Money in Myanmar 2016Myanmar 2016
Thought I would make a short contribution on the present money in Myanmar from June 2015, as I found information on the web and in my guide to be bewildering and often outdated before I went. In Myanmar I babbled about the choice to go until I saw a Swede in Vietnam who reassured me that there was no such thing as a real issue; many of the resources you find say that you have to go with tons of brand-new US bucks, which is completely out of the question.
I found out that I didn't need it; after I had exchanged $100 in my Mandalay guest house at a so-called foreign currency quote, I realised that I was better off making a giant payout from a Myanmar branch, where the payout charge was about 5,000Kyats; I had a lot of money (which I got at a Thailand branch by turning Thailand kaht into dollars);
A $5 loss was made by altering a $100 bill to Myanmaryat, so it is much better to loose $5 by taking out around $450 (which I did and which lasted me the length of my stay). You can find cash machines all over Myanmar. There' are half a half tens of ATM machines at the airfield and tens more around Yangon, Mandalay, New Bagan and Nyuang Shwe (the capital on Inle Lake), even in some of the great Buddhist monasteries, such as the Shwedagon Paya of Yangon!
Yes, if you go somewhere in a secluded town ( "like on my hike from Kalaw to Inle Lake"), you will need Kyoto to buy things and there will be no cash machines to get money. But if you are ready (e.g., you are leaving Kalaw with a small amount of expenses ), you will be well.
Items in Myanmar are really inexpensive, so you only have to pay 500k yat for a glass of bottled or 2,000k yat for a large Myanmar beers. Twenty-five thousand ($1 = 1,100 kyat). And, yes, I was able to get large quantities of Kyoto (first about 180 dollars at the airfield, then 450 dollars later) and had a good currency parity.
Burmese ATMs are accepting VISA and Mastercard/Maestro. I' ve only got a Mastercard and it worked well - I had more chances in Myanmar than in Kyrgyzstan, where VISA dominated the world! My first ATM at the airfield refused my credit cards, but the nearest ATM worked just as well as the one I had withdrawn money from in Kalaw.
In addition to the US Dollars, money exchangers can also exchange other nationalities. It is possible to exchange not every single local money, but important regional money such as the Singapore buck and the Thai franc, as well as important international money such as the euro and the poun. So I had a few Singapore bucks left and found a money exchanger that did the remodeling for a good price at a local hotel near my shelter.
You' re supposed to be paying for everything in Kyoto anyway. Myanmar residents do their day-to-day business in the city. From a historical perspective, I think there was a period when the administration wanted aliens to get many crunchy new $100 notes so they could buy guns or something, but not a whole Myanmar individual was insisting on the dollar over Kyoto -- it seems to be the preferable money, unlike Cambodia, where most Cambodians want you to get paid in US dollar and will give you back money in Cambodia Riy.
There is no need to go to Myanmar, which is armoured with US bucks to the louvers; if something goes wrong with your ATM cards, you should take some with you, but be sure there are many ATM machines and you should not be in an emergency while you are there (provided you have an ATM from a well establised ATM of course).
For more information about ATMs in Myanmar or money in Myanmar, please let us know or ask in the commentaries!