What We Wish We’d Known About Myanmar

If you’re planning a trip to Myanmar, we have so much advice. It’s been two years since we went and things change at a lightning-fast pace there, but most of our tips should still be relevant.

Read on to learn about the mistakes we made in Myanmar so that you can avoid them!

  • You cannot get sunscreen for love nor money. I asked; they gave me skin-bleaching cream.
  • If you try to buy razors, they will give you one from 1985.
  • Pharmacies are only for prescription medication & medical supplies; all the other day-to-day stuff (like razors and creams) is at the corner supermarkets.
  • Foreigners already stick out so much, so wearing tank tops and colourful sunglasses just made it worse. I would have brought more neutral t-shirts/light button-downs and black/brown sunnies if I’d thought about this a bit more carefully.
Not exactly a dress made to blend in.

Not exactly a dress made to blend in.

  • You can’t find much nice linen clothing or handmade garments at markets in Myanmar—they sell a lot of polyester made-in-China stuff. The exception is somewhere like Inle Lake, which has some nice hand-crafted clothing shops along the boat tour route.

    Textiles woven and hung to try at a small factory on Inle Lake.

    Textiles woven and hung to try at a small factory on Inle Lake.

  • It’s important to be ready for an overnight bus ride before getting on—there are very rare, gross and busy bathroom stops and no toilet on the bus. I should have taken off my contacts and changed into comfy pants before boarding.
  • The souvenirs are unique, even at the cheesy shops. I wish I’d bought more along the way instead of leaving it all to the last minute and thus buying almost nothing.
  • All power points/plugs in Myanmar are pretty universal; we didn’t have much use for our adaptors.
  • The boat tours of Inle Lake are amazing, but try to get on a boat with people who aren’t big shoppers—they definitely try to get you to buy things at every stop, which would be a pain if you were in a boat with someone who wanted to spend an hour at each shop (luckily, we didn’t have this problem).
Our boat full of lovely non-shoppers spots a shopping boat.

Our boat full of lovely non-shoppers spots a shopping boat.

  • Don’t walk around in the cities with just thongs – Birkenstocks or closed shoes will keep you from getting a nail in your heel like I did!
  • Bogyoke Aug San Market in Yangon is overwhelmingly massive and awesome, but closed on Mondays.

Despite some of our mistakes, we LOVED Myanmar and would highly recommend it to anyone and everyone. You should go!

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