What to Wear in Burma / Myanmar

Shwedagon Pagoda, Yangon, in April

Shwedagon Pagoda, Yangon, in April

Exploring temples

Exploring temples

Bagan in May

Bagan in May

Inle Lake boat trip in May

Inle Lake boat trip in May

Bicycle Tour

Bicycle Tour

A Message From Helen



I want you to have an amazing vacation. That's why I started WhatToWearOnVacation.com,
to help you pack with confidence and stay safe, secure and comfortable.

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General Style Tips

  • Our advice for men and women alike would be to concentrate on trekking/outdoor clothing and fairly lightweight but sturdy walking shoes.
  • Try to avoid mosquito bites, especially during the day, as dengue fever is a problem. Wear long sleeves and pants and use a good insect/mosquito repellent.
  • light wool is a good choice to wear against your skin as it naturally helps to regulate your body temperature. It keeps you warm in the cold, wicks away moisture when it's hot, and doesn't retain odours - even after prolonged wear.
  • Good sunglasses and sunhat are a must, and take plenty of sunscreen (we love the Riemann P20 range for 10 hour protection) with you as it's difficult to find and expensive.

What Shoes To Pack

  • Good walking boots with ankle support are a must, as is a comfortable change of shoes. You may need to wear these second shoes if you get blisters, so choose carefully. A pair of heavy sandals which can fit socks underneath can be a good option too.
  • We like Thorlos hiking socks - they're especially designed to keep your feet dry and comfortable when trekking in hotter climes.
  • Sandals with the rugged bottom are good for hiking around town and to wear in showers.
  • You will need to remove your footwear before entering any Buddhist site or home and with lots of temples to see in Bagan, a pair of sandals or flip flops that slip on and off will make life easier (try Hotter shoes, for a range of styles and they're amazingly comfy).
  • But make sure you never point a bare sole at anyone – even unintentionally – as this is regarded as highly disrespectful and will insult the locals.

Clothing Tips for Women

  • Burma is very traditional and body-revealing clothes should be avoided. Leave shorts at home - you will feel uncomfortable if you wear them and you will be stared at. Go instead for 3/4 length pants or a long skirt.
  • camisoles are useful in the heat, but when visiting places of worship your body, legs and shoulders must be covered. A pashmina or sarong is a versatile must-pack item.

Clothing Tips for Men

  • There are no specific things to bring to your attention, check out our packing list for our suggested capsule wardrobe.
  • For great versatile travel jackets with multiple pockets including RFID security options, we love the SCOTTeVEST range.

Pack for the Weather

  • November, December, January and February are the dry season months when temperatures and rainfall are lowest.
  • March, April and May are very hot.
  • June, July, August, September and October are the monsoon season so not peak times for tourists, but if you do go then be prepared and pack a lightweight raincoat. It doesn't have to be warm; you can layer up underneath it.
  • We love the Weather+ app - it gives an accurate 6 day forecast for day and night, which when you're planning from home is really helpful. You can keep all the places you've been to too - a nice way to remember your trip :) Download for iPad/iPhone or Android

Regions of Burma / Myanmar

  • Yangon (Rangoon), Mandalay and Bagan are hot all year round; lightweight, loose-fitting clothes in natural fibers such as cotton, silk or linen will keep you cooler. Rangoon, lying as it does on the coast, can be humid as well as hot.
  • In the Shan highlands, Inle Lake and Kalaw the winter temperatures may fall to zero centigrade in the cool season (November, December, January, February and March) so warm clothes are advised i.e. a fleece, cotton or light wool sweater or cardigan.
  • At Inle Lake ensure you have mosquito repellent - lots of it; long-sleeved tops are ideal protection against sun during the day and mosquito bites at night.
  • Again for the highlands in the cool season take something warm to sleep in because the rooms aren't heated.

Other Things To Pack

  • You will need your own toiletries including anti-bacterial handwash. And you are advised to take your own little medical kit, sewing repair kit, and a good torch (with spare batteries).
  • If you are trekking or staying in more basic accommodation then take a sleeping bag liner, mosquito net, microfiber travel towel and your own toilet paper.
  • Don’t drink or even brush your teeth in tap water. Consider taking a Water-to-Go Filtration Water Bottle.
  • A bag or soft-sided rucksack is a more practical option than hard cases when traveling around the country, and using packing cubes can help to keep your belongings tidy whilst compressing the volume too.
  • Avoid paying unexpected baggage fees - use an accurate luggage scale to ensure you keep within the weight allowance. Don't forget to leave room for souvenirs on the way home! Look for sand paintings or paper umbrellas, and try to go to local shops rather than the official tourist ones.
  • Combine your bag with a fold away day sack that will carry your essentials on day trips.
  • Look after your mobile phone with a phone bunjee - it protects against loss, theft and damage. If you use your phone as a camera too the battery can quickly run down, so consider taking a solar powered charger as a back-up.
  • To use electrical gadgets you may need a travel adapter plug, and also a step down voltage converter if your devices are not designed for the local voltage (230V).
  • Take all the money you will need for your trip in clean US dollar bills (the only acceptable currency) and keep lots of $1 - $5 bills to tip everyone. They’re incredibly poor and very grateful for anything and your local guides and drivers rely to a large extent on the tips they receive.
  • Our suggestion would be to leave your e-Reader at home and take books that you can read and leave. There is such a shortage of available reading matter that your gift will be gratefully received.
  • If you are keen to give more back, think about buying textbooks or other items there rather than taking with you and talk to local teachers and leaders to find out what they really need.
  • Maybe take postcards of where you live to show to local people; they will be interested in you as much as you are in them.
  • If you are visiting the Golden Temple in Yangon, there's a shrine for the day of the week you were born on, so check out your day before setting off.

Last updated 16 December 2016.

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Pack Light

  • Less luggage to carry
  • Save time packing and unpacking
  • Save money on baggage fees

Pack Right

  • Respect local cultures
  • Feel comfortable and confident
  • Suitable outfits for all occasions

A Message From Helen



I want you to have an amazing vacation. That's why I started WhatToWearOnVacation.com,
to help you pack with confidence and stay safe, secure and comfortable.