How Much Does it Cost to Travel in Myanmar / Burma?

One of the main questions I am asked about my time in Myanmar / Burma is about how much money I ended up spending there in one month – it’s something that seems to be one of the main concerns about travelling there at the moment. In reality, those who shout grand figures are scaremongering (or living in luxury) since it’s not as expensive as you may think; I spent on average of $35 per day, including food and drink.

Travel in Myanmar does depend on the type of traveller you are. Whilst I was happy to crash in a dorm or share a room with a random traveller I met on the bus in order to split the cost, many preferred the comfort of having their own room, or the indulgence that came with the more premium hotels – although, as these are government military owned, it brings in the whole other debate of responsible travel.

Food and drink costs will obviously vary from person to person, and whether you can split the costs amongst a group, and it’s likely your alcohol budget will decrease here seeing as there is a distinct lack of night-life in the towns and cities. However, should you wish to unwind, beer is relatively cheap at approximately $2 a bottle. Food and drink can fall within a reasonable $10 per day budget.

Travelling in Myanmar

As a rough, budget guide to Myanmar, I have listed my main daily costs below to highlight how travel here can be done just as cheaply as in any other country in South East Asia.

Rough conversations for the Kyat to the dollar when dealing with a transport or tour related transaction is 1,000 kyat to the dollar. Generally all accommodation rates and buses (if booked from your hotel) are paid in dollars, which is the best means to pay where possible. Local transport links and the hire of guides and motos etc. are paid for in Kyat, as is food, drink and local purchases such as street food and at the markets.

For ease of reference, I have converted all Kyat transactions below to dollars. I have also included the names of the guesthouses and hotels I used, all of which I recommend and would use again – single room rates are listed, unless otherwise stated.

Travelling in Myanmar

Myanmar Costs Overview

 

Yangon

  • Taxi from airport to city centre          
    • $10
  • Motherland Inn guesthouse per night         
    • $10 (dorm) $25 (room)
  • Taxi within city centre – average journey 
    • $1.50 

 

Malaymine

  • Bus from Yangon to Malaymine                            
    • $10
  • Tuk tuk to guesthouse                                                
    • $1
  • Breeze Guesthouse per night                                 
    • $25 (shared by 2)
  • Moto driver guide / moto hire                              
    • $7

 

Dawei

  • Bus from Malaymine to Dawei                            
    • $13
  • Tuk tuk to guesthouse                                             
    • $1
  • Coconut Bungalows Guesthouse per night      
    • $20 (shared by 2)
  • Hire of moto for day tour                                      
    • $7

 

Myeik

  • Bus from Dawei to Myeik                                      
    • $6
  • Tuk tuk to town centre/guesthouse                  
    • $4.50
  • Kyal Pyan Hotel per night                                      
    • $40 (shared by 2)

 

Yangon

  • Flight from Myeik to Yangon                                
    • $140 

 

Kalaw

  • Bus from Yangon to Kalaw                                     
    • $11
  • Golden Lily Guesthouse per night                        
    • $7
  • Three day, two night trek to Inle Lake                
    • $50 

 

Inle Lake

  • Aquarius Inn Guesthouse per night                    
    • $12 (single rate)
  • Full day boat your                                                      
    • $15 (per boat) 

 

Bagan

  • Bus from Inle Lake to Bagan                                    
    • $11
  • New Park Guesthouse per night                            
    • $20 (single rate) 

 

Mandalay

  • Bus from Bagan to Mandalay                                 
    • $9
  • Nylon Hotel                                                                    
    • $20 (shared by 2) 

 

Hsipaw

  • Bus from Mandalay to Hsipaw                              
    • $6
  • Mr Charles Guesthouse                                           
    • $10 (single) $7 (shared by 2)
  • Half day trek / half day boat trip                          
    • $18 

 

Pyin Oo Lywn

  • Train from Hsipaw to Pyin Oo Lywn                      
    • $3
  • Golden Dream Guesthouse                                     
    • $7 (shared by 2) 

 

Mandalay

  • Bus from Pyin Oo Lywn to Mandalay                  
    •  $1.50
  • Nylon Hotel                                                                  
    • $15 (single rate)
  • Transfer bus to Mandalay airport                        
    • $4 

Travelling in Myanmar is only as expensive as you make it. If you are happy to relinquish the need for home comforts, ultimate luxury and grand meals for a few days or weeks, and are willing to embrace living more simply and locally, then travel in the country is not out of reach of the average traveller’s budget. In fact, some of my best experiences were on local transport and residential street food-stalls, and I can’t wait to go back, even if the prices do slightly increase.

Comments

  1. Ken says

    Hi Becki, was just browsing the net and stumbled on your blog. I’ve done the RTW for a year thing and was just wondering, how are you feeling now after a year in? I know I was mentally tired after a year so I was wondering if you were feeling it too.

    • says

      I honestly feel very exhausted – mentally and physically. By working on the road, it sometimes makes things more exhausting, yet… it supports my lifestyle, which I lOVE. I’ve found that the best thing to do is just stop somewhere for a week or two and rest – sleep in, watch DVD’s, work more slowly. Then i get ready to take on a new adventure again. I’m looking to do another six month of travelling and then settle somewhere for a bit in order to save money for another big year of adventure. I’m certainly feeling the effects of constantly moving :)

  2. says

    This is a relief to read. We have wanted to visit Myanmar/Burma but were a bit hesitant due to the stories we’ve heard about how expensive it is. Your breakdown of costs makes it seem a lot more reasonable than we thought it would be. Will be adding Burma to our list! Thanks.

    • says

      It really is do-able… there’s areas where you will end up spending more, naturally, but day to day it’s not as expensive as it is made out to be. The majority of the spend lies with the hotels and guesthouses, especially in high season as you may have to take a more expensive option if the lower-budget ones are full.

  3. JanC says

    It depends on what kind of traveler you are. I traveled myanmar and spent less than $10 a day…for 3 months

  4. Greg says

    Hi Becki, thanks for your report, very interesting.
    I’m curious to know if you booked the guesthouses a few days before or if you just looked for a room when arriving in the cities?
    Thanks
    Greg

    • says

      I travelled in what is a very low ‘tourist season’ and so could just turn up to most places and find a guesthouse (often sharing a room with a fellow traveller I met on a bus or a previous guesthouse), although pre-booking in Yangon and Mandalay as well as the popular Inle Lake and Bagan is a good idea. If you are heading there in high season then it’s best to pre-book. I’ve met many travellers who were glad they did! Many even begging to sleep on the sofas as places were full. And you don’t want to end up in an expensive hotel…

  5. Jessica says

    This is such awesome information! Thanks for sharing all of these prices and guesthouses. Knew there had to be a way to do it cheaper than even the Trip Advisor “travel experts” suggested.

  6. says

    This is very informative! Thanks for the detailed summary of prices. I am planning to visit Myanmar this week and this helps a lot! :)

    This one’s bookmarked!

    Happy Travels!

  7. Pamela says

    Hi,

    Great website, very helpful. Quick question … I’m travelling in December, do you think it would be worth my while planning my trip in advance in order to get rooms booked. I normally just wing it but sounds like I may need a bit more planning than normal,

    Cheers

    Pam

    • says

      Absolutely, as it is high-season. My suggestion would be to book at least your first two destinations (the first no doubt being Yangon or Mandalay) and from there book ahead. The guesthouses in Myanmar are helpful in helping you with suggestions or securing future bookings.

  8. hafiz says

    Great info …thank you for sharing…short and simple but useful.. one more thing…which is the best district to end the journey…?..

  9. karolina says

    I visited Burma in May 2010, before Aung San Suu Kyi was released.. 3,5 weeks, 500 USD spent, one (!!) tourist met :)
    It’s a different place now I guess, but still thinking of going back in March 2014 :)

    • says

      I went in low season to avoid the tourist crowds, and it was lovely. However, we should all be happy that people are visiting and that the people are benefiting from a more open and growing society. There seems to be too much competition out there these days about who has seen Myanmar in its most ‘raw’ state and really… people are missing the bigger picture.

  10. Thazin says

    Hey Becki,

    I’m a Burmese Canadian, and have gone to Burma twice – once as a child, and another as a teenager. It has been 10 years since I’ve gone back, and I’m anxious about returning. I’ve already booked a flight, and my accommodations and food will be taken care of by my relatives that live there.

    In what should be a very easy trip to visit family, is making me extremely nervous. I worry about finances, I worry about the people I’m leaving behind (my boyfriend and his two kids), visas, work, everything! It’s come to the point where it’s really just stressing me out and hasn’t become very fun.

    Here’s where your blog comes in. After stumbling upon your posts on Burma, I’ve mellowed out a bit. I have been planning on what and who I want to see, what I want to do, what I want to learn, and what I want to eat. Instead of worrying about all the other details (which are still very much important), I’m just trying to step back and remember why I wanted to go back in the first place. To be with family (both my grandmothers’ are in their 90′s), to learn and see things to become a better person, and ultimately just breathe in the culture and take things in from an adult perspective.

    I’ve become excited about this trip once again, and I just wanted to thank you.

    • says

      How wonderful you have friends and family to visit there, although I guess it is difficult at the same time. I’m glad you have found the excitement again and I would love to hear about your trip when you return!

  11. Paru says

    Hi Becki,

    I’m very glad to have stumbled upon your blog as I gear up for my trip to Myanmar next week. I’ve spent a greater part of the week scouring various sites on the internet to give me an estimate of how much money I should be carrying with me. As a result, I’ve been quite anxious since I am on a shoestring budget and this is sort of my treat to myself for graduating from university. However, I’m much more at ease after reading the breakdown of costs for the various places you have visited in Myanmar.. Thank you so much for this post!

    Cheers
    Paru

    • says

      Glad you found it of use Paru – although bear in mind you will be travelling in ‘high season’ so your costs will be slightly higher than this. All the best to you and hope you have a grand adventure in this incredible country!

  12. Athina says

    Hi Becki,

    I discovered your blog a few weeks ago and it is a gold mine, thanks for sharing all this info! Ill be traveling to Myanmar for 12 days end of January with a friend and from what I read in the previous comments it is better to book a little in advance as it’ll be high season. Therefore I was wondering if you had any nice place to recommend where we could stay? We don’t have a definite route yet but Yangon and Mandalay for sure, Inle Lake, Bagan. Also, out of the places you visited which one was your favorite? Thank you so much and enjoy Israel!

    Cheers,
    Athina

  13. Tarun says

    Hi Becki..

    Hope you r well…I am getting offer there to work in Yangon of 7500$/Month & would be moving with family.
    How do you rate tis country & is living expensive there & what do u suggest is 7,500$ is ok?
    Any other valuable inputs…
    Appreciate your response..
    Cheers Tarun

    • says

      It’s a cheap country to travel in, although accommodations prices rocket in high season. I never lived there so can’t advise you on that. But with $7,500 a month, you could be comfortable even in a Western country!

  14. Silvia says

    Hi Becki
    Thanks for sharing all this info on your blog! I will be travelling to Burma this august for a month, and I really can’t wait to go. I know that it will be the rainy season then, do you think that this will pose a major problem? Also, would you recommend to book in advance for that period? I normally travel without a precise plan, just a rough idea of an itinerary and then go day by day, as I find this is the best way to interact with local people and spend more time in the places I really enjoy – this has so far worked very well in other places such as China, but do you think I’d need to plan a bit more in advance for Burma?
    Thanks again for this blog!
    Silvia

    • says

      I know people who travelled during rainy season and it did affect a lot of their plans, especially if rains got heavy and they couldn’t really leave their guesthouse. It shouldn’t be a problem to travel without a precise plan as it is not high season – juts book your first accommodation in advance an work from there!

  15. says

    Thank you Becki for the helpful article. I am reading up as much travel information as I can find before visiting Myanmar in the next few months. I am a solo traveler. Cheers.

  16. Diane says

    Hi Becki!
    Which trekking group did you use to get from Kalaw to Inle Lake? :)

    Am planning to go in April 2014!

    • says

      I went with a guide and group organised through my guesthouse. However, it’s worth shopping around the other guesthouses in the area when you arrive to see what’s on offer and find the one that suits best :)

  17. says

    Hi Becki,

    I came across your blog when researching the costs of travelling in Burma, and was just plain impressed with the site overall. Is it ok if I put it on the “recommended blogs” list on my site? (http://diluccio.blogspot.com). I already did for now, but just thought I’d check. Cheers!

  18. ian says

    Hi there was good to read some of your travel points I m heading there next month for a few weeks so will check out some of the places you suggest..all the best cheers Ian ..

  19. Coby Smith says

    Such an amazing country. Beautiful, untouched landscape, friendly and welcoming people and great food.

  20. says

    My friends always complain to me that my motherland, Myanmar is an expensive place to travel. As you correctly mentioned it, “travelling in Myanmar is only as expensive as you make it”. Poor infrastructure, lack of govt. support for the tourism and lack of research before going to Myanmar are the main reasons why lot of people think it’s expensive to travel to Myanmar compared to other ASEAN countries. Anyways a very nice post.

  21. Monse says

    Hi Becky!

    I will travel to Myanmar next May, and continue travelling SEA. This will be the first time I go backpacking, and first time travelling on my own. I wanted to know how safe it is for women travelling on their own.

    • says

      Myanmar is very safe, and as a whole tourist safety is of high priority. I never once encountered any problems and find the Burmese to be some of, if not THE most hospitable people I have ever come across. Of course, exercise caution as you would anywhere, keep your wits about you and trusts your instincts – the most valuable thing you have is your instinct. Have fun!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>