We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

When to use USD and when kyat

Seattle
Level Contributor
14 posts
1 review
Save Topic
When to use USD and when kyat

I am confused about exchanging money in Yangon. I know all about the kinds of bills (thank you all), but when do I use USD and how much kyat do I really need. This is a 9 day trip and it sounds like all airfare, hotels, food (I assume) is paid for in USD. So it if is only small things (not even including museums) why do I understand that I should only be bringing $100 and $50 bills for exchange. Should I be bringing new $20, $10 and singles to use for smaller purchases as mentioned above? I'd appreciate any help in clarifying. Lois

Montgomery, Alabama
Level Contributor
134 posts
116 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: When to use USD and when kyat

I always pay for meals in restaurants with kyats. The bill is always in kyats but you could probably pay in US$. Most of your markets, street vendors and souvenir sellers will quote a price in kyats. Taxi drivers always quote in kyats Sometimes sellers around tourist attractions will quote "1$ mister, or 2$ mister". In these cases I usually pay with $. I always carry a stack of nice ones. Most of the time if you pay a local in $, they will give you kyats in change. Rarely, but sometimes you will meet a local in the countryside who does not want $ because they don't know what it is. I usually tip guides and drivers in $. Depend on their service or time it might be a 5$ or $10 bill. I always take enough 100 $ bills to pay for the tour and another 200 to maybe change into kyats. You can change smaller bills but at a slightly less favorable rate. I take a couple of 5, 10 & 20s just in case. I usually tip most locals in kyats. My trips are usually 8 days. When I arrive I change $100 into kyats. Sometimes, I will have to change another $20. I carry my big money in a neck pouch. The 1$ bills I carry in my backpack. Unless you run across the 5,000 kyat note, 100$ in kyats makes quite a bundle. When I leave if I have 5, 10, 20 $ bills left, I always offer to trade for bad bills my guide has been stuck with. Hope this helps.

Warks.England
Destination Expert
for Myanmar, Yangon (Rangoon), Ngapali, Tossa de Mar
Level Contributor
15,822 posts
371 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: When to use USD and when kyat

What an excellent reply from Huaschalocro - I will link it to Top Questions.

los angeles
6 posts
Save Reply
3. Re: When to use USD and when kyat

Not sure how you're spending your 9 days, if it's all hotels and tours, then you won't need much Kyats. But if you're going to experience the local Myanmar life, then always use Kyat; it's illegal for locals to handle and carry the USD, but this law is mostly ignored (albeit unsafe), but more practically, it's unnecessary and a hassle to make the local go exchange the dollar afterward. For the big item purchases, such as airfare and hotels, you will need to pay in USD because the travel agency / hotel are licensed to handle the USD, but more importantly, they get more from the USD because of the exchange rate. As for the bill denominations, bring $100 bills because it's easier for yourself and the money exchangers. No need for the smaller USD denominations if you're going to exchange to Kyats.

Doha, Qatar
Level Contributor
796 posts
1 review
Save Reply
4. Re: When to use USD and when kyat

You'll certainly need smaller US denomination notes for hotels; entrance fees, some boat tickets, airfares, meals & coffee in higher class restaurants & hotels(although you can pay with Kyat also). If you fire a large note at them, don't be surprised if you get a pile of dirty notes back.

Bring a mix, for 9days I'd leave the 50s at home. Bring nice greenbacks for changing into Kyat & a mix of some 20s-10s-5s-1s for what was has been mentioned above.

Tipping is always better Kyats, if you go to places like Mingin where there's a steady flow of tourists you'll be mobbed by the youngsters there trying to get you to change their dollar tip to a 1000k.

All beer stations, teashops, local eateries, souvenir shops, taxis, buses & some boats take kyat. Guides can be payed with either dollar or kyats. A taxi from the airport can be changed in Kyat, whatever you do, don't change money at the airport, wait until you get into town.

A lot of local restaurants will not take dollar, so make sure you always have kyat handy. If you want 5000k notes just head to a bank in downtown Yangon, they'll be happy to change your bundle of 1000k notes, but don't change too many if you're heading into the sticks, they'll find it difficult to find your change.

yangon
Destination Expert
for Bagan
Level Contributor
556 posts
8 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: When to use USD and when kyat

The main currency in Myanmar is KYATS .There're 50 , 100 , 200 ,500 , 1000 and 5000 bills.

Please note that the whole Myanmar cannot use credit cards and traveler's cheque.Need to bring all in cash and cash must be new or clean notes without torn.If not it's hard to spend in Myanmar.The best is USD and 100 bills get the best on exchange.For transport, hotels ,entrance fees and airport tax can use in USD straight and local KYATS for personal use and food.EURO currency is strong in Yangon but difficult to get exchange on other cities.

6. Re: When to use USD and when kyat

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 18 September 2010, 05:15