The Ultimate Packing List for Myanmar and Other South-East Asian countries

Packing list for Myanmar - Myanmar Lonely Planet

Are you planning a trip to Myanmar? Then this blog is right for you! Myanmar is a beautiful country to travel and very varied – that’s why it’s sometimes hard to pack! This packing list for Myanmar is based on my experience in November and December 2017. In this period it’s winter in Myanmar, but that doesn’t mean it gets cold!

I hope this list helps you preparing your trip so you have an amazing time πŸ™‚ !!

25 things to put on your packing list for Myanmar:

1. Flipflops or sandals
2. Hiking boots or solid walking shoes
3. T-shirts with short or long sleeves
4. Long, wide pants or long skirts / Jongshi
5. Scarf or sarong
6. A hat / cap
7. A hoody / sweater
8. Wet wipes
9. Mosquito Repellent
10. Malaria pills
11. Sunblock
12. Desinfectant hand sanitizer
13. Immodium & ORS
14. Torch / headlamp
15. Small day pack
16. Microfiber towel
17. Padlock
18. Refillable water bottle / thermos mug
19. Burmese app
20. Myanmar Lonely Planet
21. Point it book
22. Creditcard or US dollars
23. Visum
24. Passport
25. A smile πŸ™‚

Clothing

1. Flipflops or sandals

If you are going to visit (South-East) Asia, flip-flops cannot be missed in your luggage. I usually even carry 2 pairs in case they break or I lose them πŸ˜‰ In Myanmar, when you visit any type of temple, pilgrimage or religious site, you will be asked to do this barefoot. Taking of shoes and socks with laces every single time is a total pain in the ass πŸ™‚
Make sure to check your itinerary the day before to see if there are any temples on the programme to decide if you need to wear solid shoes (or hiking boots – see below) or that flipflops are useful.

Packing list for Myanmar: flipflops
Make sure to put flipflops on your packinglist for Myanmar. The locals wear them too πŸ˜‰

2. Hiking boots or solid walking shoes

When you get outside of the big cities like Yangon and Mandalay, hiking is a great activity. In my three week trip to Myanmar, we went hiking a couple of times. We did a day hike in Hispaw, and then went on a 2 day hike in the surrounding mountains. Here you walk on gravel roads but also on muddy paths, depending on the rain. You don’t really want to do this on your sneakers πŸ™‚ Although I was sick in Kalaw, there are some amazing hiking opportunities there. You can trek around the town in neighbouring villages or make a trek to the Inle Lake.

Packing list for Myanmar: hiking boots
Happy times in Hiking Boots!

3. T-shirts with short or long sleeves

Similar to having to visit a religious site barefoot, you also have to cover up your shoulders and knees. And not only on religious sites this is a good idea – the Myanmar people don’t show too much skin in their daily life anyway! I have not seen anyone with bare shoulders in my 3 weeks in the country.

Packing List for Myanmar - thsirts with sleeves
You will be denied access to temples and religious sites with short pants or tshirts without sleeves.

Also, airports, shopping malls or other air-conditioned places can get chilly, so t-shirts with sleeves or blouses that you can simply layer up come in handy.

4. Long, wide pants or long skirts / Jongshi

If you have packed shorts, they will stay in your backpack for most of the time unfortunately!Β In the temples you will be asked to wear something over the knees. You could do with shorts and wear a scarf over it. A great alternative are long skirts. They are airy and look awesome πŸ˜‰
Local people do barely show any skin, even in their daily activities. Women wear dresses or long skirts with matching tops. Men wear shirts with mostly Jongshi’s (a large type of sarong that they tie around their waste), or long pants.
While making the hikes in Hispaw, we were totally OK with wearing shorts. When we would have a short stroll through the village, we were asked to cover our knees. But no one in the small villages seemed to care much. Also on the bike trip around Mandalay I was wearing sporty shorts but would always carry a scarf and blouse with long sleeves in my luggage to cover up where necessary.

5. Scarf or sarong

An easy way to cover your shoulders or knees is a large scarf or a sarong. If you don’t want to bring one from home, Myanmar is full of awesome textile shops where you can buy beautiful scarfs πŸ™‚

Packing list Myanmar - scarf, long dress, tshirt
Make sure to put a long skirt, scarf, t-shirt with long sleeves or a blouse on your packing list for Myanmar

6. A hat / cap

The sun can get really, really hot in Myanmar. Even in winter, daily temperatures would easily reach 30 degrees during the day. If you are visiting pagoda’s, you will burn up walking in between the white and golden buildings. Also when making a hike in Hispaw or doing a cycling tour in Myanmar, a hat or cap will be your best friend.

3 weeks in Myanmar
Bago and the Golden Rock were very hot days – so I was super happy with my cap! Visiting the Golden Rock, a monk continued to take pictures of me with his phone. I asked him to return the favour, with this awesome selfie as result πŸ˜‰

>7. A hoody / sweater

While in Yangon the nights would stay hot at 28 degrees in winter, while in mountain villages as Hsipaw and Kalaw the temperatures would drop to about 5-10 degrees at night! The hotels had thick blankets and some even heating. Because many restaurants and eateries are outdoors, it’s smart to take a hoody or sweatshirt (together with the previously mentioned scarf) to make sure you don’t freeze your ass off πŸ™‚

Health & Hygiene

8. Wet wipes

Because you will walk barefoot so often, and not all floors are equally clean, wet wipes are awesome to clean your feet.Β Also, toilets are not always clean and you have many squat toilets which are not always equally easy to use πŸ˜‰ Especially in theΒ train over the Gokteik Viaduct it’s so hard to hold steady when visiting the toilet, you will be forced to touch the railings. Another great reason to bring wet wipes πŸ˜‰
Your tourguides will often bring single-wrapped wet wipes and hand them out during the day. Even though wet wipes are never environmentally friendly, bringing a larger package is already better than using the single ones.

9. Mosquito Repellent

Even in winter in Myanmar, you will still find mosquitos. In some hot places like cities as Mandalay and Yangon we suffered the most from mosquito bites. Always use mosquito repellent with at least 40 or 50% DEET to make sure you also repel Malaria carrying mosquitos.

10. Malaria pills

It’s not 100% clear to me if you are supposed to take Malaria pills throughout your stay. Part of our tour group was taking them every day, other people only had 10 pills or so with them – for the case that they actually got malaria.

There is definitely Malaria in Myanmar,Β but I guess it highly depends on which area you go to. In any case, discuss it with your own doctor / travel clinic to get the best advice in your situation.

11. Sunblock

Myanmar gets really hot at times! Especially during hikes in Hsipaw or Kalaw, biking tours around Mandalay, and being on a boat trip on the Inle Lake, it’s very easy to get sunburnt πŸ™‚ Bring some decent sunblock, and wear a hat and cover up your skin where necessary.

12. Desinfectant hand sanitizer

There is not always running water or soap available to wash your hands. After petting dogs, hugging kids, being in dirty trains and buses, it felt quite good to sometimes use the desinfectant before eating food πŸ™‚

13. Immodium

or any other diarrhea stoppers. Even if you are careful, in countries like this it’s very easy to get diarrhea. Practically everyone in our group of 20 people, had 1-2 days of toilet issues during the trip. This is no fun during busrides or long overnight hikes, so make sure to bring some medicine to help yourself πŸ™‚ I also always carry ORS (Β Oral Rehydration Solution ) to rehydrate on when I suffer from dehydration.

Practicalities

14. Torch / headlamp

As in many developing countries, power outages are very normal πŸ™‚ We had several occassions in Yangon where we walked in the streets, that a whole block would go dark at once. You would hear all the small shops starting up their generators and lights would pop on here and there. Because the streets in the cities in Myanmar are full of holes, a flashlight is highly recommended when walking at night!

Also when you stay in small villages, you will notice electricity is not always available. Sometimes solar panels provide power during the day but it’s often not available at night. This makes charging your phone (and its flashlight) difficult, so carrying a torch or headlamp in case you need to visit the toilet at night is useful πŸ˜‰

15. Small day pack

You will be walking and exploring a lot in Myanmar. Because you will always carry quite a lot of things (cap, mosquito repellent, sunblock, water, covering clothes / scarfs) a daypack is very useful! A purse is very impractical (talking from experience πŸ˜› ).Β  Also during the hikes and biking tours, a good daypack is invaluable!

16. Microfiber towel

Many people in our group were carrying a microfiber towel along for sweating and freshening up during the day. Also, when you hike and have to cross rivers, or go washing elephants, a small microfiber towel that dries quickly can be super handy πŸ™‚

17. Padlock

Although the people are one of my favourite things in Myanmar, and I didn’t have any issues with feeling unsafe, I still carry a padlock to lock my laptop and electrics in my backpack when I leave the hotel room.Β  Better safe than sorry πŸ™‚

18. Refillable water bottle / thermos mug

Trash is a big issue in many emerging and developing countries. Because you cannot drink the water in Myanmar you will be forced to buy purified water. Most tour companies and hotels provide large water tanks where you can re-fill your own bottle. This is of course much better than buying new bottles all the time! Also, taking a thermos mug you can carry some tea or coffee with you on long bus trips or train rides πŸ™‚

Getting around

19. Burmese app

If you are travelling without a guide, it will be SO hard to get around. Our guides spoke great English, but as soon as you walk without a guide it will be very hard to communicate. Although the people will go out of their way to help you, sometimes it can be useful to have a piece of the local language at hand. People in my tourgroup used the app “Simply learn Burmese”. It was easy to find certain sentences and use the voice function to say something to a local πŸ™‚ The look on their faces was gold!

20. Myanmar Lonely Planet

The Lonely Planet was a great help during my trip. It brought us to many great restaurants (there was only one that didn’t exist anymore) and all the reviews of the hotels we stayed at were very accurate. There were also some good tips to go off the beaten track which I really liked. The Lonely Planet was also amazing to re-cap some of the things about religious sites or temples that you didn’t understand when the guide tried to explain it πŸ˜‰

Packing list for Myanmar - Myanmar Lonely Planet
This was a moment where I really need my lonely planet πŸ˜‰

You can buy the Lonely Planet Myanmar easily on Amazon.

21. Point it book

I didn’t have this book but some of my travel mates did and it was super useful! Instead of trying to use English (which never works) you can just point at something! So cool and it works like a charm! You can buy theΒ Point It: Traveller’s Language Kit on Amazon.

Other

22. Creditcard or US dollars

I spent about 200.000 Kyatt every week on food, souvenirs and touristy things πŸ™‚ It was not always easy to withdraw money – Rabobank and ING cards (Maestro) give issues in Myanmar, my MasterCard worked most of the time and Visa seems most accepted.
I also brought 50USD just in case and I ended up spending it all. I paid a couple of entrance fees in dollars and also used it to pay in a hotel at some point. Exchange offices are available in larger cities but as usual, don’t give great rates.

23. Visum

You have to apply for your Myanmar visum before coming to the country. There is a visum office at the airport, but I’m not sure if this can be used. Everyone I know got a visum before. Usually I don’t print anything, but in this case it was very handy. We were asked for the visa number multiple times. So either have a print or a screenshot on your phone at hand.

24. Passport

Obviously – bring your passport. Your passport has to be valid for at least 6 months when you enter Myanmar. I did not need to show my passport very often, only for domestic flights a couple of times.

25. The final thing on your packing list for Myanmar: A smile πŸ™‚

Most Burmese will look at you curiously when you walk by. As soon as you answer their looks with a smile, their whole face will lighten up. They will answer your smile with a beautiful, although sometimes toothless, smile πŸ™‚ . Even if you don’t know how to say hello, a smile and a nod are guaranteed to break the ice.

3 weeks in Myanmar
SMILE! πŸ™‚
packing list for Myanmar
Pin this Packing List for Myanmar to your Pinterest to not lose it πŸ™‚

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