Things to Do
April is one of the best times to travel to Myanmar. The weather is really nice, with warm temperatures and low likelihood of rain.
You can cruise round the lake to see how the Intha people make their living surrounded by water. In addition, Thingyan and New Year, the most important festival time of the year in Myanmar, is celebrated in April, and you’ll have the experience of a lifetime if you are able to participate.
Visit a Floating Garden
When you think of farmland, the last thing that comes to mind is probably land that can float on a lake. Surprisingly, there is such a thing as a floating garden, and this will definitely be an eye-opener for you.
The Intha people, who live on Inle Lake, build their houses on stilts and make good use of local natural resources. They cultivate vast plots of vegetables, gourds and tomatoes on the floating farmland, which is a mixture of weeds, reeds and mud they gathered from the lake, and anchored using bamboo poles.
Hundreds of bamboo sticks spread out on the acres of farmland, making an amazing scene. You can spend hours touring around the floating garden, enjoying some long-lost tranquility.
You will be amazed by the ingenuity of the Intha people. As you pass through rows and rows of the garden, you can observe how locals take care of the plants. You can even stand on the land if you like.
Celebrate Thingyan and New Year
The Thingyan Festival, also known as the Water Festival, is the most important festival for Burmese people, a time for family reunions. It starts from April 13th and lasts 4 days.
Myanmar’s New Year falls on 17th April, right after the Water Festival, making Thingyan plus New Year the grandest celebration of the year.
You might think that it is all about throwing water around, but it also involves other traditions and religious ceremonies. Special traditional foods are made. People clean Buddha statues, and go to monasteries to pay homage, donating water and presenting offerings to monks.
When Thingyan arrives, the real fun of the festival begins. Stages and pavilions are set up, shows, music and dance are performed, and people are all set to play with water.
People splash water to wash away sins and bad luck from the previous year, in the hope that this will bring them peace and prosperity. So be ready to get completely soaked, for people will certainly throw water at you, especially if you are a tourist. They will be pleased if you participate.
As the saying goes in Myanmar, “I release you once, you release me ten times”. So on the last day of the festival, people release fish and birds as an act of merit, as well as to fulfill a long-standing tradition. They hope that doing good deeds will bring them good luck for the next year.
Beware: You are strongly recommended to bring along some waterproof bags. During the Water Festival, malls, markets, and offices will be closed. Remember to book hotels and flights well in advance.