Myanmar Money Kyat

Myanmar Money Kyat

The Myanmar currency is the Kyat, it is somehow volatile. Jumping up and down in rather big steps, changing the value within 1 week for 10% and more is not seldom. The Myanmar  currency is not convertible and problem prone anyway. When the US and other government imposed economic sanctions some time ago it ended in a devaluation of around 30%.

Currently (mid 2010) the exchange rate to the dollar at the black market in Yangon was 1$ = 840 Kyats, the best rates for changing money one can get at the Bogyoke Market, currently (2014) its almost 980,-

Since also the private banking system – which was in his infancy state anyway – crashed some times ago, moving most private banks into closing down operations, its a difficult time for the kyat.

If someone wants to buy something and use kyats they have to bring kilos of banknotes with them. Quickly filling up a lets say potato sack since the biggest nomination is 1000 kyat, but this is less than a dollar.

Myanmar money bill counting machines are also not very common that means easily a chafe on the fingers on a bigger transaction.


As you can see life in Myanmar  related to the currency is not so easy.

It is particular dangerous for money changer, they are focused by the authorities as the culprit. Every time the kyat is doing a substantial nosedive the authorities round up a couple of them and punish them quite bad, throwing them into the jail. They are blamed of playing with the money and causing the havoc.

That leads to the situation that many money changer are constantly on the run and a cat and mouse game is on, so they cant find them, its a Kafkaesque situation. A other thing on this subject, when someone arrive at the airport there are some official money changer in the arrival hall, never change money there, they will only give you about half of the actual black market rate.

Myanmar Currency Note of 200 KyatMyanmar Currency Note of 500 Kyat

Myanmar 1000 Kyat Myanmar Currency 1000 kyat backside

Exchange some cash

The best to change money is to go to the Bogyoke market and ask in one of the shops, they will help or tell you where to go, don’t listen to the guys whispering ..change money.. they will cheat you, ask at least at 2 places. You can circumvent this at least a bit when you come from UK, exchanged some cash.

A other big problem related to the money is one cant use any credit card in Myanmar Burma to substitute the currency problem somehow. After the US etc. imposed economic sanctions all financial transaction channels where cut. That means no credit card, no wire transaction, no money movement in and out of Myanmar Burma.  Since there is always a way around sanctions now the system works somehow like the Pakistani and Indians are doing it for already a very long time.

If someone wants to send money abroad they bring the money physically to a person in Myanmar , this person informs his friend, lets say in Singapore he has received a certain amount and maybe tomorrow someone get in touch with this Singapore contact and the Singapore contact pass the money to the particular person, that works quite well but naturally is clumsy somehow.