Myanmar has changed rapidly over the last few years since the advent of mass tourism to the country. While the country is fast-developing, it’s important to remember that everything you’d expect at home is often not available in Myanmar. Pack accordingly and you’ll be able to travel stress-free.
Remember that Myanmar is a developing country and their hospital care while adequate is not the same as Western standards. If you have a serious accident, you’ll want to evacuated out of the country to an international hospital in Bangkok. Be sure you have travel insurance to cover you in such an eventuality.
Essential to pack
- Travel Documents & Passport: Of course, because they are the most important thing! It is always handy to have a copy of your passport on paper as well as saved (and synched) in your Dropbox, in the unlikely case that you loose it and need to get a replacement.
- Visa: Make sure you get an eVisa to Myanmar ahead of your trip. Depending on your citizenship, but most western countries get a stay of 28 days.
- Money Belt: Very handy for a day out exploring! Even better, when it’s water proof in case you happen to be outside when it starts pouring. Get one with RFID blocking sleeves like this one to prevent your credit cards getting scammed. Better safe than sorry!
- Headlamp: It will come in handy, promised! No matter if it’s a blackout or a dark unlit road at night.
- Padlock: It’s best to get a combination lock so you don’t go searching for your keys to the lock.
- Sunglasses: Because it’s sunny and you’ll need them! Make sure you choose a decent one that really protects your eyes, sometimes you don’t know what you get when you buy cheapies at markets in Southeast Asia. I don’t like wearing them but consider a sun hat too if you get burned easily.
First Aid kit: plasters, antiseptic ointment – all the classics to treat rashes, cuts and scratches
Indigestion tablets: Gaviscon is my go-to if my stomach’s feeling odd after trying new food. Remember that most cases of upset tummies are usually due to a major change in diet rather than food poisoning per se. Drinking plain soda water is also helpful and enables you to have one of those epic belches which are near-mystical in the relief they provide.
Diarrhoea remedy: also a byproduct of a change of diet, use diarrhoea tablets sparingly and drink lots of fluids plus eat bland food like rice to help restore your guts.
Quick Dry Towel: one of those clever travel gizmos, a quick try towel folds away into a small, easily packable size and doubles as a blanket, pillow and numerous other uses.
Camping Toilet Paper: toilet paper is not universally used in Myanmar (the locals prefer the bum gum, essentially a jet of water you use to clean yourself with, like a bidet). Therefore if you want the comforts of home this ingenious invention allows you to take toilet paper wherever you go. You’ll probably want hand sanitiser too.
Painkillers: always good as a general antidote if you’re feeling under the weather. Note: if you’re getting frequent headaches, ensure you are drinking enough water per day (at least 2 litres, better 3). Golden rule: If you’re peeing yellow, you’re dehydrated. (Golden, yellow…I’ll get me coat)
Travel Pillow: If you’re planning travels by bus around Myanmar you are going to need one of these to try and get some sleep. Plus of course for the flight over.
Right clothes for traveling to Myanmar
- Comfortable long and short pants: Preferably not jeans but material that breathes, is anti-stick and dries quickly. Think Aladdin pants and you’re on the right track!
- Water-/windproof Jacket: Especially in the monsoon season, also handy when riding on a windy motorcycle.
- Sandals: Make sure they are easy to put on and take off and comfortable as you will walk in them a lot. Consider bringing two pairs as well as some enclosed shoes like light sneakers or Toms.
- Hiking Boots: Needed if you’re going trekking to Kalaw region for example.
- Sarong: Very important, to cover yourself up when visiting temples. If you forgot to bring yours, buy a longyi in Myanmar, it’s their own version of a sarong.
Universal power adapter: one of these is essential to power all your electronics – get one with a surge protector built in.
Power bank for mobile phones: if you’re planning to use your phone a lot on a daily basis, a power bank is useful to ensure you don’t run out of battery while you’re out and about.
Passports, Tickets, Vaccinations Etc
Ensure you have at least six months validity for your passport and at least one blank page free
You MUST apply for a Myanmar visa online before you fly into Myanmar. You cannot enter the country simply by showing up (unless you are a citizen of an ASEAN country). See the official Myanmar visa application site. You can apply for a Myanmar visa in person at the Myanmar embassy in Bangkok.
Ensure you have all relevant vaccinations at least six weeks before you travel. View FitForTravel for the recommended vaccinations.
Make sure you have travel insurance. Seriously. Myanmar’s health care system is not up to Western standards and you will want to be evacuated to international facilities for any serious injuries.