*Update: My trip to Myanmar was prior to the military coup that took place shortly thereafter and the country is now off limits to tourists for the time being.
When researching my trip to Myanmar, I read a ton of blog posts mentioning all these specialty items I would need for the trip. And while, if you’re headed to other areas of Myanmar like Bagan or Inle Lake, I do think you might need more specialty items, for Yangon, you probably won’t need most of what people tell you. Some of this also depends on where you’re staying and what your budget is for the trip. This list for me was based on a few factors: I stayed in a high end hotel (but only paid $135 per night), took taxis everywhere and ate while out and about in the city. For 3 days in Yangon, not including my hotel, I only spent about USD $50 that included all my food, entrance fees to temples and taxis all over Yangon. You can do Yangon on a very small budget, even when you stay at a nice hotel and in my experience, as it’s a pretty modern city, you won’t need half the items most blogs will tell you to bring. Here’s all the things you need to pack for Yangon and the things you probably won’t need either.
What You’ll Need:
Passport + Visa – Obviously you’ll need a passport to travel to Myanmar and you’ll also need a visa. Apply online before you go and you’ll pay $75 and have your visa in 3 business days. Print off the paper and bring it with you.
Crisp USD to exchange – You can’t get Myanmar kyat outside of Myanmar, so you’ll have to exchange money when you land at the airport in Yangon. They won’t take anything other than very crisp USD and prefer $50’s and $100’s to exchange. I brought with me (2) $100 bills and they would only take one, as they said the other had a weird color. I didn’t end up needing the extra kyat anyways but be aware of their specificity when it comes to exchanging USD.
Imodium + Pepto Bismal tablets – I didn’t get sick in Yangon but this part of the world is known for visitors getting food poisoning. Don’t drink the water, try to stay away from ice (though I did have ice in several beverages and was fine) and try to only eat food freshly cooked. However, if you do get sick, you’ll want to have Imodium and Pepto-Bismal tablets handy, so be sure to pack them as a precaution.
Antibacterial gel – I try to always travel with antibacterial hand gel wherever I go and it’s great to have in your bag for any trip.
Mosquito repellent – I wore this mosquito repellent lotion the first two days of my trip and was totally fine. The third day, I went without it and came home eaten alive on one leg… long story short, there are lots of mosquitos in Myanmar, even in the city of Yangon, so you’ll want to protect yourself. I like the lotion option as the spray smells so bad and you don’t want to be spraying yourself inside a hotel room.
Sunscreen – This part of the world gets hot and you don’t want to spend your trip with a sunburn. I wear sunscreen most days as I’m so fair skinned and I love this brand!
Loose clothing – This part of the world gets very hot and humid and you’ll want loose clothing that will keep you cool. I lived in linen t-shirts, loose harm pants like these and long, loose maxi skirts and dresses during my time in Yangon. You’ll also want long skirts and pants to enter temples as your ankles have to be covered. Don’t wear jeans or short skirts here as culturally, that’s not at all how the Burmese dress and you’ll stand out a lot, plus you’ll be uncomfortable in the hot, humid weather.
European travel adaptor
All the plugs I encountered while there were the European style two-prong outlets however I had read before my trip to bring British adaptors too. I never used my British style adaptor while there but it’s great to have an international travel adapter ready for your trip.
Slip On shoes
For all of the temples and pagodas, you’ll have to take off your shoes and socks before entering so wear shoes that easily slip on and off if you’ll be entering any pagodas while there. I wore loafers (similar to these) that were easy to slip on and off but that were also comfortable for walking around and they were perfect.
What You Don’t Need:
Heavy clothes – You won’t need any sort of heavy clothes so leave those out of your suitcase. Even in December, the coolest month of the year in Myanmar, the mornings were cool, but not cool enough that I needed any sort of jacket or anything like that. I did bring some light scarves for layering but never needed a jacket or heavy clothes while in Yangon. This is a little different I think for Bagan and Inle Lake as they are farther North, so if headed there, be sure to check!
Passport photos – There was some misinformation on needing 2 passport photos that I read about online before my trip to Myanmar that mentioned I’d need this when I entered the country. However, with an online visa in hand when you arrive, you won’t need passport photos.
Internet/data plan – I always have an international data plan on my phone through ATT before travel abroad and I’ve never had an issue with it not working in a foreign country. When I landed in Myanmar and turned on my data, it found a signal but ATT sent me a message that standard rates wouldn’t apply in Myanmar. I turned it off and used only wifi on Airplane mode the whole time while there which didn’t end up being an issue, so I would plan on not having a data plan there if you can help it as it could get really costly, really fast.
Travel Toilet Paper – Another item that a lot of blogs recommended bringing, that I found useless as everywhere I went had Western style toilets and toilet paper. I think this probably greatly depends on which area of the country you’re visiting, but in Yangon, I didn’t need it.
Chopsticks – I had read before my trip that if you’re going to eat at restaurants out and about in Yangon, they will only have very few pairs of chopsticks that everyone shares and to bring your own. I think perhaps this might be outdated advice as I brought some, but never needed to use them.
Hair Dryer – I have started traveling without a hair dryer in the last year to save space in my carry on and while my hotel had one if I needed, it’s also so hot in Myanmar, that even if you go out with wet hair, it will be dry in no time.
Looking for more information on Myanmar?
Read all of my posts on Myanmar.