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Just how clean and uncreased do those bills need to be?

Just how clean and uncreased do those bills need to be?

Old Oct 21st, 2012, 07:02 PM
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Just how clean and uncreased do those bills need to be?

In planning for our upcoming trip, I keep reading all this talk of Burma, in particular, being the one place where the visitor really needs to pay special heed to the whole unmarked/uncreased bills rule-of-thumb.

I'm used to this requirement from traveling around other parts of SE Asia--and I've honestly never had a single bill rejected anywhere in my travels--but it seems to me the more message boards and trip reports I read that Burma, in particular, is much more stringent on these rules. Is that the case?

Usually when I go to the bank pre-travel they do their best to give me the least tattered and unmarked bills as possible, but finding an infinite number of literally "never been touched" bills is rather challenging and fairly impossible.

The question, I guess, is just how pristine are we talking? And how literal to take uncreased? I don't know many folks who travel with that kind of cash in a suitcase, so chances are the cash going to get creased when you fold it in your pocket.

Thoughts?
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Old Oct 21st, 2012, 07:51 PM
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Billy in my opinion they don't need to be "never been touched" just newish without any coffee stains or fold marks. Just bring a wad and 1 or 2 might get rejected!
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Old Oct 21st, 2012, 08:15 PM
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When my daughter was there in July, all their bills were immaculate, but most had a crease down the middle. They had no problems.

They did trade three $100s with a couple who had bank marks or tiny tears on ALL their bills.The couple was trying to pay for their first hotel bill and had no idea about the clean bill thing.


Min Thiu (sp?) later told them he can sometimes exchange moderately marked ones, but at a discount.
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Old Oct 21st, 2012, 08:24 PM
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Lucy I can exchanged moderately marked US bill for a new one at a discount as well How about $0.90 to a dollar?
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Old Oct 21st, 2012, 08:37 PM
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Filmwill, I decided to bring new currency, so had no problems at all, and a number of people (including Zaw) thanked me for bringing new bills. I saw people get bills rejected for a tiny bit of ink on the edge or a miniscule tear. I've heard stories of people getting bills rejected because of creases... soft folds seem to be ok. Most people try to carry their bills flat - no folding them in your pocket.

The problem is that the banks require bills to be as near perfect as possible or they won't take them. So people who accept US currency have to be careful about what they accept. There are changers who will accept less than prefect bills at a discount, and I'm sure that a local like Min Thu could find you someone if you needed it.

My bank can order new currency near Xmas time, so you might ask your bank to do the same. We are actually carrying US cash to Indonesia, as the agent we are working with there would prefer to be paid in US dollars. So it's time for me to ask my bank to order me some pristine bills.
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Old Oct 21st, 2012, 11:27 PM
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I had a nightmare getting new $$$ but then again I live in the UK. I went through a whole stack of $100 and only found 3 I could take.... I agree with Pook, bills need to be unmarked but I did see some that we're not "as new" and they were accepted. I guess take as pristine as you can find but don't sweat it if some have been gently used.
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Old Oct 22nd, 2012, 01:56 AM
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New or near new. We've had many bills rejected over the years. LArger banks in big cities are better but I have yet to try it in Myanmar...
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Old Oct 22nd, 2012, 06:10 AM
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The bills will be inspected front to back, side to side, top to bottom, and that's just the beginning. To be on the safe side take no bills that are marked, crumpled or creased. It usually takes me a few weeks to gather sufficient bills for a trip to a place like Burma.

Other countries are even more strict and will not accept bills before a certain date or with certain serial numbers. We're lucky that we can just use bills without thinking about it in the USA.
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Old Oct 22nd, 2012, 04:59 PM
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I had several bills rejected in July that had barely discernible creases down the middle. The had probably been gently folded at one time. Do your best to get very crisp new bills.
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Old Oct 23rd, 2012, 10:30 PM
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I had bills rejected a couple or three times in Siem Reap this month. They had the very slightest flaws! One waiter chased me down after I left a restaurant and the bill had a TINY tear in the edge.
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Old Oct 24th, 2012, 06:27 AM
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And they aren't very picky about the state of bills in Cambodia!
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Old Oct 24th, 2012, 03:02 PM
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I just heard from Din at Santa Maria reminding me to be sure to bring "clean" US dollars, preferably 100s
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Old Oct 24th, 2012, 05:11 PM
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The bills need to be in pristine conditon - no marks or creases.

Check out the banks in Chinatown or maybe Monterey Park/Alhambra area since you live in LA. They usualy stock up on new bills for Christmas and Chinese New Year.

If you have Kyat left over, there is one bank in the International Departure area that you can exchange it. A tip is don't buy back $100 bills, buy the lower denomination. Its cheaper. I had roughly $90 worth of Kyat left at the end of my trip. I basically got the same exchange rate (buy/sell)and didn't lose any money in the transaction. Unlike the pristine bills that I needed to get the Kyat, the US bills I got back were just OK condition - creases and a little crumble.
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Old Oct 24th, 2012, 09:52 PM
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Iron your creased bills just like you would a shirt. I pencil eraser will clean up a lot of "dirty" bills.
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Old Oct 26th, 2012, 08:22 AM
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I don't think it's going to be a problem for much longer. See this thread from Lonely Planet's Thorn Tree forum. Myanmar is changing very fast now.

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntre...readID=2265811
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Old Oct 26th, 2012, 08:26 AM
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Hi Sarah, I was just going to post that link. Given that this has just happened, I would expect it will take a little while before hotels outside of Yangon and Mandalay will stop scrutining bills so closely.
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Old Oct 26th, 2012, 09:27 AM
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This is an awesome wealth of information. Thanks everyone for your responses!

If true, what great news about the new change in currency acceptance. Guess I have some time to see how that plays out. Will definitely be monitoring that LP thread closely!

I guess the beauty of our situation is that our biggest cash output will be paying Santa Maria the remainder of our balance upon arrival in Yangon. This includes all hotels, flight, car and guide costs.

Everything beyond that is really just food, drinks and the odd taxi here and there so even if we get just a couple hundred dollars (vs. thousands) in new bills we should be set. That is a lot less stress, for sure!
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Old Oct 26th, 2012, 09:39 AM
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You might email Santa Maria when the time is closer and see if they still need new or like-new bills. In the past they always needed pristine bills because the banks would not take them if they were not pristine.
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Old Oct 26th, 2012, 09:40 PM
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To avoid having to worry about getting and carrying that many perfect bills, we asked Santa Maria if it was okay with them if we wire transferred the second half of our payment before we arrived, and, of course, it was.

Will, you might want to think about doing it that way. We will be bringing pristine bills for spending during the trip with us--UNLESS it turns out that by when we leave on Thanksgiving,
it's really no longer necessary.

Santa Maria told us two days ago to be sure to bring clean bills--so despite the Lonely Planet post, we probably still will bring them for places other than Mandalay and Yangon.
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Old Oct 27th, 2012, 09:38 AM
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520, I think it is safest to assume the traditional standards apply. The post from LP represented one person's experience in Ynagon. Outside of Yangon, I expect it will be business as usual. I think this is just a preview of things to come... credit cards, international ATMs, in the next year or two.
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