Despite the fact that New Year’s cheers might still be ringing in your ears, it’s time to start planning your travels for the year ahead. Edwin Briels, the MD of Khiri Travel Myanmar, shares his insight on the destinations that are best to visit for each month of the year, come rain or shine.
An excellent time to visit archaeological wonders in Mrauk U, Rakhine State. Enjoy the cool nights, stunning temples and yes, it is absolutely safe.
As it’s busy time with Chinese New Year, avoid popular tourist destinations and instead go to Hsipaw and Kyaukme in Northern Shan state for some excellent trekking. You can also experience Shan life in the villages or take a train ride over the stunning Gokteik viaduct.
With the weather getting hot and dry head to the Deep South to visit Dawei or Myeik. The towns here have great examples of colonial architecture and you can explore the multitude of desert islands in the Myeik Archipelago.
As it’s the water festival Thingyan, do the opposite of what everybody does and stay in town to join in the celebrations. The parties in Yangon can be great fun and luxury hotels often have excellent offers for staycations for when you need a break.
At the hottest time of the year, book a beach trip to cool off in the sea. Popular choices include Ngwe Saung and Ngapali, while lesser-known hotspots like Gwa and Khanthaya are also well worth a trip.
Finally the rain has come! It’s an excellent time to visit remote Keng Tung in Shan State and go trekking in the mountains to visit the colourful tribes like the Ahka, the Palaung or the Eng.
Visit the dry zone to find it at its greenest and best. Salay is beautiful in this period with old colonial houses, wooden monasteries and temple ruins. You can also stay on the riverside in Yandabo and visit the buffalo village and the pottery village.
Samkar Lake is beautiful and lush at this time of year. Stay for a few nights on the lakeside in absolutely tranquillity and it may even be an idea to visit Inle Lake for a night before tourists season begins in earnest.
Visit Kayin State and you’ll never see greener paddy fields. Go for private day cruise on Thanlwin River, which is much more scenic than the Ayeyarwaddy, or paddle a kayak through the rice fields flanked with lime stone mountains in the background.
Just before the tourist high season starts there are plenty of colourful festivals being organised. The famous Inle Lake boat races happen from 29th September to 16th October in Phaung. Meanwhile in Kyaukse you can enjoy the dancing elephant festival (huge papier-mâché ones) from 12th to 14th October and in Magwe the Mya Tha Lone Pagoda festival is also worth a visit and happens from the 6th to 24th October 2019.
Time for adventure and to see some places off the beaten track. What about a 4-wheel drive tour in Eastern Shan State or discovering the Chin Hills by bike?
Mon State is beautiful in this time of the year and the Golden Rock is a spectacular site to see the sun come up on New Year’s Day. Visit the legendary village U Na Auk which has some of the most impressive temples in the country.
Edwin Briels is the MD of Khiri Travel Myanmar, he has over 15 years in travel in Myanmar and will share his experiences travelling in Myanmar in a monthly column.
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