Group Tours Manager, Elisa has recently returned from her first trip to Burma (Myanmar) positively brimming with excitement. This was despite travelling smack dab in the middle of the rainy season.
Burma in the rainy season
If you follow our Burma (Myanmar) blog (as I’m sure you do!) you will have read Violet’s piece on why she loved travelling in Burma in during the hot season.
Personally, I don’t do very well when the temperature rises above 35°C; so I planned my Burma trip to start a couple of months later, travelling from July 7th to 22nd, in the middle of the rainy green season that spans from May to October.
I suspected I’d be travelling through continuous torrential downpours every day, but was I wrong! My time in Burma was fantastic: let me tell you why.
1. Rain can be fun!
Is it really going to be that wet? This boat ride between the town of Nyaung Shwe and our hotel on the shores of Inle Lake was a wet, but fun, little adventure!
I was sitting at the front of the boat and my umbrella snapped because of the strong wind, so I just sat there in my plastic poncho feeling the rain on my face whilst crossing the lake. I did end up completely soaked, but it was fun, and my dinner of piping hot Shan noodle soup tasted that much better because if it.
If you travel to Burma in the rainy season it will rain at some point, but not every day, and not all day either. If you can keep your schedule a little flexible you’ll still manage to see and do pretty much everything you want. Just make sure you have comfortable waterproof footwear; flip flops or hiking sandals will work very well.
In my case, most of the rainy days were in the city of Yangon. Here you can hail a cheap cab if you don’t want to walk in the rain. Or spend a couple of hours on the Circle Train to people watch whilst you wait for the rain to stop. Or perhaps sip a hot drink at local tea house. Our Burmese guides were very accommodating, and helped us with our (sometimes changing) plans. They also had an umbrella handy in case I forgot mine!
2. There were interesting festivals
Whilst I originally scheduled a visit to Shwedagon pagoda on my second night in Yangon, I quickly changed my plans when the rain stopped on the first evening and made way for a peaceful sunset. I joined the locals for their celebrations of the start of Buddhist lent, and had a fantastic time listening to monks chanting, smelling fragrant incense, and exchanging smiles whilst basking in the golden light around the pagoda.
…it seemed like half of Yangon was at the pagoda that evening – but not a tourist in sight!
3. I had the pick of the hotels
Actually, I spotted very few foreign visitors throughout my entire trip. The hotels were quiet and pampered me with room upgrades and leisurely breakfasts. No noisy kids splashing in the pools; I could swim and relax without having to fight over the last available sun lounger.
4. The humidity is lower
I enjoyed a mix of dramatic cloudy skies on Inle Lake, stunning sunsets and hot days in Bagan, and cooler evenings in the hills of Kalaw. Travelling to Burma in the rainy season means avoiding the heat and the humidity of some of the warmer months.
5. The attractions were mine alone!
Most importantly, I loved exploring the sights and taking in the landscape without crowds around me, at my own pace.
Anything else I should know?
I promise you, there are very little downsides to travelling to Burma in the rainy season. My one caveat is that it isn’t a great time to visit if you’re planning a lot of off the beaten track travel – rural roads can become difficult to traverse. But if you’re a Burma first-timer and sticking to a slightly more trodden path, it’s has many perks.
If you’re reaching for your camera and an umbrella for a trip to Burma in the rainy season, do drop us a line.