The Cost of Travel in Myanmar

For the most part on this trip, I haven’t kept careful notes on spending. Of course I track my budget, but I don’t write down every single expense or track how much I spend on a day to day basis. However, I’ve seen travelers who have done this, and it’s really interesting and gives you a great idea of how much you should expect to spend. I have on occasion tracked my spending for small periods of time to give you guys an idea of life here in Asia, and I thought it might be interesting to do the same for our two week trip to Myanmar.

I’ve explained how money works in Myanmar in a previous post, but to summarize: we had to bring in all the money we would use during the trip. For the two of us we had $1500- all of which I carried in my backpack for the entire trip.  For the most part every meal, activity and hotel had to be paid with cash. There were only two exceptions – two of the hotels accepted reservations via “Agoda” so we were able to pay via credit card. Normally that’s something we would avoid, but in this case we were happy to be able to save our cash.

Preparation Costs (Per Person)

  • Visa (From Bangkok) – $35
  • Flight from Bangkok to Yangon, Myanmar – $188
  • Flight from Yangon, Myanmar to Jakarta, Indonesia – $445
Day 1 (Dec 2, 2012) – Yangon, Myanmar
  • Cab ride from Yangon Airport to Royal Blue Elephant Hotel – $10
  • Dinner -$4.70
  • Money Exchange Fee – $4
  • Royal Elephant Hotel – $65.65 (Credit Card)

Total: $84.35 ($42.17/ person)

Day 2 – Yangon, Myanmar
  • Bus Tickets – $39.60
  • Cab to city center – $3
  • Snack (Pineapple) – $.30
  • Pina Coladas at the Historic Strand Hotel – $14
  • Street Fortune Teller – $3.50
  • Lunch – $1.76
  • Afternoon Beers – $2.35
  • Zipper Repair on Purse – $.30
  • Coffee and Donuts – $1.06
  • Loaf of bread – $.60
  • Cab to Shwedagon Pagoda – $1.76
  • Shwedagon Pagoda Entrance Fee – $10.67
  • Cab to Reclining Buddha Pagoda – $2.93
  • Reclining Pagoda Entrance Fee – $4.69
  • Sodas and Snacks outside Pagoda – $1.52
  • Cab back to Hotel –  $2.93
  • Dinner – $3.52
  • Hotel Royal White Elephant: $65.65 (Credit Card)

Total: $160.14 ($80.07/person)

Day 3 – Yangon, Myanmar
  • Breakfast- $2.69
  • Water – $.70
  • Cab to see White Elephants and Large Jade Buddha – $7.50
  • Snack – $.70
  • Lunch – $1.88
  • Dinner – $5.86
  • Cab to Overnight Bus – $7.27
Total: $26.60 ($13.30/person)
Day 4 – Mandalay, Myanmar
  • Cab to Hotel – $7.04
  • Money Change Fee – $.77
  • All Day Cab Rental – $35.19
  • Lunch – $4.34
  • Souvenirs – $11.17
  • Boat Ride to Inwa Village – $2.35
  • Horse Cart Tour of Inwa Village – $7.04
  • Entrance Ticket to Historical Area -$20
  • Snack – $1.88
  • Sunset Boat at Ama Purna Bridge – $4.69
  • Dinner – $17.21
  • Silver Light Hotel – $50
Total: $161.68 ($80.84/person)
Day 5 – Mandalay, Myanmar
  • Taxi to Gold Buddha Temple and Jade Market- $11.73
  • Pool Entrance at Mandalay City Hotel – $10
  • Lunch – $13
  • Groceries – $14.77
  • Dinner and drinks – $13.38
  • Silver Light Hotel – $50

Total: $112.88 ($56.44/person)

Day 6 – Boat Ride from Mandalay to Bagan
  • Boat Tickets to Bagan – $86
  • Cab to Boat – $.587
  • Cab to Hotel in Bagan – $3.52
  • Water – $.70
  • Entrance Ticket to Bagan Historical Site – $20
  • Hotel in Bagan – $25

Total: $141.09 ($70.54/person)

Day 7 – Bagan, Myanmar
  • Full Day tour of Bagan Temples via Horsecart – $19.94
  • Souvenir Paintings – $14.07
  • Water – $.35
  • Lunch – $7.04
  • Snack – $1.76
  • Evening Drinks – $8.56
  • Hotel – $25
Total: $76.72 ($38.36/person)
Day 8 – Bagan, Myanmar
  • Horse Cart to Amazing Bagan Resort – $3.52
  • Pool Entrance Fee – $10
  • Water – $.35
  • Poolside Pina Coladas – $9.38
  • Lunch – $19
  • Moto Ride back to Town – $2.35
  • Dinner – $1.76

Total: $71.36 ($35.68/person)

Day 9 -Bus ride from Bagan to Kalaw
  • Bus Tickets to Kalaw – $25.81
  • Lunch – $2.11
  • Dinner – $5.86
  • Hotel – $7
  • Internet – $2.35

Total: $43.13 (21.56/person)

Day 10 -Hike from Kalaw to Inle Lake Day 1
  • Hiking Tour – $35.66
  • Water – $.70
  • Snacks – $4.69
Total: $41.05 ($20.52/person)
Day 11- Hike from Kalaw to Inle Lake Day 2
  • Hiking Tour – $35.66
  • Water – $.70
Total: $36.36 ($18.18/person)
Day 12 -Hike from Kalaw to Inle Lake Day 3
  • Hiking Tour – $35.66
  • Dinner – $10
  • Hotel Shwe Inn Tha – $110 (Credit Card)
Total: $155.66 ($77.83/person)
Day 13 – Inle Lake, Myanmar
  • All Day Boat Rental – $30
  • Lunch – $7.73
  • Dinner – $10
  • Hotel Shwe Inn Tha – $110 (Credit Card)

Total $157.73 ($78.86/person)

Day 14 – Inle Lake, Myanmar
  • Lunch – $10
  • Boat to Bus Stop – $10
  • Cab to Airport – $6

Total: $26 ($13/person)


Grand Total: $1325.35 per person

A couple of notes:

Hotel accommodation was  IMPOSSIBLE to find. (There are no hostels) For the most part, online booking isn’t an option (a few exceptions can be found on Instead, all hotels must be booked either by walking in or calling ahead. That means that every time we arrived at a location, we began calling hotels at our next location. In general 90% of the hotels listed in our guide book were booked and we were forced to book at places way out of our budget. We would have liked to spend around $7 a day and instead found ourselves spending almost $25 a person per night.

They are serious when they say your money has to be perfect – several of our bills were rejected for being slight creased or for having tiny ink marks on the corners. Double check every bill.


It’s important in Myanmar to always carry around USD and Myanmar Kyat. The exchange rate is really nebulous and isn’t actually officially set anywhere. Some places charge in USD (such as entrance fees and hotels) while others charge in Kyat. If you try and pay in the other currency, the exchange rate is horrible and you will lose money.


As it turns out, Myanmar is kind of an expensive country especially compared with its neighbors in South East Asia. The majority of our expenses were hotels as we really only managed to snag a budget room one night (In Kalaw).

We did manage to come in under our $1500 cash limit (since that was all we had) with enough left over to pay for our Indonesian Visas which were $25 cash each.

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12 Responses to The Cost of Travel in Myanmar

  1. Dave says:

    Thanks for this Liz – we’re heading there in Feb and naturally haven’t come across too many budgets from recent travelers. I’m wondering if you can provide any recommendations on keeping costs low, for example:

    Do they haggle?
    Would it have helped if you tried to book the hotels in advance, for example, on your first day in Myanmar you call ahead for the rest of your trip (so maybe they are not all booked)?
    Any idea why all the hotels in the guide were booked full IF there is no online booking, like, how did everyone get the edge on you?
    There are a few days that show no hotel, like 10/11 – was it included in the hiking tour?

    • ElizabethJ_Bird says:

      Thanks Dave.

      As for hotels – I would say book as far in advance as possible. Maybe a month or two and you can get better deals. As far as the prices, most places have jacked their prices way up because there isn’t much competition. So the prices in the Lonely Planet were wrong.

      Start calling now if you have the dates – the issue is we didn’t know our dates since we didn’t have a visa.

      There is no haggling.

      Yes, the accommodation was included in the Hike – mainly just floors of monasteries or local families.

  2. Marco Fiori says:

    This is really helpful. I’m hoping to visit the country soon and like the above comment says, there’s not much accurate information about how the country costs and how easy it is to get around!

    • ElizabethJ_Bird says:

      Its surprisingly easy to get around. Most hotels can help you book onward transportation for very minimum cost. Usually bus tickets were no more than $10-$15.

  3. budget jan says:

    It is interesting that Myanmar turned out more expensive because of the lack of cheap accommodation. Good to know so people can book in advance, even though it limits flexibility.

    • ElizabethJ_Bird says:

      Myanmar is a really hard place to be flexible with the visas, flights, and hotels. I would recommend planning in advance.

  4. memographer says:

    Thanks. That was helpful. My first concern was the accommodation prices… But reading father down I found what was wrong with that.

  5. Wow, thanks for sharing this info… I had no idea Myanmar could be that expensive – those hotel prices are kind of insane! Certainly not what I was expecting, and I guess we should plan to just book ahead as much as possible or pay the price for being flexible. Do you think the time of year you were visiting had anything to do with the prices you paid or they are always that much, regardless of season?

  6. Turtle says:

    Great breakdown – thanks!
    Did you notice much of a price difference between single and double rooms at the hotels?

    • ElizabethJ_Bird says:

      There isn’t much difference in price – most of them aren’t designed for single occupancy. I didn’t see any dorm rooms while I was there.

  7. Erik says:

    Really, really interesting stuff.

    I’d imagine the lack of budget places to stay is a result of the country just opening up. A few years from now, I can see it being a lot more affordable like it neighbors. If it doesn’t get to that level, it’ll start to lost the momentum it’s gotten as a cool destination (especially to those curious to see this enigmatic country that was closed for so long).

    All that said, it,s on my short list of places in SE Asia I’d like to visit.

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