How To Explore Myanmar For $25 A Day

Myanmar is one of those places which will simply take your breath away. This stunning, hilarious, downright crazy country is one of the most amazing places I have ever been. I have spent over three years traveling in Asia and Myanmar remains my favourite country. The people, the landscapes, the culture, the trekking, the sheer adventures you can have off of the beaten track – Myanmar is a country which should be at the top of your list!

Myanmar landscape

Unfortunately however Myanmar is, compared to many other Asian countries, a little bit more expensive than you would expect. This is a country which has only been on the backpacker radar for a couple of years and there simply are not enough hostel rooms, tourist buses etc to cater for the demand – this has pushed prices way up. Couchsurfing is allegedly illegal in the country and there are very few hosts online.

Myanmar landscape

So, how can you explore Myanmar without spending more than $25?

Myanmar landscape

 Accommodation

Since couchsurfing isn’t an option, you need to be smart with your accommodation – it definitely pays to have a buddy to share a room with as I only ever came across ONE guesthouse which actually had a dorm so you tend to end up paying for a room regardless of whether you are alone or a pair. The good (cheap!) accommodation fills up quickly, this is one of the very few places in the world where it is probably worth ringing up from your current guesthouse to book accommodation for your next stop. The cheapest I ever got a double room for was $10. The good news is that the accommodation tends to be pretty good quality.

Myanmar landscape

Transport

When it comes to getting around, you have a lot of options. There are now some very nice long distance bus companies which are pretty damn comfy, normally I wouldn’t recommend traveling by transport aimed exclusively at backpackers but these buses are mostly filled with more affluent Myanmans. If you do catch one of these buses, expect to pay between $10 – $15 for your ticket, the advantage of traveling at night is you do of course save on a hostel room bill. You could also look at taking local buses during the day but be warned these are very slow, the good news is they are super cheap. Even better than buses – hitching! I successfully hitched a dozen short to medium distances whilst in Myanmar on trucks, I am sure with perseverance you could hitch longer distances.

Myanmar landscape

 Food and beer!

Ah, Myanmar – how I miss your beer! Myanmar Beer is, in my humble opinion, some of the best damn beer around in Asia! And it costs just 50 cents in most places throughout the country! Food is simple, cheap and available on pretty much every street corner. For one dollar, you can eat a very filling meal of traditional Myanman cuisine. Street sellers with trays of local delicacies and markets seem to be on every corner – you can pick up a snack for around 10 cents.

Myanmar landscape

 Sightseeing

Many of the sites in Myanmar are free to get into but some, such as the Inle Lake Area and the Bagan Temples cost $5 to enter – however, once you get your ticket it is valid for 30 days so simply try to find another backpacker who has already been and ask them for their ticket. This worked a treat whilst we were there. And, that’s a wrap! Check out my brand spanking new article on 10 reasons you should visit Myanmar or if you want to know more about the practicalities of traveling around Myanmar, check out this country guide.

Myanmar landscape

About the author

photo (3)

Who the hell is Will? – Writer and photographer. Adventurer and vagabond. Master of the handstand pushup. Conqueror of the infamous dick tick, survivor of deadly motorbike crashes and crusader for cheap escapades. Avid hitch-hiker. Not above borrowing bread. Part-time farmer, full-time charmer. Frequently uses stolen napkins as toilet paper. Has an extensive vocabulary but mostly uses ‘dude’ and ‘awesome’ to convey all emotions. Inventor of the man-hug. Has been described as an incorrigible cad. Sexually aroused by raging rapids, perilous peaks and paleo cheesecake. In constant need of a haircut. Smells of old leather.

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Agness Walewinder
Agness Walewinder
Travel freak, vagabond, photography passionate, blogger, life enthusiast, backpacker, adventure hunter and endless energy couchsurfer living by the rule "Pack lite, travel far and live long!"
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28 thoughts on “How To Explore Myanmar For $25 A Day”

  1. Great post, and so helpful to get an insight into costs in Myanmar. Myanmar will (almost) be my first stop on my RTW trip in January (via Bangkok) and I’m not too clued up on costs or how to get around or anything. So info like this is so useful. Someone mentioned to me recently that they got around a fair bit by riverboat, especially to get between Bagan and Mandalay, did you have any experience with this?

    1. Hi Charlie! You are going to have an AMAZING time in Myanmar, it’s a truly special place! Yep – there are lots of river boats available and I definitely recommend catching the one from Mandalay to Bagan, when I was there we got on at 2am (we were actually coming from Inle as had already passed through Mandalay on our way further norther) and we got into Bagan in the late afternoon, hell of a journey but well worth it – met some great people (mostly locals get around by boat) and saw some villages that looked unchanged for millennia! :)

  2. It’s good to know that Myanmar isn’t too pricy. It is sure to be a stop for us the next time we head to SE Asia!

    1. Hi Andrew,

      I didn’t really stay in hotels – more in small guesthouses and hostels but there were some good options around albeit not much choice – when I went, two years ago, although there was very few backpackers there was hardly any accommodation. If you check this out – https://www.thebrokebackpacker.com/backpacking-burma/ – it includes more details on where to stay whilst out there :)

      Will

  3. Miriam of Adventurous Miriam

    I’ve always wanted to visit Myanmar and I’m hoping to do so next year so thanks for this great guide! I had no idea couchsurfing was illegal there, but good to know!

  4. Vanessa @ The Travelling Colognian

    I haven’t made it to Myanmar yet, but my parents have been there three times (my Mom even four times). Except of their most recent visit in February 2013 they travelled across the country before Myanmar opened up for the west and was still a hidden gem. I also intend to go there, but I will follow their local guide’s advice and wait till more guesthouses are built and the prices decrease again, even if it is more touristy then.

  5. Almost went in 1999 but was advised not to then, hope to make it there one day soon though! Looks very beautiful!

  6. Katie @WorldWideVegetarian.com

    Great tips! Even though Myanmar is a little more expensive, it is definitely a country I want to see when I am over in the region in a few months. Thanks for your post.
    Katie

  7. A small update – the entry to Inle has been recently revised to US$10. I had paid $5 last year, but I was there again last month and the rate was double.

  8. Great article and advise Will. Myanmar is really opening up now after political acceptance into the global community. I dare say within a decade it could become the new hot spot for travellers to visit and take away from some of the other Asian popular spots of today.

    No doubt accommodation and travel options will open up with growth. This could really be a fascinating spot which was so hidden from us in the past.

    The beer sounds tempting too :-)

    I have heard some people say that there are a few touts around trying to rip tourists off in Myanmar. Did you come across any of this?

  9. Constance - Foreign Sanctuary

    Great post on Myanmar! It looks like a great place to explore and since it is just opening up, it is also nice to visit now before it becomes one of the big spots to visit. Good rundown on the lodging as well.

  10. Tim | UrbanDuniya

    Great tips here! Myanmar is one of those countries which can be really cheap, but the costs can add up if you don’t know what to do/where to go. Thanks for sharing :)

  11. Escaping Abroad

    You’ve been to so many amazing places! Always enjoy the photos and love the under $25/day theme.. will definitely be using some of these tips :)

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