If you are visiting Myanmar, you will find yourself trying to find a money exchange to change your foreign currency into Myanmar kyat. Although US dollar is universally accepted, small vendors will be reluctant to accept US dollars because of difficulty in exchanging into kyat. So you invariably have to change some money into Myanmar kyat anyway.
The first place you can change is at the airport. There is an authorized money exchange counter at the airport, but the rate they pay is very low, so you better not change there.
Your hotel might be able to make money exchange for you at a reasonable price, so you should always ask their price first. If they cannot, they can give you some advice on it. They can contact a money exchange dealer as they always have contact with these people.
Apart from your hotel, the most convenient place in Yangon to change your dollars into kyat is in Bogyoke market. There are a number of money exchanges in Bogyoke market although none of them are authorized. Just ask any shop in the market and they will show you the direction to one of these black market exchanges.
Next, you can try in the Bar Street (Maharbandoola Garden Street) near the Yangon City Hall. There is Myanmar Foreign Exchange Bank in Bar Street, and many black market dealers stalking the street near by. Just walk along Bar Street, and they will ask you whether you want to sell your US dollar.
There are also some black market money exchanges near Trader’s Hotel in downtown Yangon in Sulae Pagoda Road, but be mindful of them. Read the following comment posted on my blog by one of my visitors.
“ guy said…
I went to the theater on Bogyoke Aung San Rd./33 street. The movie was very dark and the sound crackling (english). But the tickets were available without a problem. Nice way to spend an afternoon in Yangoon. I think I spend about Kyt 500 -600. Btw. Beauty Land II Hotel was a great place to stay. And one more thing. There are always some money changer crooks hanging out in front of the Traders Hotel. When I changed money they let me count 1000 Kt bills and later handed me a stack of 500 Kt bills with the same thickness without me noticing it.
I lost about $15 not to bad but very irritating. Those crooks seem to work in organized groups of spotters and closers. They were nicely dressed and spoke good english. A few days later I recognized one of those guys in front of the Traders Hotel in Yangon and When I grabed one and started to shout for the police they gave me my money back.“
- Personally, I recommend those in Bogyoke Market. They are safer and quite well established, so you are unlikely to be cheated. Those on the street, you cannot trust them.
US dollar is the only acceptable currency in Myanmar although on some occasions, you will find somebody who is willing to buy Thai baht or Singapore dollar. For other currencies, like Japanese yen, Euro or Australian dollar, forget about them. Nobody would take them. So bring enough US dollar when you go to Myanmar.