The dry season, especially from October to February, is the ideal time to visit Burma. This article will provide you with some best places to visit during dry season in Myanmar and many activities taking place at that time.

Dry Season in Myanmar

Similar to other countries in Southeast Asia, Burmese people experience the dry season from October to May and the wet season from June to early October. The least humid, which is absolutely the high season to visit Myanmar, is from November to March.

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The dry season can be divided into cool season (October – February) and hot season (March – May). From October to January, which is the beginning of dry seasons, tourists can enjoy a pleasant weather in the foothills and highland regions, especially in the evening. There is a little rain, plenty of sunshine and breezes during this period with the average temperature of 25 – 28 degrees Celsius. Therefore, lightweight clothing is recommended for outdoor sightseeing during the daytime, and you will need some warm clothes (long pants, sweaters, and cardigans) for the nights, especially when you visit some places in the north such as Putao, Kengtung, and Inle Lake.

On the contrary, the period of transition between dry season and wet season, which falls between March and May, is unbearably hot. The temperature may reach 36 to 40 degrees Celsius. The northern regions such as Bagan and Inle Lake are cooler than coastal areas.

As a large country, Myanmar witnesses a variation in weather between different areas during the dry season. In Shan State and Chin State, temperature and humidity become lower and it can be freezing in the Himalayan far north region, while it is warmer in central and southern regions (Yangon, Bagan, and Mandalay).

Events and Festivals during Dry Season in Myanmar

If you take a tour to Myanmar during dry season, you can have a chance to participate in many amazing events organized throughout the country.

1. Ananda Pagoda Festival in Bagan (January or February)

Ananda Pagoda Festival
Ananda Pagoda Festival

As the most beautiful pagoda in Bagan, Ananda draws the attention of thousands of tourists every year. Ananda Pagoda Festival is held on January or February and offers various traditional games, delicious foods, and boisterous atmosphere. It is not only a religious ritual but this festival is also the time for social gathering.

2. Peasant’s Day (2nd March)

Peasants account for approximately 70% of the Burmese population and undoubtedly the most important workforce of this country. This day is dedicated to the contribution of this class to Myanmar’s economic development. On this day, families often choose to stay at home with their relatives or gather at some public places such as pagodas, temples, and parks. Many cultural shows are organized around the country.

3. Thingyan (April)

Thingyan
Thingyan

This is probably the most significant event in Myanmar during the dry season. Thingyan is the Burmese New Year which takes place in the middle of April. The New Year festival is celebrated on three to five day and water is splashed or poured into other people as a sign of good luck. The most wonderful places to observe the festival are pagodas where pilgrims gather to pray for luck and flowers and foods are offered to the Buddha.

4. Tazaungdaing Festival (November)

This festival is also known as the Festival of Lights which is held on the full moon day of the eighth month in Burmese calendar (normally in November). It is celebrated as a national holiday and marks the end of the rainy season. Monks are offered new robes and alms and Robe-weaving competitions take place everywhere. In many provinces of the country, hot air balloons lit with candles are released.

5. Shwezigon Pagoda Festival in Bagan (November)

Shwezigon Pagoda Festival
Shwezigon Pagoda Festival

This festival takes place in a small town of Nyaung Oo, the northern side of Bagan. It is held in the eighth month in Burmese calendar. Shwezigon Pagoda is one of the most important religious sites in Bagan and this festival attracts a thousand of pilgrims throughout Myanmar. This pagoda is considered to be scared because it stores a bone and a tooth of Buddha. You cannot miss amazing magic shows, puppet shows and theatrical performance on Shwezigon Pagoda Festival.

Recommended Places to Visit during Dry Season in Myanmar

Since there is little sign of rain during dry season in Myanmar, you can do some sightseeing, visit temples, go trekking and relax on a beach.

1. Yangon

Shwedagon Pagoda - Yangon
Shwedagon Pagoda – Yangon

Many people mistake that Yangon is Myanmar’s current capital city; actually, it is Nay Pyi Taw. However, Yangon still retains its cultural and historical aspect of an ancient capital and most tourists choose this city to be a start for their Burma discovery tour. Tourists can find a glimpse of the colonial era around this bustling city through various governmental buildings, hotels, markets, and museums. Do not forget to visit Bogyoke Aung San Market (Scott’s Market) where you can find traditional Burmese handicraft, jewelry, clothing, and garments. Yangon is also the home to Shwedagon Pagoda, the most sacred pagoda in Burma and you can admire its splendor golden Buddhist shrines.

2. Bagan

Bagan
Bagan

Used to be the capital of the Kingdom of Pagan from the 9th to 13th century, Bagan is where you can admire exotic cultural and religious architectures. This city is praised for its massive system of Buddhist temples, pagodas, monasteries, and shrines. There used to be over 10,000 temples in this city, however, due to the devastating earthquake in 2016, only more than 350 temples remain today. Biking around Bagan to see temples will be an unforgettable experience, especially at dawn or dusk. Some must-see places in this town are Shwezigon Temple, the original version of Shwedagon Temple, Ananda Temple, the most beautiful temple in Bagan, Htilo Mininlo Temple, Thatbyinnyu Temple, and Dhammayangyi Temple, the largest temple.

3. Inle Lake

Inle Lake
Inle Lake

Located in the west of Shan State, Inle Lake is well-known for its iconic symbol of one-leg rowing fishermen. With an area of 116 square meters and surrounded by mountain ranges, this lake seems like a secluded world. You can see several traditional handicraft workshops in the area: silk weaving, cigarette manufacturing, and gold and silver producing. Similar to other parts of Myanmar, religion plays an irreplaceable role in Inle Lake’s inhabitants.  Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda is one of the most significant buildings in Shan State and it is the home to five ancient images of Buddha which are covered in gold leaves. Moreover, Nga Hpe Kyaung monastery, also known as jumping cat monastery, should not be ignored by cat lovers when coming to Inle Lake.

4. Bago

Shwethar lyaung Pagoda
Shwethar lyaung Pagoda

Located 80 kilometers northeast of Yangon, Bago (formerly Pegu) is one of several ancient capitals in Burma and famous for its splendid religious buildings. Bago is ideal for a day trip from Yangon before you leave this city behind.  Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, also known as the Golden God Temple, is the must-see site in the city. With 114 meters high and 15 meters tall, this pagoda is claimed to be the tallest pagoda in Myanmar, even taller than the extraordinary Shwedagon Pagoda. Its towering shires can be seen from miles around. Other attractions to visit here are Mahazedi Pagoda, Shwethar lyaung Pagoda, and Myatha Lyaung Buddha.

5. Ngapali Beach

Ngapali Beach
Ngapali Beach

Ngapali Beach (pronounced Napally) is an off-the-beaten-track attraction that is not yet commercially spoiled. It features an idyllic stretch of crescent-shaped white sand and turquoise water, with a large number of resorts and local fishing villages. Activities in this awe-inspiring coast include basking, swimming, kayaking, snorkeling and diving. Cycling and motor biking are also available in some local villages. If you are eager to discover the local life, the fishing village of Jate Taw (Gyeik Taw) offers a fishing boat tour for you to interact with local fishermen and try super cheap seafood. This beach will be inaccessible during the rainy season, so take advantage of the dry season to enjoy this paradise beach.

6. Kalaw

Kalaw
Kalaw

Located in the Shan State, Kalaw is a perfect place to get away from the sweltering heat of the tropical region. Kalaw is known for its pleasant climate, scenic landscapes, and colorful ethnic villages. This town contains many remains of colonial buildings and it is praised to be the ‘trekking mecca’ of Burma. A trek from Kalaw to Inle Lake or Pindaya will be a treasure for those who want to soak up in a fresh atmosphere and witness the local hill tribes. You can choose a short walk around Kalaw to see some religious spots such as Thein Taung pagoda and monastery, Hnee pagoda and Christ the King Church. For more immersive experience, you need to spend two or three days to trek to Danu, Pa-O, Palaung and Taung Yo ethnic villages.

7. Loikaw

A long-necked woman in Loikaw
A long-necked woman in Loikaw

Loikaw is the capital of Kayah State, the least visited state in Myanmar. Like other remote parts of this country, Loikaw was heavily affected by the civil war and is just recently opened up. This is the place where you can discover breathtaking hill scenery, volcanic lakes, picturesque caves, colorful ethnic villages, and especially the Padaung – ethnic Kayan ‘long-necked’ women who are known for wearing golden rings around their neck since they was young. The highlight of the town is Taung Kwe Pagoda which consists of numerous white and golden monuments. When climbing to the top of the pagoda, you can get a panoramic view of the entire town.

 

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