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Beach on Horseshoe Island, Myanmar

When is the best time to visit Myanmar (Burma)?

TThe best time to visit Myanmar is during the dry season, between October and May. The whole country is accessible, the temples shimmer, and the beaches are open, making travel varied and rewarding.

From June to September, the beaches down on Ngapali close and the much-needed rains water the plains between Mandalay and Bagan. However, with the exception of September, you shouldn’t be deterred from visiting during this time.

Myanmar has lots to offer all year round. River travel on the Chindwin is at its peak during the wet season and the great waterway provides access to some of the country’s most beautiful and remote areas. A mix of colourful hill tribes and stunning scenery convey an image of Myanmar that few visitors see.

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Myanmar (Burma) Climate Guide

Destination Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Bagan 29°C 0mm 32°C 1mm 36°C 5mm 38°C 14mm 36°C 94mm 33°C 95mm 32°C 49mm 32°C 95mm 32°C 130mm 32°C 102mm 30°C 38mm 28°C 8mm
Inle Lake 24°C 4mm 26°C 3mm 30°C 13mm 32°C 49mm 30°C 200mm 27°C 215mm 27°C 235mm 26°C 269mm 27°C 240mm 27°C 179mm 25°C 76mm 24°C 15mm
Kalaw 22°C 3mm 23°C 5mm 27°C 12mm 29°C 49mm 27°C 204mm 25°C 241mm 24°C 266mm 24°C 285mm 24°C 256mm 24°C 212mm 22°C 84mm 21°C 15mm
Kyaingtong 26°C 7mm 29°C 13mm 32°C 14mm 33°C 56mm 32°C 136mm 30°C 174mm 29°C 221mm 29°C 233mm 30°C 151mm 28°C 101mm 27°C 40mm 25°C 19mm
Mandalay 28°C 1mm 31°C 1mm 36°C 5mm 38°C 29mm 37°C 139mm 34°C 121mm 34°C 85mm 33°C 115mm 33°C 146mm 32°C 120mm 29°C 39mm 27°C 7mm
Mrauk U 27°C 1mm 29°C 15mm 32°C 9mm 35°C 59mm 33°C 346mm 31°C 900mm 30°C 1254mm 30°C 935mm 31°C 387mm 31°C 168mm 30°C 76mm 27°C 11mm
Ngapali Beach 30°C 1mm 32°C 1mm 33°C 1mm 34°C 20mm 34°C 324mm 30°C 934mm 29°C 1163mm 29°C 1177mm 31°C 535mm 32°C 208mm 32°C 39mm 31°C 5mm
Yangon 32°C 3mm 34°C 4mm 36°C 18mm 37°C 23mm 34°C 299mm 30°C 507mm 30°C 465mm 29°C 492mm 30°C 304mm 31°C 171mm 32°C 50mm 31°C 12mm

Month-by-month guide to travelling in Myanmar (Burma)

Unlike many popular beaches in Southeast Asia, Ngapali still retains the local way of life

Visiting Myanmar (Burma) in January

This is peak season for travelling to Myanmar. The weather is hot and dry, making for lovely conditions throughout the country. River levels are still high enough for boat travel and the beaches of Nagapali enjoy hours of sunshine, while the chill in the foothills begins to lessen.

Events & Festivals

  • Ananda Pagoda Festival (January): A festival for Bagan's Ananda temple, lasting over a week, with the busiest day being that of the full moon.
  • Full Moon Day of Tabodwe/Htamane Festival (January or February): In celebration of harvest time, people make 'htamane' - sticky rice with ginger, coconut, peanuts and sesame seeds, offering some to monks before sharing the rest with their neighbours.
  • Kachin State Day and Manao Festival - Myitkyina (10th January): The six Kachin tribes gather for this festival, which is based around Manao Park and features feasts, dancing and drinking rice beer.
  • Naga New Year - Lahe village (January): Traditional costumes, drumming and dancing bring in the Naga New Year in style.
Chin elder, Mindat

Visiting Myanmar (Burma) in February

The weather in Myanmar continues to improve, with hot and dry conditions continuing throughout. Temperatures rise but are not yet uncomfortable, making it an extremely popular time to travel as the plains, the beaches and the foothills can all be enjoyed. It is essential to book far in advance to avoid disappointment.

Events & Festivals

  • Chin National Day (20th February): A day of celebrating the culture, traditions, history and language of the Chin people, finally permitted after years of repression. Festivities such as traditional dances involving bamboo poles can be observed.
  • Full Moon Day of Tabodwe/Htamane Festival (January or February): In celebration of harvest time, people make 'htamane' - sticky rice with ginger, coconut, peanuts and sesame seeds, offering some to monks before sharing the rest with their neighbours.
  • Lahu New Year - Kyaing Tong (February): The Lahu New Year is marked with traditional Lahu festivities.
  • Mahamuni Pagoda Festival - Mandalay (February): This two day festival falls on the full moon day of Thabodwe, with thousands making the pilgrimage to the pagoda. Incense sticks are burned for the Buddha image, and glutinous rice contests are held. Read more
  • Union Day (12th February): A national holiday marking the anniversary of the Panglong Agreement, which was reached between the Burmese government and the Shan, Chin and Kachin peoples in 1947, unifying the country.
Late afternoon at the Shwedagon pagoda

Visiting Myanmar (Burma) in March

Temperatures in the country continue to rise and it is often best to keep mid-afternoon exploration to a minimum. Rainfall is still non-existent, and accommodation still fills up quickly, so again it is best to book far in advance.

Events & Festivals

  • Bawgyo Pagoda Festival - Hsipaw (full moon in March): During this week long festival, four images of Buddha carved from wood are brought out from the pagoda, with thousands of pilgrims gathering to pay homage to these images and various stalls set up outside the temple. Read more
  • Indawgyi Festival - Hopin (March): An annual festival attracting over 100,000 people, featuring boat races, concerts and much merriment. Shwe Myitzu Pagoda - which is usually surrounded by water - is accessible on foot as water levels fall.
  • Kakku Pagoda Festival (March): Taking place around the full moon day of Tabaung - the last month of the Myanmar lunar calendar, this festival attracts thousands from across the region, dressed in traditional costume. Here they socialise, trade and worship together.
  • Pindaya Pagoda Festival (early March): For this week-long festival, thousands visit the Pindaya Caves to see the 8,000 Buddha images - most of which are gold - housed within the caves. Local products are sold at stalls outside of the caves throughout the festival. Read more
  • Shwedagon Pagoda Festival (early March): Pilgrims pray, dance and present gifts to the monks and the pagoda itself to gain favour, while stalls sell food and souvenirs outside. Read more
Thingyan - Water Festival of Burma (Myanmar)

Visiting Myanmar (Burma) in April

April brings with it some of the hottest temperatures of the year, reaching over 40°C in some regions, and crowds flock to the country as it celebrates its New Year in the middle of the month. Rainfall is still at a minimum and it is advisable to book far in advance.

Events & Festivals

  • Myanmar New Year/Thingyan (17th April): The New Year is celebrated with a water festival, where water is splashed or poured over people as a cleansing ritual and a sign of goodwill. The New Year holiday lasts for several days and is a fun time to travel to the country.
  • Shwemawdaw Pagoda Festival - Bago (April): This festival runs for ten days, attracting visitors from far and wide to join in with the festivities at the country's tallest pagoda.
  • Thanaka Grinding Festival - Sittwe (April): On the eve of Thingyan, women grind the bark of Thanaka trees to make a fine cream normally used as make up. The cream is then used to wash Buddha images at nearby pagodas as a new year good deed.
Kawgun Cave, Hpa An, Burma (Myanmar)

Visiting Myanmar (Burma) in May

The searing temperatures continue for much of May, but begin to return to normal towards the end of the month as breezes and rain showers set in. There are fewer crowds at this time, and although you may experience the odd shower, this can be an excellent time to visit Myanmar. You may also be able to take advantage of shoulder season hotel offers.

Events & Festivals

  • Full Moon Day of Kasone/Buddha Day (between mid-April and early May): Celebrates the birth and enlightenment of Buddha at the foot of a banyan tree. People pour water individually and collectively on this day in recognition of the banyan tree's preservation.
  • Shit-Thaung Pagoda Festival - Mrauk U (May): An eight day festival held at the pagoda, featuring boat racing, traditional wrestling and water splashing in Mrauk U's canal on the full moon day. Read more
Monks, Mandalay Hill

Visiting Myanmar (Burma) in June

Visitor numbers continue to reduce and temperatures hover around the 30°C mark; although it can still be hotter in the central plains to the south of Mandalay. Weather can be unpredictable at this time of year, but showers are usually short-lived and shouldn't impact on your overall experience. However, most beach resorts close by mid-June in preparation for the unfavourable weather expected in the coming months.

Events & Festivals

  • Thiho Shin Pagoda Festival - Pakokku (June): A typical Upper Myanmar festival, with traditional plays and dancing entertaining locals and visitors alike. Local products such as tobacco and Thanaka logs are also sold at the event.
Chindwin River, Mrauk U

Visiting Myanmar (Burma) in July

Rains begin to hit Myanmar's southern coast and the beaches at Nagapali are now closed up. Better weather can be found in the northeast of Myanmar, where low visitor numbers and stunning scenery can be massively rewarding. This is peak time for cruising along the Chindwin River, but road travel across much of the country becomes difficult.

Events & Festivals

  • Chinlone (Cane Ball) Festival - Mandalay (June to July): Lasting for almost a month, this festival sees hundreds of chinlone teams compete in the traditional sport of Burma to live music. Read more
  • Full Moon Day of Waso - start of Buddhist Lent (July): During the month of Waso, Buddhist monks are forbidden from making a journey lasting more than one day, instead devoting more time to Buddha's teachings. Locals offer robes and alms to monks to gain favour.
The village of Nor Shen in the distance, trekking near Kengtung

Visiting Myanmar (Burma) in August

You should be prepared for heavy rain throughout the country and road travel to rural locations continues to be slow. If you are lucky enough to find a window of good weather, trekking can be extremely rewarding and presents wonderful opportunities for photography, as it is at this time of year that Myanmar's landscape is at its most beautiful.

Events & Festivals

  • Taungbyone Nat Festival - from Mandalay (August): A major gathering place for spiritual mediums, this festival attracts pilgrims and visitors in their thousands to make offerings and enjoy dances and other celebrations in honour of two famous Nats. Read more
  • Yadana Gu Nat Festival - Amarapura (August or September): An eight day festival led by spirit mediums said to be possessed by Nats during the ceremony. Ritual dances and songs are performed and visitors make offerings of food, flowers and money to the Nats.
Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda Festival

Visiting Myanmar (Burma) in September

Rainfall will start to reduce; especially towards the end of the month, and temperatures drop to the high 20°Cs. This can be a wonderful time to see Myanmar, with fewer visitors and lush green landscapes. However, beaches remain closed and some areas can be difficult to reach by road.

Events & Festivals

  • Bo Bo Gyi Nat Festival - Amarapura (late September or early October): A ten day festival attracting large numbers of pilgrims to the pagoda on the shores of Taungthaman Lake, next to U Bein Bridge.
  • Manuha Pagoda Festival - Bagan (late September or early October): Celebrated over three days, this festival features large, colourful papier mache figures marched through the streets as part of a parade, and the serving of rice cakes to visitors. Read more
  • Myo Daunt Zedi Pagoda Festival - Monywa (September): A six day festival where local produce such as tobacco, woven materials and earthen wares are traded. Read more
  • Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda Festival - Inle Lake (September to October): An 18 day festival where four Buddha images are transported by an elaborately decorated boat around the lake, stopping at villages en route before arriving at the main town of Nyaung Shwe. Read more
  • Rice donating ceremony - Sagaing (mid-September): Monks and nuns inhabiting Sagaing Hill receive donations of rice sent from around the country.
  • Yadana Gu Nat Festival - Amarapura (August or September): An eight day festival led by spirit mediums said to be possessed by Nats during the ceremony. Ritual dances and songs are performed and visitors make offerings of food, flowers and money to the Nats.
Unlike many popular beaches in Southeast Asia, Ngapali still retains the local way of life

Visiting Myanmar (Burma) in October

Weather is expected to be warm and dry throughout the whole country, while the beaches of Nagapali cater for visitors once again. This is a good time to visit as you avoid the crowds and can take in the wonderful green scenery after the wet season.

Events & Festivals

  • 9,000 Lights Festival - Kyaikhtiyo Pagoda (October): On the full moon day of Thadingyut, locals gather at the pagoda and light 9,000 candles as an offering to Buddha. The festival is celebrated over three days at the end of Buddhist Lent.
  • Bo Bo Gyi Nat Festival - Amarapura (late September or early October): A ten day festival attracting large numbers of pilgrims to the pagoda on the shores of Taungthaman Lake, next to U Bein Bridge.
  • Hsu Taung Pye Pagoda Festival - Monywa (October or November): Puppeteers perform to crowds that have gathered at the pagoda for this event. On the eve of the festival, sweets and snacks are given out by locals. Read more
  • Manuha Pagoda Festival - Bagan (late September or early October): Celebrated over three days, this festival features large, colourful papier mache figures marched through the streets as part of a parade, and the serving of rice cakes to visitors. Read more
  • Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda Festival - Inle Lake (September to October): An 18 day festival where four Buddha images are transported by an elaborately decorated boat around the lake, stopping at villages en route before arriving at the main town of Nyaung Shwe. Read more
Buddhas at Po Win Hill.

Visiting Myanmar (Burma) in November

Temperatures begin to rise and the country sees very little rainfall at this time of year; although in the highlands and foothills to the east, temperatures are at their lowest, with average highs of 25°C. While not as busy as January to March, this is the beginning of the high season and it is advisable to book far in advance.

Events & Festivals

  • Full Moon Day of Tazaungmone/ Tazaungdaing Festival (November): A national holiday, this festival marks the end of the rainy season and the Kathina season, when monks are given new robes, and features robe-weaving competitions, alms giving and releasing candle-lit balloons.
  • Hsu Taung Pye Pagoda Festival - Monywa (October or November): Puppeteers perform to crowds that have gathered at the pagoda for this event. On the eve of the festival, sweets and snacks are given out by locals. Read more
  • Matho Thingan (November): Known as the 'Yellow Robe Weaving Festival', competitions for robe weaving are held and yellow robes are presented to monks by locals, often in large ceremonies.
  • Po Win Festival - Monywa (late November or early December): A six day festival held at the Po Win Taung Cave Pagoda, which houses thousands of Buddha images and paintings. Religious and cultural festivities can be observed and a variety of local products are sold. Read more
  • Shwezigon Pagoda Festival - Bagan (November): Thousands of pilgrims flock to the pagoda on the full moon day. Locals sell products such as glazed pots and handwoven fabrics to visitors, food and drink is enjoyed and dancing takes place, among other festivities. Read more
  • Taunggyi Balloon Festival - from Nyaung Shwe or Inle Lake/Pyin Oo Lwin Balloon Festival (November): Colourful hot air balloons - often in the shape of animals - are released into the air over this two-day festival. Read more
Mount Popa

Visiting Myanmar (Burma) in December

More great weather as it approaches Christmas season - visit before the Christmas period to avoid holiday surcharges. Despite December being one of the coolest months, particularly in the highlands and foothills, temperatures can still average highs of 31°C across much of the country.

Events & Festivals

  • Akha New Year - Kyaing Tong (end of December): The Akha indigenous hill tribe celebrate their New Year with traditional dancing and festivities in the town of Kyaing Tong - home to a unique blend of cultures and hill tribes. Read more
  • Kayin New Year - Hpa An (December): A national holiday, the Kayin New Year is celebrated in style with dancing and traditional kickboxing competitions. Young and old wear traditional costumes of woven tunics over red longyis to keep Kayin culture alive. Read more
  • Mount Popa Nat Ceremony (December): The Nats are celebrated at Mount Popa, an extinct volcano, on the full moon of Natdaw (December). Dancing, music and palm wine often feature heavily, attracting many people from near and far. Read more
  • Po Win Festival - Monywa (late November or early December): A six day festival held at the Po Win Taung Cave Pagoda, which houses thousands of Buddha images and paintings. Religious and cultural festivities can be observed and a variety of local products are sold. Read more

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Travel advice

Practical tips for travelling to Myanmar (Burma), from social protocols to guidance on money matters, with a link to the latest government travel advice.

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