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‘The sea of Temples’. Bagan was established in the 9th century and is one of the greatest archeological sites in Southeast Asia.

If you are not visiting during low season (June-September): Get up very early and start exploring at 6 AM or even earlier. Then you’ll have about 2-3 hours to explore the temples without crowds. Easiest way to get around: Rent an e-bike. Rest during midday and get back around 4 PM to experience the gorgeous sunset. Plan 2-3 days in total.

November - February: The best weather with sunshine, not too hot and dry. Also the most popular months, with highest rates. December and January are the absolute peak tourist months.

March - May: Still popular but already considered shoulder season. Very hot (40°C). Rain can already occur in May.

June - September: Rainy season. Lowest prices, less tourists. Rain in Bagan is not as bad as in coastal regions. Travel experts say, September is not a bad month to explore the temples, while experiencing a great lush scenery.

Sweet Spot Month:
A great month is beginning to mid-OCTOBER. You can usually already fly with the balloons. The scenery is lush and green. Less tourists than in peak season. A little rain is still possible but not really bad.

Historic Site
MM Myanmar
5

Dambulla also called the Golden Temple is the largest and best-preserved cave temple in Sri Lanka. It is more than 2000 years old.

The temple is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. but the last ticket gets already sold at 5 p.m. To avoid the crowds and the heat as well visit the caves early in the morning or late afternoon. Dambulla gets busy with pilgrims, locals, and tourists throughout the year, especially at weekends. It's a steep walk to the top with hundreds of concrete steps and without any shelter. The walk takes at least 10 minutes but it depends on your fitness level. It's a strenuous climb up but you get rewarded with a spectacular view from the top.

View from the top of Dambulla Cave in the morning

Tip for the Entrance: When you enter the cave area, you have to remove your shoes and walk barefoot. The stones are hot most of the day. It's advisable having a pair of socks to protect the feet from burning heat and sharp rocks.

Weather

Showers can occur throughout the year. During May decreasing rainfall while June to September are the driest months. Therefore, it's often overcast from June to August. It's a tropical climate with humidity around 80 % most of the time. Most precipitation from October until December. January to April it's frequently sunny. Dambulla is a year-round destination; usually the most pleasant weather conditions between January and September with showers or even downpours just for an hour. 

Average Monthly Temperature and Rainfall for LKA at location (7.88,80.65) from 1991-2015

Historic Site
LK Sri Lanka
4.333335

This is truly a visually stunning place and a must-visit if you're in Kyoto.

Kiyomizu-dera Temple is usually swarmed with tourists. Sometimes it even becomes difficult to move around. To beat the crowds you need to:

  • Avoid weekends, go mid-week.
  • Arrive early, if possible between 6 A.M. and 7 A.M.: It's a perfect time to enjoy the magic of this temple in solitude. If you can't make it that early try to be there at least between 7 - 8 A.M when it‘s still relatively quiet compared to later in the day. TIP: Stay at the closest hotel (walking distance) and get there easily first thing in the morning. See our guest house/hotel recommendation below (Where to Stay).
  • You could also arrive late, about 1 hour before it closes. Then you may have the last minutes almost for yourself. 

Opening Hours (Entrance Fee 400 Yen)

Open year-round from 6:00 .a.m.
Closes at 6:00 p.m. (18:00) or 6:30 p.m. (18:30), depending on the season. More details (and night opening hours) here: Kiyomizudera Opening Hours

Spring and Fall Illumination

During fall season the temple and the gorgeious autumn colors are illuminated from 18:00 to 21:00 (6 p.m. - 9 p.m.). This happens also in the spring. Illumination periods are:

  • Spring: mid-March until mid-April
  • Autumn: mid-November to early December

It's crowded during this time but definitely worth it. Tip: If you'd like to dodge the heavy crowds during the illumination do not get there early around or before 6 p.m. Instead arrive between 8:30 p.m and 9 p.m. They don't close at 9 p.m. It's usually open until 10 p.m. That means you still have an hour or longer with less crowds. 


Highlights

Nature's seasonal highlights at Kiyomizu-dera Temple in Kyoto are cherry blossoms in spring and the changing leaf color in autumn. The temple features about 1500 cherry blossoms and 1000 colorful trees with changing leaves.

Cherry Blossoms


Cherry blossom in Kyomizu by Tasuku Soma, CC BY added content

The temple is one of Kyoto's top cherry blossom spots, with almost 1500 mountain cherry and somei yoshino trees. The blooming season is very short. It only takes about two weeks from the opening of the first blossoms until they are falling from the trees. On average the first blossoms in Kyoto open end of March. They reach full bloom around April 5. However, the start of the blooming season can vary by one week (plus/minus) each year. Generally, your best bet is to visit early April, if you'd like to spot them. A great map and table with dates for Kyoto and other cities: JNTO Cherry Blossoms Timetable Tip: The blossoms are illuminated at night, creating a beautiful romantic scenery. If you don't mind the crowds, visit during the spring illumination.

Fall Foliage


Kiyomizu-dera, Kyoto by Martin Falbisoner, CC BY-SA colored

The leaf changing colors are almost equally beautiful and Kiyomizu-dera Temple is a truly spectacular autumn color spot. Compared to cherry blossoms, the gorgeous leaf colors last much longer: The foliage season in Kyoto lasts from mid-October until mid-December, with a peak in mid-November. Your best bet to spot the beautiful fall foliage is between mid-November and late November. However, any time within the two months is usually worth it. Tip: Like for the cherry blossoms in spring, the fall illumination of the autumn foliage creates a beautiful atmosphere. 

 

Historic Site
JP Japan
3.5

Kinkaku-ji is probably Kyoto's most famous temples attracting a huge number of visitors each year. It's a Zen Buddhist temple which was built at the end of the 14th century.

Expect heavy crowds year-round. Open 9 AM - 5 PM each day, year-round.

To avoid the crowds:
- Arrive early. A couple of minutes before the gates open at 9:00 AM.
- You could arrive late around 4 PM and stay till 5 PM. Then you have the last couple of minutes almost for yourself to take great photos.
- Avoid weekends, go mid-week.

Historic Site
JP Japan