When to Go to Myanmar

Sunrise over the temples in Bagan
Bagan

Myanmar by seasons

Myanmar’s tropical monsoon climate splits the year into three seasons; hot, rainy and cool. The day-to-day weather varies considerably depending on elevation, but in general the best time to travel is between October and May, when it’s warm and dry. With a long list of colourful festivals held across the country, there are plenty of seasonal activities to consider, so we’ve broken the year down into its seasons:

Decorated cart at Ananda Pagoda Festival
Cool Season

November – February

With hot days in the mid-to-high-twenties, and warm nights with very little rain, the Cool Season is the ideal time to travel to Myanmar. It is the peak travel period though, so you won’t have the temples to yourself, although November and December offer a little more peace. The highlands can get a little chilly at this time, but down on the coast days are gloriously sunny, and it’s ideal weather for touring the cities too.

Go for:

Taunggyi Balloon Festival: head to Inle Lake in November and look up to spot hot-air balloons of all shapes and sizes brightening up the blue skies, marking the end of the rainy season.

Ananda Pagoda Festival: at the end of December, locals flock to Bagan in decorated bullock carts to celebrate Ananda Pagoda, the largest of the temples here, and participate in giving alms ceremonies with the monks.

Ngapali Beach
Hot Season

March – May

The hot season is the warmest time of year, with temperatures hitting 40°C plus at lower altitudes. Rain is highly unlikely and all attractions are open, so if you like the heat, this is a great time to travel. The area north of Yangon can be very dusty at this time, colouring the landscapes. To escape the humidity, hit the beach at Ngapali or travel in May when the winds pick up slightly.

Go for:

Thingyan Water Festival: on 17 April, celebrate Burmese New Year across the country at the famous water festival, where locals splash scented water over each other to wash away their sins.

Shwedagon Pagoda Festival: get yourself down to Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon for this celebration, involving prayers, dancing and offerings to the pagoda and its monks, held in early March.

Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda Festival, Inle Lake
Rainy Season

June – October

The Rainy Season’s monsoon arrives in June and the rains fall until August, making the more rural roads impassable. Yangon and the Irrawaddy Delta are particularly wet, but come September the rain eases off and is interspersed with longer and longer periods of sunshine. Despite the rain, it’s still very possible to travel at this time, especially if you’re cruising the rivers; you’ll be rewarded with spectacularly green scenery, copious festivals and a blissful lack of crowds.

Go for:

Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda festival: in September and October, join the locals for 18 days of celebrations involving four Buddha images being transported across Inle Lake in a replica of the royal barge.

Taungbyone Nat: head to Mandalay in August for this hectic spiritual festival, attracting thousands of pilgrims to dance and make offerings to two famous supernatural beings, known as Nats. 

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