Myanmar has become an untraditional tourist hotspot. No wonders, the country has so much to offer. Ancient temples in Bagan, historic cities such as Mandalay and Yangon and natural wonders such as Inle Lake. However, no one ever talks about how expensive is Myanmar. You probably have this question, that’s why you’re here! And we totally understand that it’s important to plan your travel budget and know the prices in Myanmar! Let’s dive in and plan how much to spend in Myanmar together!
Must Know Things Before You Go to Myanmar
Paying With a Bank Card in Myanmar
For easy conversion, remember $1 = 1500 kyat, 1 EUR = 1700 kyat.
Paying with a card is tricky and not very popular. Thus make sure you have plenty of cash with you upon arrival. ATM’s are available in all the cities, including Bagan and Inle Lake. However, sometimes ATM’s struggle with foreign cards and you will be charged a 6000 Kyat ($4) commission. The maximum withdrawal limit is 300 000 Kyat ($195)
We highly recommend getting TransferWise card which is free to order and it does not charge any withdrawal fees from the bank side on the first $300. After that, the fee is minimal. There are no monthly fees or anything you would ever have to pay for. Also, paying with the card online and at restaurants, hotels, etc. is super convenient as the rate is the best on the market! Almost exactly the same exchange rate as XE. We call TransferWise as the Willy Wonka’s golden ticket to traveling around the world!
Make sure to exchange your first batch of money at the airport and bring crisp and fresh dollar or euro notes. The exchange people are picky about their money! Thai baht and Malaysian Ringgit are also widely accepted. Other smaller currencies are not really favored in Myanmar. Also, always exchange enough money for the coming days, as sometimes as you wander off to the countryside, you won’t find a single exchange or ATM!
You Need to Apply for an E-Visa Online
Make sure to obtain an E-Visa from the official government website, so you can enter Myanmar. We suggest you do it at least 7 days in advance, as it takes 3 working days to process the Myanmar visa. Usually, it is processed within a day, however, better safe than sorry and we suggest doing it on time! E-Visa costs $50 dollars and it allows you to stay in Myanmar for 30 days.
Drones are not Allowed in Myanmar
Okay, so before you throw rotten pineapples at us, hear us out! Officially, you cannot bring a drone with you to Myanmar and you cannot fly the drone without official permission. However, what happens, in reality, is a bit different. Well, you have seen our Myanmar drone pictures, as well as many other travelers’ drone shots. So, you can bring it in and risk that your baggage will be screened by customs and the drone taken away until you leave the country. The customs screening does not happen as often as it did in the past. If your luggage gets screened and the customs officers notice the drone just explain that you were not aware of the regulations and hand the drone over. The officers are very kind and you will get your drone back when you leave (supposing you leave from the same airport).
The fact that you say that you did not know about the drone regulations is not lying, so, guys, we are not teaching you to lie! There are no clear regulations regarding drone use, or how drones can e used and when. It is a general “guideline” though, by the military government not to allow them.
We Brought Our Drone to Myanmar
We didn’t have a place to leave our drone at as we are continuously traveling from one destination to another, so we just decided to risk it. Thus, if they would have scanned our baggage we would have left it with the customs. We also decided to not fly the drone in case there are clear signs forbidding it and if after asking permission we are denied the possibility to do so.
In Bagan, we saw a bunch of drones flying around and when we asked the temple guards did not really mind us flying. However, we did not fly in crowded public places and cities, to avoid any trouble. And don’t even think about flying close to any governmental buildings, that always means big trouble!
What You Need to Know About Culture in Myanmar
Burmese are very conservative and very religious. People in Myanmar hold their cultural values very high, so tourists should comply with the etiquette and respect them. As tourism is not yet that popular in Myanmar we recommend dressing modestly everywhere you go. In Bagan and when visiting temples covering shoulders and knees is a must.
When we wanted to make a beautiful picture in front of a gorgeous Pagoda (in front, not inside) we still asked if the security guard does not mind me taking my scarf off for a moment to take a picture, as my shoulders would be visible. He was happy that I asked and said I can surely take the scarf off for the picture. However, we think it’s always nice to ask if you are not sure what to do, it just shows that you respect the culture and their values.
Burmese are also very curious when they see tourists so often the younger Burmese will walk up to you and ask to take a picture. No other place in the world we have been asked to take so many pictures with the locals as in Myanmar. We loved it, people come up and inquire where you’re from and what do you like the best in Myanmar. It is very nice to get to know the locals!
Prices in Myanmar | PLAN YOUR MYANMAR BUDGET
Let’s grab the bull by the horns and talk about what you came here for! How expensive is Myanmar? We have separated each of the categories: 1) Food and Drinks, 2) Accommodation, 3) Transportation, and 4) Tourist Attractions. This will help you plan your Myanmar travel budget and know what to expect, so you do not overpay!
Food Prices in Myanmar
First things first, you will not find many fancy restaurants in Myanmar. You will not find many fast-food and tourist eateries. Fun fact: the first KFC was opened only last year. Most of the time you will have to eat at local places, except in Bagan and Inle Lake, as the increasing tourism has left its mark there and tourist eateries have popped up as mushrooms after rain.
As you have probably realized after reading our Yangon street food guide – street food is incredibly cheap in Myanmar. You can get a savory pancake for $0.30 and samosa salad for $0.50. Thus, eating street food in Myanmar is a great option to cut on your Myanmar budget. However, be warned that you have to be very cautious when you decide where to eat! Street food in Myanmar cannot be compared to street food in Thailand so always assess the place and its sanitary standards before you order.
Restaurant Prices in Myanmar
You will find a few great restaurants in each city you visit in Myanmar. The cool thing about restaurants – they will not break your Myanmar budget. As prices in Myanmar are generally cheap, you will be able to get a meal at a mid-range restaurant for $4 per person. Kris and I had a feast in Mandalay with 10 different foods on the table and we paid only $10 including drinks for both of us. By the way, the place is called … and we highly recommend it! It is amazing and busy with locals at any time of the day. They serve typical Burmese food, and you just cannot miss it.
Lunch will never be more than $2 at any local place for some samosas and fried rice. The most we spent on dinner was $11.50 for both of us in Bagan. We went for amazingly delicious burgers and Mojitos at Weatherspoons. We cannot recommend this place enough! The food is very high quality and the place is always packed! There are not many expensive restaurants in Myanmar, so even if you wanted, it will be quite hard to spend a lot on food.
Drink Prices in Myanmar
You will find many drink stalls selling different juices and fresh coconuts for as little as 1000 Kyat ($0.65). Another thing, coffee, and tea will always be very sweet. Even if you try to specify that you do not want sugar in your coffee, it will still be sweet (most of the time). It is hard to find a good strong coffee fix if you are used to the way coffee is made back in Europe or the US. We bought our own black coffee sachets at a convenience store and made it every morning in our hotel room.
Alcohol is not really popular in Myanmar and there are not many bars around, however, if you need a beer after a long day you can buy it at any grocery store. A can of beer will be roughly $1.20. However, in Bagan and Inle Lake the scene is completely different! There are plenty of bars and some of them have damn good happy hours with a rum and coke for $2. That’s because these places have developed and adjusted to tourist needs.
Accommodation Prices in Myanmar
When we did our research on how expensive is Myanmar we came across some blogs which said that accommodation is expensive in Myanmar. They also advised booking early as there is a lack of accommodation as supply does not meet the demand. Well, we can say that this probably was true a couple of years ago but now Myanmar is as budget-friendly as any South East Asian destination. We found very decent rooms all around Myanmar for $12 – $16 per night for a double room. The only place we struggled to find a nice budget accommodation was Yangon. Apparently, Yangon is a bit more expensive than the rest of the country. However, for $20 a night you can still find a clean and a nice place to stay in Yangon.
Some of our favorite under $20 accommodations in:
Transportation prices in Myanmar
Transportation prices in Myanmar are very cheap. As cheap as it would be in Cambodia and Vietnam. A really cool thing about Myanmar – they have Grab Car! If you are not familiar with Grab by now (reading our blogs) it is the Asian version of Uber. It is super simple, the prices are set so you do not have to negotiate with taxi drivers and you always know where you are going and how much it will cost. Usually getting from one side of the city to the other side of the city, so, roughly 20-minute ride will cost you $3. You can also hire a driver for the whole day for around $30.
Another surprising thing is that in Myanmar you can book all your bus tickets online on 12GoAsia, which is the most popular transportation booking site in Asia. So if you worry that your night bus from Yangon to Mandalay or from Mandalay to Inle Lake will be full – book it all in advance. None of the bus rides will cost you more than $15. It is very easy to travel around Myanmar by us.
However, If you are on a tight schedule, you can choose to fly. Internal flights usually cost around $60 one way, and can also be booked via 12GoAsia. However, flights you HAVE TO book in advance, thus you also have to plan your Myanmar trip very precisely.
Tourist Attraction Costs in Myanmar
If you are traveling to Myanmar you will spend a lot of time and quite a bit of your Myanmar budget on tourist attractions. Surprisingly, tourist attractions were slightly more expensive than we expected. Obviously, when compared to the overall prices in Myanmar. However, do not get scared yet, we are exaggerating a bit! If you do everything on your own and avoid pre-organized group tours, you can get by very cheaply! However, if you want some premium experiences with professional guides, the tours are still very affordable compared to the rest of the world.
Let’s have a look at some example tourist attraction fees in Myanmar:
↝ Entrance to Shwedagon Pagoda: $7 per person
⇝ Entrance to Bagan Historical Area: $16 per person
↝ Entrance to Inle Lake: $10 per person
⇝ Full day boat tour around Inle Lake: $12 per boat
↝ Hot air balloon ride: $280 per person
Some organized private tours bookable online:
Example of How Expensive is Myanmar – 1 Day Budget – Mandalay
⇝ Breakfast at a local eatery – samosas and coffee – $3 for two people,
↝ Motorbike rent for a day – $9 + $1 for gas,
⇝ Entrance to Hsinbyume Pagoda in Mandalay – free,
↝ Lunch – salad at a nice cafe and a fresh juice – $6 for two,
⇝ Entrance to Mingun Pahtodawgyi – $3 per person ($6 for two),
↝ Ice Cream on a hot day – $1 for two ice creams,
⇝ 3 Big water bottles – $1.50,
↝ Souvenir bracelet – $1.80,
⇝ Dinner at a nice local restaurant – $6 for 2 people (3 shared plates of food and big water),
↝ Hotel in the city center – premium double room with ensuite bathroom – $19 for two.
= $56 for 2 people or 50 EUR. That is $28 / 25 EUR per person per day.
Myanmar Travel Expenses Summary
We hope you have learned how expensive is Myanmar and this will help you plan your Myanmar budget. Starting form accommodation prices in Myanmar and finishing with food and transportation prices. And, luckily, Myanmar has become cheaper to travel to than it has been ever before. The fact that tourism is growing creates a positive change for both – tourists and locals. Visiting Myanmar helps the local economy. We suggest you spend your money in different places to share the wealth tourism is bringing equally among the locals. Shop locally as much as you can! Other than that, enjoy your Myanmar trip!