Traveling in Myanmar from May till September is picture-perfect as it is the right climate for a variety of experiences. Which is also the time you can urge your friends and family to book flights out to visit as the sun still shines, temperatures dips without being cold, and the lush landscapes up-country are in vibrant shades of green.
Edwin Briels, who likes to be a tourist in rainy season (green season as he claims) gives his best-kept secret list to explore the wonders of Myanmar with 10 clear advantages for tourists to visit Myanmar:
- 50 Shades of Green (from paddy fields to forest)
- Not too hot in the dry zone, not too cold in the mountains
- More sustainable (support people to earn a stable, year- round live able income)
- Longer days with daylight hours for sightseeing (early sunrise, late sunset)
- No dust
- Stunning landscapes
- Fruit, vegetables and other fresh produce at its most flavourful
- No queues (or other tourists photo-bombing your selfies)
- Your preferred room/ hotel/ guide will be available
- Excellent value for money with good promotions
It is a misconception that storms tear through all of Myanmar which really is just dreadful for people in Yangon. Statistically it turns out that the key tourist hubs – Bagan, Mandalay, Inle Lake – only see rainfall on 25% of all “rainy season” days. Even then, the rains are often brief spells and in the evening, not quite enough to deter a holiday-goer.
When planning your itinerary around Myanmar, it’s good to keep this in mind and spend most of your days in places North of Yangon, including Hsipaw, Pyin Oo Lwin, Kalaw, Loikaw, Keng Tung, etc.
The Mon & Kayin state will get a few extra heavenly drops but nothing that would really ruin your sightseeing. In fact, kayaking through the paddy fields is at its best from June onwards, when water levels are decently high and paddy fields adequately green.
A word of caution to avoid Ngapali beach simply because it’s miserable being on a beach if the sun is not shining. Save your visit to Ngapali for October – May when it’s dry and sunny.
Edwin mentioned his favourite place to visit in the green season is definitely Bagan which is so nice and quiet without hoards of tourists, and photographs show greenery rather than dried out shrubs! A perfect weekend escape to Bagan doesn’t need to be expensive – take overnight bus to Bagan on Friday (or the Saturday morning flight) and spend the day with a local expert on electric bikes to discover the hidden temples of Bagan that don’t have souvenir shops lined up out front but have the interesting interiors. At the end the day, catch the sunset on the Bagan swing for the perfect instagrammable picture of yourself swinging against the backdrop of an ancient temple. Hotels like Villa Bagan or Zfreeti tend to sway towards charming boutique options. The next day, a half day jeep safari outside Bagan would give you an insight into real countryside living in rural Myanmar. Then laze by the pool for a few hours before flying back to Yangon (or take an overnight bus back in time for office on Monday morning).
Khiri Travel did a fun promotion for travellers in the rainy season where we promised a free beer every time it rained for more than 30 minutes. An offer they happily extend for any Yangon expat travelling to Bagan with us from now till the end of September!
Edwin Briels is MD of Khiri Travel Myanmar and has been working over 15 years in travel in Myanmar and will share his experiences travelling in Myanmar in a monthly column.