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The Best Time to Visit Myanmar

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“Myanmar is one of the lesser known gems of southeast Asia although increasingly popular, and for good reason. This beautiful, unique and diverse country is rich in tradition and culture with remarkable natural landscapes and humble, friendly people.”

About the Author

About the Author

I wanted to work in travel after a stint working in a lodge in Zimbabwe. Once discovering Asia I feel in love, and have kept going back for the huge range that the continent has to offer.

ASIA & AUSTRALASIA SPECIALIST

Katie

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Myanmar is a fascinating country, remaining relatively undiscovered but with so much to offer. The country is rich in culture, with rituals and traditions practised today passed down over generations. Many of these traditions have resulted in extraordinary spectacles, as unique as they are beautiful. The many scared sights, humble people and the beautiful natural landscapes ensure Myanmar has something to offer for all those who visit. The tranquil atmosphere and slower pace of life offers a peaceful and charmed experience to this unique destination.

Due to the length of the country, weather conditions vary by region in any given month. The central plains of Myanmar tend to experience comparatively dry conditions and can become particularly hot. In contrast, to the south of the country some areas close completely during the wet season.

The high season is generally considered to be November to February when temperatures are warm but comfortable and rainfall is at its lowest. Having said that, there is a strong argument for visiting Myanmar in the months shouldering the high season to experience fewer crowds. Generally speaking, Myanmar is considered to have two seasons – the dry season from October to May and the wet season from June to September.

Many who visit Myanmar wish to include the infamous balloon ride over Bagan. The hot air balloon rides are seasonal, from October to April, so this may be something to consider in deciding when to travel.

WHEN TO VISIT MYANMAR: MONTH-BY-MONTH GUIDE

January

January is a fantastic time to visit Myanmar. In the middle of the high season temperatures are warm with minimal rainfall across the country. Plenty of sunshine will be found on the south coast and the central plains will be pleasant when enjoying a day sightseeing. River levels also remain high enough for boat travel. In the foothills, temperatures in the early mornings and evenings can still be a little chilly so a jumper is recommended if visiting Kalaw and Inle Lake.

If you are hoping to travel to Myanmar in January we would recommend you book in advance. The availability of accommodation can be a challenge when searching for high end properties during this time, although availability improves as Myanmar’s tourism industry continues to flourish.

February

February is the driest month of the year in Myanmar and sees many tourists hoping to visit. You should be sure to book in advance to have your choice of accommodation and experience this country at its finest. The south coast is bathed in sunshine, the central plains will be warm and the foothills will also see a rise in temperatures taking away the early morning chill. Rainfall is particularly unusual and the climate means this is one of the best months to visit Myanmar.

March

March sees a further increase in temperatures across the country but still cooler than the months to follow. In the central plains, much can be done to avoid the heat of the day if necessary and many still choose to travel as it is a wonderful month to visit. The foothills too are warm and temperate and rain is not expected. The southern coast continues to receive plenty of sunshine presenting a fantastic beach destination for those looking to soak up a few rays.

In March, the Bawgyo Pagoda Festival in Hsipaw takes place over a week-long period during the full moon. Thousands of pilgrims travel to pay homage to four carved wooden images of Buddha. March is a time of numerous celebrations in Myanmar with festivities and pilgrimages across the country and for those interested this can be a fascinating time to visit.

April

April is frequently the hottest month of the year in Myanmar. Rainfall is still relatively low but in the foothills, including Inle Lake and Kalaw, there is the possibility of short, sharp showers. April remains a busy month for tourism in the more popular regions and you would still be advised to book in advance. The dry, central plains including destinations such as Bagan and Mandalay can be particularly hot. Having said that, exploring the temples and other sightseeing locations for sunrise and sunset would be recommended regardless and can be a great way to avoid the heat of the day. April tends to be the last month that companies offer hot air balloon rides before the rains begin to arrive.

In the middle of the month the Burmese people will celebrate the New Year with crowds flocking to the country offering a fantastic opportunity to join in the festivities.

May

The weather in May can be somewhat unpredictable across the country. This month sees the shift from the hot, dry season to the hot, wet season with the arrival of the rains. Generally, temperatures remain high and your itinerary would be tailored to avoid the heat of the day. Towards the end of the month, rainfall increases with afternoon showers offering some welcome respite from the heat. Tourist numbers begin to decline over this month and can make for a wonderful opportunity to visit during a more peaceful time.

Myanmar has some fantastic retreats on offer and visiting at the end of the high season can avoid potential swathes of tourists. The southern coast is beginning to receive increased rainfall beyond short, sharp showers and as a result, areas such a Ngapali beach would be suggested with caution.

June

In June, the rains encroach further on Myanmar’s southern coastline and the beaches at Nagapali begin to close due to inaccessible roads. In the central regions, temperatures remain high with the potential for short, sporadic showers and we would recommend visiting areas such as Mandalay and Inle Lake during this time to take advantage of the lower visitor numbers. The central plains only receive a fraction of the rain seen on the coast of the country and the lower numbers of visitors can make June a great time to visit regions such as the temples of Bagan for a quieter, more humbling experience.

July

July is considered to be monsoon season and continues through to September time. The southern beaches will be closed but better weather can be found in the more northern regions although road travel across much of the country can be challenging. Temperatures will still be warm and areas such as Mandalay receive comparatively less rainfall but most of the country will be running at a slower pace given the challenges presented by the weather.

August

There are definitely better months to travel to Myanmar than August, especially if you are hoping to visit much of the country and travel to multiple regions. The heavy rains continue to make road travel difficult and the southern beaches remain inaccessible. Appropriate clothing would be a must and although presenting challenges logistically, the rains cover the country in green, rich vegetation making for beautiful landscapes.

September

By September the skies are beginning to clear and rainfall lessens, especially towards the end of the month. The lush landscapes and few tourists can make it a fantastic time to visit however, beaches will remain closed during this period and more rural areas are still likely to be relatively inaccessible. The central plains are the first to experience the end of the wet season with the foothills still likely to receive steady rainfall during September.

October

October continues to move into the dry season with beaches in the south opening to visitors and warm, dry conditions expected country wide. Rainfall is still anticipated in showers, particularly in the foothills but this is a great time to beat the crowds and enjoy Myanmar in the green and fresh climate following the more persistent rains. To avoid the intense heat in more central areas such as Mandalay, travelling in October can be very pleasant.

Towards the end of October, companies begin to offer hot air balloon rides over the temples of Bagan as the area begins to welcome tourists for the season.

November

November is the beginning of high season in Myanmar, with warm temperatures and a further drop in rainfall making it a popular month to visit the country. The climate is temperate allowing for sightseeing throughout the day and this is a great time of year to visit. Locations such as Bagan and Mandalay will be experiencing temperatures of around 30 Celcius, with temperatures a fraction lower by Inle Lake. Heading down to the south coast and Ngapali beach you can expect blue skies and warm temperatures.

December

Despite being one of the coolest months of the year, in December, the country continues to experience temperate conditions and rainfall is now minimal. This is a fantastic time of year to visit Myanmar, although Christmas season tends to incur holiday surcharges so you would need to travel earlier in the month to avoid this. The warm conditions remain perfect for sightseeing throughout the day all across the country.

In the south, along the coast, Ngapali Beach receives lots of sunshine and minimal rainfall making for a fantastic beach destination.

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