Money (and cards) in Myanmar

Old May 15th, 2015, 12:34 PM
  #21  
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Thanks guys! Leaving in less than a week!

Got some brand new bills to exchange, but considering getting some more... just in case... I am a big shopper and a big tipper (which is easy in SE Asia!)
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Old May 15th, 2015, 01:37 PM
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Have a wonderful time.

While I gave info on my purchases, I found less to buy In Burma than elsewhere in SE Asia.
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Old May 15th, 2015, 01:49 PM
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That's good for my bank account Kathie!!

Guess that just means really big tips for everyone
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Old May 15th, 2015, 02:03 PM
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"big tipper"
One bit of advice,think first. Here are a few of my words,posted elsewhere.
Tipping in Myanmar

Tipping can be an emotive and very personal thing and attitudes and amounts vary considerably between countries, and even nationalities.

This thread is specifically about the expectations of the Burmese who work in the tourism and service industries. I have consolidated information from hotel staff and management, drivers, travel Agents,restaurants and guides.

These figures are based on tourist and business hotels and not guest houses.

Also do note that many of the better hotels, and certainly the Irrawaddy cruise ships, now have a note on your arrival suggesting that tips be left in an envelope in the Gratuities Box at reception with the option of mentioning staff who have given exceptional service.

Group tours may include all tips, but the guide may expect extra, but certainly not on the scale that he would receive from a private tour. His tip, and that of the coach drivers would normally be by way of a group envelope system.

In the main tourist areas the tip expectations of the local Burmese is as follows but please do note that in some rural areas where tipping is not the norm, a generous tip could cause some embarrassment to the recipient.

Restaurants and bars-small change from the bill up to 1000kyat
Room cleaning/housekeeping- $1 per room per night
Hotel porter-1000kyat on luggage delivery, and on departure.
Official airport porter-1000kyat
Driver per day -$5 or if exceptional $10
Private Guide-$10 or $20 if exceptional, per day

It is not normal, or expected, for taxi drivers to be tipped.
When looking at the tipping expectations of the Burmese it is useful to measure the amounts against their earnings. There is a deep concern that tipping, of amounts that may seem normal or even modest to some nationalities, could be excessive. This could distort the labour market whereby those in the tourists industry earn more than qualified professionals such as doctors and teachers. This has happened to other countries with developing tourism with doctors and lecturers becoming guides leaving a severe shortage of qualified staff, to the detriment of health and education in those countries.

Spout over, now to the figures-

Weekly earnings in Myanmar.

High School Teacher $100, Private School Teacher $250
Doctor in State Hospital $150-200
Office worker from $80
Room Cleaner (house keeping) $25 Bell Boy/Porter $30
Guide $50 a day ,maybe works 2 days, maybe 6 days-very seasonal.
Driver $15-20 a day
hope this gives some food for thought
SS
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Old May 15th, 2015, 02:13 PM
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Great post, Silverswimmer. It is really unfortunate (to say the least) when Americans export their tipping culture to places it does not belong. It is a pretty sad culture to start with - I wish we could pay service people a living wage and get rid of tips altogether.
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Old May 15th, 2015, 06:19 PM
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I like tipping for great service. I don't see anything wrong with that.
I leave large tips in the U.S. and elsewhere. I get it from my dad, we were staying at a private home in the DomRep that had a butler. My dad left a generous tip for the week. Freddie (yes, I remember his name 20 years later!) said "Thank you, I will be able to buy my children milk this week, we appreciate that so very much"

One small gesture can make someone's day/week/month.

Leaving a 100% tip on a $6 bill (something I've done) is not going to make everyone want to be a waiter. And $6 will mean a lot more to that person than it will to me, and yes I feel guilty leaving a small tip, like 10% on a $6 bill.

I've also been on a number of group tours that outlined that guides expect a tip, and give a guideline. I feel really horrible when people don't tip because they don't at home (Aussie's mostly IME) and the guides make a lot less than they expected. I was once on a 17 day tour in Africa when an Aussie and a Canadian decided the guide and driver would prefer a card over the recommended $10/day tip(trip organizer was out of Aussieland oddly enough!) No, they would prefer the $340 girls....just because you think they *should* make a living wage mean that they are making one!

No need to hate on Needmore because she said she likes to tip.
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Old May 15th, 2015, 07:40 PM
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So, you want Aussies to follow the local custom, but you're not willing to?

I hate people who screw up other peoples' culture because they think theirs is better. What part of "when in Rome" is too hard for you?

This has been discussed ad nauseam on Fodors' forums. For a post explaining the bad effects of tipping in the wrong places, see: http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...omment-9155591
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Old May 16th, 2015, 03:14 AM
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No, I want people to tip when expected to. Stiffing people who work hard, in industries that are tip-based, is to me, incredibly inconsiderate. Just because you believe they *are* making a living wage does (because they do in your home country/you don't believe in tipping) it mean it's true.

I've spent a lot of time in Western Europe and know that tipping there is not as necessary- rounding up on a meal, a few $ extra for a tour guide, etc.

I sometimes travel with my parents on some small river cruises- both companies we've gone with makes Aussie's pre-pay all of their tips, because they would ignore the recommendations and leave nothing. So it seems Aussie's are bringing their non-tipping ways with them as well...

Anyway, when I'm in a 3rd world country and I receive exceptional service? Yes, I will tip a generous amount. Always have, always will.
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Old May 16th, 2015, 03:42 AM
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Whoa. Calm down everyone.

I am fully aware of tipping guidelines/appropriate-ness. I may have misspoken(written? haha), I am big on tipping (I would hope to be a big tipper, but don't like making others fell uncomfortable). I think a job well done should be recognized, but within the guidelines of what fits the country/region norm.

A friend once chastised me for leaving the change from a bill at a cafe in Vienna- it was 3 euro on a 17 euro bill- he told me to pick up the 2 euro coin as they 'don't need the money'. I did, but did I agree that the waitress couldn't use the money? No. But I also understand there are differences, and I adapt to the norms as best as possible. But would my friend have hated me for leaving it if I had? No.

Sorry y'all misunderstood, but I'm well-traveled and like to try and keep my impact on local culture as small as possible. It's true, I'm American and we do come from a tipping culture, but I do my best to remind myself when traveling that what would be a normal/large tip at home may be too large in country X, and make the person uncomfortable- something I would never want- that's why I picked up the 2euro coin.

Now, off to pack!
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Old May 16th, 2015, 07:19 AM
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needmore - thanks - yes, your post did come across rather differently!

foggybridges - so, you are unhappy when someone under-tips. I am too. But why can you not see that over-tipping is bad, too? Most of the people in the world could use more money, that does not make it a good idea to give it to them when it is not the local custom. It distorts the local economy and may elicit a quite different reaction than the one you are shown. (The Chinese call tipping "the stupid foreigner tax" for instance, but they won't say that to your face.) Throwing money around because you have more of it is not attractive behavior.
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