Photo: Temple outside Monywa.

Burma forum

currency update

Posted by gup on 27/9/2012 at 02:43

HI,

We will travel in Myanmar in November. I have just read on a travel-agencywebsite that EURO-banknotes (in the usual pristine condition ...) can be exchanged in Yangon/Mandalay and Bagan and that the rate you get is better than what you get for the US$. EURO-notes seem not to be accepted as payment for hotels etc..., for this you would still need US$.
Can anyone - recent traveller - confirm this ? (... and confirm how much the exchange rate EUR-kyat and or US$-kyat was ??)
Tnx for yr feedback!

GUP (Antwerp)

#1 gup has been a member since 3/8/2012. Posts: 5

Posted by SBE on 27/9/2012 at 03:55

Yes euros can be exchanged. In fact I got the impression that Yangon moneychangers would rather have euros than US dollars. They were always asking if I had any euros to change as well whenever I changed dollars there last December.

All notes still need to be pristine and you always get a better rate for large denominations than small notes.

Hotel and guesthouses did still still seem to want to be paid in US dollars. Of course, I didn't visit every single hotel in Myanmar but the ones I stayed at wanted to be paid in $US (pristine notes also).

Things are changing every fast though, so it could be different when you get there. You can even change money at normal rates at the airport now! I notice an exchange booth just outside the front door at the airport when I was leaving last time and their rates were as good or better than what you could get in town which rather surprised me. A few years ago you used to get just 6 Kyats to the dollar at the airport (official rate) while blackmarket rates were 1000 Kyats to the dollar so the rule was: NEVER change money at the airport!!

This rule no longer applies now (unless they've removed the booths since I was there).

Anyway, it rather looks like official and black market rates are the same now. The rates on Oanda look reasonable and approximately what I'd be expecting to get on the street. Why don't you just use an online currency converter?

#2 SBE has been a member since 14/4/2008. Location: Global Village. Posts: 2,002
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Posted by lissie45 on 27/9/2012 at 15:12

According to xe.com the rate for Euros is around 1110 kyat. With my calculator that seems reasonable compared to the 850 for the US$ on the cross rate.

The government floated the currency in April - hence the good rate now available in banks and at the airport. However the airport bank seems to do fairly short hours and isn't open for the early am AirAsia flight and late afternoon flights. So you still need US$ change for the taxi downtown ($8 - $10 I believe)

And from what I've seen US$ is a parallel currency - so although you can change euros for kyat you will also need US$ to spend directly

#3 lissie45 has been a member since 7/4/2011. Location: New Zealand. Posts: 18
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Posted by SBE on 27/9/2012 at 18:38

The government floated the currency in April - hence the good rate now available in banks and at the airport.

So how come the banks and airport were already offering the same (or better) rates than black market money changers at the end of last year?

#4 SBE has been a member since 14/4/2008. Location: Global Village. Posts: 2,002
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Posted by gup on 29/9/2012 at 01:00

Thanks for your feedback !

#5 gup has been a member since 3/8/2012. Posts: 5

Posted by crazyhorse on 5/10/2012 at 17:38

Hi Will they accept US 50s 20s !0s in pristine condition. Has anyone ever changed Australian Dollars.. Would the exchange place at the airport be open around 5 to 6 pm. Thankyou.

#6 crazyhorse has been a member since 15/11/2008. Posts: 7

Posted by loral on 5/10/2012 at 21:35

I am heading to Yangon in mid-November. Must I still take pristine $US or can I withdraw kyats from the banks?

If I must take cash, how safe is it for an obvious tourist to be carrying large amounts (US$1-2,000) while travelling in Myanmar?

PS I am also interested to know if Australian dollars are accepted.

#7 loral has been a member since 3/8/2007. Location: Australia. Posts: 12

Posted by steviej on 7/10/2012 at 09:42

Loral,

Pristine US$ is still a must.
As for withdrawing Kyats, forget it, it can't be done.

Carrying plenty of money in Burma is not a problem, as crime against foreigners is EXTREMELY rare as the consequences are dire for the offender. The usual commonsense approach is all that is required.

Not too sure about AUS$.

#8 steviej has been a member since 18/3/2006. Location: United Kingdom. Posts: 265
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Posted by loral on 7/10/2012 at 15:08

Thanks Steviej.

#9 loral has been a member since 3/8/2007. Location: Australia. Posts: 12

Posted by steviej on 7/10/2012 at 16:59

You're most welcome.

#10 steviej has been a member since 18/3/2006. Location: United Kingdom. Posts: 265
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Posted by enigmatic on 21/10/2012 at 22:38

IIRC your chances of exchanging AUS $ are pretty slim. Same goes for Thai Baht, surprisingly.
Singapore $ are the other currency (probably because most Burmese businesses with offshore banking and a lot of the multinationals bank there)

#11 enigmatic has been a member since 14/4/2011. Posts: 84


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