Myanmar Visa, Passport and Money Advice
When travelling to Myanmar it is important to get to grips with the money, visa and passport matters. We have compiled the most important information to help you plan your exciting adventure.
Visa & Passports
When planning your trip to Myanmar, it’s important to ensure your passport is up to date. You’ll need at least 6 months validity beyond your intended return date to get a Burmese visa. You’ll need a visa before you arrive. Single-entry tourist e-visas last 28 days and cost US$50, you can apply at Myanmar’s Ministry of Immigration and Population and they are available to citizens of over 100 countries. This information could change so it’s always worth checking with the Myanmar Embassy in London for the most up to date information. Please note, you can only enter with an e-visa at Yangon, Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw international airports. The e-visa system is not valid for overland travel to Myanmar. If you would like a helping hand we’ve teamed up with The Visa Machine – a professional visa service who can guide you though the process and take care of lodging and collecting your passport with multiple embassies.
The national currency of Myanmar is the Burmese Kyat (pronounced chat). You will often see it abbreviated to ‘K’ or ‘MMK’ and is only found in note form. We recommend using Kyat wherever possible. However, US dollars are also generally accepted across the country and often used for entrance fees and travel tickets. Be sure to take clean, unfolded notes with you as due to local bank regulations, many shop owners and cashiers will refuse to accept them if they are even slightly worn! The notes really do need to be in perfect condition. You can exchange your money to local currency at a number of banks and specialist shops across the country, as well as at International Airports.
Credit and Debit Cards
Whilst ATMs and credit/debit card facilities are becoming increasingly popular, especially in the larger cities, Myanmar still has a predominantly cash based economy. ATMs can also be largely unreliable so please do not rely on them throughout your trip. Currently only Visa and Mastercard can be used for goods and services throughout Myanmar, although rapidly developing, these are still extremely limited. Travellers cheques are not generally accepted anywhere.
Tips and Haggling
It isn’t customary to leave tips in Myanmar but a small contribution to hotel and hospitality staff, guides, and drivers can go a long way as well as helping to boost local economies to grow outside of Government controls. As with everywhere in Asia, haggling is customary and expected. Always challenge the price quoted and be savvy when it comes to buying goods. It is always worth taking a look around at a number of shops before settling on that must-have purchase! When taking any local transport, always agree on the fare in advance and ask for the use of a meter if you’re unsure.