Travel to Myanmar on a budget

Setting your budget to Myanmar

With prices varying greatly from country to country it can be challenging for travelers to set a budget for their trip.

The information below helps visitors to calculate how much they will spend during a stay in Myanmar based on the price of hotels, food, and transport.

As a country in Southeast Asia, travelers from other parts of the world are attracted to Myanmar by the relatively low cost of living. Accommodation, dining, and transport are significantly less expensive than in many European and American countries.

The currency of Myanmar is the kyat. The most widely accepted foreign currency for exchange is the US dollar which can be exchanged at the airport, bureaus, and banks on arrival. Tourists should be aware that notes are only accepted in very good condition, they should not be creased, torn or have ink marks.

The prices shown below are in the United States Dollars to allow for easy comparison.

How Much Does Accommodation Cost in Myanmar?

Many different kinds of accommodation are available in Myanmar catering to a range of requirements and budgets. From hostels to luxury hotels, there is something for everyone.

Prices for a double bedroom with breakfast included in Yangon:

  • Budget hostel: basic room with shared bathroom around $10 to $20
  • 3star hotel: room with private bathroom around $25 to $30
  • 5star hotel: from around $80 per night. Many have a swimming pool and most rooms will be equipped with facilities such as a minibar and television
  • Prime hotels: up to $300 or $400 offering the most luxurious stay.

How to book accommodation in Myanmar

It is becoming increasingly possible to reserve accommodation in Myanmar online, either directly through the website of the hotel or hostel or via an online portal.

If booking accommodation on arrival, tourists can reserve over the phone thanks to developed telephone connections in Myanmar, or book in person. Another good option, if going from one hotel to another, is to ask at the reception of the current accommodation to get help with the booking.

How Much does Food and Drink Cost in Myanmar?

Not only is street food the best way to try authentic Burmese cuisine, but it is also inexpensive. Some popular street food dishes include:

  • Street pancakes: $0.50
  • Mont Lin Ma Yar (snack made from rice flour, quails eggs, and chickpeas) $0.30- $0.50
  • Mohinga (noodles in fish-based broth): $0.30-$0.70.

A meal in a local restaurant or cafe will cost just $1 to $3, double this in a more upmarket establishment.

Expect to pay 30 cents for bottled water and 70 cents for other soft drinks. Alcohol is not widely available in Myanmar but beer can be bought for $2 a bottle.

How Much Does Transport Cost in Myanmar?

The least expensive way to travel around Myanmar is by public transport. Buses are a popular option as they are both fast and economical.

Long-distance VIP bus tickets with private companies are priced at around $7 to $30 depending on the length of the journey. The fare for the 9-hour bus ride from Yangon to Mandalay, for example, is $20.

Local bus travel with Myanmar is widely used amongst both locals and visitors, with fares usually less than $0.20.

It is possible to hire a car in Myanmar but generally only with a driver, the price per day is from around $60 a day. Although slightly more expensive, this option does provide the flexibility of a personalized itinerary and a chance to learn about Myanmar from an expert guide.

Another low-cost and flexible option is to hire a bicycle which is just $1–2 for the whole day.

To move between main towns and cities, many people opt for domestic flights with fares in the region of $40 and $200.

Tourist Guides and Attraction Entrance Fees

English speaking guides charge approximately $10 and $20 a day. Many tourists choose to hire a guide in order to learn as much about the country and culture as possible.

Entrance fees for Myanmar’s most popular sights and attractions are from $2 to $25 whilst smaller sites are less expensive.

  • Chauk Htat Gyi Pagoda: $5 per person
  • Shwedagon Pagoda: $8 per person
  • Entrance to Inle Lake: $10 per person
  • Entrance to Bagan Historical Area: $16 per person.

Can I Pay by Card in Myanmar?

ATMs are easy to find in major towns and are becoming increasingly available. However, as it may not be possible to withdraw cash in smaller places, travelers are advised to have some cash with them at all times.

Cash payment is generally preferred in Myanmar. Larger hotels in cities may accept card payment but exchange rates may not be favorable.

It is recommended to phone the hotel in advance to check whether card payment is accepted and always have some cash in case card payment is not possible on the day.

Is There a Tipping Culture in Myanmar?

Although tipping is not automatically expected in Myanmar, tips for good service are greatly appreciated.

General guidelines for tipping:

  • Drivers: $3–5 per day
  • Hotels: a dollar can be given to helpful porters, but this is only really seen at higher-end hotels
  • Restaurants: tipping at restaurants isn’t necessary but, for those who do want to tip, 10% is considered the correct amount.

Other Expenses when Traveling to Myanmar

A processing fee usually must be paid when applying for a Myanmar visa. The electronic visa (or eVisa) is the quickest and easiest option for eligible travelers. However, if the online application form is filled in incorrectly and the visa is denied, travelers risk losing their money.

For this reason, many tourists prefer to use a specialized agency who will ensure that the Myanmar eVisa application is submitted correctly and reduce the chance of rejection. In this case, should the visa application not be approved, a full refund will be administered.

Travelers may need certain immunizations to travel to Myanmar and depending on your country of residence, fees may apply. For peace of mind, it is also advisable to take out a travel insurance policy.