The tickets are booked, the route decided and finally, it’s time to depart for Myanmar! Then comes the dilemma: what does one pack for a Myanmar trip? Having recently returned from our adventure through the country we’ve figured out the must have essentials you need to bring for a trip to Myanmar. Here’s our packing guide with a lowdown of the what you need to pack for the perfect Myanmar vacation!
For more Myanmar travel advice check out our other awesome Myanmar posts: a roundup of our trip, our general Myanmar planning and visiting tips here and our Bagan guide here.
1 | INSECT SPRAY
The bugs are plentiful in Myanmar and we used copious amounts of DEET. The evenings were the worst with the sunsets in Inle Lake and at the U-Bein bridge, together with post sunset Bagan, being particularly bad for mosquitoes. In fact, the sunset at U-Bein left me looking like I’d done 10 rounds in a boxing ring after some particularly zealous bugs went to town on my face!
2 | ELEPHANT PANTS/ LONG SHORTS/ SLEEVED T-SHIRTS
Myanmar sightseeing is filled with temples and pagodas which enforce a well observed dress code. No shoulders and no thighs are the clothing rules of choice and it’s important to cover up or be turned away from some of the best sights the country has to offer. Elephant pants are available to buy in all the tourist areas. If you are in the UK or Ireland Primark usually stock a good range if you want to buy before you fly. For the men, the traditional skirt like longyis are spotted on every local and are a smart choice if you spot one at a market.
3 | A TORCH OR HEADLAMP
A small and bright torch is an essential piece of Myanmar luggage for a number of reasons. Firstly, street lamps are sparse in cities such as Yangon and Mandalay and the sidewalks are an unpredictable mix of paving stones and deep holes which invite you to fall in at best and twist or break something if your luck is out. Secondly, the temples and pagodas where you are sure to spend your Bagan sunrises (check out our best sunrise spots here) and sunsets (check out our best sunset spots here) are filled with dark stairways. It’s impossible to navigate successfully in the dark at sunrise and sunset. Bring your torch everywhere!
We use a super useful headlamp from Amazon and use it on all our trips now. Plus its rechargable over usb so no need to carry extra batteries.
4 | SUNSCREEN AND A HAT
Myanmar is hot, hot, hot with extreme temperatures and dangerous UV levels. Sunscreen is a must at all times! A hat is perfect for the long and sunny Bagan days when you’re out exploring the temples.
5 | FLIP FLOPS
We spent more time bare foot than with our shoes on due to the requirement to remove footwear when entering pagodas and temples. It’s not optional and there is nothing worse than tying and untying laces in the sweltering heat every time you enter a tourist sight. Of which there are many. Flip flops it is!
6 | HAND SANITISER AND WET WIPES
Myanmar days are spent climbing temples, touching the ground and walking through monkey poo. Running water is not always available to clean up. Then you eat. Trust us on the anti bacterial gel. Wet wipes are also a great option for washing feet after a temple visit.
7 | TAMPONS
I didn’t spot tampons for sale anywhere in Myanmar. Pack them if you expect to need them.
8 | A WARM TOP
A mix of cool evenings and an allegiance to air conditioning in public spaces and on public transport make a warm jumper essential. A warm top is especially useful on the night buses.
9 | US DOLLARS
US dollars are still demanded for some Myanmar activities. We had no option but to use them for payment for the Bagan – Mandalay boat as well as some private cars we hired for sightseeing along the way. It’s not fair and it’s never in the favour of the tourist but it’s that or do without! For more money tips, check out our Myanmar tips here.
10 | A GUIDE BOOK/ TRIP RESEARCH
Internet access is volatile at best and mostly absent at worst in Myanmar so it’s best to assume you won’t have any! In its absence, a guidebook is essential to plan the days ahead. Either that or you need plan your trip in detail before you leave home. It’s better than missing out on something due to the lack of internet. We used the [easyazon_link identifier=”1780055757″ locale=”US” tag=”thewholewo082-20″]Insight Guides[/easyazon_link] book for Myanmar and it proved invaluable. Lots of travellers we spoke with recommended the [easyazon_link identifier=”1742205755″ locale=”US” tag=”thewholewo082-20″]Lonely Planet[/easyazon_link] version too.
11 | ADAPTER FOR PLUGS
Those cameras need charged! We found that a 2 prong European plug was the most common electrical outlet in the Myanmar hotels. Order a [easyazon_link identifier=”B01I9F3ONC” locale=”US” tag=”thewholewo082-20″]travel adapter like this one on Amazon[/easyazon_link] which will cover all your travels or pick one up in the airport.
12 | FIRST AID KIT
A mini first aid kit can prove useful on all trips. We usually bring a basic set with the essentials (like this [easyazon_link identifier=”B01I9HY696″ locale=”US” tag=”thewholewo082-20″]First Aid Kit from Amazon[/easyazon_link]) and top it with any medicines we might need on our travel. We brought some over the counter Asprin, Imodium and Dioralyte for pain relief, stomach upsets and dehydration.
13 | MYANMAR VISA
Gone are the days of having to travel to a Myanmar embassy to obtain a visa to enter the country. Passport holders from 100 countries are now entitled to apply for an e-visa meaning you can secure a visa in advance of your travels. For us, it took only a few days from applying to receiving our visa. It is valid for a stay of up to 28 days and costs US $50.
The link to apply for the eVisa, as at time of writing, is here.
14 | OFFLINE MAPS
Offline maps are incredibly useful for navigating Myanmar during your travels. We used ours when we were sightseeing in the cities, temple hunting in Bagan and showing taxi drivers when they weren’t sure of our destination. For Android download OsmAnd or for iPhones use Map.Me and be sure to download them before you go!
15 | ZIP LOCK BAGS
Perfect for storing phones and spare batteries on day trips especially in the dusty Bagan temple plain! Make sure to get the heavy duty versions and they’ll withstand the abuse!
For more Myanmar travel advice check out our other awesome Myanmar posts: a roundup of our trip can be found here, our general Myanmar planning and visiting tips here and our Bagan guide here.
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7 thoughts on “What to pack for a Myanmar trip: 15 Myanmar packing essentials!”
Thank you so much! I live in Alaska and am taking my first overseas experience to see a friend living in Yangon. I am super nervous and doing as much research as I can before I leave in 5 days. I also ready your article on Myanmar, and I found it very useful. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences and tips! (Especially the lady tip about tampons not being available should you need them. *_* )
Courtney in Alaska
Hi Courtney! Glad you found it useful, we’ve lots of Myanmar articles so hope you like some of the others!
Have a fab trip, Yangon is a beautiful city!
Oh wow Myanmar is on top of my list now.
I hope i can visit this beautiful country soon!
Thanks for the tips!
Glad I found your blog. I’m off on 17/02/2018 to retake photos my Dad took in the war. It’s a Photography Holiday. I’m starting to get nervous now about clothes, money, mosquitoes, airport changeovers etc.
It’s an incredible place to visit, don’t worry about any of the things you mentioned 🙂
Hope you have a good trip
Just back from fascinating trip to Myanmar and agree with all your helpful packing tips – thanks! (Internet access does seem to be improving quite quickly now though.)
Thanks Viv, have to agree Myanmar is fascinating!