The cost of the Myanmar visa can be paid in pounds or euros. This avoids you having to deal with fluctuations in the exchange rate. However, during the stay in Myanmar it is generally not possible to pay with euros or pounds. Myanmar’s currency is the kyat, but American dollars are also accepted in some places in the country. Here you can read more about the payment habits in Myanmar and the preparations for a trip to Myanmar.
Payment habits in Myanmar
In Myanmar, payment is made with the kyat (MMK). In February 2021, one pound was worth about 1,960 Myanmar kyat. The kyat is available in notes of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, 1,000, 5,000 and 10,000. It is advised keeping enough small notes on hand for smaller purchases, as shops or restaurants do not always have enough change. Tipping is becoming more common in Myanmar, for example for guides, drivers and in hotels and restaurants. Incomes in Myanmar are very low compared to the United Kingdom and Ireland. A guideline for tipping is five to ten percent.
In certain hotels and for some domestic flights, US dollars must be paid. Entrance fees in some cases also have to be paid for in dollars. It is therefore wise to take some US dollars with you when you travel to Myanmar, just to be on the safe side. Make sure that all dollar notes you receive are undamaged and that you store them carefully. American dollars that are torn or have stains or wrinkles are often refused.
Exchange pounds or withdraw cash after arrival?
Until a few years ago, it was difficult for tourists to withdraw cash in Myanmar, and it was necessary to exchange money before departure. Nowadays, there are more and more locations in Myanmar where you can withdraw cash. Therefore, it is no longer necessary to get kyats before departure. There are sufficient ATMs in all major cities, which also accept European bank cards, and withdrawing money with a credit card or European bank card is also becoming possible in an increasing number of smaller places. If you are travelling to remote areas, it is advised taking enough cash with you for at least a few days.
Upon arrival at the airport, you can either withdraw money directly or exchange pounds or euros for kyats. Generally, exchange offices charge high conversion rates. It is therefore usually cheaper to withdraw cash than to exchange it. While there are ATM fees for withdrawing money, these are often much lower than at an exchange bureau.
Necessary and advisable preparations
Although it is no longer necessary to exchange money in the UK or Ireland, some other things should be arranged before departure to Myanmar. Firstly, applying for a Myanmar visa. Travellers who meet the requirements of the e-visa for Myanmar can easily submit their application online. They do not have to go to the embassy to hand in their passport. Most British and Irish tourists who do not stay longer than 28 days in Myanmar are eligible for the e-visa.
Secondly, if you are using a bank or debit card instead of a credit card, it must be activated for use outside Europe. As a precaution against fraud, banks have blocked the use of bank cards outside the euro zone. For this reason, you must activate your bank card for use in Myanmar before you leave. This can usually be done via your bank's website or app.
Finally, it is always handy to carry credit cards, even if they are not commonly used in your region. Even though most European bank cards are now accepted in Myanmar, it can happen that your card does not work at an ATM. In such cases, having a credit card on hand can be useful. It can also help to have a debit card from another bank with you in case of an emergency.
Myanmar visa online application
The e-visa Myanmar has to be applied for online before departure. The cost of the visa is not paid in kyat but in pounds or euros. This way, exchange rate fluctuations are not a concern for you. You can pay the cost of € 74,95 per person safely with Visa, MasterCard, American Express or PayPal. After completing the payment, you are asked to provide a digital passport photo of each traveller. Afterwards, the application is processed. The Myanmar visa is generally already issued within a week.