I have a short question since I keep having contradictory info.
Do I need to come to Myanmar with USD and exchange those at the airport for my whole stay or are there reliable ATMs around the country (or main cities at least). I'd rather not carry to much cash on me and get Kyats as I go.
Also, if there are ATMs, what cards do they accept, Visa? Amex?
When I was there two years ago, there were no ATMs, but I'm told they are there now, but only in major cities. Don't exchange your US Dollars at the airport. You'll get better exchanges in Yangon proper. Your dollars should be crisp perfect flat unfolded $100 notes. These will get you the best exchange rates. Anything smaller or imperfect or folded, get less money. You'll get a huge stack of Kyats back. Don't rely on credit cards. This is a cash society and banking is just starting to open up. Plan ahead to ensure you have plenty of cash for your activities.
I was in Myanmar 2 weeks ago and would highly recommend bringing pristine US$ bills. We travelled around a lot and, even in the big cities like Yangon and Mandalay ATMs didn't really work for western cards. A lot of the hotels and shops displayed Visa signs but, again, because of power cuts and slow wifi most didn't work for our cards. The sole exception was the airport ATM but then most airports (even the little regional ones) had money exchange kiosks where the exchange rate seemed fair. There is a big issue with any notes that are (a) torn (even a tiny tear on a corner) (b) written on (c) folded, and there is a better rate for high denominations, like $100 bills. Most places won't accept notes that are not like new so beware of that. We were refused a note that had been folded because the President's face was slightly faded!
Having said that Myanmar is incredibly cheap for food, drink, accommodation so we didn't need to spend a lot and brought home lots of dollars! We regularly got dinner for about $3-$5 and Myanmar beer is really good and costs about $2 for a large bottle. Have a great time, Myanmar's a beautiful country.
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