Currency and Exchange

The official currency in Myanmar is Kyat (pronounced ‘chat’). Banknotes are produced in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500, 1000 and 5000 Kyat. The value of the Kyat changes daily but at the time of writing (November 2009) was trading at a rate of 1000 Kyat to one US Dollar. Currency can be exchanged at hotels and with moneychangers. Possibly the best place to exchange foreign currency is Bogyoke Aung San Market (Scott Market) in Yangon. We recommend against changing money with street moneychangers as short-changing is common. We also recommend against changing money at the airport on arrival as the rate of exchange offered is poor. Exchanging money upon arrival at the airport is not compulsory.

Some transactions in Myanmar must be completed in US Dollars. These include, but are not limited to: Purchase of travel services such as flights, rail tickets and hotel accommodation, entrance and archaeological zone fees, International departure tax (US$10), International IDD calls, gems and jewellery.

Myanmar  Cycling Tours only accepts cash balance payments in cash US Dollars; (US$100 Bills).

Myanmar has a very basic banking system. International banks are not present and there are no ATM machines in use. As a result of this it is not possible to change travellers’ cheques and extremely difficult to use credit or debit cards in Myanmar. The handful of hotels that may accept payment by credit card may levy a very high surcharge. Almost all transactions are completed in cash. A handful of moneychangers and hotels in Yangon may exchange Euros, Pounds Sterling, Thai Baht and Singapore Dollars however you will not receive an advantageous rate of exchange. The standard trading currency in Myanmar is US Dollars. US$100 bills will gain you the best rate of exchange.

Myanmar  Cycling Tours strongly recommends that all visitors to Myanmar carry their travel funds in the form of cash US Dollars.

When acquiring your cash US Dollars for your trip to Myanmar it is essential that you follow these guidelines:
• Banknotes should be in pristine, mint condition. There should be no deep creases, marks, writing, ink-stamps, stains, tears or other blemishes on the bills.
• Check the serial numbers. Banknotes starting with the codes ‘CB’ or ‘AB’ are not exchangeable.
• Banknotes should be post-1996 issues featuring large president’s heads.

Myanmar  Cycling Tours, its agents and suppliers as well as almost all hotels and moneychangers will not accept US Dollar banknotes that do not meet the above criteria. The number one reason for assistance given by the British Embassy in Yangon to travellers, regards travellers running out of money due to reliance on credit cards, travellers cheques or having poor quality banknotes refused by moneychangers, hotels and travel companies.

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