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Great PaulVDV 2020-12-18 11:18

Hello Ronny,
On my tour in Myanmar long time ago I didn't travel by train.
At the time, travellers were advised to give as little or no money as possible to the state, but to travel by private buses or pick-ups.
Of course you had to purchase the visa. As a result, you could never travel in the country without paying anything to the state of Myanmar. At the time it was possible to avoid the compulsory exchange of dollars in tourist money at the airport. No idea if that system of Burmese money (kyat) and tourist money (I forgot the name) still exists?
I understand the difficulty of estimating the age of a Burmese person.
At the time of my trip, I was in my early 40s and I remember that the average life expectancy in Myanmar was not much higher. A few times I had contact with someone who looked much older than me but turned out to be younger. I found it so sad that Burmans I estimated in their 60s turned out to be younger than me. It was also a difficult confrontation for these people.
I admit I also like to visit famous monuments and touristic highlights. But travelling in a country where you can have contact with the inhabitants is so much more rewarding.
That's why I like these pictures very much.
The smile of the girl in the center (third girl from left) in your main photo is so endearing.
The thanaka on the cheeks makes it extra charming.
Best regards, Paul

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Old 12-19-2020, 04:07 PM
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burmaman burmaman is offline
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Hello Paul!
I thank you for your very nice words for my photos.
The currency you mentioned was the FEC: Foreign exchange certificate.
Foreigners had to exchange at least 200$ and when leaving the country a re change was not possible.
At my first visit in Myanmar in 2006 it was still possible to get these. But there is big black market for currency exchange and you can still pay your guesthose/hotel bills and more expensive items with $ or Euros. No ATMīs and a creditcars did work only at two places. A 5* hotel in Bagan and one in Yangon.
I did read that it last 3-5 days to receive cash money.
In 2006 I received about 1200 Kyat for 1 Euro.The maximum banknote was 1000 Kyat. They have no coins.
The best rate was in Yangon and Mandalay for 100 dollar notes, the rate for eg. 10 or 20 $ notes was about 10% less. NOTICE : they accept only extrem clean and not folded notes. Notes with a little hole from a needle, a little crack or a maybe three milimeter line of a pen they don`t accept.
Now they have also 5000 and 10000 Kyat notes and arriving at the international airport and Bagan airport, there are oficial exchange counters and in bigger cities there are ATM`s.
So Arriving in Yangon I payed my taxi to my guesthouse with $ where I changed money.
Do fit 300 1000 Kyat notes in your wallet? No, I had to store most of them in my backpack. I allways booked my domestic flights and some accomodation(memento lodge / Ngapali beach) via Columbus Travel in Yangon. There they wrote my flight tickets and vouchers by hand had a lot of phonecalls to confirm and I had to pay in $ or Euro. Except my flights and entrance fees ( Bagan 10$, Shwedagon Pagoda / Yangon, 5 $) I tried not to waste my money for the government.
I mainly stayed at family run guesthouses and used the extremely cheap public transport where I met wonderful locals and had a lot of fun.
My next upload tommorrow will be from Mawlamyaing, 320 km from Yangon. 13 hours for 4,5 $ in the uper class. I guess there is no money left for the government.
I allways payed a visa fee of 25 Euros, now it is 50 Euros for 30 days.
Btw. Now for 1 Euro you get about 1600 Kyat.
Best regards,Ronny
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Old 12-20-2020, 06:53 PM
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PaulVDV PaulVDV is offline
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Thank you Ronny,

I remember the huge difference between the official exchange rate and the black market.
I also remember that I had a small backpack half full of Burmese banknotes

Best regards,
Paul
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