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USD Money Situation in Myanmar Currently

Melbourne, Australia
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USD Money Situation in Myanmar Currently

Hello,

I am traveling to Myanmar very soon, and I am currently working out my budget for a 2.5 week trip in Myanmar.

I've read so much conflicting information and heard many different opinions on the money situation: if there is anyone who has been to Myanmar recently, or is currently traveling there, it would be wonderful if I could get some information from you on:

1. What the money situation there is in terms of USD bills having to be no older than 2006, clean, no rips/stains/tears/marks etc.?

2. Are ATMs available anywhere, or do I need to carry my entire trips spending money on me at all times?

3. Recommended daily budget for two backpackers traveling together on a strict-ish budget.

Many thanks

Yangon (Rangoon...
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1. Re: USD Money Situation in Myanmar Currently

The government official money change rate between 965 - 975. Small note less 10 USD. Only 100 note can get that rate above.

You can't get ATM anywhere but can get banks in Yangon.

All round you go by bus is cheap. For two people round about 150 USD.

Transportation you use overnight bus you can save accommodation fees.

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2. Re: USD Money Situation in Myanmar Currently

1. They have eased up significantly on the quality of notes required, especially for smaller bills, but you'll still be best with some new $100 notes for exchanging. Generally, no tears or stains, but creases and minor marks are now ok. Banks (limited hours) and licensed money changers (also limited hours, but there's a convenient one at the airport) give the best rates and major hotels are usually the same, but smaller hotels will give poor rates. Change a lot in Yangon if you can.

2. I saw ATMs in Yangon, Nyaungshwe, Mandalay and Nyaung U (don't know what the previous poster was saying). I'm not sure if they're open 24 hours but I used one on a weekend (with a Visa debit card) when the bank was closed. They have high fees and your bank will use a poor exchange rate, so you might be better off bringing cash for the whole trip, if you can get a good price on AUD/USD.

3. Didn't travel on a budget, but food is cheap - plenty of good curries for $3-$5 at locals' places - as are buses, bicycle hire and souvenirs. Hotels, cars, drivers and some attractions are not cheap though.

Philadelphia...
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3. Re: USD Money Situation in Myanmar Currently

Thank you ForeverTravelingGirl for asking a question that was on my mind, and thanks to the responses so far.

Further questions:

1) Does Myanmar yet know of the NEW $100 US bills? They just came out about 1 month ago. Would they think I was handing them fake money?

2) If starting in Yangon and quickly leaving Yangon for the rest of the country (Inle Lake, Bagan, etc), it sounds like I should just change all of my money in Yangon airport when I land (per mrdom item 1). There is just 1 money changer in the airport, so no worries about which one to go to? $50/day should be more than enough (hotels are already paid for), correct?

3) Any recommendations on how to carry the USD without bending it, but still concealing it? I typically fold money and hide it in belts/pouches/etc. but that is not an option here.

Thank you all!

Hamilton, New Jersey
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4. Re: USD Money Situation in Myanmar Currently

I've read that banks are well aware of the new bills and that using them should not be an issue.

I travelled on a budget last year (although I use that term loosely because my budget might be WAY above others and WAY below what others plan). I'm a backpacker but I have slightly higher tastes now. I spent approx $900 in 3 weeks. The biggest costs were beds as transport (buses and trains) was cheap, food is cheap, souveniers are fairly cheap. Tours/Daytrips can add up but they aren't too bad to begin with unless you go way off the main tourist trail (but that's the way it is eveywhere with tours/day trips).

I changed my money as needed and always made sure I had enough money to last me through a weekend. Don't change too much at once, you don't want to lose more money changing it twice.

Personally what I did to keep my money nice was I divided it up into several envelopes. Those got split up into cheap sturdy wallets I bought at a $5 and Below type store. Not a folding wallet but a sort of snap shut wallet. I put them into an area of my bag I could lock and I keep it locked. Always. I hid one envelope elsewhere in my bag (in the pages of a book) just in case anything should happen and someone cut open my bag or something. I did not have any problems.

bt7
San Francisco Bay...
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5. Re: USD Money Situation in Myanmar Currently

I was in Myanmar in July.

Looked to me like money changers were still finicky about the $100 bills that they would accept. One place gave me a better rate for absolutely perfect $100 bills than for $100 bills with minute flaws. I'd be surprised if you could exchange any bills that had typical flaws like scuffs or creases, but that's just my speculation.

I got the best exchange rates in Yangon; Bagan was lower and Inle Lake was much lower than that.

I saw an ATM at Schwedagon Pagoda, and noticed one or two others around the country, but I did not use them.

London
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6. Re: USD Money Situation in Myanmar Currently

I'm in Myanmar at the moment, travelling with my husband on a $90 a day budget (for both of us) including accommodation. We're having no problem sticking to the budget and have managed to squeeze in a $86 train trip from Yangon to Mandalay and a $80 ferry from Mandalay to Bagan.

Accommodation can be expensive, a double room varies from $15 to $45 at the cheaper end of things. We've been spending about $25-$35 a night but booked in advance and have been offered cheaper places on arrival by rickshaw drivers. Places do get booked up though and the season is only just starting, if you're coming in peak season think about phoning ahead, there were big problems last year and it's set to be wors ethis year with nearly twice as many tourists expected to come.

I'm writing a trip report as I go and will post it on the 2nd Nov when we get back to Thailand which includes all the prices we've paid from trips and entrance fees and might be of help.

Also regards money, I wouldn't change all your cash. We changed half of ours at the airport and have seen better rates since. Also you actually get better rates if you pay in dollars at a lot of places (entrance fees, hotels, transport, even for souvenirs) since they generally use a $1 = K1,000 exchange rate instead of the 965 rate you get at FX exchange places. You only really need Kyats for buying drinks and things and in restaurants and for rickshaw rides etc.

Warks.England
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for Myanmar, Yangon (Rangoon), Ngapali, Tossa de Mar
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7. Re: USD Money Situation in Myanmar Currently

Luciem-many thanks and do keep us updated.

SS

bristol uk
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8. Re: USD Money Situation in Myanmar Currently

Hi I have in fact returned yesterday to UK after 3 weeks in Myanmar,and first thing to say is what a wonderful country.I advise anuyone to go there,better before mcdonalds Starnbucks ect get a foot in the coontry.Money wise I changed mainly 100 and 50 dollar bills and to tell the truth as long as they don't look as tho they've been thru the washing machine I had no hassle changing.There are plenty of ATM,s in Yangon,Mandalay has a few dotted around as well as Nuangshwe(Inle Lake)as well as Bagan.One tip try to use ATM,s if you have to ones located joined to a bank,better when bank is open hrs,that way if you have problem you can go inside for help.They are more than happy to go out to machine to help you.Anymore questions feel free to ask.Enjoy the country,I'm hoping to go back in Feb

Warks.England
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for Myanmar, Yangon (Rangoon), Ngapali, Tossa de Mar
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9. Re: USD Money Situation in Myanmar Currently

gertlush

So pleased you enjoyed your trip-you can now see why so many are enthusiastic about Myanmar.

When you have got over your jetlag do please post details of your itinerary,international flights,hotels,costs etc so as to help future travellers

SS

bristol uk
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10. Re: USD Money Situation in Myanmar Currently

most definately,back to work tomorrow,but will let you know about my travels soon,a wonderful country