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Tips for Visitors and Returning Burmese to Myanmar

Today we say to American business:
invest in Burma and do it responsibly

-- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on May 17, 2012 announcing the suspension of US sanctions on Myanmar. --

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Asia Pearl Travels
28 Khaymar Street, Sanchaung
Yangon, Myanmar
Call: +95 097 7515 7350,
USA: Central Time Mon- Fri 9-5
Call: 1 309 620-0231

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Our tips are often updated. Please visit again to check out the latest happenings in Myanmar.

Myanmar Kyat comes in denominations of 5,000, 1,000, 500, 200, 100, 50, 20, and 10. How much are they worth? To give you some ideas, you can get a glass of Myanmar beer for about 600 Kyat and a plate of fried noodles or fried rice for around 1,600 Kyat in eating places serving Chinese food around town in Yangon. A plate of Indian-style Chicken or mutton Biryani rice in chain-restaurants like Nilar costs the same.

1,400 kyat will get you 2 pieces of fried chicken for a quick snack in decent take-away kiosks outside some shopping centers. A 1.25 liter bottle of local Max Cola sells for 600 kyat. A can of ice-cold Coke imported from Thailand will cost you about 1,000 kyat. Of course, upscale restaurants will charge you more. A bus ride in Yangon costs a flat rate of 300 kyat. T-shirts at the roadside can go to a bargain low price of 1,500 kyat and you can get polo shirts starting from 4,500 kyat in shopping complexes.

Price of Grocery Items (April 2012)

3.2 lb(1.5 kg)
3.2 lb(1.5 kg)
3.2 lb(1.5 kg)
3.2 lb(1.5 kg)
6,000 to 7,000
1 dozen
1,200 to 1,440
3.2 lb(1.5 kg)
900 to 1000
3.2 lb(1.5 kg)
Top Brand Bread
1 loaf (400g)
Peanut Cooking Oil
3.2 lb(1.5 kg)

Returning Burmese from the overseas will be pleasantly surprised by chain coffee shops like J' Donuts where the environment is just like American fast food restaurants. Even the menus are in English. This is the place where you can get 6 donuts for just over 2,000 kyats and a cup of coffee for 600 kyats. You can get variety of cakes, drinks, and other goodies there with very reasonable prices. And unlike other countries, there are no sales taxes!

As for comparison on the cost of living, 1.9lb (0.9kg) (local weight scale = 60 kyattha) of fresh chicken is sold in Yangon neighborhood markets around 4,200 Kyat. (20% increase in 8 months) A factory worker still earns less than 1,500 kyat a day as of April 2012. Merchants appear to hike up prices with the salary increase of 30,000 kyats for every government employees and military personnel on April 1st, 2012.

Electricity supply in Myanmar is supposed to come in AC220~250V and 50Hz. However, the actual incoming voltage is much less than this due to the usage outstripping the supply.

Most households in Yangon with appliances make use of transformers to step up the voltage to above 200V. You may need to bring a voltage converter for international travel if you use small appliances like electric shavers and hair dryers.

If the INPUT specifications on your AC adapters for your laptop and battery charger etc., is 100~240V and 50-60Hz, you do not need a voltage converter. However, you may still need international travel adapters for the power outlet. Myanmar uses two-pin (rounded) and three-pin (both round and flat plugs).

Occasionally, you may encounter power surges, so use your own judgment as to whether or not to bring surge protectors. AAA and AA size batteries are widely available. However, for your own convenience, we would recommend you bring extra batteries for your cameras and other electronic gadgets.

Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months at the planned date of return to your country. This is also a requirement for a number of other countries you might transit upon return to your country such as neighboring Thailand and Singapore.

Foreign currency in excess of US$10,000 must be declared at the customs. A departure tax of ten US dollars is payable on exit. Please visit our Myanmar Visa page for the list of Myanmar Embassies and information on tourist visa application.

Myanmar government welcomes foreign business and investment in Myanmar. Please discuss with us if you wish to visit Myanmar for business startup and or partnership. We could make some arrangements for you.

Be prepared to present your passport when flying domestic flights, rail travel, and during hotel check-in. Be sure to give us your name exactly as in your passport when you do booking of hotels and domestic flights with us. Travel within Myanmar is restricted to designated tourist areas. Generally speaking, you are advised not to travel to the areas near the borders with China, Laos and Thailand to avoid on-going ethnic conflicts.

As with travel to any other countries, we recommend that you consider a comprehensive travel insurance to cover any overseas medical costs before you depart from your country. Check your insurance policy and make sure that you know what is covered.

Myanmar is actually quite safe for tourists to travel. Crime against tourists are not as frequent as in Thailand. However, use common sense. Keep your money, passport, and valuables at a safe place. You will find Myanmar people very friendly towards foreigners. Don't be surprised if the local people treat you like a royalty. If you are one of our clients, please call us for any emergency situation.

The mosquito-borne diseases such as malaria, dengue fever, chikungunya fever and Japanese encephalitis are endemic in Myanmar. Take prophylaxis against malaria and avoid mosquito bites. Use mosquito repellent lotions. Drink only bottled water which is widely available. Eat only in decent restaurants to avoid stomach ache and diarrhea. Consider having vaccinations against Hepatitis type B before you travel. Bring the medicines that you regularly take, such as for diabetes and asthma. You may not find your usual brand of medications here.