Everything you need to know about currency, cash, and cards for your trip to Myanmar.
Local currency is called kyat (pronounced chat, abbreviated as ‘K‘ or 'MMK'). This is not easy to obtain outside Myanmar so it’s best to bring some USD or euros which you can change as soon as you arrive. There are money exchange booths at the airport and in the centre.
Euros are generally accepted as an exchange currency and do not have to be in pristine condition. However, only mint condition US notes are accepted. This means no rips, tears, folds or creases. We’ve heard reports of notes that were simply folded – not even creased – being rejected. If you’re bringing US dollars, it’s best to keep them in a flat, somewhat stiff folder to prevent any folding.
US bills from before 2006, or with serial numbers starting with AB and CB, are not always accepted.
Where to exchange currency
At one time the black market was the best option, but following government reforms, banks and moneychangers now offer reasonable rates. As elsewhere, it’s best to avoid exchanging money with street changers.
Make sure to change any leftover kyat to USD, or even Thai baht, before leaving Myanmar – it’s very hard to exchange outside the country.
Using the fantastic plastic
There are plenty of ATMs in Yangon and Mandalay, including at the airports, and a few others scattered through the country.
Your credit or debit card should work fine in these – remember to tell your bank where you’re travelling to though, or they may block it for unexpected overseas use. The daily withdrawal limit is 300,000 kyat – (around US$200 at time of writing).
As with all our trips, everything is included except tips and souvenirs. US$400 would be more than enough spending money for most people.
More and more hotels, shops and restaurants accept card payments but these sometimes incur significant, unpredictable transaction charges, so this is generally best avoided.
At time of writing, Visa and Mastercard are the only cards that are reliably accepted in Myanmar.
Traveller’s cheques are not generally accepted in Myanmar.