Photo: Temple outside Monywa.

Burma forum

Prices, cash, points of entry

Posted by bananas4baba on 26/2/2013 at 10:22

Apart from hotels (which are over priced by South East Asian standards) Myanmar is a cheap country to travel in. We budgeted, and tied up, way too many dollars in cash - in part due to some of the scaremongering on these here pages. Travel is pretty cheap, though perhaps not as cheap as some countries. As for food you can pay as little or as much as you like. We had one thali in Mandalay that cost us 300 kyats (under 25p in UK money). If you have a big appetite you might need to order a second one! Entrance fees were seldom imposed. We weren't on a budget trip and paid 20-25 US dollars for a room most nights, occasionally we had to pay a little more. One night in Yangon we paid $59 but only because we couldn't be bothered to walk the streets in the heat looking for something cheaper. We always got shower and WC in the room and air con. We travelled with a guy from England by way of Zimbabwe and Australia for a few days, he was keeping strict accounts and reckoned he was spending just over £15 a day - we drank beers with him. A French guy who was penny-pinching, was doing it on substantially less - but then you'd have to enjoy the hustling around for the cheapest dorm bed in town, travel overnight, etc... - we drank the local Mandalay rum with him. Like us, they were both having a great time and weren't missing out on anything.
There are now some ATMs (since the end of last year?) at least in Yangon and Mandalay that foreigners can access.
You no longer need to enter or leave the country via Yangon. There are flights into Mandalay (since last November?), this avoids doubling back and a long bus trip.
I'm probably teaching you all to suck eggs - just wished I'd known about those things before we went.
Enjoy. Myanmar and the people who live there are wonderful.

#1 bananas4baba has been a member since 29/3/2010. Posts: 14

Posted by busylizzy on 26/2/2013 at 18:21

Thanks for sharing the updated info. I wasn't aware of the ATM's - so that's useful.

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Posted by somtam2000 on 27/2/2013 at 04:26 admin

That's good to know as I'm heading there in April. I've been hearing really conflicting stuff about accommodation - some saying you have to book in advance (especially around Inle lake) and others saying, like you, no big deal...


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Posted by bananas4baba on 27/2/2013 at 07:23

Inle and Yangon did seem to be the hot spots for accommodation but by April maybe that won't be the case or will it be Easter hols? Not many 'cheapies' do reservations - at least not of the phone ahead variety. There's no commitment from the tourist to actually turn up if he/she sees something better/cheaper/where their friends are staying/changes plans before actually getting to the reserved hotel. We spoke to a number of hoteliers/receptionists about this. We have been our own worst enemies on this score. Often a nice receptionist will phone ahead to a hotel he or she has dealings with. Treat receptionists like you would a friend. Actually just treat everyone like your best friend. It's very easy to do in Burma ;-)

#4 bananas4baba has been a member since 29/3/2010. Posts: 14

Posted by mattocmd on 2/3/2013 at 09:17

I'm heading there in May and have been a little concerned about the accommodation shortage. Especially after reading this recent CNN article:

Stuart: Please keep us posted about the accommodation situation, especially since you'll be there a month before me.

I had planned on just booking my first night in the country with one of the guesthouses that offer free airport pickup. Other than that, I'd much rather just find places to stay as I go.

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Posted by Sam007 on 11/3/2013 at 03:00

Visitors to Myanmar can now use their MasterCard
Interesting article I wanted to share
'' 500 POS Terminals Expected to Roll Out inMyanmar by Year End
MasterCard Extends Reach in Myanmar withLicensing of Two More Banks
Singapore – Card payments will be accepted atmore than 500 restaurants, retail outlets and hotels in Myanmar by the end ofthe year, following the announcement of a rollout of Point-of-Sale (POS)terminals by Co-operative Bank Ltd (CB Bank) and MasterCard Worldwide todayafter its first POS transaction at Golden Myanmar Airlines, Myanmar's firstpublic, budget airline.
The nationwide rollout will see POS creditcard acceptance in hotels and retail outlets in Yangon, followed by the citiesof Nay Pyi Taw, Mandalay and Bagan towards the second quarter of 2013.
POS acceptance will enable merchants inMyanmar to accept MasterCard payment cards, giving them access to electroniccommerce and the ability to participate in the open, global payments systemthat MasterCard enables. These merchants will also benefit from being part of anetwork of thousands of issuing and acquiring financial institutions and theirpartners. CB Bank staff will also be organizing training sessions forfront-line staff on how to use the terminals.''
Would you lake more info about Myanmartravel?

#6 Sam007 has been a member since 25/11/2012. Location: United Kingdom. Posts: 10

Posted by mareeS on 31/3/2013 at 10:49

Interesting to read your post about ATM/credit card rollouts, Sam007. We were in Burma in Dec/Jan and there were 12 ATMs at that stage, so things are speeding up.

Speeding up also is the cost of accommodation. Rangoon is now very expensive compared to the rest of Asia. Good hotels in Rangoon are approaching the price of Singapore. I think the generals are doing well out of this.

#7 mareeS has been a member since 8/12/2012. Posts: 13

Posted by globetrekkermel on 31/3/2013 at 17:50

I am a solo traveler to southeast asia in June , planning to go to Myanmar ,laos and vietnam in 2 weeks. any suggestion good cheap tours that is inclusive for 2 weeks ?

#8 globetrekkermel has been a member since 31/3/2013. Posts: 1

Posted by mattocmd on 11/4/2013 at 20:39

For small transactions in the country are US dollar bills used along with local currency like they are in Cambodia? Or is everything done in kyat? I'm wondering whether I should just bring crisp 20s and 50s or if I also have to bring along plenty of 1s and 5s as well.

I'm planning on a having a budget of $50 per day to be on the safe side. That's still safe right?

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Posted by KirstyB on 12/4/2013 at 03:56

@mattocmd - currency doesn't work the same way as in Cambodia and in Burma you'll find most of your day to day transactions will be in kyat. Entrance fees and train tickets are one of the more "minor" expenses that you'll need to pay in dollars. Some of the cheaper guest houses also prefer kyat (although they'll always give you a dollar conversion of course) and if you purchase any flight tickets they'll be payable in dollars too. It's always handy to carry a few smaller notes handy "just in case" and if you wanted to give extact money for things like entrance fees to avoid fine tooth combing your change to ensure the note is pristine enough for somebody else to accept!

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Posted by mattocmd on 14/4/2013 at 19:41

@KirstyB - thanks for you help! That clears things up!

Just to make sure, 50$ per day for a single traveler sounds sufficient right? I figured 20-40$ per night for a room is still possible, on average, plus around 10-20$ per day for expenses. Is that a reasonable budget?

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Posted by KirstyB on 16/4/2013 at 15:13

Yes, that budget sounds OK to me. As you are aware accommodation is the big drain; but the good news for single travellers generally don't have to pay the same for a single room as a 2 travellers pay for a double room. In some cases the single travellers we travelled with were paying half what we were paying for a double and never the same so singles aren't penalised the same way as in many countries. It's possible to eat really cheaply if you eat local and buses are cheap if you can negotiate close to the actual price.

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