Most of the people from western countries like the tropical weather of South East Asian countries, as you can feel heat from the sun all year long, enjoy rain and just cool winter, whereas western countries have sun only half of a year and harsh winter season. Although you like the warm and hot feeling you got from being under the sun, sometimes you may feel sick, as your body may not be adapted to this weather. If you know how to spend and enjoy your life according to the season, you can enjoy your time in Myanmar without getting sick.
In Myanmar, summer starts from end of February to early June; so it’s quite a long time to stand the heat, which can even rise up to the temperature over 40°C. So you should bring cotton fabric and light color clothes to wear. In April, when the heat is extreme; Myanmar New Year Festival that is splashing water to people is celebrated all over the country. It’s a long holiday in Myanmar, so local people travel around the country with their family. If you travel to Myanmar from 12th April to 21st April, you should expect to get wet during your trip, especially during the first 5 days. And if you would like to enjoy the water festival, the most crowded place is Yangon (in downtown area, on Inya Road and on Pyay Road), Mandalay (along the moat) and Taungyi. So, don’t forget to wrap up your things with waterproof bag if you want to enjoy this amazing celebration.
The weather is crazily hot until the rain comes in early or late June; the hottest place in Myanmar at that time is Central Dry Zone that includes Mandalay, Nay Pyi Taw and Bagan. You will most likely be very sweaty and exhausted when you travel there in that weather. Don’t forget to bring oral re hydration salt and enough water when you go out. Do not do strenuous outdoor exercise in the middle of the day.
The best places to go during summer if you would like to avoid heat are Pyin Oo Lwin (Hilly town in Mandalay Division), Taungyi and Lashio (Southern and Nothern Shan State), Golden Rock (Mon State) and Chin State, which are places in hilly region, where the weather is not so hot compared to plains.
In June, you might be longing for the rain after standing the heat for a long time. The rain will come around June and stay there for a couple of months until late September or sometimes up to mid October. You need to know the raining pattern of Myanmar, in Yangon for example, it can rain the whole day without stopping. You need an umbrella or a raincoat whenever you go out. And be expecting to experience traffic and flooding in some part of Yangon during rainy season. Remember to be cautious; you can easily catch flu, get food poisoning or diarrhea in this season. Don’t eat mango, avoid barbecue and other snack from street stall, which are the main cause of food poisoning and diarrhea during rainy season. You might think what is left to do in rainy season, mostly be patient; and there still are some activities can enjoy. Doing exercise at the gym instead of outdoors, enjoy the coolness of rain with a cup of coffee while reading books, watching movie at home or enjoy a time with friend at some café shops are among the activities you can do. If you really want to go out during that season, the most suitable place is around the Dry Zone region, which has much less rainfall than other parts of Myanmar. But sometimes, you can’t enjoy sunset or sunrise in Bagan if there was rain for a few days.
There is a Thadingyut Festival in mid October, which is the second biggest festival among Myanmar traditional festival. It’s a celebration to welcome Buddha from the heaven after he preached for Abhidhamma to his mother. Traditionally we believe that rainy season ends at the time of this festival. Many people celebrate this festival in different region and different ways. If you are in Myanmar at that time, I really recommend you to go and see the festival in different areas of the country, in famous pagodas. However, because of the climate changes, there can still be intermittent rains in October and November in some region.
Starting from November, it is the best time to enjoy outdoor activity and travel around Myanmar. Weather is fine, neither too hot nor too cold, when western countries are freezing in cold winters. You can enjoy most of Myanmar without caring much about the weather. But for some of you, it can be very cold in some hilly region such as Pyin Oo Lwin, in Shan State and in Chin State where the temperature can sometimes go below 10°C in December and January. If you don’t mind such low temperature, it is the place for you to enjoy.
In mid November, comes Tazaung Tai hot air balloon festival in Taung gyi and Pyin Oo Lwin, though it is much bigger in Taung gyi than in Pyin Oo Lwin. I suggest you to bring long jacket and sweater when travelling in wintertime. But if you want to avoid such a cold place in winter, you can go to Central Dry Zone and around the beach where the temperature hardly go below 20°C.
Hope you can enjoy your stay in Myanmar without getting sick and you will have a great time.