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As May is the beginning of the rainy season, the southwest monsoon rains start to bring rainfall to the whole country. The weather is still hot but it becomes cooler by the end of May. For central regions like Bagan, there is less rainfall and plenty of sunshine for travel.
The weather is very hot, with an average day temperature of 41°C (106°F). Temperatures tend to decline from mid-May to the end of the month. Rainfall is about 6.0 inches and there are 15 rainy days in May.
Visit the ancient Sule Pagoda, with over 2,500 years of history. It’s located in downtown Yangon and very accessible. Most visitors are attracted by the 8 zodiac sculptures around the pagoda, which represent different days of the week. You can find your own zodiac and ask for a blessing.
Also visit Kandawgyi Lake, one of two major lakes in Yangon. It’s huge and interesting, including a zoo, an aquarium, and an amusement park. There are lots of attractions nearby, such as Shwedagon Pagoda and Sule Pagoda.
Clothing: vest, shorts, sun cream, hat, umbrella, pants, long-sleeved shirt.
May is the transitional month between hot and rainy seasons, with high rainfall and severe heat. Temperatures drop a lot at the end of May, with lowest temperature of 25°C (77°F). It’s not a good time for outdoor activities.
Explore Mahagandayon Monastery, the biggest monastery in Myanmar. You’ll have an opportunity to see thousands of monks living together, standing in line to accept donated food and other offerings. It’s spectacular and impressive.
Mandalay Palace is a beautiful reconstruction of former glory, evidencing Myanmar’s long history and mysterious Buddhist culture. You can walk around slowly to sense the splendor of Myanmar’s distant past.
Clothing: Bring vest and shorts for the days, and a long-sleeved shirt and thin coat for chilly evenings. Also bring a raincoat or umbrella, plus mosquito-repellent for avoiding mosquito bites.
The weather is scorching hot in Bagan, with an average temperature of 39°C (101°F). By the end of the month, temperatures are slightly cooler, as breezes and rain showers set in. Rain tends to fall in the afternoon. Try not to go out then.
You can still visit Shwesandaw Pagoda, a white pyramid-style pagoda. Lots of visitors climb to the top in the early morning and sit there, waiting for its most attractive sight, the beautiful sunrise. You should be careful, as the brick steps are damp and slippery.
You are strongly recommended to relax in the hotel during the afternoons, as it’s usually rainy. Lots of hotels are well equipped with swimming pool, spa room, leisure club, relaxing bar and restaurant. Enjoy a soft drink with your friends, and massages in the spa room. It’ll be good.
Clothing: pants, thin coat, vest, shorts, sunscreen, sunhat, umbrella.
The weather at Inle Lake is warm in May, with average temperature of 27°C (80°F). The highest and lowest temperatures are 38°C (100°F) and 18°C (65°F), respectively. It feels chilly at night.
There are 21 sunny days, with an average of 9.6 hours of sunshine per day. Total precipitation is 7.1 inches. May is still a good time for visiting Inle Lake.
You can explore local people’s lives by visiting the biggest floating market, Ywana. This is a popular hot spot for inhabitants to trade goods with other tribal people. People gather here to sell their products, from fruit, vegetables and fish to exquisite handcrafts.
The Shwe Yan Pyay Monastery is a good place for taking photos, with a unique wooden ordination hall on stilts and two oval-shaped windows. Besides, the monastery is still in use and you can observe how monks live their daily lives. It’s very special.
Clothing: Bring T-shirts and shorts for the days, and wear a thin coat and long pants in the early mornings and nights. Bring a sunhat as shade from the sun.
There are fewer flights to Ngapali in the rainy season from May to September, and most resorts and hotels there are closed.
Full Moon Day of Kasone: This is celebrated throughout Myanmar and lasts one day. Buddhist devotees pour water onto the sacred banyan bo-tree on full moon day of Kason, to celebrate the birthday of the legendary Shakyamuni Gautam Buddha.
Wicker Ball Ceremony: This is convened in the Mahamuni Pagoda in Mandalay and it’s a month-long event starting from the waning of Nayon, the third month in Myanmar, through the full moon day of Waso, the fourth month. You’ll enjoy watching the traditional chinlone games, played with a wicker ball.
Reasonable weather and fewer visitors make May a good time for visiting Myanmar. Tourist sites are less crowded, and better for photography. Cheaper prices for flights and hotels are also an attraction.
Bring a raincoat in case of sudden showers. Roads and steps of the pagodas are wet and slippery. So please wear non-slip shoes and be careful when climbing pagodas. Be aware that landscapes and outdoor activities will be affected when it rains.
Asia Highlights provides customized tours throughout Myanmar tailor-made to fit your interests. Trips typically start or end in Yangon or Mandalay.
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