Myanmar uses Kyats (pronounced more like “chets”) currency. As of July 2019, the exchange rate is 1 USD to 1,510 MMK (Burmese Kyats).
The most effective means of obtaining money in Myanmar is to exchange US Dollars at one of the many money exchangers in Yangon.
USD are widely accepted for official things like accommodation and transportation. For day to day necessities like food, it's important to exchange USD into Kyats.
Note: Don't exchange money in the airport as the government offers an absurd exchange rate. One can pay for a taxi from Yangon Airport to the city center using USD and then exchange money with one of the dealers in the Central Market at a decent rate.
There are NO ATM's in Myanmar, so it's necessary to carry enough USD in cash to cover expenses for your entire trip to the country.
Don't rely on the internet. For my entire stay in Yangon, internet access throughout the city was down. I guess it's an on and off thing, but when it is functioning, the speed is not what anyone would call “fast” anyways.
Foreigners are not permitted by the government to stay at local people's homes, and hotel/guesthouses must have the proper licensing. The biggest city of Yangon has a few accommodation options for foreigners, but they aren't as cheap as much of SE Asia.
Here are some sample accommodation costs:
- Double fan rooms: around $8 – $14, I paid $13 (20,000 MMK) per night (split with a friend) at the Golden Smiles Inn in Yangon.
- The cheapest dorm beds go for $5 (7,500 MMK).
- Nicer hotels run $30+ per night for a double room and are often government run.
Many central places in the city are accessible by a short walk. If you need to get to further locations around Yangon town, taxis are quite cheap.
- Taxi: The fare from the airport to the center of town is officially $10 (15,000 MMK). In the city, I took a cab from the center to Thiri Mingalar market for $1.25 (2000 Kyats), maybe 10 km outside of the city.
- City Bus: Fun and always driving at max speeds, the bus touts even push people off and on to stop faster, less than $0.25 (200 Kyats) per ride.
- Back of Truck: You might see some interesting things in the back of the small trucks, 200 kyats per ride.
Rest of Country
- Yangon to Mandalay: $35 (53,000 MMK) in an upper-class seat, $15 (23,000 MMK) for just a normal chair
- Yangon to Bagan: $30 (45,000 MMK) for a first class seat
- Yangon to Mandalay:
- Yangon to Inle Lake:
The cost of food in Myanmar is what one could label as extremely affordable.
It's so cheap in fact that I continuously fed myself for entertainment for the duration of my trip and loved everything I sampled.
- An awesome selection of street food meals can easily be purchased for $0.50 to $1 (500 – 1,500 Kyats) per plate.
- A step above at nicer street food restaurants including whole grilled fish costs around $1.50 to $2 (2,500 – 3,000 Kyats) per person.
- 1 L bottle of Water: $0.25 (300 kyats)
Going Out / Drinking
The most popular form of going out at night is to sit on the streets on 10-inch stools and sip on pot after pot of tea. The best night experiences I had in Yangon, Myanmar didn't involve alcohol, but tea on the side of the road with a football match on television.
Beer is available (not everywhere) at the cost of around $1 (1,600 Kyats) per bottle.
Sample cost of Attractions in Myanmar (Burma):
- Shwedagon Pagoda: $5 (7,500 MMK) entrance
- Bagan Temples: $10 (1,500 MMK) entrance
Total Cost Per Day:
There's a $10 (15,000 MMK) exit fee upon leaving Burma at the airport which needs to be paid with a crisp clean bill!
Last Updated on July 3, 2019 by Adam Cheshier
Mark was raised in central Africa before migrating back to the U.S. for University. After graduating, he decided to continue traveling the world. On Migrationology, he shares the cultural side of travel from a slow-paced local perspective that often revolves around his love for eating all forms of food. Join him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter @migrationology.