterns in Sri Lanka and the Maldives

Whilst both Sri Lanka and the Maldives enjoy a tropical climate, their weather patterns do differ. Sri Lanka experiences two monsoon seasons, each impacting different regions at different times which means that the island can be visited year-round. The southwest monsoon, occurring between May and September, brings rainfall to the southwestern coastline and hill country whilst the northeast monsoon affects the eastern seaboard and northern provinces from November to February.

The Maldives, overall, has a more consistent and settled climate throughout the year which is characterised by warm temperatures and abundant sunshine. Nonetheless, there are two distinct seasons - a drier period from November to April and a wetter period between May and October. Even during the wetter monsoon season rainfall tends to be sporadic and short-lived and so there are still plenty of hours of sunlight.

Places to see in Sri Lanka

Whilst the focus in the Maldives is on pure relaxation, Sri Lanka is a treasure trove of scenic beauty, age-old history and vibrant cultural traditions. So whether a history enthusiast, nature lover or interested in the Sri Lanka's culture, this island nation has something for everyone. Here are some must-visit places to see:

Sigiriya

Climb the historic UNESCO protected rock fortress of Sigiriya and be mesmerised by the breathtaking frescoes and far-reaching summit views over the tropical jungle below.

Kandy

Cultural centre of Sri Lanka, the bustling lake-side city of Kandy is home to the revered Temple of the Tooth which is one of Sri Lanka’s most important shrines

Yala National Park

Sri Lanka's best known wildlife reserve, Yala National Park is best known for its leopard population making it one of the best places in the world to see this elusive creature.

Galle

The fortified city of Galle is a charming place in which to spend a few days. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, wander its pretty cobbled streets and explore the town's Arab Quarter.

Polonnaruwa

The ancient city of Polonnaruwa is one of Sri Lanka's most important archaeological sites. Highlights include the Gal Vihara Buddhas and the Kiri Vihara Dagoba.

Nuwara Eliya

Originally a British colonial-era hill station, today Nuwara Eliya has retained much of its charm with English country-style homes, parks, gardens and picturesque tea plantations.

Dambulla

Located between Sigiriya and Kandy, Dambulla is the largest monastic complex in Sri Lanka and consists of five separate cave shrines resplendent with murals and frescoes.

Gal Oya National Park

Little-visited compared to the island's other reserves, Gal Oya National Park is arguably the best place in Sri Lanka to see animals in the wild and is famous for its swimming elephants.

Anuradhapura

UNESCO protected, the ancient city of Anuradhapura is an astonishing archaeological complex featuring a number of important Buddhist temples containing important relics.

Peradeniya Botanical Gardens

The Royal Botanical Gardens at Peradeniya are located on the outskirts of Kandy are not only the largest gardens in Sri Lanka but also considered to be amongst the finest in Asia.

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