10 essentials to bring with you to Myanmar
Doing the right packing for Myanmar isn't essential but it will really help you enjoy your trip if you have the right kit. Generally, you'll want to pack clothes for a hot and sunny climate, but remember clothes should cover your shoulders and legs if you want to visit Buddhist temples (or blend into the street scene). And as usual when travelling, it's a good idea to pack basic first aid supplies (such as painkillers, sticky plasters, and anti-bacterial wipes).
- Take a camera! (Okay, this could be the camera on your smartphone or tablet.) Myanmar is one of the most colourful and Instagrammable countries you'll ever visit, so come equipped to take photos. And don't forget plenty of spare memory cards.
- Mosquito repellent. Mozzies and other nasty little insects will make a beeline for your sweet blood if you don't deter them. Burning anti-mosquito coils and candles don't always work, so bring your own spray and make sure you put it on before heading out in the evening, particularly at Inle Lake and near the Ayeyarwady River.
- Slip-on shoes or sandals are useful, as you'll be taking them off and putting them back on again every time you visit a Buddhist temple.
- A torch or headlamp is very useful. If you want to see all the details of the paintings in Bagan temples, you'll want your own torch - and it will also come in useful when there's a power cut, which happens even in Yangon.
- Protection against the sun. You should take sunscreen - many travellers buy sunscreen meant for babies with its very high protection factor (SPF 50). Take a hat or headscarf with you, too, to stop your brains getting fried.
- While Myanmar is usually hot, nights can be cold particularly on inter-city buses, so take a warm scarf or fleece.
- US dollars are useful, both when you can't get to an ATM (or the nearest ATM isn't working) and for occasional official purchases such as the Bagan Archaeological Zone ticket (which is priced in dollars, though you can sometimes pay in kyat).
- Take your own information. Myanmar doesn't have great tourist information, and you really will depend on your guidebook and maps. A good GPS app like Osmand can be a lifesaver, particularly if you go a little way off the beaten track.
- A plug adapter might be useful. You'll find both British style three-pin plugs and European style two-pin used in Myanmar, and inevitably, you'll have the wrong kind of plug for the socket in your hotel room. (However, you may be lucky and find an electronics shop in the backstreets that can sell you brightly coloured transparent adapters - a great souvenir of Myanmar!)
- Don't forget to take your sense of adventure. Whether it's just investigating a neighbourhood temple or taking off into the mountains for a week, you'll get the best out of Myanmar if you don't just stick to the beaten track and the regular sights.