Myanmar (Burma) is finally opening itself up to the world after decades of isolation. Since the boycott on tourism was lifted in 2012, this culturally rich and ethnically diverse nation has quickly become a compelling destination for travellers. And for good reason—nestled between India, Bangladesh, China, Laos, and Thailand, Myanmar has as much to offer as its varied neighbours.
When it comes to packing for a trip to Myanmar, you don’t need to bring a lot. But the following ten items:
1. Sunscreen, a hat, and lip balm.
Protecting yourself from the sun’s powerful rays is a must in Myanmar, where yearly highs exceed 40°C. Even during the winter months, the sun is strong. Opt for sunscreen and lip balm with a decent SPF rating and a hat with a wide brim.
2. Insect repellent.
Myanmar and mosquitoes are a package deal. Protect yourself from insect bites by packing insect repellant with DEET.
3. Light, t-shirts and long skirts or pants.
Wondering what to wear in Myanmar? After years of strict military rule, Myanmar is still more conservative than some of its nearest neighbours. You’ll notice that both men and women still wear a traditional, sarong-like garment called the longyi. On temple visits, you will be required to cover your knees and shoulders. Pack accordingly. Some religious sites allow visitors to buy or borrow a longyi.
4. A quality camera.
An iPad camera isn’t going to cut it in a country like Myanmar, where the local marketplaces are bursting with colour, and centuries-old temples, pagodas, and monasteries abound. A trip to Myanmar is not complete without taking in the vistas from the summit of Mt. Popa, an extinct volcano, but you’ll need a decent camera to capture this spectacular sight.
5. A sweater for cool weather.
What is the weather like in Myanmar? Myanmar has a tropical climate, but just how hot it is depends when you go. It’s hot from March to October and extremely hot from April and July, with temperatures exceeding 40°C and monsoon rains. The winter months—November to February—are generally pleasant, with temperatures between 20 and 24°C. But it can be cool around dusk and dawn. One warm sweater to get you through those early-morning and late-evening hours should suffice.
6. Pens, pencils, and notebooks.
After years under an oppressive military regime, Myanmar is still trying to stand on its own two feet. On your visit, you’ll have the chance to visit a local school, where they’ll be grateful whatever you can give in the way of supplies. Old textbooks, writing utensils, exercise books, calculators, and notebooks are all welcome.
7. Feminine hygiene products.
If you’re going to need them, it’s best to pack them. Pads and tampons aren’t widely available in Myanmar and may be difficult to find on your trip.
8. Comfortable walking sandals.
For excursions, you’ll want sandals or shoes with a sturdy sole and ample support.
9. A light, water-resistant jacket or poncho.
If you’re visiting Myanmar between March and October, be prepared for rain and heat. Opt for a light, breathable rain jacket or poncho.
10. Crisp, American bills in small denominations.
The national currency of Myanmar is the kyat. However, US dollars are still widely used. Bills should be from 2006 or in pristine condition—no tears—otherwise they may be difficult to exchange.
Pack your bags, it's time to go explore Myanmar or Burma, whatever you choose to call it. It's going to be one amazing adventure!
Enjoy your travels!
From the GLP team