Similar to other countries in SE Asia, timing your Myanmar customised tour is a key issue to avoid issues such as battling intense heat or against torrential rains and flooding.
However, with Myanmar's tropical climate, it is relatively easy to visit this country at any time of the year. But, for most travellers in search of the most pleasant travel conditions – November to February is the best time to visit. At this time of the year, the climate is more pleasant for sightseeing, especially with the cooling breeze that is noticed.
By the time March to May arrives, the intense heat of the summer has arrived which will be especially noticed if touring the plains around the ancient city of Bagan and Mandalay.
For travellers wishing to avoid the worst of the wet season, they will want to miss travelling in June through September when the rains are in full swing. Also, certain tourist destinations like Ngapali Beach are closed because of poor weather and inaccessible roads.
Best time to visit by region
Let's take a look at the best times to visit the specific regions in Myanmar:
Mandalay is centrally located and has a climate that stays quite hot even in the cool season. In truth, this part of Myanmar only gets about 9 days of rain at the peak of the rainy season. Many travellers to Mandalay often favour a trip November to January to miss out on the most intense heat. On average, the temperature at this time is in the region of 27° C. However, the temperature can reach a high 40° C or more from February to April, so a trip during the rainy season may be preferred.
Bagan is relatively close to Mandalay, which means that both cities have pretty similar weather patterns. For the months of February, March and April the temperature is quite intense and unbearable (36° C or more), especially for the tourist walking or cycling across the vast open plains to visit the many temples. The more favoured time to plan the trip to Bagan is between May to January when the weather is more agreeable. Alternatively, if travelling to this region during the warmer months, it would be practical to conduct the temple tours very early in the morning, or later in the day during sunset. The rainfall from December to April is quite low, while the wet season (May until October) has the brief rain showers that take place in the afternoon, but still allow for plenty of completely dry days.
Kalaw and Pindaya
Kalaw and Pindaya are great trekking areas in the mountains and receive the cooler temperatures compared to the nearby lowland areas. The temperature range for the winter (November, December, January and February) is in the region of 7° C to 25 °C. The peak of the temperature in the region arrives in April and reaches approx 29° C, while the rains start to follow shortly after in May. Even thought the local conditions are quite pleasant for trekking, the wet season (from May to October) can make the terrain underfoot more difficult when it becomes quite muddy and wet.
Inle Lake is based in a region with a high altitude which means the summer peak temperature can reach about 30° C, while the temperature in the cooler months (December, January and February) can fall to about 4-10° C at night. The higher altitude means the temperature is more moderate and pleasant for exploring the sights during the day. Even in the winter months the temperature is still very acceptable and may average at about 25° C. If planning to visit Inle Lake on the Myanmar travel during the cooler months, it is worth taking along a light jacket or similar items of clothes for when the temperature drops at the end of the day. The wet season (May to October) isn't likely to have too much of an impact on travel because the amount of rain is not particularly high.
Ngapali Beach is a great place to visit for the beach escape on the Myanmar family tours. A stay in one of the local resorts is best experienced between November and April when the weather is high with a peak at about 33° C, but nights will get a little cooler. For instance, in January and February the night-time temperature can drop to 12° C. Also, many of the resorts in this region shut for the low season (May to September) when the wet season arrives.
Yangon is the capital city of Myanmar and practical to visit between the months of November to April when the region sees little rainfall. However, the average climate in this part of the country is a lot more pleasant than regions like Bagan and Mandalay, with a typical daytime temperature in the region of 24° C. However, the humidity in Yangon is still quite high (similar to Bagan) so the sightseeing that involves a lot of walking is best done first thing in the morning or after sunset.
Travel in the off-season
Even though November to February is said to be the best months to plan the Myanmar tour packages, this time of year can get very busy and the ability to secure the preferred accommodation can be problematic.
An alternative option is to look at travelling mid-season, which is the time before or after the peak travel period. At this time of year, the weather is still very favourable (albeit slightly cooler before the peak season and hotter after the end of the peak season) and the general tourist foot traffic is at a minimum.
For instance, a trip in October can give a fine balance of the agreeable weather and less crowds to contend with when exploring the sights.
However, if planning to travel to Myanmar outside the hottest months of the year, you will find it is practical to pack the extra layers (fleece, jumper, jacket, etc.) to help handle the cooler temperature in the evenings.