Myanmar on budget
--- the ultimate backpacking travel guide ---
Myanmar is a cheap country and you can see a lot without spending lots of money here. It is true that the accommodation is expensive if you compare it to Thailand and the standard is still much lower, but you save money on cheap food and other things. You can also spend few nights on night buses between Yangon - Mandalay - Kalaw/Inle. We will tell you the prices for low budget trip in Myanmar, so you are ready to visit this amazing country soon.
In Myanmar they pay with Burmese Kyat(MMK). The exchange rate in 2017 is 1 USD = 1,350 MMK. Like everywhere else it is best to bring US dollars and exchange them. On few places they accept them as a payment too.
Average cost per person: 20 USD per day
including accommodation, food, transport, entrance fees, souvenirs
excluding visa and flight tickets
Check also top things to see in Myanmar in our photo journey.
The main thing you can save money on are the flight tickets. Read our tips how to find cheap flights.
Use public transport and minibuses in the big cities to save money. Otherwise you can rent a motorbike and explore many sights on your own. When you are in Bagan, best is to rent an electric motorbike or a bicycle.
Prices example per person (2016)
- taxi from the airport (Yangon) - 4, 000 MMK (3 USD)
- Yangon - Mandalay by really nice night bus -17,000 MMK (12.5 USD)
- Mandalay - Bagan by bus - 10,000 MMK (7.5 USD)
- Bagan - Kalaw by night bus - 18,500 MMK (13.5 USD)
- Inle lake - Bago by bus- 14,000 MMK (10 USD)
- a bike rental - 1,500 MMK (1 USD)
- a motorbike rental - 6,000 MMK (4.5 USD)
Myanmar has opened recently for tourists, so they are still building hotels everywhere like crazy. The prices are still quite high for backpackers and the standard is quite low. But you can definitely find cheap places to stay. We travel as a couple, so we stay usually in cheap double rooms.
In Yangon we stayed in a room that was actually a closet. It was quite funny for us and we stayed only one night, so we didn't complain, but the girl at reception told us many people are shocked and leave. It is what it is.
The price range per person in 2016 was 10,000 MMK (7.5 USD) per night for the cheapest places up to 17,500 MMK (13 USD) per night for more touristy places.
Food in Myanmar is great and cheap. Typical is many small meals in one. You may order chicken curry, but you will actually get many small bowls with different salads, rice, beans, sauces etc. and the chicken curry is one of the small bowls.
Get ready for lots of peanut oil and new tastes. We usually recognized less than half of the ingrediences. Although I am not a huge fan of trying totally unknown food, I liked surprisingly almost all the meals I got served. Both of us enjoyed the food in Myanmar a lot. It is very different from other Southeast Asia cuisines.
Typical cheap meal will cost you around 2,500 MMK (2 USD) per person. If you eat at more touristy restaurants, the price can get to 5,500 MMK (4 USD) . Still not bad, right?
If you are in Myanmar, you must go to Bagan to see the ancient temples. Another great thing that we enjoyed a lot was the 3 day trekking from Kalaw to Inle Lake. It all depends on the guide you get. We checked the guides, services and prices with almost every agency in Kalaw, we read many reviews on tripadvisor, but we weren't much wise. In the end we went for the budget option with more people and we were very lucky to get a great guide.
He was really amazing and made the whole trip for us unforgettable. We don't promote many people here, but if you want to get his number, check our photo journey from Myanmar.
We usually enjoy every attraction we visit, but if your time schedule or budget is very low, we recommend not to go to Mt. Popa. It looks really nice on the picture, but honestly we didn't enjoy the trip much. The place was really crowded with people asking for money on every step. The view wasn't really great on the top and it wasn't much to see there in general.
Prices example per person (2016)
- Bagan ancient temples -25,000 MMK (18.5 USD)
- Sule Pagoda, Yangon - 3,750 MMK (3 USD)
- Schwedagon Pagoda -11,000 MMK (8 USD)
- Mt. Popa, a half day trip with transport - 10,000 MMK (7.5 USD)
- 3 day trek from Kalaw - Inle lake, food, accommodation, guide - 40,000 MMK (30 USD)
- Inle lake fee - 12,500 MMK (9 USD)
More tips for traveling cheap here