What to wear in Burma Mynamar

16 Day Trekking Holiday in Burma (Myanmar): What we packed

The latest in our series of trips with the Cabin Max Wheeled Backpack, Helen describes its toughest test yet – a 16 day holiday for two travelling across Burma.

The Trip

This 16 day trip included 4 internal flights with a variety of locations and hotels, plus lots of different activities including trekking, cycling and river trips. So packing could be a challenge, especially for this newly opened-up destination where little is known of the facilities available. For example, we were told that not all hotels would have mosquito nets and we took one with us – but in reality we didn’t need it.

Wheeled rucksackI was convinced that taking one wheeled backpack for each of us would be perfect, and initially wanted to put them in the cabin as carry-on luggage rather than in the hold so that there would be no issue with lost/delayed bags during transit (flying from the UK, we had to change at Kuala Lumpar). We knew that the bags would easily meet the dimension rules, but unlike most carriers Malaysia Airlines (who we flew with) also has a 7kg weight limit on hand luggage which they do enforce (as we found out at the check-in desk when they insisted on weighing it). Even after following our packing guides, we knew this wouldn't be enough.

We decided instead to take one backpack in the cabin to protect ourselves if our other bag was lost in transit – we packed a change of clothes for both of us, plus other items we wanted to be sure would arrive. The other backpack would therefore have to take the rest of our things, and finally weighed in at 12kg – a huge 8kg below our allowance.

We also took two Cabin Max Foldaway Day Sacks for our day-to-day use whilst away, and one of these contained all our travel books, camera, magazines etc. en-route.

Lug Travel WalletFor the first time I also took my new Lug Travel Wallet which was perfect – easily the best wallet I have used as it has plenty of room for tickets, insurance details, cards, currency, passports etc. As a bonus it looked really stylish too, and I even used it as my purse one night.

The Packing

We each travelled in:

  • Walking style trousers (lightweight and shower-proof)
  • T-shirt
  • Fleece
  • A pashmina (me)
  • Comfortable walking shoes, with good ankle support

Split between the two Cabin Max wheeled rucksacks we packed:

For me:

  • 4 x underwear and socks (socks stuffed inside shoes)
  • 1 pair pyjamas
  • 3 pairs of walking trousers, 2 long and one ¾ length
  • 1 ankle length skirt
  • 2 strappy topsStrappy vest - for layering
  • 3 short sleeved cotton shirts – that wash easily, dry quickly and need no ironing
  • 1 pair of flat shoes suitable for cycling
  • 1 pair of flip flops
  • Jewellery scarf
  • Swimwear and sarong
  • Waterproof jacket that folds into a tiny bag
  • Packable sun hat
  • One Ickle Bockles clear pouch with toiletries, decanted into small bottles
  • Another clear pouch for insect repellent, bug cream, sunscreen
  • Large deluxe microfibre towel
  • First aid kit and medication
  • Solar powered phone charger Solar charger
  • Safe drinking water bottle with filter

For him:

  • 4 x underwear and socks (socks stuffed inside shoes)
  • 3 pairs of walking trousers
  • 1 pair of trainers
  • 1 pair of flip flops
  • 3 short sleeved shirts
  • 1 long sleeved shirt
  • Waterproof jacket that folds into a tiny bag
  • Sun hat
  • Swimwear
  • Large deluxe microfibre towel
  • Mosquito net (never used)
  • Safe drinking water bottle with filter

We lined both bags with bin liners in case the bags got wet – it seems crude but it really does make a difference. Everything fit in with ease, and we popped the toiletries in the front pockets for ease of access and to keep them separate from our clothes.

The Journey

Luggage all packed, moving to our next locationWe never unpacked completely, because we moved around so much and with all the pockets and compartments it was easy to find things. The bags were very easy to transit with, and their distinctive green logo made them easy to spot. We used them in both wheeled and backpack modes, depending on where we were and the conditions underfoot.

We wore all the clothes we took, there was nothing we felt we’d forgotten and it was easy to wash and dry our dusty clothes overnight. Despite that I still bought 2 silk tops and a longhi (local style long skirt), which easily fitted in the bag to bring home along with a few other gifts.

We could have bought flip flops and sun hats when we got there, as they were readily available and cheap. The flip flops were very useful for visiting the temples where you have to remove your shoes, although they did mean your feet got dirty and dusty when walking in the streets; on balance though worth having. We also bought a small umbrella as protection from the sun – again easy to buy and cheap, and it's good to support the local traders as they really are very poor. The Burmese are also very grateful for new reading books as they don't have access to many, so we left ours behind once we'd read them; on this occasion it was better to take proper books rather than an e-Reader.

As mentioned we didn't need the mosquito net, but it was better to err on the safe side. Also our hotel facilities provided us with towels, so we only used our microfibre ones when the hotel had a pool – but they were great as they dry so quickly, and we could use them even if we had to pack up soon after, without worrying about them being wet in our bags.

Packaway Day SackThe packaway day bags really did get a hammering, as we filled them with our fleeces and on day trips the camera, sunscreen, guide book, water… We used one of the two constantly both day and night, and at the end of the trip – having being thrown in and out of boats, cycles, and on and off buses – that one did come apart at the seam by about 2 inches. In hindsight, for the rougher days we may have been better using a stronger backpack and saving the two lighter ones for less active days – but the upside was that we didn’t get as sweaty as we would have done carrying heavy day bags (we saw plenty of people struggling with them), and in 40 degree heat this really did make a difference.

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Posted by Helen

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