Outside of Asia, discounted flights will be hard to come by. It may sometimes be beneficial to buy a flight to Bangkok and then a separate flight to Yangon International Airport as this can sometimes be cheaper than buying a one ticket fare straight to Burma from your home country. However, if you are already in Asia then reasonable flight tickets can be found, mainly from Bangkok and Singapore but many airlines could be opening up this route. It is important to remember to reconfirm your outgoing ticket from Burma a few days before for any flight other than Thai Airways and Silk Air. From the UK we would recommend going through a travel agency for your flights – STA Travel and Quest Travellers are usually the safest options.
Visas and Taxes
Please make sure your passport does not expire within six months of your travel period. If you are applying for a tourist visa we strongly recommend that you start the process no later than 3 weeks before your departure. From the UK a tourist visa costs £14 and is valid for three months from the date of issue. You can apply directly to the Myanmar Embassy in London – myanmarembassylondon.com. However it can prove to be easier and quicker if you use a visa agent. We find ‘Travcour’ to be very reliable – travcour.com. They charge a £35 service fee and applications take 7 days. It is also possible to get a tourist visa from the Myanmar Embassy in Bangkok, this usually takes 24 hours.
We recommend that you contact your GP around 8 weeks before you travel to check whether you need any vaccinations or other preventive measures. Country specific information and advice is published by the National Travel Health Network and Centre. Useful information about healthcare abroad, including a country-by-country guide of reciprocal health care agreements with the UK, is available from NHS Choices.
Although the official currency of Burma is the Burmese Kyat, the US dollar is the most used currency. However, notes will need to be in pristine condition with no folds, stamps, stains, writing or tears. On top of this dollar bills must not be issued after 2006. Not having the right kind of bills could potentially lead to financial trouble within the country. We strongly recommend that you do not exchange money at the airport. The best places to exchange money in Rangoon is the Bogyoke Aung San Market or in your hotel.
1 US Dollar (USD)=987 Kyat
1 Pound (GBP)=1,620 Kyat
1 Euro (EUR)=1,348 Kyat
1 Australian dollar (AUD)=891 Kyat
1 Canada dollar (CAN)=891Kyat
Only over the last year has the use of credit cards been introduced to Burma. Burmese banks will now accept card payments from both Visa and Mastercard. The first ATM’s were introduced to the country in 2012 but do not always rely on them. Some do not accept international cards and you will not be able to withdraw money. Most 4 or 5 star hotels will accept credit cards but we would recommend having the cash to cover it in case they don’t. For now we recommend relying on cash dollars.