Is tipping customary in Myanmar?

As in many Asian countries, tipping is not customary in Myanmar. It means that an act of generosity could potentially be misconstrued as an insult to the locals. Nevertheless, Myanmar tourism has been developing and more and more international tourist visits Myanmar each year; thus, the perception of tipping etiquette has been changed. Setting aside a small amount for restaurant staff, porters and other service workers is considered polite. With most Burmese people earning a low wage, a modest tip will be accepted graciously by most.

FAQs on Myanmar (Burma)

FAQs on Myanmar (Burma)

How can I get access to the Internet in Myanmar?

The Internet in Myanmar has been available since 2000 when the first Internet connections were established. Beginning in September 2011, the historically pervasive levels of Internet censorship in Burma were significantly reduced. Prior to September 2011, the military government worked aggressively to limit and control Internet access through software-based censorship. While internet access can be found in some cities and large towns, the speed may be slow and popular websites like Gmail, Facebook, Skype, and Yahoo are usually blocked. Thus, when traveling in Burma, be prepared to have a break from technology for a while.

What will it cost for a…?

Street food snack = 300-400 MMK
Bottle of beer in a bar or restaurant = 1500-2000 MMK
Banquet in a small, locally-run restaurant = 2000-3000 MMK
Dinner in a high-end hotel restaurant = 10,000+ MMK

Will bottled water be readily available?

Like in many Southeast Asian countries, tap water does not guarantee the hygiene so we highly recommend not drinking water in Burma. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Instead, fill a reusable water bottle or canteen with filtered water. We strongly urge our tour participants to carry their own reusable water bottle and bring a water purifier, such as a SteriPen, so as to cut down on the number of plastic water bottles that get thrown out daily in Myanmar. It’s also advisable to avoid ice in drinks and peel fruit and vegetables before eating.

Are credit cards accepted widely in Myanmar?

Credit cards are now accepted in hotels in Myanmar. However, except for the big city like Yangon, you can hardly use credit cards while traveling to some remote part in the countryside. Therefore, bringing cash is necessary.

Are the traveler’s checks viable in Burma? Are ATM’s available? Do vendors usually take credit cards or do small vendors not have the equipment?

This is very important. U.S. dollars are used more often than anything else in Burma. ATM’s are just starting to open but we can’t guarantee their availability as of this writing. Bring cash and traveler’s checks as a backup. For your cash, make sure that the bills are clean and new, without rips, tears, or wrinkles. Bring bills that are newer than 2006.
Depending on your spending habits, consider carrying a couple of 100’s, a couple of 50’s and plenty of 5’s, 10’s 20’s, and singles for smaller purchases. Burma is a very safe country, but you may want to put your passport and cash in a neck pouch under your shirt.

Is it appropriate to wear shorts and tank tops in Burma?

No, it’s not. Though it is one hot country, it is very conservative when it comes to clothing. You’ll be best off wearing light pants, capris (below the knees), or skirts (again, below the knees). Although when you wear short skirts, nobody will respond, it is considered as a disrespect action to the country.

What sort of power adapter do I need?

Burma uses the same sort of adapter as other parts of SE Asia. Buy one from a local travel store and chat with a salesperson to make sure you’ve got the right one.

Can I use my cell phone in Burma?

You’ll want to check with your cell phone provider about coverage in Burma. If they do offer service there, it can be quite expensive, upwards of $4/minute. It’s best to not expect to use yours while you’re traveling in-country.

How much should I bring for spending money?

It really just depends on your spending habits. Generally, it costs about $35 for a budget day in Myanmar including food and drink. The price of traveling from Yangon airport to the city center by car is about $10. Traveling by taxi within the city center depends on your distance. The average journey is about $1.5. We often find that even those who say they don’t like to shop, end up falling in love with some of the unique crafts in Burma and end up bringing back more than they planned. Souvenirs are not as cheap as you’ll find in Thailand but they aren’t super expensive either.