The rainy season, from May to September, is disastrous for Myanmar’s tourism according to the comments of experts in the industry. Though very few foreign travelers visit Myanmar during that time, it can in fact be a beautiful season and the worst of the weather is avoidable. Traveling during the rainy season offers the best value for money and more cost-effective travel options.
If visitors travel during the rainy season, they’ll surely discover how everything is green – from paddy fields to forests. Destinations in the dry zone are a more comfortable temperature and the mountainous areas have warmed up a little. There are more hours of daylight for sightseeing, no dust and moreover, fruits, vegetables and other produce is at its best.
Myanmar Tourism Marketing (MTM) is a non-governmental, non-political and non-profit organization which was founded in 2000 with the objective of bringing together all Myanmar-based companies and individual activities related with tourism in an effort to promote Myanmar as a destination which offers rich experiences to its visitors. Their first annual promotion campaign called ‘Green Season Campaign’ was held last year with 89 participating hotels. This year, their second campaign runs from May 1st to September 30th, 2018.
MTM selects Yangon, Mandalay, Bagan and Inle as the Green Season Destinations to promote in their monsoon promotions.
There are five hotels in Yangon, six in Bagan, three at Inle, one at Ngapali and five hotels from other destinations around Myanmar participating in the Green Season Promotion Campaign for 2018.
Four- and five-star hotels included in the campaign will reduce their rates by 20 percent and smaller hotel businesses by 10 percent compared to their regular low season pricing contract. They are encouraging travellers that staying in and relaxing, while enjoying the beautiful surroundings and facilities the hotel has to offer, are also pleasant activities worth travelling for. Many hotels are even offering guests a free meal (lunch or dinner) if their sightseeing plans are cancelled due to bad weather.
Of the many destinations which have hotel promotions, My Magical Myanmar has chosen three destinations that are visitor-friendly and good value for money in the rainy season in accordance with recommendations from travel bloggers and travel companies. They are Inle Lake, Loikaw in Shan State, and Katha in Sagaing Region.
(1) Inle Lake, Western Shan State
Inle is one of Myanmar’s most popular destinations for foreign visitors. Some travellers who have not been there may think that it is impossible to travel safely by motorboat transportation during the rainy season. This is not true – the boat drivers have proven for years to be very skilful indeed despite the weather. There is no record of a rise in the number of accidents on the lake during the rainy season.
Travellers can see beautiful plantations of tomatoes, floating gardens, stilt villages, and the local Intha fishermen steering their one-man boats with their unique leg-rowing style during the rainy season. Apart from being out on the lake, there foreign visitors can visit Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda and numerous other pagodas, monasteries, and the famous floating market on the lake.
Three resorts which are participating in the Green Season Promotion Campaign 2018 are Amata Garden Resort Inle Lake, NOVOTEL Inle Myat Min and Sanctum Inle Resort.
(2) Loikaw, Kayah State
Transportation in Kayah State is now more convenient than ever before. Thus Loikaw’s reputation as a place to visit in Myanmar is growing. The regional and state governments are active in attempts to develop and promote the tourism industry there and travelers are encouraged to visit Loikaw and other villages where they can see some of Myanmar’s most unique ethnic groups.
Travelers to Loikaw, are sure to discover the beautiful ranges of Kayah hills and a large number of cultures and traditions of the native ethnic groups especially the long-necked womenfolk of the Kayan group. It is also worth visiting the large reclining Buddha in Loikaw, Taung Kwe Pagoda, the Kayah State Cultural Museum and seeing the natural beauty of Kyet Cave.
Additionally, the weather is an average 25 to 29 degrees centigrade and therefore it is ideal for a visit and perhaps some trekking in the Kayah countryside. There are more good quality and affordable hotels and guesthouses at Loikaw than ever before.
(3) Katha, Sagaing Region
Katha is famous for having a large number of wooden colonial-era buildings – still in use as government offices – as well as features of the town mentioned in George Orwell’s famous novel ‘Burmese Days’.
George Orwell’s former residence is the most famous among all the colonial buildings and visitors to Katha always try to pay it a visit. He lived in that house during 1922 and 1927 while serving as an officer of the British Imperial Police Force. Nowadays this house is the lodging of a local police chief. Nevertheless, these old buildings are becoming an attraction for both local visitors and foreign travelers.
Travelers in the region can also visit Metlaungchaung Village which is located eight miles from Katha. The majority of local people there are of Shan ethnicity and they earn their livings from cottage industries and by making handicrafts from bamboo. Moreover, Katha is surrounded by hills and visitors can go trekking in the villages nearby – even in the rainy season.
While the six hotels of Katha are not included in the Green Season Promotions Campaign, they are comfortable options for travelers and combined with the above mentioned facts, Katha is a suitable destination for local and foreign travelers during the rainy season.