Taking cash to Burma/Myanmar

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Dec 16th, 2013, 04:04 PM
  #1
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Taking cash to Burma/Myanmar

I am having trouble finding pristine bills to take with me. Everything I've read says you have to take new bills, no folds or creases. How new do they have to be? The bills I got from the bank have all obviously been folded, but they are not worn. Some corners are bent. I'm wondering how much of an issue this will be. Any advice?

Thanks,
Carl
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Dec 16th, 2013, 04:26 PM
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It will be an issue in some places, not in others. To be on the safe side, there should not be any marks on the bills - a spot of ink will bother people for some reason. The more pristine the bills, the easier time you will have. This is the time of the year when your bank gets in new currency for people to give as gifts. Go back to your bank and see if they have any new currency you can trade for. If they do not, have someone there go through all of the 100s and pick out the very best for you. For bills other than 100s, clean and not worn is ok.

This may sound silly, but I've known people who ironed their bills for Burma - just don't use starch.

The absolute requirement for perfect bills by the central bank has been lifted. But don't expect people outside of Yangon and Mandalay to trust that. For decades, any "bad" bills were un-excahngeable even for hotel owners and such, so people are understandably reluctant to take bills with any marks on them.
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Dec 16th, 2013, 05:23 PM
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carl170-If you live in the US just go to the bank you do business with and explain that you need newly minted bills and why-I said I was traveling to a country in SE Asia that was very fussy about the condition of the US bills. I started in October. The new 100s were easy because it's a brand new redesign. I was told by my bank that the closer to the holidays they will get "new" money in. I left my name and phone # with my bank. When the money came in, they set it aside for me. All my money is new-fresh from the mint-pristine condition and it only took 3 months!! This for sure was a royal pain in the butt. I've never traveled anywhere so particular about the money. Good luck!
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Dec 16th, 2013, 05:26 PM
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Forgot to add that I think I read somewhere that bills should be 2006 and on, nothing earlier. No series starting with CB and I think the bills with the big head presidents are preferred. I think if you do a search under "bringing US money to Myanmar" you may find some other posts with some helpful info.
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Dec 17th, 2013, 03:15 AM
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Banks can order new bills from the Fed. I had no trouble getting these, especially since it was around Christmas and my bank said they order new bills for holiday giving.
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Dec 17th, 2013, 04:09 PM
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I just got mine for a February trip. Last January they were incredibly picky. One place (Summit Park Hotel) held the bills up to the light, ran them through a machine (to count) and then literally sniffed each bill. I carried my bills in an empty single-layer colored pencil container. They fit perfectly in an envelope inside and weren't bulky. You get the best exchange rate with 100s. Airport arrival areas were the best place to exchange last year.
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Dec 18th, 2013, 11:46 AM
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How are they in Myanmar with the new redesigned 100 dollar bills? They have a lot of color on them now. Are the Burmese familiar enough with these new bills that they will accept them? I haven't seen too many of them myself.
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Dec 18th, 2013, 01:06 PM
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Believe me, they know what the new bills look like. They are more up on that issue than those of us who live in the US are. The new bills are in circulation in Asia. When we changed back our excess yen as we left Japan, the exchange desk had whole bundles of the new 100s.
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Dec 18th, 2013, 06:08 PM
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I have read on Thorntree and TA that there has been no problem with the new bills in Burma
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Dec 19th, 2013, 07:00 PM
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No downside to taking new bills. My bank did not have enough new $20s so they got them for me in two days.
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Dec 20th, 2013, 08:28 AM
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TEN DAYS TO BURMA!!!!

So confused. I am going to Burma for 10 days. How much should I initially change at the Yangon airport? $300? $200? I have prepaid ALL my hotels and Air Bagan flights.

A recent visitor said that she tipped out in dollars and didn't use ANY local currency? Correct? Hummm.

Actually, my projected main expense is MIN THU. Do I pay his fee horse cart/ tour guide services in $$ or local bills?

I have ALL NEW CRISP Bills to take along but don't want to exchange too much at the airport

Help?
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Dec 20th, 2013, 08:42 AM
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I'd exchange $200 to start. Min Thu will accept either dollars or kyat. I'd use kyat for small purchases, restaurant meals, etc. You can exchange money easily at all of the airports and at bank exchanges if you need more kyat.

There are Americans who seem to pride themselves on only using US dollars in foreign countries. Personally, I find that disrespectful. There are places in the world where US dollars are the preferred currency, like Cambodia. And I respect people's wishes on how they want to be paid. In some places, I've had people ask for US dollars and I'm glad to comply if I have it.

Let Min Thu know what you want in terms of temples. Our second visit to Bagan, he took us to lots of very out of the way places to see unusual details: remaining plaster carving, the only intact bronze Buddha in the Bagan area, etc. Min Thu knows a lot about the temples, his library has many of the same books we have. If you let him know the depth of your interest, he can accommodate your interests.
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Dec 20th, 2013, 08:46 AM
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You always come through, Kathie. You're a gem!

I was embarrassed to ask him.

TY
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Dec 20th, 2013, 09:16 AM
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Ted, a wrote a brief email to Min Thu, letting him know you are a fellow temple-fanatic.
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Dec 20th, 2013, 09:21 AM
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YESSSSSSSSSSS! Can't wait. What a lovely man via emails. His brother is picking me up from the Bagan airport.

One more: How much should I pay for a cab from the Yangon airport to the East Hotel osrta by the Strand?
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Dec 29th, 2013, 05:39 AM
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There are now quite a number of ATMs in Rangoon, in the city centre and at most top hotels. They dispense kyat currency. We were able to withdraw $1,000 in kyat on our credit card several months ago, and I understand more ATMs have opened since then.

Yes, you must still have pristine $US for many transactions, but credit cards are now much more widely transactable in Burma than even a year ago. In our hotel, by giving 12hrs notice, we paid for several transactions by credit card rather than cash, which is a big step up on last year.
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