How to survive the infamous monsoon

No need to panic. A monsoon is not as scary as the title make it sound.

However, whether you are going to ride in Sri Lanka or at early planning stage, you definitely want to know about the weather on the island and especially about the monsoons. In fact, this is a very small piece of information yet useful even if you are not riding at all, but simply on a conventional tour of Sri Lanka.

What are monsoons?

A monsoon is a seasonal change of the wind direction which can bring either heavy-rain or warm and humid air.

Cloudy weather in Galle Fort. Rainfall in Sri Lanka is influenced by monsoon winds from the Indian Ocean and Bay of Bengal
Cloudy weather in Galle Fort… Not the best time to ride. Rainfall in Sri Lanka is influenced by monsoon winds from the Indian Ocean and Bay of Bengal

We are not going to go through a boring lesson about monsoons but they do influence the weather and are one of the keys to making a tour in Sri Lanka more enjoyable.

A short explanation is required…

If you are interested in learning more about monsoons, check this National Geographic’s encyclopedia page.

Maybe you want to meet a friend or see a certain landmark, in some cases you might want or “be forced” to visit a specific place regardless of the weather conditions, so it’s good to be prepared. This will also help you to prepare your clothes appropriately before getting on the flight.

Sri Lanka Quick Facts

Sri Lanka is characterized by a south central mountain range with an altitude of 2524m at its peak and a variety of mountains, ridges, plateaux, valleys and flat plains on the north and closer to the coasts

In general during the day the temperature can get down to 17 °C in the central highlands and up to 33 °C in at lower altitudes.

Depending on the season, specific areas may be less enjoyable for a ride. That’s because there are monsoons affecting diverse areas and during different times of the year.

Clear sky... time to ride!
Road and sky clear… time to ride!

The Yala monsoon hits the west and south-west coast, from around May and ends in September, bringing heavy rainfalls. Inconveniences such as landslides may be present during this period of the year, especially towards the highlands, so the best would be to ride on the east and north areas of the country.

The Hidden Sri Lanka tour starts in Galle, on the south-coast. Although it is possible to do this tour during the rain season, we usually schedule it on February and July which are the best months of the year for that itinerary.

The Maha monsoon visits the east coast from around December to February although it brings less rainfall than the Yala monsoon and the main rainy days are during the first couple of months.

In between the two main monsoons, there are also two inter-monsoons seasons (March – April / October – November). During these seasons rain is more likely to fall in the afternoon and evening time

Bottom line, it’s possible to ride in Sri Lanka all year round, just need to plan ahead to choose the right itinerary and avoid getting caught by the rain.


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