If you’re wondering what to wear on your trip to Myanmar, you are in the right place. Unlike other Asian countries, the people in Myanmar dress completely different. Even though the main religion is Buddhism, a certain dress code is expected when in Myanmar, especially when visiting the temples.
Following the Burmese dress code is a way of showing your respect towards the culture and traditions in Myanmar. Therefore, below is a complete guide about what to wear in Burma.
To find out which are Myanmar’s hidden gems, click here.
Quick jump list
1. What do locals wear in Myanmar?
As you probably already know, Buddhism is the main religion in Myanmar. The Burma dress code is synonymous with dressing conservatively. Even though you’ll notice that when traveling to touristy destinations (Yangon, Mandalay, Inle Lake) the dress code is more laid-back, the more you travel towards remote places, the dress code is more conservative.
Both local women and men wear similar clothes in Myanmar. The Burmese traditional clothes consist of a blouse (called eingyi for women) and longyi. The longyi is a cylindrical cloth which gained popularity during the British colonial rule.
In Myanmar, the longyi worn by men are called paso while the longyi worn by women are called htamain. Even thought they look similar, the paso and htamain have different colors and patterns and are worn differently by men and women. While the paso has usually dark colors and stripes or checks, the htamain can have floral patterns and bright colors.
For special occasions, the people in Myanmar wear only their best Burmese traditional clothes, made from silk and with intricate details.
Nowadays, not all Burmese people dress traditionally in longyi. Some of them (both women and men) prefer to wear medium lenght/ long pants.
2. How to dress in Myanmar – for women
If you have any concerns about how to wear appropriate clothing as a woman in Myanmar, I am here to help you. Although tourism in Myanmar is not very developed yet, locals are used to foreign people and different clothing styles.
If you are planning to visit the touristy destinations, you will most probably be ok whatever you’re wearing. However, I would recommend trying to cover your knees. You should avoid wearing shorts in Myanmar or any short skirts. Even though most probably nobody will say anything, it is a sign of disrespect to the local culture.
If you want to know exactly how to dress in Myanmar, I would recommend bringing with you the following clothing items:
- one or two blouses or t-shirts which cover your shoulders (for visiting temples, I am going more into details below). Plain t-shirts or blouses are the best.
- a skirt which covers your knees. You can check out some beautiful skirts here.
- 2 scarves (tie it around your waist as a skirt if you wear pants when visiting the temples). I always had 2 scarves with me while backpacking Myanmar. They are a must have!
- short pants
- comfortable shoes (any shoes you like. If you’re thinking about wearing high heels, I would strongly suggest not to. The roads are pretty bad and local people don’t wear high heels at all – it will probably be awkward)
When visiting temples, you have to be extra-careful but I’m talking about this in the last section of this article.
3. How to dress in Myanmar – for men
If you are a man, wondering what to wear in Myanmar, you are in the right place. Although the dress code for men is not that strict, you will have to follow some rules.
You can wear pretty much anything you’d like as long as you don’t wear really short pants. However, keep in mind that you’ll have to cover as much as possible while visiting the temples in Myanmar.
A simple packing list for men when visiting Myanmar is the following:
- t-shirts should be your best friend. Bring at least 3 or 4
- a pair of long pants (you can buy one of those stripped, baggy pants)
- medium length shorts
- you can also buy a longyi and use it instead of long pants when visiting the temples. You’ll find longyi almost everywhere in Myanmar.
4. Myanmar temple dress code
When it comes to visiting temples in Myanmar, things are a bit different. The main religion in Burma is Buddhism and locals are really spiritual. This means that you’ll have to be extra-careful regarding your dress code when visiting temples.
Have you ever wondered which is the difference between temples, pagodas and stupas? Click here to find out.
No matter if you are a boy or a girl, you will have to have your knees and shoulders covered. Always bring scarves with you or something to cover your legs.
When it comes to shoes, I would recommend wearing flip-flops. Before entering any temples in Myanmar, you will have to take off your shoes. This also applies to temples in Bagan. Even though the temples are old and there’s nobody there, as a sign of respect you should wear appropriate clothing and take off your shoes.
If you were wondering what to wear in Burma, I hope that this article helped you. In my opinion, dress code in Myanmar is easy to follow.
May the travel bug bite you!
More about Myanmar:
- Backpacking Myanmar – a full guide – click here
- The best things to do in Yangon – click here
- The ultimate Mandalay guide – click here
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