Myanmar is best known for its rich culture, enchanting centuries-old temples and spectacular natural resources such as beaches, waterfalls, lakes, rivers and caves. Myanmar or more popularly known by many as Burma is located in Southeast Asia. It is a large country that shares borders with China, India, Bangladesh, Laos, Cambodia and Thailand, and coastlines along Andaman Sea and Bay of Bengal. As a country very near the equator, weather in Myanmar is expectedly hot and humid. The seasonal monsoon makes it more humid, muggy and sticky. During the rainy season from mid-May to October, the majority of the country could experience rain all day long and for several days continuously. Rains are heaviest from June to September, and peak in July with about 600 mm of rain.
Many tourists, especially local tourists, do not mind the rain, which means the beaches may still be packed with vacationers during the wet months. Many locals prefer the cooler air during a rainy day over a dry and scorching summer afternoon. Another plus is that some hotels and tourist facilities charge cheaper and with discounts when it is raining. The major city of Yangon (formerly Rangoon) receives more rain than upper Myanmar near Mandalay.
Coincidentally, the country’s famous water-splashing festival happens in April just before the rainy season begins, as though to signal the coming wet days. The 5-day Burmese New Year celebrations take place in April according to the Lunar Calendar. For four days leading to the New Year, locals, most especially young people, hit the streets to douse people and get into water fights using water guns, pails and other water-spewing gadgets, mostly self-made. The celebration is reminiscent of Thailand’s Songkran Festival. It is so much fun but the resulting traffic is just terrible.
Generally, Myanmar climate is divided into three seasons, although not very distinct since it could rain or get very hot anytime of the day, any day of the year. Burma climate can be unpredictable, but also predictably humid, dry or wet. The three seasons are the hot season, which is usually from March to April, the rainy season from May to October and the cool season from November to February; not really winter season, just relatively cooler in Myanmar standards. The best months to visit the country are from December to February.
The warm days of the hot season can be as hot as 36°C in Yangon, while the cold nights during the cool season can drop to around 19°C. Mandalay City can be cooler at 13°C during the cool season but hotter in the hot season with a temperature as high as 37°C. But the coolest areas in the country are regions in high altitude such as Inle Lake and Pyin U Lwin, where temperatures can fall below 10°C at night. The hot days in the highlands are also not as hot; temperatures do not go higher than 32°C. Myanmar does experience snow, but only on the mountains of Kachin State near the Indian border. Some mountains here are snow-capped whole year round.
Although the months of March, April and May do not promise the best weather in Myanmar, most tourists find it very lovely visiting the country at these times of the year. The sun is perfect for sunbathing, swimming and beach bumming. Due to the comfort of modern air-conditioning, the hot days are not really a problem to many tourists.