Not everybody enjoys the big cities during Thingyan. Civil servants clock off, highway buses stop or are fully booked, and most businesses close. You can either stay in or go out and endure the drunks, the dousing and the deafening music. Or why not just escape altogether? Hotel prices can be much higher this time of year, and transport is often difficult, but any one of the following destinations offers some respite from the usual Thingyan shenanigans.
Fly into Tanintharyi Region capital Dawei for Thingyan and watch a traditional new year dance on the beach that involves dancers balancing jars of water on their heads. Expect some water-throwing downtown but travel to the surrounding beaches of the Myeik Archipelago and all you will find is pristine sands and tranquility.
This popular beach in southern Rakhine State has an array of top hotels, though rooms can be pricey at this time of the year and need advance booking. The bay itself is an ideal and comfortable place to spend the holidays, and Thandwe town, seven kilometers away, has an airport.
Spending Thingyan in Bagan for one day is a great experience, but after that it’s worth heading an hour’s drive away to Popa Mountain Resort, where each room overlooks the surrounding hills and plains, and guests can dip into a spring-fed infinity pool.
About a six hours’ drive or train ride from Yangon is the lush Kayin State capital Hpa-an, whose Thingyan celebrations are muted compared to other cities. Hpa An Lodge has an inviting swimming pool that offers somewhere to cool off after a day of cycling and exploring the wonderful countryside.
Kyauk Me and Hsipaw
Fly into Lashion or travel from Mandalay to these hiking hubs. Out of the towns there is little chance of getting drenched. Try Riverside Resort in Hsipaw, which has balconies overlooking the Dokhtawady River, and One Love in Kyauk Me, a stayover that can help arrange treks to surrounding ethnic communities.