These days travellers are quite spoiled in that you can get pretty much anything pretty much anywhere. However, as Myanmar is still in its early stages of allowing tourism, there are some things that you should make sure you bring.
Sorry guys, this one is obviously for the ladies but is to important not to be number 1. Tampons are not available in the country at all. So unless you’re happy with thick sanitary pads make sure you being a supply – or invest in a femmecup.
The power in Myanmar is not great and there are many circumstances where there won’t be enough light. Having a torch handy means that you can go into that empty temple in Bagan to see the murals or that you can head out at night without fear of falling through a hole in the footpath.
3. Sandals/Flip Flops
The streets can be pretty filthy and you are going to get dirty feet, but if you plan on visiting religious sites in Myanmar (why else would you be going there?) you’ll soon be glad of being able to take your shoes off quickly and easily. Our trainers weren’t worn once in 2 months.
4. Appropriate Clothing
Myanmar is a very reserved country and wearing hot pants or low cut tops is not appropriate. Depending on your size you may have trouble buying clothing in Myanmar so best to make sure you pack most clothing in the first place. I found light weight shrugs immensely useful to pop on when entering a religious site.
Despite the climate, if you intend to use the long distance buses you will need a warm set of clothing as well. The conditions on Myanmar’s buses are nothing short of Arctic.
Sunglasses are widely available in Yangon, but can be tough to find elsewhere. (According to our local students only rich and famous people wear sunglasses.) Those that are available have no UV protection information available and can be damaging to your eyes.
Don’t worry about hats though if you don’t want to carry one on your flight. They are cheap and widely available. We picked up a wide brimmed bamboo hat that folds up for easy carriage for 1000 kyat (approximately 1 USD).
6. Mosquito Repellant
This can be tough to find outside of Yangon. If you prefer natural alternatives to deet you’ll have a really difficult time finding it in Myanmar. Myanmar has some pretty vicious mosquitoes so best to make sure you’re stocked up.
TIP: Often when you arrive at a guest house your room will be full of mosquitoes as the staff will have been airing the room. We picked up a pack of mosquito coils and burned one in each new place before settling in.
7. Non-Whitening Toiletries
Myanmar has caught the whitening craze. After searching Mon State for deodorant, Leckie finally gave in and bought the only one available – extreme whitening. This then bleached patches on the under arms of his dark t-shirts.
The same problem exists for face wash and creams. Bringing your own could save a major headache.
8. Surge Protectors
The electricity in Myanmar is extremely unstable and voltage wavers wildly between ‘barely enough to function’ and ‘destroy all your stuff’. Voltage regulation is essential. Whilst your hotel should have this equipment, don’t trust them with your equipment – use your own surge protectors.
As long as you properly prepare and don’t treat Myanmar like the rest of South East Asia then you will be rewarded with a truly unique experience. Enjoy!