The following interview on solo female travel in Myanmar was submitted by Donna. Read more solo female travel interviews here.
Hiya, my name is Donna Wanderlust and I am the author of a fashion and travel blog named Hauteculturefashion.com. I predominately research, write, film and photograph tribes, textiles, trends and traditional dress around the world. I have always worked in the fashion industry but became desperate to travel and understand more about people’s cultures, creativity and visual identities, so I decided to start a blog to share my stories.
So far I have lived in Vietnam, and traveled alone to Lao, Cambodia, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea and Myanmar.
Why did you decide to travel to Myanmar by yourself?
I travel alone 90% of the time anyway. The style of work I do when I travel is not particularly easy for someone else who might just want to see the popular sites or relax at a destination, etc. I travel to remote areas a lot, and when I arrive I never really know how long it will take me to connect with the people I am researching. Sometimes I can be there 1 day, other times it might be 3-4 days. So I went to Myanmar to work on 3 very different articles about the underground punk scene in Yangon, lotus weaving in Inle Lake and the Kayah tribe in Kayah State.
>>Check out our tips for traveling with friends.
Did you have any trouble traveling solo there?
No not trouble. It was uncomfortable at times because I traveled like a local, taking the cheapest buses and trains for very long journeys.
Did you ever feel unsafe?
No, Myanmar people seem very kind and friendly. it is one of the nicest countries I have been to for local hospitality.
>>Check out this female packing list for Myanmar.
Tell us about one of your favorite experiences from traveling solo in Myanmar.
There were so many! I loved hanging out with the punk kids in Yangon and going to some of their gigs, that was a lot of fun, but the biggest highlight was spending the day with Pina from the Kayah tribe. She even taught me how to dance.
Were there any special precautions you took to feel safer while traveling solo?
No not really. I even accidentally hitchhiked at one point. I ending up in the back of a truck with 3 guys and a little boy who were stopping off at temples on the way to Yangon. Having 3G is a precaution, and 3G is amazing in Myanmar so you can always find out where you are and how to get to places.
>>Read our advice for 1st time solo travelers.
Did you meet any other solo female travelers while you were there?
Yes, I met one Dutch girl who was traveling solo too. Myanmar was her first country in Asia which I thought was very brave. But she totally loved it too.
What luggage did you bring with you to Myanmar?
Just my backpack, a Vaude Bentauri 75+10 xl. I carry a lot of tech stuff so I don’t have lots of clothes and toiletries. I only have 2 pairs of shoes, my leather sandals and Doc Martin boots, and I wear a lot of dresses because they are quick and easy.
>>See reviews of the best travel backpacks for women.
Were there any items you were glad you brought with you or that you wished you had brought?
I am not the most practical packer to be honest, but I lost my small foldable rain jacket which would have come in handy as it was rainy season.
What’s your number 1 tip for females traveling solo to Myanmar?
Take the local trains during the daytime, they are really cheap, fun and the best way to see local life, and the views are incredibly scenic and insightful. DO NOT take them at nighttime, because they fill up with flying insects.
About the author: Hi there! My name is Donna and my passions are exploring different cultures, countries and clothes. I find inspiration in fashion, fabrics, costume, patterns, people and places, so you can expect to see lots of colour, unique details and read all about my funny and awe inspiring journey at hauteculturefashion.com. Please follow my blog and join me on my fashionable adventures around the world. You can also follow me on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter.
Kairi S says
Recently a friend of mine also described Myanmar as a country with the friendliest people. He travelled solo there but I thought it might be dangerous for a female alone (although I love adventures, I really appreciate my safety and do not wish to feel unsafe in any way). It seems like Myanmar might have just made its way to my list of countries after all 🙂
I travelled Myanmar with a girlfriend so I wasn’t there solo but we never felt remotely unsafe! It’s a beautiful country and everyone is so friendly. You get mingalaba’ed (hello in Burmese) everywhere you go. The only thing I suggest is to always bring a sarong in your pack as many of the temples require that women dress conservatively, and cover their knees when entering or climbing up the temples.
Sarah A says
I just got back from a 2 week trip to Myanmar – bring light weight long pants ( think backpacker “elephant” pants). I wore them nonstop because pagoda/temple sights are everywhere. I’d also recommend quick dry athletic shirts because it is hot in the sun and you will sweat. its very safe for female travelers – people are incredibly friendly and I found a lot of people spoke at least some English. safety is all about choices – be smart and you’ll be fine!
Thanks for sharing, Sarah! 🙂