Best time to visit Myanmar

Updated: 13th March 2019

Seasons and Weather

Myanmar has a tropical climate with a dry and a wet season with regional variations such as around the highlands where temperatures are much lower than elsewhere. In Myanmar the dry season stretches from November to May and is the ideal time to visit with the least rainfall and mild temperatures, perfect for sightseeing and cruising on the Irrawaddy River when water levels are optimal. This is also the busiest time of year to visit with prices and availability at a premium.

The months of March through to May are the hottest in Myanmar with temperatures highest on the plains of Bagan and Mandalay though the mountainous northern provinces offer a cool respite with temperatures considerably cooler and air fresher. These months herald the beginning of the wet season with humidity at its highest.

The monsoon season usually starts between mid May and mid June and brings tropical rains across Myanmar through to October. During the peak months of the wet seasons the coastal resorts such as Ngapali Beach may close due to the heavy rains and high winds. The months directly after the rainy season (October - December/January) are often the coldest with temperatures dropping after the rains.

Thinking of visiting Myanmar? Download a copy of our Asia brochure for inspiration.

Climate | Yangon

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Temp Min °C181922242525242424242219
Temp Max °C323536373330303030323232
Rainfall (mm)52715303547559602368206607

Climate | Bagan

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Temp Min °C131315182019181818171613
Temp Max °C252730303027262625252625
Rainfall (mm)000024181818271890

Climate | Kalaw

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Temp Min °C781216171717171715118
Temp Max °C222327292725242424242221
Rainfall (mm)3512492032392642832552118415

Upcoming events

To help plan when to visit Myanmar, here's an overview of the upcoming festivals and events taking place:

2019:

September 29th-October 16th - Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda Festival (Inle Lake)
October 12th-14th - Thadingyut Festival (countrywide)
November 5th-11th- Taunggyi Balloon Festival (Taunggyi)

2020:

February TBC - Htamane Harvest Festival (countrywide)
February 28th-March 8th - Shwedagon Pagoda Festival (Yangon)
April 13th-16th - Thingyan Water Festival (countrywide)

There's also a number of national holidays in Myanmar and on these dates many businesses and some tourist sites will close for the day so plan your visit accordingly.

- Inle Lake
Inle Lake is best visited between November and February

Festivals and Events

Whether it's celebrating the new year, the start of the harvest or the many Buddhist holidays, there's a number of vibrant festivals that take place in Myanmar each year and here's our pick of the best.

When is the Harvest Festival?

Held during the eleventh month of the Burmese calendar on the day of a full moon, this festival celebrates the beginning of the harvest season with glutinous rice specialties prepared and enjoyed throughout the country with families and friends gathering together.

What is the Shinbyu Ceremony?

During the school holidays between March and April young boys from villages and towns across Myanmar will dress as princes and walk to their local monastery where they will spend a short time studying the Dhamma - the truth taught by the Buddha. Villagers join the colourful procession and communal feasts are prepared.

What is the Thingyan Festival?

Celebrated over 4-5 days, this Buddhist festival marks the beginning of the Burmese year with riotous water throwing in the streets and alms presented to monks. It's a chance for Buddhist to wash away bad luck and misfortunes from the year before.

What is the Shwedagon Pagoda Festival?

This five day event leads up to the full moon with people from all over Myanmar visiting the Shwedagon Pagoda in Mandalay with offerings of water, candles and flowers.

What is the Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda Festival?

An annual 18 day festival that takes place at the Phaung Daw Oo pagoda in Inle Lake, this event is best known for the four Buddha statues that are transported on a royal barge across the waterways of Inle Lake. Towed from village to village by several leg-rowers, the procession is quite remarkable with races also held.

What is the Thadingyut Festival?

Also known as Myanmar's Festival of Light, this annual event marks the return of Buddha to earth at the end of Lent with hundreds of candles lit in temples and pagodas throughout Myanmar. Over the course of three days firework displays are held and sky lanterns released.

What is the Taunggyi Balloon Festival?

The capital of the Shan State is home to an annual balloon festival with dozens of decorated paper balloons are released into the sky. The balloons can reach 15-20 feet in height with lanterns inside so that they glow at night. Firecrackers are also attached to the balloons for a noisy spectacle.

See Also

If you're looking for more information to help plan your visit to Myanmar, check out our handy Travel Guide resources:

Best Places to Visit - what to see and where to go in Myanmar
Tourist Visas - everything you need to know for visa procurement and regulations
Top Travel Tips - useful information on money, food and health in Myanmar

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