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Myanmar (Burma) climate is tropical monsoon climate with three main distinctive seasons: Cool season, hot season and rainy season. The very best time to visit is the cool season between November and February. However, a visit in the other seasons can reward those planning to discover just top places at lower cost and in more solitude.
This is the best time to visit. It is warm and dry by day, with average highs hovering around 30°C in the top Myanmar destinations – Yangon, Mandalay, Inle Lake, Bagan and Ngapali Beach. Temperatures haven’t yet reached stifling, therefore providing perfect weather to visit temples, and to see amazing sunrises and sunsets.
You can do cool stuff in this cool season with access to all key places. More flights are offered and all hotels across the country are on business. Beaches at Ngapali are open to the public and the hot-air-balloon ride over the Bagan temple plains is available. The fast-flowing Irrawaddy River has busy cruises.
This is the peak travel season. Always book the flights and accommodation as early as possible, like three months in advance. Because of the limited seats, it is wise to book the hot-air-balloon ride half a year ahead of time. At night the temperatures may drop to 15°C, so prepare some warmer clothes.
Ananda Temple Festival (Jan). This falls on the full moon of the tenth month of the traditional Burmese calendar and is held in Bagan. Thousands of pilgrims camp around the temple for the festival. It’s an annual almsgiving time, when donations are given to monks.
Mahamuni Temple Festival (Feb/Mar). This falls around the full moon of the eleventh month of the Burmese calendar and is held in Mandalay. Monks read ancient Buddhist scriptures and offerings are made at the temple. In the evenings, there are performances of traditional dances and plays.
From the beginning of March onwards, the heat builds up steadily, with temperatures exceeding 40°C by the end of the month. It’s still dry throughout the country. Myanmar New Year in mid-April (Thingyan Water Festival) is a rewarding highlight. It’s interesting to participate in the water-fights. Pouring water over someone is regarded as performing a cleansing ritual.
Though temperatures increase considerably, which makes outdoor explorations like visiting the Bagan temples challenging, the trip can still be enjoyable if you plan smartly. Check out the temples in Bagan in the early morning for a nice sunrise or at late afternoon for a beautiful sunset, when the heat does not hit you that much.
It’s much cooler around Inle Lake and more humid in Yangon because of its coastal location. Ngapali Beach is still good for a beach escape. Tourists are fewer and costs are lower for flights and accommodation. Benefits are alluring enough to travel in hot season.
Shwedagon Pagoda Festival (Mar). This is held in Yangon’s iconic Shwedagon Pagoda. It is one of the largest religious gatherings of the year. Thousands of pilgrims circle the central stupa in a clockwise rotation and make offerings along the way. Flowers, fruit and incense are offered on the terrace, with some devotees just kneeling there.
Thingyan Water Festival (mid-Apr). Thingyan along with Myanmar New Year is the best-known festival, celebrated nationwide for a week. Crowds of people play music, dance and throw water over each other all through the streets, as they immerse themselves in a carnival atmosphere.
The southeast monsoon brings rainfalls to the whole country with average temperatures of 30°C, especially between June and August on the Bay of Bengal, in Yangon and the Irrawaddy Delta. Ngapali Beach closes down completely. You can still travel to key places – Yangon, Mandalay, Inle Lake and Bagan (except for the hot-air-balloon ride).
The rains make the land vibrant with lush vegetation. Rains tend to fall in the afternoons and early evenings in short bursts in Mandalay, Inle Lake and Bagan. Yangon often sees longer downpours in the afternoons because it is located on the south coast. Temporary shelters are easy to look for in the cities. And it is not hot!
Advantages of traveling in the off-peak season are convincing. You will have bigger chances of getting excellent guides who are usually booked up during the peak season. All attractions are less crowded. Not to mention the whole travel cost can be 10% - 20% lower than during the peak months, due to lower prices for accommodation and flights. September and October will see more sunshine.
Thadingyut Festival (Sep/Oct). This is held nationwide for three days during the seventh month of the Burmese calendar. The festival celebrates the Buddha’s return from heaven. Celebrations take place at pagodas all over the country, with all manner of colorful lights.
Get to know more about Myanmar Weather by Month and what to wear when visiting.
We provide tailor-made tours to Myanmar. Tours typically start or end in Yangon or Mandalay and last approximately 9 days; visiting Yangon, Bagan, Mandalay and Inle Lake.
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