Saturday, 30 May 2015

Eighteen days backpacking in Myanmar; detailed expenses and itinerary

The moment I knew I wanted to visit Myanmar and started doing research on the web, I realised that the more I read about peoples experiences the more confused I was becoming. If you, like me, do reach the internet to help you plan trips and design possible itineraries, you know what I’m talking about here!

There seems to be out there a lot of confusing information about Myanmar, especially regarding the budget (very expensive versus not expensive at all) and some other “hot topics” like money/currency, etc…

Worse of all, so much information on the web has not been updated recently and given that Myanmar is experiencing big changes at the speed of the light, my info here may come to be very relevant to help you plan your trip accordingly.

The good news is that I have just returned from Myanmar two days ago so everything you will find in this and other posts that I will be publishing within the next few days, are last minute update, happening as I’m typing. Of course, read me again in two years’ time and I may be a little bit outdated.

Here’s is for your information and help a very detailed list of expenses of eighteen intense days in Myanmar.
Of course you can see more, do more and spend more than I did but I think this as a guideline is not bad for now.

A few things to consider though, before you keep reading;

. I travelled alone (my expenses were higher as I did not split the accommodation charges with anyone)

. I don’t drink or party much (if you do, then you must add some additional cash)

. I did not completed my twenty-eight days visa allowance (I chose to stay eighteen days instead)

. In Bagan the cheapest accommodation is found in Nyaung Oo

. I did my Myanmar visa in Bangkok (quite inexpensive)

. I did not bring any new dollars notes but were in OK condition (better if you do, just in case but not absolutely necessary)

. 90% of the Guest Houses/Hotels include breakfast in their price (egg and toasts, mostly)

. ATM machines are VERY widely available everywhere (temples included!)

. You can (and often should) book your transportation directly with the Guest Houses you are staying (often they pick you up)

. The famous new road that connects Myawady in the Thai border with other destinations in Myanmar is officially open but tourists are not allowed (I have spoken though with some tourists that travelled in cars  with black windows and the driver, for a small fee, accepted to go through the new road closing all the windows so the police along the road could not see them)

.  You can pay everything with the local currency (kyats=MMK)
         . The exchange rate these days is like this;

1.000MMK=0.00091 $
1.000MMK=0.00084 Euro
1.000MMK=0.00060 £

.  Many (MANY) places do an exchange rate of 1.000MMK to 1$

. Dorms are still uncommon in Myanmar (you can find some in big cities like Yangon)

The following was my itinerary:

Myawady (border town) - 1 night (spent the night here because the when I arrived the traffic was coming inwards to Myawady through the old road)
Yangon -2 nights
Night bus between Yangon and Bagan (no accommodation required)
Nyaung Oo (Bagan) -2 nights
Mandalay - 2 ½ nights (first night arrived at 3am but paid hotel full price)
Hsipaw – 1 nigh
Nyaung Shwe (for Inle Lake) – 2 nights
Night bus between Inle Lake and Kin Pun (no accommodation required)
Kin Pun (via Bago for Golden Rock) – 1 night
Mawlamyine -1 night
Hpa An – 3 nights
Myawady –leaving on the same day


Bus Chiang Mai to Mae Sot (Thai border): 319 THB
Songthaew (taxi) from Mae Sot Bus Station to the border: 20THB
GH (Guest House) MWD in Myawady (1 night): 8.000MMK
Local Bus Myawady to Yangon: 15.000MMK
Taxi from Yangon Bus Terminal to Sule Pagoda area (where the cheap accommodation is located): 6.000MMK (I split it with another person but he had to negotiate hard as is very far away)
Dorm in Okinawa GH (2 nights): 10.000MMK per night
Entrance fee to visit the Shwegadon Pagoda in Yangon: 8.000MMK
Night Bus Yangon to Bagan: 15.500MMK
Taxi from the Sule Pagoda area back to the Yangon Bus Station: 9.000MMK (split by 4 of us)
Mandatory entrance fee in Bagan: $20 or 22.500MMK (I heart that if you take a taxi and offer to pay him more, he can take a different route to avoid paying the entrance fee. Worth trying…?)
Horse cart Bagan Bus Station to Nyaung Oo: 1.000MMK (split by 2) don’t take a horse cart, takes forever!!
Cherry Pann GH in Bagan (2 nights):7.000MMK per night
E-bike rent to see the temples for 1 ½ days: 9.000MMK
Minivan Bagan to Mandalay: 9.000MMK
Fortune Hotel in Mandalay (2 nights): $20 (split by 2, I paid 9.900MMK per night)
Victoria Hotel in Mandalay (1 night): 12.000MMK
(Note that the area with cheap accommodation was located somewhere else in Mandalay)
Entrance to Mandalay Archaeological Palace (combine ticket for other attractions, too): 10.000MMK
Taxi to Mandalay Hill to watch the sunset (split by 2): total 10.000MMK
(Note that you can walk to the Mandalay Hill but it was extreme hot and we decided against it)
Bus from Mandalay to Hsipaw: 6.000MMK per night (and 2.000MMK additional that I had to pay as I missed my pick up so I took a moto taxi to the bus terminal)
Yee Shin GH in Hsipaw (1 night): 6.000MMK
Bus Hsipaw to Nyaung Shwe in Inle Lake: 15.500MMK
Entrance fee to Inle Lake: 10.000MMK
Princess Garden Hotel in Nyaung Shwe (2 nights): 10.000MMK per night (I negotiated the rate as they were asking for 15-20.000MMK)
Bicycle hire for one day: 1.000MMK
Inle Lake boat trip: 15.000MMK (all boats cost 15MMK or 18.000MMK if you want to see something else outside the standard route) I paid 5.000MMk as I was sharing the boat with other people
Bus Inle Lake to Bago: 15.000MMK
Bus Bago to Kin Pun (1 nights): 7.000MMK
Guest House in Kin Pun (can’t remember the name but sounded like Chinese, NOT recommended): 7.000MMK
Bus Kin Pun to Mawlamyine: 7.500MMK
Breeze GH in Mawlamyine (one night): 8.000MMK
Local bus from Mawlamyine to Hpa An (only two hours): 1.000MMK
Soe Brothers GH in Hpa An (three nights): 7.700MMK per night
Motorbike rent for two days): 8.000MMK per day
Total petrol: 3.000MMK approx.
Transfer to Bat Cave for sunset: 2.500MMK (the GH will offer it on your arrival day but don’t take if you are thinking to rent a motorbike the next day as you
will see it, anyway)
Minivan transfer from Hpa An back to Myawady for the border through the old road: 10.000MMK

Other expenses not mentioned here include food, tons of gallons of water, sweet treats like biscuits and other refreshments.


420 Dollars
274.00 Pounds
382 Euros


  1. as always, the most useful information and everything anyone could need for a tryp. now, impressions? i cannot wait to read them

  2. Thank you! Travelling doesn't have to be expensive, I hope my posts show that!