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What's the right amount of cash to bring to Burma?

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Nov 20th, 2012, 10:01 PM
  #21
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Thanks for sharing, 520.

...and safe travels. I think we'll be leaving just as you're getting back but looking forward to hearing any nuggets of info you can share upon your return!
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Nov 21st, 2012, 04:31 AM
  #22
 
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Remember to keep all the bills in a flat wallet that doesn't fold over, otherwise your pristine bills will have the dreaded crease down the middle.
Have a fabulous and safe trip, 520.
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Nov 21st, 2012, 04:46 AM
  #23
 
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Just don't forget to bring and use hand sanitisers after you have handled the local currency!
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Nov 21st, 2012, 04:51 AM
  #24
 
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520 -- so true about how compact new bills are. We got $2000 in brand new 100s and I couldn't believe how thin that stack is!

We bought pencil boxes to carry them in to avoid any creases. After all the trouble we went to to get them I sure want to keep them pristine.

Our smaller denomination bills are not brand new but hopefully they don't need to be quite as perfect.

We leave Tuesday, can't wait!
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Nov 21st, 2012, 09:00 PM
  #25
520
 
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Thanks, all. We're about to tuck in--and be up at dawn for our pick up to JFK for our 9:10 Cathay Pacific to HK.

Guess this really is going to happen!!After all these months and reading all those trip reports!

WOW!! Won't believe it til we're there.

Hope you have a great trip Leslie--and you, Will.
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Nov 21st, 2012, 09:32 PM
  #26
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Safe trip, 520. We'll be passing in the night as you come back and we go.

Have an amazing journey! Look forward to comparing notes when we're all back!
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Feb 22nd, 2013, 03:17 PM
  #27
 
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I'm a bit confused on this. Lots of prices for minor day-to-day things are quoted in USD on the boards and blogs (e.g., boat/guide/driver/horse cart fees, admission fees to sites). Can these fees be paid in kyat easily and without getting ripped off with a bad exchange rate? If so, seems like there's no point in bringing small USD bills and we should just stick to 100s.
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Feb 22nd, 2013, 03:42 PM
  #28
 
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No, there are some things that you need US dollars for:

admission fees - you'll need 1s, 5s, and 10s
accommodations - you need US dollars except for the lowest priced guesthouses, which are sometimes priced in kyat
for boatmen, guides, horsecarts, generally in kyat, though people like horsecart drivers can accept US dollars.
meals - generally kyat with some exceptions for hotel restaurants
purchases in markets, etc, in kyat.

Generally, paying things like admission fees will cost you much more in kyat if they will accept kyat at all.
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Feb 22nd, 2013, 06:51 PM
  #29
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Agree with Kathie. We ended up using kyat mostly for all our incidental expenses. Tour guides, drivers/horsecarts, bicycle rentals...plus almost all our meals.

Hotels were, for us, as a rule of thumb, always in dollars.

We did not encounter any restaurants that asked for payment in dollars. But we didn't go to any fancy/schmancy restaurants either, so may be different at the higher end places.

We stuck to the recommended (thanks again everyone on this thread!) $100/per person/per day. We ended up having quite a bit leftover, but had we decided to purchase some items that we had our eye on, we could have easily spent it all. If you're going the super-budget route, you probably would need much less than that (per person/per day.)
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Feb 23rd, 2013, 12:04 PM
  #30
 
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Just got off the phone with someone who used a travel agency that we are considering. She just returned last week after 12 days in Myanmar and took $1600 walking around money (e.g., meals, taxis, few souvenirs). She cautioned to take more than you think you need. Also, be aware that going through agoda and booking.com only reserves the hotel--still have to pay for them once you get there.
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Mar 8th, 2013, 03:35 AM
  #31
 
Join Date: May 2012
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We left Burma on Jan 6, and at that time there were 12 ATMs in Yangon, including at our hotel, which dispensed up to $500 per transaction in local Kyat from MC/Visa.

The hotel itself required 24hrs notice to settle a room account by credit card.

There's a currency exchange desk at the airport that takes good $US, good $Singapore and good Euro notes in exchange for kyat at a decent rate. If you're dealing with locals, pristine $US is still the currency, otherwise the price on local kyat is a bit higher.

We used the local ATM to access kyat off our mastercard to buy some lovely paintings by a local man (seriously good for $300 the pair, and we are in the art world).

The cash and credit thing is changing all the time in Burma, especially in Rangoon.

And the colonial buildings are being smartened up everywhere in the old town, though the rest of the city is still ugly.
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Mar 8th, 2013, 10:09 AM
  #32
 
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Yes, mare, things are changing rapidly. It it rather expensive to get money from the ATMs, 5000 kyat a go, plus your own bank's fees and foreign exchange premium, but at least you can get cash now on a card. Did your hotel charge a premium for using a credit card? Most do at this point.
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