Where: Yangon, Bagan, Mandalay, Amarapura, Inwe, Hsipaw, Pyin Oo Lwin, Kinpun, Golden Pagoda
Transport: Airlines, Bus, Taxi, Train
When: December 2017
Who: One backpacker
Currency: Myanmar Kyat (MMK)
This itinerary takes us through the splendors of Myanmar for twelve days, but if you have two or three days more, then add Inle Lake to your itinerary, which I skipped in this trip.
Over 100 nationalities can apply for e-visa on the Myanmar government’s website. Make sure to read the notice for tourists section that defines the validity of e-visa dates, applicable ports of entry and other details.
Myanmar’s currency is Kyat. The Kyat is sub-divided in to Tetri. The abbreviation is MMK. Currency notes of 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1000 MMK are common in use and notes of 1, 5 are rarely found.
|IMPORTANT NOTE on Currency Exchange in Myanmar
Exchanging currency at the airport comes with a heavy cost! Any currencies other than USD implies a terrible exchange rate. Some passengers exchanging GBP and EUR were complaining about the random rates by the exchange centers at the airport. Moreover, not all centers at the airport will accept anything other than USD, making the ones that do accept, giving their worst exchange rates.
Here are some tips that I experienced on my trip to Myanmar:
- Cash or cards – Myanmar works mostly on cash-based system. A very few restaurants of hotels will accept credit cards. And the ones that do accept, will charge an extra percentage for any purchases under $10.
- Transportation – Cities like Yangon & Mandalay has ample public buses and mini-buses, but taxis are cheap too (and cheaper if you can negotiate the price!). Shared vans run along the town-to-town routes which are quite cheap as well. They cover all of Myanmar, especially the tourist routes. Timings can be almost punctual when they leave, but don’t expect to reach on time, considering they stop randomly for religious purposes or meals.
- All the hotels accept cash in MMK, while some accept USD as well. EUR, GBP or other currencies are less accepted. A lot of hotels now accept credit cards.
- For really late arrivals, make sure to call the hotel during the day informing them about your arrival time.
- Breakfast is offered as a part of the hotel costs almost all the time. Linens/towels/soap are always included in the price.
- Utilities & others
- Tap water is not safe to drink. One liter bottle of water from a local market will cost MMK 500 (approx $0.40).
- Wi-fi – Available in all hotels, although may not work or may be slow. Restaurants do not have wi-fi.
- Mobile services – For MMK 11,500 [1,500 for SIM and 10,000 for 7GB data only] (approx $8.50), you can purchase a SIM card from any MPT store (at the airport right next to the baggage claim). The validity is 30 days and you can top-up at most groceries stores around the country.
|Offline maps & directions
If you are using a smartphone, then you know how expensive international data plans can be. And if you find yourself lost in a place, then using the device for maps and directions can sometimes be a life-saver. But with no data to find directions in an unknown city can be frustrating.
So while you are at your hotel where you have wifi access, open the maps app and point it to the address or area in the destination town or city. Then zoom-in and zoom-out around the area, or around the entire town if it’s a small one. This time the app will load all the maps and places in cache (memory). That’s it. When you arrive at the destination, just open the maps app and you will still be able to browse around without any data. Just make sure not to remove the app from the memory (kill it entirely).
Or just use maps.me – the best offline maps app in the world!
I booked hotels before traveling to Myanmar. These were booked after reviewing them on Google, TripAdvisor, booking.com and WikiTravel.
|Yangon||Cozy Guesthouse||$52.20||Two nights. Double bed with ensuite bathroom.|
|Bagan||Shwe Nadi Guesthouse||$50||Two nights. Double bed. Ensuite bathroom.|
|Mandalay||Golden City Light Hotel||$84.60||Three nights. Double bed. Ensuite bathroom.|
|Pyin Oo Lwin||Hotel Maymyo||$36||One night. Double bed. Ensuite bathroom.|
|Hsipaw||Lily Guest House||$40||Two nights. Double bed. Ensuite bathroom.|
|Kinmun||Golden Sunrise Hotel||$79.20||Two nights. Deluxe Double bed. Ensuite bathroom.|
Since I was on a Asia travel for a while, I booked flights from Kuala Lumpur to Myanmar. All prices are per person.
|Kuala Lumpur (KUL) to Yangon (RGN) and Yangon (RGN) to Kuala Lumpur (KUL)||Malindo Air and AirAsia||$102.06 and $97 = $199.06||Return flight. Economy. Flight OD 550 and AK 503.|
|Yangon (RGN) to Bagan (NYU)||AirKBZ||$118.21||One-way flight. Economy. Flignt K7 236.|
|Mandalay (MDL) to Yangon (RGN)||Myanmar National Airlines||$97.76||One-way flight. Economy. Flight UB 104.|
Note: All values in USD, unless otherwise mentioned, are approximate and based on the exchange rate at the time of publishing. Each cost is for one adult. The exchange rate at the time of publishing is assumed to be USD 1 = MMK 1,350.
|All flights||$415.03||See details above|
|Accommodation for all days||$342||Per person. See the list and costs above.|
|Total Costs||$757.03||Per person|
|Overall Costs||$757.03||Per person|
Planning & Information
Tips, information & everything you need to know.
Day 1 – NEXT »
Arriving in Yangon & sights of downtown area.