Money in Myanmar
Money in Myanmar information current as of April 2014
Myanmar (Burma) is a nation of myths. There is so much misinformation about this fascinating country that it can lead to people leaving it off their travel itineraries. This would be an absolute shame, and we are going to dispel one of the largest concerns for people. The issue of money in Myanmar.
- There ARE working ATM’s!In the major tourist destinations, such as Yangon, Mandalay, Inle Lake, Bagan, Hsipaw, Kalaw, Myawalmyne, Hpa-An, etc, as well as at the international airports, there are ATM’s that accept foreign debit and credit cards. We even found ATM’s at random bus stations on busy routes. Visa is the most readily accepted, however most machines will take Mastercard as well. Be sure to call your bank before you arrive to confirm that your card will work in Myanmar. To be safe, when you find a machine that works for you, use it to withdraw as much money as you think you will need.
- They accept US Dollars, and will offer a slightly better exchange rate for itFor ease of conversion, the Burmese people put the currency rate at 1000 kyat (pronounced “chat”) to 1 USD. However the actual rate is closer to 970 kyat. This isn’t a big difference, but still every little bit counts when you’re on a budget.
- Your USD have to be BRAND NEWCrisp, clean, no folds or marks. These notes need to be in mint condition. The slightest flaw will render the note useless.
- You can change your Thai Baht (and USD) at land bordersAt the border towns there are countless locals exchanging money. Pick one who looks honest and approach them. It helps if you have a good idea of how much money you will be expecting. Check the current exchange rate, use a calculator and then proceed with the transaction. Due to the competition on the black market, you should get a pretty good exchange rate anyway. Do not hand your money over first! Instead have them hand you their currency, count it (twice) and double check to make sure they have not done any dodgy play with the notes. If you are satisfied, then you can pass over your cash. Don’t worry, the Burmese people are so friendly and genuine that it would be a rare moment to find one who will try to rip you off. But caveat emptor.
- Cash is kingYou will be hard-pressed to find anywhere that takes credit card (outside of the major hotel chains and resorts). So ensure you have adequate cash on you for your day-to-day transactions. Unlike many other countries in the third world, Myanmar is extremely safe for tourists. You needn’t worry about carrying large quantities of cash on you, but still take the usual precautions. If you are concerned about having an entire month’s supply of kyat on you, then don’t forget that there are working ATM’s! Money in Myanmar is an ever-changing situation but follow these tips and you should have no problems.