When I was preparing for our Myanmar (Burma) trip, I was really unsure about the kind of clothes to bring. I searched around the internet and, while I’m sure there are probably loads of tips out there, I was obviously looking in all the wrong places. So now that I’ve been and have a good idea of what works and what doesn’t, I thought I’d share! If nothing else, it will remind me what to bring when I one day return to Myanmar (I hope I get to go back some day!). Don’t worry gentlemen, there’s a few tips for you at the end of the post.
I faced a slight problem when preparing to go to Myanmar; I was shopping in Beijing for warm weather clothes during winter. Beijing is not a good place to shop for out of season clothing! Consequently, I didn’t really buy anything extra for this part of the trip (I guess that’s not a bad thing!) and just took clothes I already owned (although I did order a lot of new bikinis online for the Thai leg of our holiday). We headed to Thailand after Myanmar but, for this post, I will only talk about what I needed for Myanmar.
Things I took that worked:
People don’t really wear revealing clothes or shorts in Myanmar. Longer trousers and scarves/pashminas helped me feel appropriate!
Flip flops (thongs/sandals) and Toms shoes– I wore these equally and they were essential for slipping on and off at temples.
Loose cotton black ‘beach’ pants– These were a last minute order online and I was so pleased I had them. I wore them a lot and they were comfy and very appropriate.
Vest/tank tops– I wore these a lot with my ‘beach’ pants- but ALWAYS with a scarf covering my shoulders. I felt cool enough, comfy enough and covered up enough.
Black full length leggings– I wore these with a long tunic top and flip flops. I was pretty happy with this outfit and it felt weather and location appropriate! I also wore them under my new longyi.
Tunic top– It was actually a cotton beach cover up I’d bought for Thailand, but it worked really well in Burma over my leggings. Added a pashmina and hoody on top when needed.
Scarves and pashminas– essential for being covered up for temples and just general walking around appropriateness. It was also handy for warmth as Myanmar can get pretty chilly in the December evenings and early mornings. Also, pashminas and scarves always look great in my opinion. I’m rarely without one apart from in the height of summer.
A cotton button up top and T-shirts– for a change from the tank top and scarf combo.
Jeans and hoody– these were essential for Myanmar in December! Mandalay and Bagan were chilly in the mornings and evenings. For our day on Inle Lake we were happy wearing jeans all day and a hoody most of the day- the lake can get very chilly. The vineyard was warmer!
Sun hat– I didn’t wear it all the time but it was useful for our boat ride from Mandalay to Bagan and our day at the vineyard.
Cross body bag– I have the perfect sized cross body bag (I call it my sightseeing bag..!) which perfectly fits my camera and all the other stuff I carry around, but is not too big so that it gets overloaded or heavy.
Sunglasses– Necessary for sunny Myanmar.
Tissues, hand sanitiser, wet wipes– I always carry this stuff around and you’ll need them for bathroom stops in Myanmar.
A torch (Flashlight)– a friend recommended this to us and it came in very handy when walking down pitch black, unlit streets.
What I wish I’d brought:
More cotton trousers/Pyjama pants type things– I wish I’d had more light weight trousers. I love the patterned pyjama pant (or whatever you call them. You know what I mean, right?) and vest with a pashmina look. I simply didn’t have any more to bring. I bought some nice ones in Bangkok but it was a bit too late for Myanmar by then.
Warmer clothes to sleep in– I would have loved some nice sleeping clothes or sweat pants to sleep in or relax in back at the hotels. Plus sleeping socks! As mentioned, in December it is a little chilly in the night and early mornings. While our hotel rooms did have heating from the AC, I didn’t find it quite warm enough.
What I took but didn’t need:
Shorts- Wearing shorts could look a bit out of place for a female in Myanmar and you won’t be allowed to go into temples wearing them. I actually brought them for Thailand anyway but I probably thought I would wear them at some point in Myanmar- I didn’t.
Converse shoes– I don’t know why I bought these. The only time I wore them was flying in and out of Beijing. I should have just made do with Toms for the chilly entry and exit flights.
What I bought there
A longyi– I love my Burmese Longyi! Everyone (male, female, young and old) wears them in Burma so, whilst I obviously didn’t blend in, I didn’t feel like I was being silly and playing dress up either. I got a lot of compliments and admiration on my longyi too!
What about Men?
Guys can easily get away with wearing knee length shorts and a regular short sleeved t-shirt around Myanmar and the temples. The same tips for bringing a hoody and jeans in the winters months and having easy to slip on and off shoes/sandals apply to men too. You could always get a longyi too!
So, there you have it. My essential tips for packing clothes for Myanmar (Burma). Obviously I took toiletries and electronics too but I skipped that part as they weren’t really specific to Myanmar. I’d definitely recommend women to wear longer trousers and to carry a scarf. Just remember: if in doubt you can always buy a longyi!
Check out my other Myanmar (Burma) posts here:
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What are your essential travel items (clothing or otherwise)? And do you have a nice pair of patterned pyjama pants? Do you even know what I am talking about when I say pyjama pants or have I just made this term up?!