Money matters: What are the costs to travel in Myanmar?

Money matters: What are the costs to travel in Myanmar?

Myanmar (Burma) is an upcoming destination in southeast Asia. It’s a unique country that has largely remained free from western influences (and the tourist crowds). Myanmar offers incredibly friendly people, cultural diversity and stunning sights: from thousands of stupa’s at Bagan to minority villages in the Shan Hills. Grietje visited Myanmar in february 2014 for two weeks and noted down all her expenses. Take a look at her overview of costs to travel in Myanmar and her tips!

This article is part of the Money Matters series in which we ask travelers to keep their expenses for Bunch of Backpackers. Real travelers, real expenses. 

COSTS 16-DAY MYANMAR TRIP*: 730 EURO (1000 USD)

DAILY TRAVEL EXPENSES*: 45 EURO (62,5 USD)

*These daily travel expenses are per one person per day.  Including all tours, domestic flights, souvenirs, lodging, food, drinks, entrance fees, tips etc. Excluding international flights.

The Inle lake, a view on the five day market. Photo by Grietje.
The Inle lake, a view on the five day market. Photo by Grietje.

EXAMPLES OF PRICES IN MYANMAR:

These prices are per person unless stated otherwise.

One night in a hostel dormitory: 7,3 euro (10 USD)
A bottle of water (0,5L) at the store: 0,21 euro (0,3 USD)
A local beer at a bar/restaurants: 0,65 euro (0,9 USD) 
Basic lunch at a local restaurant: 1,5 euro (2 USD)
Basic lunch at street vendor: 0,4 euro (0,50 USD)
1 night in a 2p room in a hostel: 14,6 – 21,9 euro (20-30 USD) (per room)

Domestic flight (Return Yangon – Hsipaw): 120 euro (165 USD)
Taxi Lashio Airport to Hsipaw: 29,2 euro (40 USD) 
Trekking Hsipaw: 2o euro (25 USD)
Boat hire Inle lake (to the south of the lake): 40 euro (50 USD) 
Trekking east of Inle lake 2d/1n: 21,9 euro (30 USD)
Western lunch at the Black Bamboo in Bagan: 10,8 euro (15 USD)
Overnight bus Inle Lake – Yangon: 16 euro (22 USD)
Cooking class Inle lake: 10,8 euro (15 USD) 
Entrance fee Bagan: 10,8 euro (15 USD)
Entrance fee Inle Lake: 7,3 euro (10 USD)

Bagan. ©Grietje Evenwel.
Bagan. ©Grietje Evenwel.

All hotels of Grietje:

Single rooms. Including a small review.

Yee Shin Guesthouse, Hsipaw:  5,11 euro (7 USD) – Perfect! Good beds and clean.
Sabai Phyu Hotel, Mandalay: 9,8 euro (12 USD) – Not advisable.
Win Guesthouse, Shwebo: 7,3 euro (10 USD) – Bed and room are good. Staff only speaks limited English.
Shwe Taung Tarn, Monywa: 13,2 euro (18 USD) – Friendly staff and nice rooms.
May Kha La Guesthouse: 14,6 euro (20 USD) – Clean and OK rooms.
May Gueshouse: 14,6 euro (20 USD) – Favorite. Best hotel on this trip. 

SOME DETAILS ON THIS TRIP:

About the backpackers: Female solo traveler
Destination and travel period: Myanmar in February 2014 for 16 days.
Visited places:
 Yangon, Hsipaw, Mandalay, Shwebo, Monywa, Bagan, Inle Lake
Type of trip: Independently
Accommodation: budget, mostly single rooms in guesthouses
Transportation: standard (mix of transportation)
Food: standard (local places and ‘western’ places)
Exchange rate at the time of travel: 1 USD is 982 Kyat.

Nice small complex with budha's and stupalike buildings Tharkong pagoda. Photo by Grietje.
Nice small complex with budha’s and stupalike buildings Tharkong pagoda. Photo by Grietje.

Budget accommodation tips for Myanmar from Grietje!

As mentioned before especially hotels make Myanmar an expensive country. Some tips to cheapen up your overnight stay:
1. Go off the beaten track. Everything (especially hotels) will be (a bit) cheaper there.
2. Check websites like Tripadvisor and Agoda before you go. Most guidebooks are not up to date. When Myanmar got more accessible for tourists, a lot of new hotels opened their doors. These new hotels are sometimes cheaper than the lonely planet favorites. The best way to find these hotels is through internet. NOTE: there is internet in Myanmar, though it might be very, very slow. To avoid frustration, make some sort of plan of which places you want to visit and do your hotel research ahead.
3. Couch surfing is making his first small and cautious steps in this country. Even though it is still not legal to stay overnight at a local home, there have been couch surf meetings in Yangon. Keep an eye on internet for the latest information!
4. Share. Myanmar has not a lot of dorm rooms, but if you ask for a single bedroom you’re most likely to end up in a double bedroom. For a small amount you can stay here with two persons. Find yourself a reliable travel buddy (on the bus?) and save some cash.

Other budget tips:

– To avoid the entrance fee’s for Bagan and Inle Lake: make sure you arrive with a local bus. Preferably during the day. You’re most likely to avoid paying this way. It’s not only cheaper but this also gives a better feeling, since the fee goes straight to the government.
– Exchange euro’s if you’re from Europe. There is no need to change your money to dollars first.
– Domestic flights in Myanmar are quite expensive. Try to use local (overnight) buses.

Follow Grietje, the writer of this article on Youtube! 

Going to Myanmar? Check out our other posts!

14 COMMENTS

  1. This really is a helpful guide! Especially when you are considering visiting a Eastern Hemisphere country where you have no idea of budgets, it’s nice to have a rough estimate in your mind and this certainly provides that. Great review!

  2. Thank you for the detailed list of expenses Manouk! I was quite concerned about my budget when preparing to go to Myanmar, but in the end I spent even less than expected. It wasn’t always easy to find the chap deals, but it was definitely possible when staying in smaller hotels, eating locally and travelling on local transport… :)

  3. Dennis, Jon, Chris and Bianca! We indeed hope that our ‘Money Matters’ series is a helpful guide in getting a rough estimate of the costs traveling in a certain country :)! Of course you can travel cheaper or more expensive, but that is something you can probably estimate based on your specific way of traveling! Thank you so much for your positive comments!

  4. I was in Myanmar in january 2012, and I can relate to the expenses although I think I payed a little less at that time.. Myanmar is such an amazing country, and I think everyone who wants to go, should go asap as its getting more and more popular every year..

  5. this is a great resource. I’m not sure if I’ll make it too Myanmar or not, I plan to backpack around soon but just not sure if I have time to get Myanmar in.

    • Thanks Rebekah :)! Glad you found it useful. Grietje is always very enthusiast about Myanmar, so if you have time I’d definitely visit!! We also have some other Myanmar articles by the way :)!

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