We decided after more than a year in South America to spend the second year of our world travel adventure visiting Southeast Asia. After researching each country in the area, we knew that Myanmar needed to be our first stop. It is so different from the rest of Southeast Asia. Myanmar has retained its traditional ways and has seen very little modernization. It has ancient temples and pagodas that are completely unique and mystifying.
Myanmar has been in the news a lot over the past decade, some of it good and some of it bad. Slowly, it is a country integrating itself into the rest of the world after an extensive period of isolation. One thing about the country that has been completely stable is the warmth of the people. They are so polite, humorous, and show a gentle kindness the made our visit here enjoyable.
We spent two weeks visiting the country. We began with 4 days in the capital of Yangon, famous for it golden Shwedagon Pagoda. And no trip to Myanmar is complete without a visit to Bagan. This is the location of an archeological zone containing the remnants over 4,000 ancient temples. Finally, after 6 days in Bagan we finished our time with a visit to the country’s northern city of Mandalay. This was great place to spend four days visiting temples and observing the gold-leaf and silk handicraft trades.
The cost to travel in Myanmar is very reasonable, even by Southeast Asia standards. Below, we will share with you how much we spent from our travel budget in Myanmar. We’ll also provide some suggested budgets for you, depending on your travel style, should you decide to come visit the magical and extraordinary country of Myanmar.
Our Travel Budget in Myanmar
Housing – $303 (average of $22US per day)
We stayed in one guesthouse (Yangon), one hotel (Bagan), and one hostel (Mandalay). Our favorite of these was the WEStay@Bagan Lotus Hotel. It had a nice pool, a free transportation shuttle into town, an excellent breakfast buffet, and staff that always went out of their way to make our stay enjoyable.
Food – $169 (average of $12 per day)
All of our accommodations included breakfast, so we usually loaded up our stomachs in the morning and then would eat one more meal later in the day. Street food is incredibly cheap–you can get a bowl of soup or local dish for about $1. The cafes and restaurants offer a great value for the amount of food you get, and usually cost around $5 for a meal.
Activities – $748 (average of $53 per day)
There was one activity that dominated our budget, but it was worth every penny. Our hot air balloon ride over the archeological zone in Bagan was an unforgettable experience. We had a bird’s eye view of the sun slowly rising and illuminating thousands of temples scattered over the ancient city. The cost was $350 per person. Other sightseeing costs, such as entrance tickets to temples and pagodas, range in price from $1 to $10 depending on which ones you are visiting.
Transportation – $169 (average of $12 per day)
Getting around Myanmar is inexpensive. Our bus from Yangon to Bagan was only $11 each. Then, to get from Bagan to Mandalay we decided to take a day cruise up the Irrawaddy River. The cost for this cruise was $37 each, which included two meals. Getting around Yangon by bus is only about 10 cents, and a tuk-tuk ride in Mandaly costs around $1.75.
Miscellaneous – $210 (average of $15 per day)
The two main expenditures in the category were the visa fee to enter the country ($50 each) and the cost of our travel health insurance policy.
Our Travel Budget Grand Total…
Our total cost of our 14-day trip to Myanmar was $1,599, or an average of $114 per day, for the two of us. This cost does not include our flight to and from Myanmar or a few donations that we made. That hot air balloon ride was by far our biggest expense. Our average daily spending would have dropped from $114 to around $70 if we had skipped that experience.
Your Travel Budget in Myanmar
If you travel to Myanmar your spending will probably not be the same as ours. Everyone has a different style of travel. We tend to travel more slowly, visiting fewer places and spending more time in each place. Also, we choose to avoid expensive meals, alcohol, and souvenirs.
We have divided our suggested travel budgets for visiting Myanmar into three categories, and have included our spending for comparison.
- We think a couple could get by on $65 per day if you stick to staying in hostels, eat cheaply, and use the most inexpensive forms of transportation.
- A good mid-range budget of $120 per day for two would allow you to stay in 2 and 3 star hotels and eat in modestly-price restaurants.
- At the high end, $265 would allow you to stay in 4 and 5 star international chain hotels, eat in the finest restaurants, and take flights to get around the country.
Again, these are very rough recommendations for travel budgets to Myanmar. Everybody has a different method of traveling and spending and it’s impossible to predict the exact cost for a trip to Myanmar.
We loved our time in Myanmar and are hoping to return again sometime in the future. This is a country that has yet to become modernized or influenced by the west. But it’s slowly changing. Come visit now while you can still experience Myanmar in its pure form.