What to Pack for Myanmar – A Girl’s Guide
Before we left for our 15 day trip to Myanmar, I scoured the internet looking for tips and tricks on what to pack. It’s
a bit very, very befuddling because the climate is mighty tropical (think 104° most days we were there…YIKES!!!) but the Burmese are extra-super-duper-conservative, so, if you walk around in what I would consider normal attire for 104° (a bathing suit?!??! at least something close to it…), you will get stares All. Day. Long. and just feel pretty uncomfortable.
So, how can you respect the conservative culture while avoiding the misery of jeans + other knee-and-shoulder-covering clothing? How can you stay cool without looking like you’re walking around all day in 104° heat or, worse! Looking like a total slut? It’s not easy, but it’s doable.
First, make sure that most (if not all) of the clothes you’re packing are made of natural materials like cotton. Not only are they more breathable so you’ll stay cooler, but they also just don’t stick to your skin like manmade materials do. One day, I made the mistake of wearing a polyester shirt on our
hike death-march up a mountain and…you only make that mistake once. I didn’t fully understand the definition of breathable until I felt like every stitch in that shirt was hot-glued to my skin.
Second, pack mostly maxi + midi skirts and dresses. This makes for a super easy one and done outfit (which means you can fit more outfits into your suitcase … #winning). I packed a handful of these and they saved the day while in Myanmar. Although I packed a few shorts and sleeveless shirts, I saved them for my upcoming time in Thailand and Vietnam as it never felt appropriate to be showing that much skin.
And, at the end of the day, whether you’re wearing a maxi skirt or a bathing suit, 104° heat is 104° heat. You’re just going to be stuck being hot. Luckily, you’re on top of pagodas and in horse-drawn carts so WHO CARES?
For 15 days in Myanmar, I packed:
- 3 bathing suits (although most of the hotels don’t have pools, so 3 may be too optimistic)
- 3 maxi skirts
- 2 short-sleeved tops
- 2 maxi dresses
- 8 knee-length dresses (one and done, people, one and done!)
- 2 pairs of work-out shorts
- 2 work-out tops
- 1 T-shirt
- 1 pair of pajamas
- work out pants (for cold plane rides, hiking in Sapa, Vietnam + if I ever needed long pants)
- black pullover (for working out + a light jacket)
- rain coat (never used it, but better safe than sorry)
- 2 regular bras + 1 strapless bra
- 6 pairs of underwear
Here’s some of the clothes (or similar ones) I packed for our trip:
Finally, shoes are always the hardest item for me to pack. What shoes will match my clothes, hold up for weeks of traveling AND (most importantly) carry me through miles + miles + miles of walking? While Jeffrey tossed a pair of waterproof hiking shoes into his suitcase, I carefully packed pair after pair because, hey, a girl can never have enough shoes, right? Check out the shoes I packed (and wish I’d packed) below:
*The Asterisks (things I wish I knew):
The packing list above is slightly altered to include things I wish I had… like better shoes! I lived in my leather sandals (because my pink + teal tennis shoes just didn’t look fantastic – would you believe it?! – just don’t go with anything but Nike running shorts). I’ve added a slip-on sneaker because I shopped for them in Myanmar and (again, would you believe it?!) couldn’t find them anywhere.
I packed rubber booties to wear on rainy days. During our two months, we had a grand total of 2 rainy days. I think the first one came the night after I was telling Jeffrey what a waste of space my rain boots had been. Looks like the joke was on me. We were there towards the end of the dry season, so it barely rained at all, but on the days it did rain, I was glad to have waterproof shoes even if they did take up tons of space. I also wore these boots on train trips because they provided the best coverage from the icky-gross-very-very-disgusting things I stepped in and on while on the overnight trains.