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What to Wear and Pack for Myanmar!

Hopefully, you’ve been tempted to visit Myanmar by now, before tourism changes it too drastically the way it does to popular destinations. Before heading to Myanmar (Yangon, Bagan, Inle Lake) in Sept 2016, I was especially concerned about what to pack and what to wear. Now that I’m done with the trip, I can share with you better. Here’s what to bring for your upcoming trip to Myanmar!

Do you know what kind of clothes you should wear in Myanmar?

The Burmese’s style of dressing is a unique one. The locals all wear what looks like ‘long skirts’, except it’s called a “longyi” over there (Legal Nomads has a wonderful article about the longyi). Other than the bottom item being very distinct, Burmese locals are often dressed conservatively. During my short trip of a few nights in Myanmar traversing different states, there was only once I came across two Burmese ladies wearing shorts in Yangon. Beyond that, the people were always in sleeved tops and longyis.

It might be too much to ask you to follow what locals wear – so all you need to do is to keep in mind of their conservative way of dressing, and wear modest clothings yourself. This means you should refrain from shorts, bermudas, tight skirts, body-hugging clothes or sheer fabric.

Bagan pagoda | Travel Tips to Know Before You Visit Myanmar • The Petite WanderessAnd here’s a list of what to pack for Myanmar!

* = must bring!

1.* Modest, airy clothing: Sleeved tops and 3/4 or long, preferably loose pants.

I’ll go as far as recommending T-shirts and Uniqlo cotton pants, or whatever makes you the most comfortable within the ‘dress code’. We visited in September and it was humid often, with a mix of sunny and rainy weather.

To enter temples and pagodas, you have to keep shoulders and knees covered. Locals are dressed conservatively wherever, despite the heat. Sometimes, I play cheat by wearing Uniqlo Airism sleeveless tops in our car, then cover my shoulders with the next item below when I get off the car. If your yoga pants are of too thin material, sheer, and/or reveal too much of parts (even the shapes), it’s considered disrespectful.

2. Scarf

If you’re intending to wear sleeveless in the car, before hopping off the car, you can quickly drape a scarf over your shoulders. I generally feel a little uncomfortable (too much attention, when we already stood out for being obviously none-Burmese) for wearing sleeveless outdoors, hence my scarf is always ready.

3.* Cheap, easily-removable, washable slippers

You’ll need to remove shoes and socks before stepping into temples, therefore slippers/flip-flops will be your most ideal form of shoes to wear in Myanmar. Bagan, especially, can feel like a very ‘raw’ place with dirt roads and pavements; you really don’t want to be sitting on the ground trying to put on your sneakers for each temple you visit and end up dirtying your pants. Wear slippers that can be easily removed and put back on. At the end of the day, you might wanna wash the slippers too, so be sure they’re water-resistant.

I alternated between a nicer-looking pair of sandals for Yangon (going to restaurants for meals) and slippers for the other states!

4. Shoe bags

A practical option. Bring a small bag to contain shoes in case you need it. For example, Shwedagon Temple in Yangon is huge and has different entrances/exits, so it would be smart to put your shoes in a bag and carry them with you, then you can exit from another exit if you like. I came and left using the same exits, so this was not relevant for me.

5. USD dollar notes, in mint condition

If you’re changing currency in Myanmar, your USD notes need to be in mint condition — as good and crisp as NEW. Other currency notes need to be in good condition. At some attractions, they accept payment in USD, such as at Bagan Viewing Tower, the entrance fees were in USD (we paid USD$5/tourist, now it’s USD$10 (source)).

6.* Hand sanitizer

For cleaning your hands after touching all sorts of surfaces! Or you can choose to use antiseptic wet wipes if you like.

 7.* Wet wipes / Antiseptic wipes / Tissue paper

Use them for cleaning cups, plates, utensils. Don’t worry about offending, the locals will take tissue paper and clean the crockery and utensils before using too.

You can also use the wet wipes to clean your feet and hands, or if you step on wet bird poo (I did -.-“)

8. Body wipes freshen up after a day out. Shop for body wipes on Amazon.

9.* Medicine, supplements, first-aid supplies

Pharmacies aren’t readily available in at least Bagan and Nyaung Shwe. Bring your Paracetamol pills, gastric pills, pills for diarrhoea, Vitamin C tablets, plasters, etc.

10.* Torchlight

Blackouts happen often in Myanmar, even in Yangon. A torchlight will help you navigate the pavements along dark roads. You can also use it to make out the wall murals inside dim temples in Bagan. If you’re going to chase sunrises in Bagan, a proper torchlight will help you lit the road. If you ask me if your handphone’s torchlight function would suffice, I would think not really.

11.* Mosquito / Insect repellent

12. Sunscreen (for the face)

We Asians are obsessed about sunscreen for the face. At my dermatologist’s advice (“put sunscreen on or else, all your spots will be suntanning”) I’ve used sunscreen everyday without fail for plenty of years. Currently, I’m using this SPF50+ sunscreen by Anessa, a brand by Shiseido – one of the top Japanese brands.

13. Sunblock (for body)

14. Paper fan or hand-held fan

To combat the heat. Also, not all hotels come with air-conditioned rooms. I stayed at La Maison Birmine Hotel at Nyaung Shwe (Inle Lake). It turned out to be an eco-resort and the rooms were equipped with only ceiling fans. Thankfully, it was a cool period at night during our stay, so we didn’t feel the heat.

15. Foldable umbrella

In case of rain, depending on the season you go.

16. Sunglasses.

17. Cap

In case of flat hair after long bus rides, or for the sun.

18.* Travel adapter.

19. Bedroom slippers

Bagan, Myanmar in 2 Days
Oasia Hotel, Bagan

Hotels in Myanmar can be rather basic! They might not provide bedroom slippers, so you might wanna bring them.

Above hotel: Oasis Hotel in Bagan • Where we also stayed at Inle Lake: La Maison Birmane Hotel

20. Foot scrub brush

If your feet are sensitive to dirt, you’ll need a foot scrub brush to clean your feet at the end of the day.

What to Have with You for the Overnight Bus Rides

(if you’re getting from state to state via coach.)

Fun fact: Myanmar is bigger in land size than France.

There are domestic flights, train rides, as well as bus (coach) rides in Myanmar. During my short stay in Myanmar, we took coaches from state to state. Journeys are often overnight, as my bus rides were from Yangon to Bagan, Bagan to Inle Lake (Nyaung Shwe), then back to Yangon. Coach rides in Myanmar are known for bus-drivers playing loud music overnight (perhaps for keeping awake?). Thankfully, my friend managed to book quiet bus rides for us. We had comfortable long journeys, often even being able to sleep on the bus.

Instead of keeping them in a luggage at the bus storage below, these will be handy to have with you on the bus.

    1. * Ear-plugs. To block out people talking, or the bus honking (I woke up to see a herd of buffaloes blocking the road in the middle of the night), or the crazy loud music if you booked the wrong kind of buses.
    2. * Travel neck pillow. I don’t know how people can sleep without this! I bring my travel neck pillow as long as I’m flying, and also taking long bus-rides.For one of my bus-rides in Myanmar, there was already a Dora the Explorer neck pillow in each seat – really considerate of the bus company =D
      coach | Travel Tips to Know Before You Visit Myanmar • The Petite Wanderess
      see the pink neck pillows propped on the seats?
    3. * Eye-shades / Face handkerchief. I always have at least eye-shades ready, even going as far as packing a Japanese face handkerchief (which is a kind of hood that you wear over your face to block light, or prevent others from seeing your unglam sleeping face)
    4. * Jacket. It gets freezingly cold on these buses. Although they would provide blankets, a jacket would do you good, trust me on that.
    5. * Socks, because of the coldness, and because you can remove your shoes and still not have your feet touch the floor.
    6. Motion-sickness pills. I tend to get carsick so I’ll pop two Blackmores Travel Calm Ginger pills and I’ll be fine. The roads can get very bumpy, especially from Bagan to Inle Lake (Nyaung Shwe).
    7. Handphone cable. Our coaches come with an entertainment screen and we could charge our phone using our USB cable (just like being on international flights)! Check my other article for the bus companies I went with!
    8. Earphones, for watching movies on the bus, or listening to podcasts or music, or guided meditation via Headspace, etc.
    9. Water bottle. You’ll probably get a small bottle of mineral water free from the bus company though (we did), but I always must have water with me. Be smart and limit your water intake though!
    10. Snacks, for hunger pangs on the bus, though you probably will get 1 or 2 bus breaks. Some bus companies will also provide a small snack.
    11. E-reader, such as a Kindle, if you really can’t sleep.
    12. Facial wipes for removing makeup on the bus, then your skincare products after removing the makeup. I used these Simple micellar water facial wipes!

Here’s the 2 lists summarized!

What to pack for Myanmar, in general

1. * Modest, airy clothing: Sleeved tops and 3/4 or long, preferably loose pants.
2. Scarf
3. Cheap, washable slippers
4. Shoe bags
5. USD dollar notes, in mint condition
6. * Hand sanitizer
7. * Wet wipes / Antiseptic wipes
8. Body wipes
9. * Medicine, supplements, first-aid supplies
10. * Small torchlight
11. * Mosquito / Insect repellent
12. Sunscreen (for the face)
13. Sunblock (for body)
14. Paper fan or hand-held fan
15. Umbrella
16. Sunglasses.
17. Cap
18. * Travel adapter.
19. Bedroom slippers
20. Foot scrub

What to have with you for the overnight buses

1. * Ear-plugs.
2. * Neck pillow.
3. * Eye-shades / Face handkerchief
4. * Jacket
5. * Socks
6. Motion-sickness pills
7. Handphone cable
8. Earphones
9. Water bottle
10. Snacks
11. E-reader, such as a Kindle, if you really can’t sleep.
12. Facial wipes & skincare



 Did I miss out any essentials that you should pack for Myanmar? Let me know in the Comments!

More Myanmar inspiration and tips:

• What to Know Before Visiting Myanmar!
Falling In Love with Bagan in Just 2 Days

• 15 Ways Myanmar Surprised Me
• 21 Photos to Inspire You to Travel to Myanmar

Visited: Sep 2016
Information sources: Go Myanmar
Disclosure: This article contains affiliate link(s). If you make a booking or purchase through the link(s), my website receives a tiny commission at no extra costs to you. The commission helps to offset costs to keep up with this website, your support is much appreciated!
Packing List for Myanmar | What to Bring to Myanmar | What to Wear in Myanmar • The Petite Wanderess



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    1. Thanks Julie! If you get there, I’ll be looking forward to hearing/seeing/reading about your experiences!

  1. Great post! I’m hopefully heading to Myanmar later this year and will definitely save this somewhere to refer back to before we go!

  2. Mosquito repellent is something you should never skimp on when you are anywhere in SEA. Not only are the mosquitoes pesky and annoying but you can contract a number of diseases too. Some of them are pretty scary!

    1. Yep it’s in the list! I live in SEA btw =) In Singapore, I don’t really put on mosquito repellent unless there’s an area with known alert of an outbreak like dengue, but in certain SEA countries like Bali, I’ll make sure to spray it on before heading out! Mosquitoes these days can give really dangerous diseases indeed.

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