Myanmar’s currency is the kyat (pronounced like chat). This is available in denotations of K1, K5, K10, K20, K50, K100, K200, K500, K1,00, K5,000 and K10,000. Expect to pay in cash and US dollars are preferred alternative. US$1 is roughly equal to K1,000.
Once in Myanmar, exchanging US dollars to Kyats is a simple process and exchange rates tend to be fair. Be warned: concerns about counterfeit bills means that dollars with the letters AB and CB at the start of the serial number are not always accepted. Neither are banknotes that are torn or drawn on or those issued before 2008.
ATMs are available but aren’t always reliable and often charge an extra fee. As such, traveling with dollars is advisable which can be exchanged at local currency-changers. Avoid anyone who approaches you on the street. Cash is primarily used and ATMs are available both in major cities and tourist sites. Alternatively, bring US dollars to exchange. More and more, however, hotels and other locals catering to tourists accept credit and debit cards, but it is always smart to phone ahead to make sure this is possible. And many vendors charge extra fees for card transactions.
Tipping is common in most Asian countries but not so in Myanmar; nevertheless, tips are appreciated. As for taxes, higher-end hotels and restaurants have a 10% tax/service charge that is added to the final bill. In establishments, where the tax is not levied, it is good manners to leave the same as a tip.
- Hostel or guesthouse, US$10-30
- Budget meals: US$2-5
- Bus transportation: US$1-6
- Midrange hotel: US$50-100
- Midrange restaurant: US$5-10
- Tour guide: US$10 per person per day)
- Luxury hotel: US$200-500
- Luxury restaurant: US$40-70
- Personal driver and guide: US$100 per day
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