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Burmese kyat: All the facts about the currency of Myanmar

by Juan José Herranz | July 24, 2019
old lady and child sitting in patio in Myanmar

The Republic of the Union of Myanmar, also known as Burma, has a currency called the Burmese kyat. The first Burmese kyat in history dates from the mid-19th century. The current one, however, is the third type and has been in use since 1952.  Currently, there are five types of coins and ten types of notes.

Coins of Myanmar

Its five coins can be easily identified by the type of metal or its size. On the front of the coins the Burmese lion always appears, while on the back you can see the value of the coin and ears of rice, in addition to the year of minting. Although the five types have copper, one has zinc and is reddish. Two have nickel and zinc to make them golden.

Finally, the other two only have nickel and are silver. By size, also in the same order, are the following: 1 Kyat, 5 Kyats, 10 Kyats, 50 Kyats and 100 Kyats. We recommend that you familiarise yourself with the coins before travelling. This way, you can quickly identify them as soon as you arrive and change your currency at the airport to have the money as soon as possible and pay for small things, like coffees (200-500 K, €0.12-0.29, $0.13-0.33), public transport tickets (journeys of 8-9 hours for 4,000 K; €2.32; $2.63), etc.

Banknotes of Myanmar

Do not worry about the amount of tickets you can find in this monetary system. It is true that ten varieties of bills are a lot, but you will not receive most of them. The ten banknotes that exist have the value of: 50 pyas and of 1; 5; 10; 20; 50; 100; 200; 500 and 1,000 kyats. As for their colours, they differ. Following the same order of value: violet and orange, red and brown, brown and blue, violet, green, orange and brown, blue and green and pink, green, violet and brown, violet and green.

banknote of Myanmar

We recommend that you bring a list that reminds you of the value of each banknote by its colour. In this way, in your wallet, it will be much easier to identify them without having to look at them all one by one, to see which number it has. In addition, payment with banknotes will be very useful for important payments, such as the hotel, long trips, meals for several diners (7,000-1,2000 K per head; €4.06-6.95; $4.61-7.90).

We also recommend that you put the banknotes in order from the lowest value banknotes to the highest value ones, so you do not get confused so easily.

Exchange rate for dollar to Kyat

As of 2023, the exchange rate for dollar to Kyat is: 1 USD = 2102,60 MMK.

Exchange rate for euro to Kyat

As of 2023, the exchange rate for euro to Kyat is: 1 euro = 2253,12 MMK.

Exchange rate for pound to Kyat

As of 2023, the exchange rate for poung to Kyat is: 1 pound sterling = 2595,23 MMK.

How much money can I bring to Myanmar?

Keep in mind that in Myanmar it is important to always have money. There are not many places where you can make card payments. If you go out for drinks, a cocktail is around 1,500-3,000 K (€0.87-1.74, $0.99-1.98). A bottle of rum costs between 2,000 and 3,000 K (€1.16-1.74, $1.32-1.98).

Since the need to pay in cash is so high, it is important that you properly check each coin and banknote. Also bear in mind that in places such as temples or monasteries they request donations or bribes. If you are interested in visiting these places, it is advisable that you bring low value banknotes with you.

spices in bags in Myanmar