November is considered the cool season in Myanmar and, although that's a relative term in this part of the world, it's much less stifling than in months like April and May when the weather is truly scorching. Temperatures during November average around 72 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
The coast along the Bay of Bengal is one of the hottest regions, along with the southern central plains near Yangon, both of which average around 90 degrees. Up in the northern central plains near Mandalay and Bagan, temperatures range in the mid-80s. Inle Lake hovers around 77 degrees and the mountains around Pyin Oo Lwin can get down to the early 70s. Precipitation-wise, there's hardly any rain at all.
Crowds and Costs
Unfortunately, the crowds are an inescapable part of traveling in Myanmar during November. Unlike the rainy season (and even parts of the shoulder season) when you can find plenty of tourist attractions with fewer people, the masses descend this time of year.
Outside the temple ruins in Bagan, you'll often see big tour buses parked side by side, and the sunrise viewing points often too crowded to take photos. The other disadvantage of November is that it tends to cost more. The beach resorts charge high season prices, and the restaurants and guided tours sometimes increase their prices this time of year, too.
Where to Go
November is a month where you can basically throw a dart at a map and go anywhere in Myanmar. The weather is great, the roads are dry, and everything is open. The only thing you need to consider is heat in some of the more open places in the country.
One of the hottest cities this time of year in Yangon. However, it's still only about 90 degrees (cool by Southeast Asian standards) so if you're going to go, this is the time to do it. The temples will be crowded but you don't have to worry about rain, and it's a great time to stroll through the markets. While you're there, check out the museums, eat in the restaurants, and observe the colonial architecture.
Along the coast, Myanmar is amazing in November. It's about 90 degrees there too and the beach resorts are all at their best. The poolside bars serve cold drinks and the spas offer massages and other forms of pampering. There's a breeze that comes off the water to keep you cool and the water temperature is perfect for swimming and snorkeling.
Bagan and Mandalay are excellent destinations in November, too. The dry weather allows you to walk through the archaeological ruins without getting too hot or worrying it will rain, and it's prime season for hot air balloon rides in Mandalay (as well as clear views of the city from Mandalay Hill).
In the cooler mountains, Inle Lake will be welcoming the first of its migratory birds. Watch them swoop down over the lake or wade in the water as you ride in a long-tail boat through the scenic water canals. The floating markets will be buzzing and the sunsets over the lake will be spectacular.
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What to Do
Check out the Sule Padoga in Yangon where you can choose the Buddha that corresponds with your birthday and douse its head with sacred water. Walk through Kandawyi Park or soak up the sights at the Bogyoke Market. In Mandalay, head out of town to the beautiful white Hsinbyume Pagoda in Mingun. This sacred temple is surrounded by rolling hills and thick, lush greenery. In Old Bagan, stop by the Shwesandaw Pagoda, the Dhammayangyi Temple, or any of the other intriguing ancient ruins.
In the coastal towns of Ngapali or Ngwe Saung, take a cooking class or treat yourself to a luxurious massage at the upscale resorts. It's a great time to go snorkeling, swimming, sea kayaking, or scuba diving. If you're into the latter, this dazzling seven-day Diving the Myeik Archipelago excursion will let you to experience turquoise water with underground caves and rare aquatic species such as nudibranchs, whale sharks, and cuttlefish.
If you make it to Inle Lake, take a cruise in a traditional long-boat and watch the leg-rowing fishermen steer their boats. Swing by the shop where the Kayan (“longneck”) women weave their scarves, or check out the Nga Hpe Kyaung Monastery where the former jumping cats now roam freely and live alongside the monks. November is an excellent time for this 10-Day Highlights of Myanmar journey which includes a stop at Inle Lake to see the famous cat monastery, along with the beautiful stupas of Indein.
Events in November
Tazaungdaing Festival: This festive event, which is celebrated countrywide, marks the official end of the rainy season in Myanmar. It's held on the full moon day of Tazaungdaing, the eighth month of the Burmese calendar, and includes robe-weaving competitions and the sending off of hot air balloons lit with candles.
Shwezigon Pagoda Festival: In Bagan, thousands of devotees arrive for this festival to pay homage to the sacred pagoda. It's common during this time for vendors to sell food, glazed pots, and handwoven fabrics.
Pho Win Taung Pagoda Festival: This six-day festival takes place at the Po Win Taung Cave Pagoda in late November or early December. Hundreds of sacred pilgrims arrive to the cave where there are thousands of images of the Buddha depicted. They come in on bullock carts carrying clay pots which they then drop on a ceremonial day to honor the caves.
Traveling to Myanmar in November? Check out this great itinerary
Essential Myanmar – 8 Days. From the stunning marble temples of Mandalay to the mysterious archaeological ruins of Bagan—and with additional stops in Inle Lake and Yangon—this eight-day journey is the perfect way to see all of Myanmar's famous "Big Four" destinations.