The most comfortable time of year to visit Myanmar is the winter season. Average temperatures from November to February remain around 70-75°F (21-24°C) during the day depending on the region. The most popular destinations get quite crowded for this very reason though. Exploring Myanmar when it isn’t scorching hot or all soggy and wet makes winter the prime traveling time.
Budget excursions. Luxurious resorts. Untouched sands. The well kept beaches in Myanmar offer something for everyone, and the must-go time is during the winter months as Myanmar’s coastlines feel tropical temps year-round.
No trip to Myanmar would be complete without stopping by the Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon. Unrivaled in sheer awesomeness, the Shwedagon easily sees tens of thousands of visitors each month. Head there in the afternoon when Myanmar’s intense sun makes the pavement almost too hot to walk on for a quieter, more intimate spiritual experience.
Referred to as one of the earth’s last great paradises, Myanmar’s Mergui Archipelago is for the adventurer who fears missing out on discovering newness. Private, chartered sailboats provide lavish chances to get up close and personal with this unspoiled part of the world.
With almost half a million people, Hpa-An still maintains a small-town vibe. The capital city of Kayin (Karen) State is surrounded by dramatic, rugged landscape and some amazing caves. Saddan cave is breathtakingly beautiful. Located approximately 17 miles from Hpa-An, this cave is a hollow of wonderment and is famous for its Buddha wall carvings.
Hsipaw in Shan State has landed a reputation for its hilly treks giving backpackers more of a genuine glimpse of rural Myanmar. It’s a relaxed, quiet city with a rich, cultural history. This gem beckons to be seen, and among its offerings are many hiking trails to help walk off that dreaded winter weight gain.
Drink in a gorgeous view of Inle Lake in Shan State from atop Red Mountain Estate. Its vineyards and winery overlook the southern tip of the lake and areas surrounding Nyaung Shwe Township. It’s located approximately three miles outside of Nyaung Shwe. Rent a bike to get there and back. In case too much wine is consumed (if that’s even possible), walking back is always an option.
Red Mountain Estate Vineyards and Winery, Nyang Shwe, Myanmar, +95, 081-209366
Droves of people pilgrimage to Kyaiktiyo Pagoda in Mon State every year. It’s one of Myanmar’s most visited attractions, primarily for religious purposes. The pagoda roosts above a huge golden rock, which seems to rebel against gravity in an unbelievable way. It should be noted that at this time only men are allowed to get near enough to this sizeable stone to touch it.
Pyin Oo Lwin (Maymyo) is a favored getaway for locals as well as expats in Myanmar. The former British hill station, located approximately 40 miles east of Mandalay, promises much, much cooler temperatures all year round. Enjoy scenic views, crisp starry nights, as well as colonial charm and a few of Myanmar’s most amazing waterfalls in the area. Go late in the season or in early spring to get the first pick of fresh strawberries served with cream.
A sunset in Bagan is more fully appreciated during Myanmar’s colder months. Temperatures in the area drop to around 85°F (30°C) as opposed to 100°F (38°C) from March to May. The typically dry and dusty environment of Bagan also still clings to its greenness from the rainy season before things really start to heat up again in the summer months.
Myanmar is an established producer of renowned teas, and increased coffee production all across the country is really steaming things up for the local economy. If places like Inle Lake do happen to get more than chilly, a cup of hot Myanmar coffee or tea will do the trick. Average nighttime wintry temperatures in the region drop as low as 45°F (7°C) in December and January, but daytime temps remain warmly pleasant.
Celebrated on January 4 of every year, Independence Day festivities in Myanmar bring entire neighborhoods together from sun up to long after sundown. Sports are organized and played in the streets, large tables are set for communal meals, and stages are brought in for evening entertainment. What better way to cap off ringing in a new year?
Venturing to Myanmar at the beginning of the winter season gives the opportunity to score some unique handmade goods for Christmas gifts. Help support Burmese artisans by shopping at small, local markets as much as possible.
On the whole, January is one of the best months to visit Myanmar as it provides all around ideal travel conditions. However, it’s also the busiest time of year for tourism. Book accommodation and excursions early to in order experience what makes Myanmar the perfect winter escape.