I have never been so covered in sunscreen, bug dope, sweat, and dirt and ready for a shower as I was by the end of every day in Myanmar and loved every minute of it. As long as you’re dressed appropriately and pack a day pack, you’ll be able to comfortably enjoy the amazing pagodas and sights. This guide will show you how to pack for & what to wear in Myanmar.
- 1 light jacket or sweatshirt
- 1 long-sleeve, quick dry shirt
- 5 t-shirts and/or tank tops (cotton & quick-dry)
- 2 leggings
- 2 shorts
- maxi skirt and/or dress
- light cardigan or pashmina to cover shoulders
- flip flops
- Malaria pills (For more information on travel vaccines see this post.)
- bug spray with DEET
- wipes for feet
- hand sanitizer
- water bottle
- printed flight and hotel confirmations with addresses in language of country
- notebook & pens
- stuffy daypack and duffle
- USB Data blocker
- camera, charger, batteries, sd cards
- world adaptors
- double USB charger
- iphone & battery backup
How To Dress & What To Carry
Wear shorts, buy a longyi. To visit Myanmar’s temples and pagodas you must remove shoes and socks and cover your knees and shoulders. Because Myanmar is hot, you’ll probably not want to wear long pants or a long dress all day. Instead, you should purchase a longyi, the traditional wrap-around worn by men and women, locals and tourists. They are sold almost everywhere, so you won’t have trouble finding one. With a longyi in your day pack, you can wear shorts all day and put on the longyi when you need to cover your knees for visits to temples.
For days that include outings to temples and pagodas it is easiest to wear flip-flops, and ones you don’t mind possibly getting lost in the mass of shoes at the entrance. Stick a pack of wipes in your day pack for cleaning the bottoms of your feet before putting your shoes back on.
As you need to cover your shoulders for visits to temples as well, you can keep a wrap in your daypack to cover your shoulders if you’re wearing a strappy tank top or dress, however, you may just want to wear a t-shirt for other reasons.
Don’t skip the sunscreen and bug spray, and if you run out, use thanaka.
Before heading out for the day, don’t forget to apply a healthy dose of both sun screen and bug spray! If you’re visiting the rural villages of Myanmar you’ll want to protect yourself as much as possible from getting bit by mosquitoes. While they were not as prevalent as I thought they would be, some of the mosquitoes in the area may carry malaria. You’ll want a combination of malaria pills, bug dope, and sleeves. Stick the bug dope and sunscreen in your day pack to reapply half way through the day!
While in Myanmar you’ll notice locals wearing a yellow substance on their face, this is thanaka. This paste made from tree bark is a traditional form of sunscreen, but it is also believed to be good for acne, and have many other benefits. If you travel with only carry-on luggage like we did, and then run out of sun screen because you can only carry small tubes, you’ll be able to find small containers of thanaka for tourists sold at local markets.
You can safely carry your camera, but also buy a bag.
While electronics of any sort are virtually non-existent in the rural Myanmar villages we visited, we at no time felt unsafe carrying our cameras. Locals are happy to take photos with tourists and show off their way of life. We also noticed that school children and adults alike carried a particular style of a cross-body shoulder bag. Besides the longyi, these bags can also be found at local markets. After acquiring our own, we quickly found these really were the best accessory for our day trips. We were able to stow our cameras, phones, sunscreen, longyi, water bottles, and hats in our bag and access them when needed.
Have you been to a country where you wore the traditional dress? Would you add anything to these packing lists? Let’s discuss in the comments below!
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