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Money and duty free for Myanmar

Currency and Money

Currency information

Kyat (MMK; symbol K) = 100 pyas. Notes are in denominations of K10,000, 5,000, K1,000, 500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10, 5 and 1. Notes below K50 are very uncommon.

Credit cards

Credit cards can be used only in a handful of top-end hotels in Yangon and Mandalay, although this situation is changing quickly as sanctions are eased and international companies seek to do business in Myanmar. There are ATMs throughout Yangon, Mandalay, Bagan, Taungoo and Pyinmana accepting Visa, MasterCard, Maestro and Cirrus-branded cards. Two of these are situated in Yangon International airport. In rural areas, it is unlikely that credit or debit cards will be accepted; it is best to check with your card company prior to travel.

ATM

Until late 2012 there were few ATMs in Myanmar and it was impossible for foreigners to use them. This is changing and there are now ATMs accepting foreign MasterCard and Visa cards in Yangon, Mandalay and a few other locations. Only kyat can be withdrawn, however, which means that it is still reccomended for visitors to bring dollars as emergency cash to pay for trains, planes, museum entry and (for the best rates) hotels. It is generally unwise to rely entirely on ATMs since if your card does not work then you may be unable to obtain money in any other way. It is also recommended to carry small change as large notes may be difficult to change. Euros are now also accepted in banks, but exchange can be time consuming.

Travellers cheques

Not currently accepted, although this may change. Check with your tour agency prior to travel, and bring plenty of US dollars in cash.

Banking hours

Mon-Fri 1000-1400, and sometimes Saturday mornings.

Currency restrictions

The import and export of local currency is prohibited. However, amounts of foreign currency exceeding $10,000 or equivalent must be declared on arrival and must be converted within one month of arrival and the declaration certificate kept for departure.

Currency exchange

The local currency is used by tourists to pay for everyday expenses such as restaurant meals, bus travel, taxis and shopping. Piror to 2014, other expenses, such train tickets and museum entry fees, had to be paid for in US dollars, but this system has been scrapped. In some situations, notably paying for hotel rooms, prices are quoted in dollars although kyat are accepted at a poor exchange rate.

It is essential to ensure that any US dollars brought for use in the country – whether to be exchanged or spent – are recent issues and absolutely pristine: any tears, folds or marks may lead to a note being rejected. High-value dollar notes usually receive the best exchange rate, but it’s also useful to have lower denominations to spend as hotels etc. may not have change. Euros are also exchanged at banks, and may be accepted at government-run museums, but are less useful when paying for hotel rooms or other expenses.

Myanmar duty free

Overview

The following goods may be taken into Myanmar without incurring customs duty:

• 400 cigarettes, 50 cigars or 250g of tobacco.
• 2L of alcoholic drinks.
• 150ml of perfume.
• Other goods to the value of US$500.

Officially, you must declare valuable jewellery; failure to do so may result in you being refused permission to export it on departure. 

Banned Imports

Counterfeit currencies and goods, pornography, narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, playing cards, and goods bearing the image of the national flag, the emblem of Buddha or the pagodas of Myanmar.

Banned Exports

Arms and ammunitions, pornography, antiques, endangered species, narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.

You can export gems, jewellery and silverware purchased from authorised shops, but you should obtain paperwork for anything of significant age or value.

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