So I'm planning roughly 2 weeks in Burma. Making my way from Yangon to the Mae Sot/Myawaddy border overland.
How expensive is Burma in relation to Thailand, Laos etc..?
Also can you think of any must sees along my route? I want to see that Golden rock...
#1 AngusW has been a member since 4/4/2012. Posts: 13
Golden rock was smaller than I thought, still worth seeing it thought. In terms of cost: in my experience accommodation is way more expensive than Thailand, and the standards are pretty low. The only cheap one I found was in Kyakto (where the golden rock is) at the sea Sar hotel, 2 minutes walk from the bus station. I think I paid $9. Everywhere else I never paid less than $14. (for a single room)
However, since you are going when the high season is over, prices may go down.
#3 giba has been a member since 31/3/2012. Posts: 4
what a fun trip!
#4 jthomas has been a member since 5/4/2012. Posts: 2
"Making my way from Yangon to the Mae Sot /Myawaddy border overland."
Have you researched whether it's actually possible to do that? I read that the Mae Sot border reopened last December but that doesn't mean foreigners can use this crossing to leave Myanmar. AFAIK you can't exit the country overland there but do some research.
Nearly all tourists enter and leave Myanmar by air via Yangon for a reason. Taking the overland route (if it's possible) would require a special permit and an internal flight within Myanmar to get to the border area....ie much more hassle and also more expensive than flying out of Yangon on Air Asia.
As for your money question, it's best to err on the side of bringing too much cash with you rather than too little because you won't be able to access extra funds once you're there. There are no ATMs that take foreign bank cards and you can't cash traveler's cheques.... it's a "cash only" country.
In Yangon it's easy to change both euros and dollars but make sure your banknotes are brand new, without any creases, tears or marks at all, particularly the higher denomination notes, otherwise you won't be able to use them. The exchange rate is around 800kyat to the $US for $100 notes. Lower value notes get a lower exchange rate when converting into Kyat but they're useful for paying entry fees and train fares etc. as well as accommodation. If a small denomination bill gets "damaged" it's not such a disaster as having an unusable $100 bill...so take a mix of notes with you.
I paid an average of about $15 a night for accommodation last December, food was about $5/meal, then there's transport costs, entry fees, and extras like beer and souvenirs etc. I'd say you need to take at least $500 for two weeks, preferably more than that. As I said earlier, there's no way to get extra cash if you run out and you can always spend any excess cash in Thailand if you don't use it all in Myanmar.
And if you're doing any internal flights you need to budget $100+ for those too.
Places of interest quite near the Golden Rock include Mawlamyne/Moulemein and Hpa An. Do a search on here and a few posts should come up!
Best advice I can offer is do some research. I have not read from any website post/travel blog, of any person being able to cross the border from Mae Sot in to Burma. Every tourist flys in to Yangon and travels from there. Hopefully, things will change in the near future. Suggest you access the Lonely Planet Thorntree forum (as well as other travel site forums) for a lot of up to date advice. You will read that accom. prices are changing all the time as tourist numbers increase. Some things remain unchanged eg mint condition US $ bills, permits to visit certain areas, busses and trains etc. Infrastructure should hopefully improve now that the NLD has sanctioned foreigners visiting but bear in mind this country is still under the control of a military regime.
I know the political situation has improved a lot, but in addition to travel restrictions you might want to make sure the security situation is OK between Mae Sot and Rangoon as well (assuming you find out that you can make the overland border crossing).
#7 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
It really comes down to what type of traveler you are. I found it quite comparable to the rest of Southeast Asia except accommodation for a solo traveler would be more since there really aren't any dorms. I wrote a blog post breaking down my entire spending habits during my recent two week trip. It's found here
Burma is a good place for visit where you can go and enjoy your vocations and it is not much expensive place. You can eat and travel in local bus from one place to place in just 5 to 6 dollars. Golden Rock, Ngapali Beach and Inle lake are the best places for tourists.
#9 Alan85 has been a member since 18/7/2012. Posts: 4
Alan, how's the nightlife there? How is Rangoon now? Are costs coming down for hotels?
#10 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
Costs for hotels are pretty variable in Myanmar but often double the equivalent room rate in the rest of SE Asia except maybe at the high end. They're only going up until foreigner registration is easier.
Still comfortably below the $10 market and fair value in small towns which see a few tourists (Mr Kid in Hsipaw; Golden Inn in Kalaw; plenty of choices in Bagan and Inle) and overpriced and air-conditioned everywhere else.
Mandalay's only cheap option is the Royal Guest House which needs advance bookings. In Yangon in low season you might stand a chance of getting space in one of the cheaper places near Sule Paya (Mahabandoola, Okinawa dorms and Garden Guest House) but they fill fast and you'll most likely be paying well over $10 for foreigner-registered elsewhere.
The last LP isn't a particularly reliable guide since some of them (like Ocean Peal Inn in Yangon) have almost tripled their prices since then (Ocean Pearl at $20 for a single still isn't too bad for a night if you also save yourself an $8 taxi ride from the airport in the process though).
Everything other than hotels and possibly taxis is similar prices to the rest of SE Asia, if not a little cheaper. I spent under $25 per day overall without being an especially hardcore budgeter, but make sure you have significantly more cash than this in reserve, even if this is more than you usually spend per day in Malaysia.
If you're going to the Golden Rock in rainy season the rain, view-obstructing clouds and lack of other tourists to share trucks up the hill might make it less appealing and more expensive than otherwise
(although contrary to what some hotel staff and older guides might tell you, it isn't closed altogether for low season)
Nightlife is a chat over beers before 9:30pm in most places; Yangon has plenty of KTV lounges and Chinese bars with dancing girls - not all especially sleazy - if that's your thing.
#11 enigmatic has been a member since 14/4/2011. Posts: 84
Some things in Burma are more expensive than in other SE Asian countries like Thailand and Laos - especially accommodation because of short supply/increasing numbers of tourists. Though other things are cheap - food, transport etc. You'll need to budget 25-50% more per day than what you'd spend in Thailand or Laos.
One of the refreshing things about Burma is the lack of touts and people trying to rip you off - if you're quoted a price by a horse and cart driver or in a market then chances are it's close to reasonable (a bit higher becuase you're a tourist). Bargain by all means, but not with the same intensity as in Thailand. Burmese people are much poorer and need the cash more than you do.
#13 buddhanz has been a member since 10/1/2013. Posts: 2
To be honest, we didn't find Burma that much more expensive than Thailand (where we are now). Accommodation was definitely pricier and the quality sucked, but everything else cost less. You could have a decent meal for 1000-2000K and be completely full, many of the "attractions" have a fixed price for an unlimited time, and you tend to move around less and so spend less on transport.
We averaged around $30 each per day in February, which is high season, and saw a ton! (We also had at least some beer daily :0)
For more details on our trip, visit http://erohisms.com
#15 erohisms has been a member since 17/3/2013. Posts: 10
Hello! 2 Years ago I stayed at Mae Sot for 1 month and walked over the bridge to Myawaddy several times.- It`s not as relaxed as Thailand! In 3 Years the population grew 10 times and it`s better to take an english speaking SYMPATIC guide for about 10$, visit his family (first) and then go to a Burmese Ticket Office! The guide keep poor children away, but always take care of your belongings! You can go go to your embrassy in Bangkok to ask for Burmese Visa! GOOD LUCK! http://wikitravel.org/en/Myawaddy ...I don`t know whitch country you come from, but best is to contact Myanmar Embrassy at home - first! England or USA? http://www.mewashingtondc.com/