Traveling to Myanmar is always a good idea. Any time of the year, the country will offer a warmly welcome, showing itself under a new light according to the season. However, there are some factors that may influence your choice about when to go to Myanmar:
The best time to visit Myanmar, weather-wise, is from November to February. During the rest of the year, even if the weather is not at its best, you’ll still have the chance to enjoy a dream holiday. Low season means less tourists, so that you can climb on the top of the pagodas at sunrise and sunsets with no cameras getting in your way.
To be more specific: Myanmar has a tropical climate, presenting two distinct seasons. Dry season, during winter, lasts from November to April and rainy season, during summer, lasts from mid-May to October. Actually, there is a “third season”, pre-monsoon, that lasts from mid-February to mid-May, characterized by very high temperatures.
During winter the weather is fresh, especially in December and January. Sky is clear, there’s a low chance of rain and temperatures are cool. During the last two winter months, from mid-February to mid-May, temperatures increase a lot and the first storms hit the mountain areas.
During summer temperatures start to decrease, the weather is humid and the sky cloudy. The monsoon first hits the Southern regions, around mid-May, then moves up North at the end of May/beginning of June. June, July and August are the rainiest months roughly everywhere, especially on the coast. In September the rain is less intense, and in October the monsoon finally subsides, leaving a cool climate and a green, lush landscape.
**For more information about average temperatures, visit the website climate.data.org
LOCAL FESTIVITIES AND CELEBRATIONS
April is the most special time of the year because that’s when New Year’s Eve celebrations – also known as Thingyan or Water Festival – take place for 4/5 days. Remember that’s a time of celebrations for everyone in the country, so traveling by public transport may be difficult.
At the end of June, in Mandalay, there’s the Chinlone Festival (Mahamuni Waso Festival) attracting teams from all over the country. Chinlone is an ancient traditional sport: it consists in a team of 6 players passing a ball of handwoven rattan between each other within a circle, without using their hands.
The most popular festival at Inle Lake is Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda Festival: here you can watch the inhabitants parade across the lake, rowing on one leg (yes, that’s right!), carrying four golden Buddha statues on the royal boat, while sailing clockwise around the lake. The Festival is celebrated in mid-October, and lasts approximately 15 days.
In October (date to be confirmed each year), the whole country celebrates the end of the Buddhist Lent with the Thadingyut Festival (Lighting Festival): it’s an occasion for amusement and meditation, when everything is illuminated and people can thank monks, teachers, parents and elderly.
November is rich in celebrations: in Yangon young women take part to a competition which consists on weaving garments for Buddha directly on the padoga platforms. The weaving must be completed before sunrise.
In November the country also celebrates the end of the monsoon with the Tazaungdine Festival of Lights. Lights are lit and fireworks displays are organized everywhere. In Taunggyi, in Shan State, there’s the Taunggyi Fire Balloon Festival (held on November 3rd 2017): a race between skillfully built hot air balloons lasting a whole day and night.
Lastly, in December, there’s the Mount Popa Nat Festival, honoring the 37 Nats with traditional dances, popular songs, shows and much more. Nats are nature spirits, worshipped by Burmese people.
If you’re willing to visit Myanmar during one of these festivals, we suggest you get in touch with our Ostello Bello staff in Myanmar to ask for the Festival official dates, as they change from year to ye