While a noisy countdown, hearty cheers and the sweet sounds of Auld Lang Syne ring out on 1st January in the West, the celebration of New Year (Thingyan) in Burma takes place between 13th and 16th April with some very different traditions. Less champagne, more water. Lots of water.
Here’s what to know if you find yourself amidst the celebrations.
1. Prepare to get wet
Unless you’re elderly, pregnant or a monk, you’re fair game for a soaking. Good-natured water fights, believed to wash away the sins of the previous year, are to be had on every street. A fun way to immerse yourself in local culture and cool down at the same time.
2. Keep your goods in a waterproof bag
Invest in a waterproof bag or leave your phone and camera somewhere safe before you go out. The last thing you want is to lose your travel snaps after an overenthusiastic drenching.
3. Expect places to be closed
Most Burmese citizens will get involved in the festivities, so many shops, restaurants, and museums will be closed. Thingyan is a popular festival and transport options can be few and far between, so give us plenty of time to book your accommodation in advance.
4. Drink plenty of water
“Water, water, everywhere…” Don’t forget to stay hydrated. In all of the excitement it can be easy to forget that water is for drinking too.
5. Try a street snack
Give mont lone ye paw a go. These sweet dumplings are made from jaggery (cane sugar), rice and coconut, and are traditionally handed out for free during Thingyan.
For more information about festivals, events, and the best times to visit Japan, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar, head to When to Travel, or get in touch with our team to start planning your trip.
This Insider’s Guide originally appeared in east magazine. Sign-up here to receive all the latest travel inspiration through your door twice a year for FREE.