Travelling in Myanmar can be made to fit most budgets, from no-frills independent backpacking, staying in basic guesthouses, to luxurious tours including prestigious colonial-era hotels. However, despite being a poorer country than its neighbours, do not expect travelling in Myanmar to be cheaper. Most people enter by plane (see getting to Myanmar), and due to a historic shortage of hotels, accommodation can be relatively expensive, particularly in Yangon.
What follows is a rough guide to day-to-day costs – to work out a detailed budget, search other sections of this website that are relevant to your own trip.
Note that prices on this page are in US dollars in order to make your budget planning simpler, but on the ground in Myanmar you will usually pay in local currency, Myanmar kyat. Also remember that when paying for things – be it an item in a market or a taxi fare – you should ask for the price up front and it can often be negotiated.
Depending on where you are in Myanmar (hotels tend to be more expensive in Yangon), accommodation can start from US$8 to $25 per night for a basic guesthouse or hostel; from around $30 per night will provide you with something more spacious, which should include air conditioning and your own bathroom; and from over $70, you can buy yourself some luxury and style. Needless to say, prices go higher, and can reach up to $300 to $400 per night for the most prestigious hotels in Yangon.
Go to accommodation for more information.
Buses will cost you around $7 to $30, depending on the length of your journey and what class of bus you use. Luxury ‘VIP’ buses, available on most popular routes, command a premium. Domestic flights typically cost between $40 and $200 for a single journey.
Taking the train can be more fun, but it is also slower than the bus – tickets range from $10 to $25 when booking online for ‘Upper Class’ seats or sleepers, again depending on how far you are travelling (tickets can be bought more cheaply at railway stations in kyat, and ‘Ordinary Class’ seats are cheaper still, although it usually make for an uncomfortable journey).
Travelling by boat is a unique way to experience Myanmar, and can be used for long-distance trips on the Irrawaddy River, with prices from $10 to $70, depending on the distance you are travelling and the speed of your boat.
Having a car and driver for the day usually allows you the greatest flexibility; taxis or car hire starts at around $70 per day.
Pickup trucks are the cheapest way to get around, and are mostly used by locals. They can be great for short distances, costing less than US$1, but they are uncomfortable and usually very crowded, with people sitting on the roof – only the most determined would use them for long journeys.
Land routes in Myanmar can often be unreliable, and sometimes uncomfortable. So taking the plane is the best option for some. Prices range from $50 to $150 for single journeys around the country.
Hitchhiking is not generally practised in Myanmar, although you may sometimes get lucky.
Go to getting around Myanmar for more information.
Food and drink
Eating out in Myanmar is, in general, inexpensive – you can expect to pay $1 to $3 for a simple meal at a local restaurant or teahouse, and for something more sophisticated, or for well made western food, you should pay no more than $5 to $10. Upscale restaurants in cities and major tourist spots will cost more.
Tap water is not safe to drink so you will need to buy bottled water, which costs around around 30 cents per bottle. Domestic-brand Coke costs around 70 cents for a bottle.
A bottle of domestic beer or other domestic spirits will cost around 80 cents to $2 (more in upmarket restaurants, hotels and bars), with imported drinks costing significantly more. A packet of Marlboro cigarettes costs $1.50, and domestic brand cigarettes cost around 70 cents.
Guides, tipping and other costs
Guides and tipping
In some locations, hiring a guide can offer real benefits. A professional English-speaking guide will typically cost between US$10 and $20 per day, depending on your location. But you can often find locals who are willing to show you around for free; you should give them a small amount of money – or gift – in return.
Tipping is not customary in Myanmar, but a small contribution may be expected for hotel staff and guides. The country does have a custom of ‘tea money’, which is given for volunteered services, such as a local showing you around a market or gaining you entrance to a locked temple ('tea money' can also refer to bribes!). These contributions should usually be around 30 cents (K300).
Search individual destinations for more information or go to tours.
Tourist site entry fees
Most historic sites require a one-off entry fee, which range from US$2 to $25; smaller and less well-known sites are cheaper. Search individual destinations for more information.
Prices are usually around 50 cents per hour, although they may be higher outside cities. You can find free wifi at many restaurants and bars. Go to internet for more information.
Mobile phone costs
A Myanmar SIM card costs $1.50 and offers calls and 4G data; some international mobile networks allow roaming, which may incur a high charge. 1GB costs around K1,000, depending on the network. Go to mobile phones for more information.