Everything I read online said that Myanmar was far more expensive than the rest of Southeast Asia and to budget accordingly. I think I might have mistook that and went a bit far… but luckily, it was a bit far the better way!
Overall, for 10 days in Myanmar, I spent $616.84. Seriously. I was pretty shocked, especially because I felt like, on the whole, I lived well!
How did that work out?
This took me from Siem Reap to Mandalay, Myanmar. However, cheap flights came at a cost – of having to deal with DMK airport!
Americans needs visas to get into Myanmar, and you can’t get them on arrival. Luckily, they’ve introduced an online process that’s quite easy! It’s a flat $50 for US citizens.
This even included one night of a “whoopsie” in that I booked (and paid for) a hostel bed when I was actually taking the night bus. Oh, well! In general, there were two nights that I took the night bus in Myanmar, and then this includes the overnight in Kuala Lumpur between Myanmar and India. That alone was about $26, which shows you just how cheap Myanmar ended up! I stayed at nicer hostels along the way – mainly because I wanted to make friends (it worked well). So that kept the costs down considerably.
I spent more on transportation in Myanmar because I used busses a lot internally. I flew into Mandalay, but took the bus from Mandalay to Bagan, Bagan to Inle Lake, and then Inle Lake to Yangon. Bus service in Myanmar is known to be a bit safer and more comfortable than air travel (or so I heard). Apparently Myanmar airlines are the only ones who fly domestically in the country, thus they’re able to charge obscene prices and have less-than-stellar safety records. The busses are done well, though! I took the “VIP” bus each time, and for the night busses, that meant a reclining seat about as wide as a standard first-class seat on an airplane. They also provided blankets and pillows, so was a good way to travel overall.
All of the places I stayed had free breakfast daily, so I took advantage of that. Otherwise, I ate WELL in Myanmar. I went to the most expensive local restaurants and ate whatever I wanted. And I started drinking alcohol again because I found a vineyard in Myanmar! I could have been more fastidious and saved a ton of money here, but I am very happy to have eaten well throughout the trip!
I also splurged more than a bit in Yangon – between Rangoon Tea House and The Strand Hotel, this could have come down. But I’m glad I splurged!
Myanmar was incredibly cheap for activities – between renting motorbikes in Bagan to Trek Bikes in Inle; boat rides around Inle Lake, etc. A whole day of motorbike rental in Bagan was about $4!
I needed some new contact solution, a dust blower cleaner for my camera, and I had my laundry done! Yay clean clothes!
I bought another two pairs of the incredibly comfortable pants on offer around here – I realized I did not pack enough, so they’re great to have! And they’re acceptable for all kinds of temple-visiting.
Ultimately, it came out to an average of about $61.69 per day. I targeted my non-flight/visa costs to be under $70/day, and came in at $41.60. (My flight/visa comes out of a separate visa, so when I budget per country per day it’s without those included.) I definitely thought Myanmar was going to be far more expensive than it was, so now my budget has a nice level of padding where I came so far under.
Myanmar really was magical – I’m so glad I got to come before it gets more touristy. There was so much that felt authentic (even in the midst of Inle!), and the people were genuinely nice!
Wow! That sounds like an incredible time in Myanmar! It’s a good thing you’ve got some padding in that budget since I plan to join you in Europe!