The rainy, or monsoon, season in Myanmar falls between May and October each year. It is a refreshing and beautiful time to travel in Myanmar and many parts of the country receive little more than light rain showers. Travelling in the rainy season does have some drawbacks – think torrential downpours, muddy trails and disruptions to transport. That said however, whichever destination you choose to visit, we believe that the rewards far outweigh the challenges. Here are seven reasons why travelling during Myanmar’s rainy season is, in fact, a great idea.
1. Green landscapes
Myanmar’s landscapes really come alive when the rains fall after the long, dry winter and summer seasons.
Greenery bursts from everywhere: in the cracks of crumbling colonial buildings in Yangon or along the rolling Shan hills. The rainy season sees the paddy fields around the country grow full with the distinctively vibrant green of the rice crop, that symbol of life and nature that is at the heart of Myanmar cuisine and a lifeline for countless farming families.
2. Cool weather
As soon as the skies darken and the clouds roll over Myanmar for the rainy season, the temperatures drop dramatically.
The first rains see everyone breathe a collective sigh of relief and the average temperatures drop by about 10°C. Comfortable temperatures make for a better travel experience whether you’re trekking in the hills or cycling among ancient temples. Cooler weather means we you walk around for longer during the day and often results in a better night’s sleep.
3. Fewer people
The high season for tourism in Myanmar falls during the winter months of November, December and January. During that time some destinations like Bagan, where travellers often envision a place of peace and solace, may have queues of tourists or tour bus traffic. Travelling during the rainy season means fewer other travellers and hence, shorter airport queues, quieter hotels and that special feeling of being quite alone in an ancient and beautiful place.
Some hotels, tour companies and other businesses which are connected with travel will reduce their prices in order to attract more customers during the low season. Shop around when you are making bookings and you may be pleasantly surprised by finding a good bargain.
5. Supports local businesses
If you want to be an ethical traveller while you’re here, it’s recommended to avoid the bigger chain hotels and restaurants and support small local businesses as much as you can. These small restaurants, souvenir shops and independent guides need an income throughout the year. Travellers arriving in the quieter season help these business people to maintain a more stable income for themselves and their families.
6. Slower pace
Your boat trip to Mrauk Oo has been cancelled due to bad weather; the train has come to a halt due to flooding on the tracks; the canopy you were sheltering under just collapsed under the weight of the rain. What can you do? You can’t change the weather so try to simply slow down, smile, and accept that plans change. You can learn a lot about patience during Myanmar’s monsoons. Embrace it and take the time to notice the little things around you and the quiet beauty of a slower pace of life.
7. Rejuvenated waterways
Many of Myanmar’s springs, rivers and waterfalls have little to no water flowing during the dry season. To fully appreciate the might and beauty of the water features here, catch them in the rainy season. Inle Lake has higher water levels and some beautiful waterfalls in Shan State such as those near Hsipaw, Pyin Oo Lwin and Lashio are especially full and impressive at these times.