Myanmar is a country in Southeast Asia which is bordered by India and Bangladesh to in the west, Thailand and Laos in the east and China in the north and northeast. Before going on a trip to Myanmar, you should know about the weather due to its major role in having a great holiday. Myanmar has a tropical monsoon climate which is composed of 3 distinctive seasons: cool & dry, hot & dry and the rainy season (also known as the green season).
When is the best time to visit Myanmar?
1. Cool & Dry Season – From November to February
What to expect during the cool and dry season in Myanmar: warm average temperatures between 27ºC and 31ºC. Average lows between 15ºC and 19ºC and average highs between 20ºC and 26ºC.
This is the best time to visit temples and see amazing sunrises and sunsets. Actually, you can do everything you want in the cool season, with access to all key places.
Please keep in your mind that temperatures at night may drop to 15°C, so pack some warmer clothes.
2. Hot & Dry Season – From March to May
How about the hot season in Myanmar?
From the beginning of March onwards, temperatures can exceed 40°C by the end of the month. It’s dry throughout the country.
Though temperatures increase considerably – which makes outdoor explorations like visiting the Bagan temples challenging, the trip can still be enjoyable if you plan it smartly.
It’s much cooler around Inle Lake and more humid in Yangon because of its coastal location. Ngapali Beach is a pretty good choice for a beach escape. Tourists are fewer and costs are lower for flights and accommodation.
3. Rainy Season – From June to October
The southeast monsoon brings rainfalls within the whole country with an average temperature of 30°C, especially from June to August on the Bay of Bengal, in Yangon and the Irrawaddy Delta which brings bad effects on tourism. Ngapali Beach closes down completely. You can only travel to some key places such as 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 different cities. And it is not hot!
Advantages of traveling in the off-peak season are:
- All attractions are less crowded.
- Whole travel costs can be 10% – 20% lower than during the peak months.
In general, the best time to visit Myanmar is:
4. What you shouldn’t miss while traveling here:
a. Main cities you should visit: Yangon, Bagan, Inle Lake, Mandalay
b. Key festivals throughout the year:
- Ananda Temple Festival: is held in January.
- Mahamuni Temple Festival: is held in February / March.
- Thadingyut Festival: is held in September / October.
- Shwedagon Pagoda Festival (March): this is one of the largest religious gatherings of the year.
- Thingyan Water Festival: is held in mid-April. Thingyan along with Myanmar New Year is the best-known festival of the country.
c. Some places you should check out:
Mandalay Hill, Sandamuni Pagoda, Kuthodaw Pagoda, U-Bein Bridge, Kandawagu Nature Park, Yangon’s Art Galleries, China Town, Sule Pagoda…
Other notices for you while traveling to Myanmar
- Language: the official language of Myanmar is Burmese. It is also the most widely spoken language in the country. However, English is an important foreign language whose study is highly promoted in Myanmar. Although Burmese is used as the primary language of instruction in schools across the country, English is taught as a secondary language.
- Currency: the local currency is kyat, and this is the main form of tender used across the country. Previously, larger bills such as accommodation, overnight buses, and tours were payable in US dollars. 1 USD = 1,603 kyat at the moment we are writing this post.
- Visa: getting to Myanmar is easy than ever thanks to the advanced e-visa system implemented in late 2014. You can now apply and pay online for tourist visas before you arrive. If, for some reason, you can’t sort out your visa online, you can still apply the “old fashioned” way by either visiting a Burmese embassy or mailing your passport, visa application, and money addressed to an embassy for processing.
Travelers to Myanmar have two options: apply for a Myanmar visa in their home countries, or apply for a Myanmar visa in China or Southeast Asia. Regardless of what you choose, the visa has to be in your passport before arriving in Myanmar! Many travelers opt to apply for a Myanmar visa at the embassy in Bangkok, before grabbing a cheap flight from Bangkok to Yangon. Visa for Myanmar allows you to travel inside the country for 28 days after flying into the airport or crossing the border with Thailand; the visa cannot be extended. The visa is only valid for three months from the date of issue, so plan your trip according to these dates.
Travelers from Brunei, Laos, Cambodia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines can enter Myanmar with a visa exempt for up to 14 days. Residents of Thailand must enter via one of the international airports of the country.
- Transportation: how do you travel around and within Myanmar? Well, it’s easy, and you have a large choice: bicycle, motorcycle, car rental, shared pick up truck, bus, train, boat and plane.
- Accommodation: While international companies are rushing to build luxury hotels, things are stagnant at the lower end of the scale where profits are smaller; getting a permit to accommodate foreigners is still a hassle. The upshot is that it’s difficult these days to get a double room in a guesthouse for less than $15 or $20 in the main tourist areas; this will usually include a shared bathroom, although you might get an old air-conditioning unit rather than a fan. If you’re looking for hotel facilities, then the prices will quickly rise to more than $30.
- Note that there are hardly dormitories open to foreigners in Myanmar; single occupancy rates range from 50 to 80% of the cost for a double room. Power cuts are commonplace in Myanmar, even in Yangon and Mandalay, and most (but not all) accommodation will have a generator to ensure that fans and air-conditioners work through the night. Avoid leaving gadgets plugged in during a power cut, as there may be a surge when the supply is restored.