Myanmar is not for backpackers.
Ok, that’s a bit harsh. But i got your attention didn’t I? 🙂
Myanmar is beautiful country that can not be missed but let’s face it, we are struggling with our budget of 42€ (53 $)/day this month. And we’re not taking any massages, buying souvenirs or eating in nice restaurants.
Myanmar just recently opened its borders again to travelers and is becoming a very popular destination not only for organized tours (majority of tourists) but also for younger people backpacking in Asia. Flights from Bangkok are not expensive and a lot of people come from Thailand. New guesthouses with friendlier prices are opening up but it will take probably a few years more to become a backpacking country.
Myanmar is kinda famous for being a bit more expensive than other Asian countries and we had that in mind but it still surprised us sometimes. Here are some of the things a backpacker should be prepared for:
– bus stations are not in the city and you need a taxi to get you there. Sometimes the bus organizes a ride to the bus station for free.
– taxis are expensive, especially at night. If you take the night bus and arrive in the middle of the night you can pay 10 $ for a 5 min drive. The other option is to wait couple of hours for the local pick up.
– there are more hotels as the guesthouses are only now opening up. We paid 15-20 $ for a (not very fancy) double room on average (shared bathroom).
– admission fees for the main attractions are quite high. To see the Shwedagon pagoda, Golden rock and combo ticket around Mandalay you have to pay around 10 $. Government really needs money, i guess. Some attractions are cheaper but believe me, Sule pagoda is not worth the 3 $ (rather save the money for Shweda).
– although some attractions are free like Mandalay hill, there is a couple of $ of camera fee and they actively check if you paid.
– not only attractions, but just to enter cities (which I suppose everyone wants to on their first visit) of Inle lake and Bagan costs 10 $ and 15 $, respectively. You can’t avoid the fee and they even checked our ticket while viewing the sunset on one of the stupas in Bagan.
– street food is cheap but it becomes expensive (and a really bad value) in the attraction cities. Same goes for soda drinks.
Now that you now what kind of expenses are waiting for you, you’ll give those dollars more easily and can just enjoy the beautiful views 😀