Money in Burma

Mar 8th, 2005, 06:09 AM
  #1  
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Money in Burma

When I was there 5 years ago no one took credit cards or traveler checks and there were no ATMs. Has anything changed?

Last time we were there for over 3 weeks and prepaid everything including meals. I'm only going to be in Yangon for five days so I see no reason to prepay meals again. What's the situation with getting money and how much do meals cost in Yangon?
glorialf is offline  
Mar 8th, 2005, 06:22 AM
  #2  
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one more question -- can we use (or exchange) baht in Burma or just dollars?
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Mar 8th, 2005, 06:53 AM
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Gloria, do try to prepay hotels. (aisiahotels.com is one source) A few hotels will accept credit cards and route the billing through Singapore, but you can't count on it. You'll want US dollars to change into kyat. Interestingly, the current word from Burma is that US dolllars and Euro get about the same exchange rate, so it's obviously worthwhile for Europeans to change Euros to dollars before going to Burma. There are still no ATMs in Burma. The monetary situation has changed since you were last in Burma. There are no longer FECs that you are required to purchase, and the situation with credit cards is more difficult due to the international boycott of Burmese financial transactions.
Kathie is offline  
Mar 8th, 2005, 07:11 AM
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Thanks, kathy. Do you think we could take baht in to exchange or just dollars?
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Mar 8th, 2005, 07:47 AM
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Gloria, from everything I hear (I'm still doing research for my own trip -yet again) you'll want US dollars.
Kathie is offline  
Mar 8th, 2005, 09:38 AM
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We just returned from Burma. No credit cards, no ATM's! Only US Dollars. We did get some Chat at the airport in Yangon at a bad rate but we didn't need it. We used some Chat in the markets but we could have used Dollars. Sometimes vendors asked us to change Dollars for Chat! I didn't understand why.
When we got to Yangon, we went to the Santa Maria travel agency where we used part of our bundle of Dollars to pre-pay for airline tickets and hotels for 10 days. The agency was incredibly fast and efficient with the arrangements.
We usually ate in the hotels and paid for it in Dollars upon departure. The food was o.k. and not particularly expensive.
JaneB is offline  
Mar 8th, 2005, 10:59 AM
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Jane-- so how much do you think we need to budget for food per day if we eat one meal a day in a top restaurant?

Kathie-- when are you going back?
glorialf is offline  
Mar 8th, 2005, 01:56 PM
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Not only do they want US dollars, they want new bills only. My travel partner had a few dollars with slightly worn corners or ink spots on them. These were refused by several vendors.
Don't forget to keep $US10 cash for your airport exit tax.
You do need some kyat for small things like a cold drink or small market purchases. The rate at the airport 2 weeks ago was 400 kyat to the dollar. We got 900 from a black market guy in Scott's Market. People Everybody and their brother there seem to be in the money changing business. We had people coming up to us on the street every day offering to change money.
Some vendors accepted dollars for small purchases and then gave the change in kyat.
Lindsey is offline  
Mar 8th, 2005, 04:40 PM
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glorialf,
It's hard to judge what you would spend. We never spent over $15pp for dinner. Breakfast buffets were always included with the hotels.
Lindsay is correct about taking only new bills--and they should not have a serial number beginning with CB or CE per the Lonely Planet book.

I felt very insecure knowing that no credit cards or ATM's were available--so we took LOTS more cash than we needed.
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