The Best Time to Visit Myanmar

Sunrise landscape view with silhouettes of old temples, Bagan
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The best time to visit Myanmar (Burma) is during December, January, and February–the colder months at the start of the dry season. Although these are also peak months for number of tourist arrivals, you’ll enjoy the best climate while exploring Myanmar’s many exciting places.

The dry season in Myanmar (November to April) coincides with the "high" or busy season for tourism. If you're willing to risk a mix of rainy and sunny days, consider visiting during late October before the masses arrive.

The Weather in Myanmar

Much like neighboring Thailand, Myanmar experiences a dry season from November until late April. Temperatures during the dry months average around 80 degrees F, but highs can reach 98 degrees F in March and April before the rain begins.

Evenings in Myanmar are often pleasantly cooler than expected. You could find yourself feeling chilly in Yangon, where nighttime temperatures sometimes dip as low as 64 degrees F! January is typically the coldest month. You'll want something warm for covering up.

With temperatures threatening to reach 100 degrees F, March and April are the hottest months in Yangon. Air quality can be poor as dust, and particulate matter from agricultural fires add to the pollution. Many locals choose to don masks. If you suffer from respiratory issues, check the air quality before arriving.

Monsoon Season in Myanmar

Monsoon season in Myanmar begins in April. As the Southwest Monsoon affects most of the country, showers increase in frequency and intensity until becoming torrential in July and August. Yangon often receives more than 15 inches of rain in July. Heavy thunderstorms begin to taper off in October before finally subsiding in early November.

Sometimes monsoon season arrives a little earlier or later, making November and April “shoulder” months. The earlier in April or later in November you travel, the less chance rain will disrupt your plans.

Traveling during the monsoon season in Myanmar can still be enjoyable. Although having a flexible itinerary is vital, you’ll get a lot more personal space and accommodation discounts in popular tourist destinations such as Bagan. One drawback is that the resident mosquito population gets a boost during the rainy season. The risk of contracting dengue fever and other mosquito-borne illnesses is higher—be vigilant about protecting yourself.

January

January is one of the best times to visit Myanmar, but it’s also one of the busiest. Top destinations such as Inle Lake will be inundated with visitors. You’ll need to book popular hotels in advance. Accommodation prices will be at their highest. The weather in January is ideal with averages around 80 degrees F and very little rainfall.

Events to check out:

  • Although Jan. 1 is an official public holiday, the real celebration begins three days later with Burmese Independence Day on January 4. The day is commemorated with parades, flag-waving, and a presidential address.

February

February in Myanmar is much the same story as January: Weather will be warm, pleasant, and dry. Expect temperatures to increase a bit with highs in the mid-90s F.

Events to check out:

  • Union Day on Feb. 12 is a public holiday, but as a tourist, you’ll hardly notice.

March

March is when things really begin to heat up in Myanmar. Temperatures in Yangon approach 100 degrees F. Poor air quality plagues parts of the country where agricultural fires burn out of control.

To survive March, do as many travelers do and look to the cooler hill country of the Shan Highlands. Hsipaw is popular, as is Pyin Oo Lwin. The latter was a former home of Eric Arthur Blair—better known by his pen name of George Orwell.

Events to check out:

  • Magha Puja is a Buddhist celebration held in March. You’ll get to see—and participate in—candlelight vigils and processions.
  • The Shwedagon Pagoda Festival is an exciting event held at the famous shrine in Yangon. Expect a carnival-like atmosphere, games, competitions, puppet shows, and unique markets where you can meet plenty of friendly locals.

April

April is typically the hottest month to be in Myanmar. Temperatures can hover near 100 degrees F with high humidity exasperating the problem. Until the monsoon arrives in late April, air quality is at its worst. Thankfully, the Burmese New Year celebration helps everyone cool down and have a little fun by splashing water on strangers.

Events to check out:

  • Thingyan (usually April 13 to 17) is the traditional Burmese New Year celebration. Much like Songkran in Thailand, water is thrown as a “blessing.” Everyone receives a good-natured soaking; only monks are exempt. Be ready to get wet! Even a phone or passport in hand isn’t enough to prevent someone from dousing you. The Buddhist holiday typically lasts for five days.

May

May marks the start of monsoon season as the first rains arrive. You can still enjoy plenty of sunshine between showers, but humidity jumps to suffocating levels. Fortunately, the new rain helps clean the air and provides some relief from peak temperatures.

Events to check out:

  • As in many socialist countries, May 1 is Worker’s Day in Myanmar. Public offices will be closed, and a parade is held in Yangon.

June

As rainfall doubles that in May, the wet season will be in full swing during June. Tourist arrivals decline significantly as travelers look toward drier destinations such as Bali in Indonesia.

July

July is typically the wettest month and the least ideal time to travel in Myanmar. Flooding and mudslides can create significant transportation delays. Trekking and exploring temples will be much more of a challenge.

Events to check out:

  • Vassa, a retreat observed by Theravada Buddhists, begins in mid-July and runs for three months. During this time, you’ll see less of Myanmar’s maroon-robed monks as many remain in the monasteries for meditation.

August

The monsoon season continues at its heaviest during August. Temperatures in Yangon hover in the 80s F while humidity near 90 percent makes everything sticky. Discounts for accommodation are easy to find.

September

Temperatures (average of 81 degrees F) and precipitation in September are nearly identical to that in August. You won’t see many festivals or significant events in September.

October

Rain drops off sharply in October, and temperatures tick slightly upward (average of 83 degrees F) in preparation for the end of the monsoon season. As days become sunnier, humidity prevails. The green jungle foliage becomes even more lush.

Events to check out:

  • The Thadingyut Festival (dates vary according to the full moon) is one of Myanmar’s most visually spectacular. The event celebrates the end of Vassa and reemergence of the monks, along with sunnier weather. All structures are lit with candles and electric lights, much like Diwali in India. Street stages are erected for free cultural performances to enjoy. In some places, people set off firecrackers and launch sky lanterns.

November

The rain fades in November, and temperatures remain pleasant, making the month one of the best times to visit Myanmar. November is often considered the start of the “busy” season as ever-larger numbers of tourists begin arriving.

Events to check out:

  • The Tazaungdaing Festival (Festival of Lights) in November is a beautiful spectacle. Like the Yi Peng festival in Thailand, candle-powered sky lanterns are launched by the thousands. The atmosphere around the Schwedagon Pagoda is magical as lanterns float skyward. The sky appears full of new stars.
  • National Day on Nov. 21 is a public holiday observing the first strikes against British rule before independence. In recent times, the day has been one of protests against the current military regime. Use caution and avoid large public gatherings.

December

Myanmar sees virtually no rain in December, and temperature lows of 64 degrees F at night can feel quite cool. With an average daytime temperature of 80 degrees F and tolerable humidity, December is one of the best times to visit Myanmar.

Events to check out:

  • Christmas is a public holiday in Myanmar, although it’s thankfully far less commercialized than in the West. You’ll see an oddly out-of-place Christmas tree here and there in hotel lobbies. Some hotels and tour agencies may organize special Christmas dinners and performances for their guests. But don’t expect too much of a traditional Christmas in a country that identifies as nearly 90 percent Theravada Buddhist!
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