Myanmar Money

  The national currency of Myanmar (Burma) is the kyat (pronounced chat, and abbreviated K) which is divided into the following dominations: K1, K5, K10, K20, K50, K100, K200, K500 and K1000.

Myanmar Money
 

The national currency of Myanmar (Burma) is the kyat (pronounced chat, and abbreviated K) which is divided into the following dominations: K1, K5, K10, K20, K50, K100, K200, K500 and K1000. Travellers should ensure they arrive in Myanmar with their entire travel budget in US dollars, as ATMs are still very difficult to come by (although this may change now). The banknotes should be unmarked and in excellent condition, as moneychangers are reluctant to deal with damaged notes.

 

US dollars can be changed at Yangon international airport, major banks (which give the best exchange rates) and some upscale hotels (which charge more but can be handy at a pinch). Black market moneychangers are prolific on the streets of major tourist hubs, but generally give a much worse price for Kyat.

 

ATMs

Myanmar is only just starting to introduce ATMs, and even then only in Yangon and major tourist hubs. Currently these should not be relied upon, and travellers should bring enough US dollars to cover their entire trip when they enter Myanmar.

 

Cash

Many guesthouses and hotels quote prices in US dollars. These places usually accept kyat, but at a slightly disadvantageous rate (perhaps a difference of K50 or K100 to the dollar). Some hotels, shops and government ferry clerks give change in kyat or with torn US bills that you can’t use elsewhere in Myanmar. If you’re counting pennies, bring lots of small dollar bills – ones, fives and 10s – and use them to pay for your hotel.

 

Government-run services (such as archaeological sites, museums and ferries) and flights are paid for in US dollars or FEC notes, not euros.

 

Items such as meals, bus tickets, trishaw or taxi rides, bottles of water or beer and market items are usually quoted in kyat.

 

Any amounts over $2000 per person are supposed to be declared upon arrival.

Don’t expect to change any rumpled, torn US dollar bills. Moneychangers accept only crisp, clean (and mostly uncreased) bills, and tend to only take the ‘new’ US dollar bills (with the larger full-frame heads).

 

Credit cards & travellers cheques

Need a credit card bailout? Fly to Bangkok! Credit cards and travellers cheques are essentially useless in Myanmar. Surprised tourists in Yangon found themselves helpless when trying to use them. However, a couple of high-end hotels in Yangon and Mandalay are able to accept credit cards, and sometimes give cash back. This is done via a processing system linked outside the country, usually in Singapore, and is at the mercy of Internet connections.

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