Anyone been to Myanmar lately? I'd like an update on the mandatory $200 FEC exchange. Is it still in effect or are people getting by with a "gift"?
Also, are tourists use kyats? Suppose you spent your FECs. Couldn't you get kyats on the black market and use them at hotels, restaurants, and sites?
I was in Myanmar around this time last year.The mandatory FEC exchange was no longer in place. Some guesthouses & world heritage sites wanted payment in $US dollars, however the local currency was generally used by all
On that note, is it more useful to bring US$ to countries like Myanmar and Cambodia than changing into the local currency?
$US dollars are always useful and readily exchanged. Probably $US100 or so is a good reserve to have hidden somewhere on you. ($5, $10 & $20 notes are handy, then no one can say they don't have change). Weak currencies in countries such as Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos & Vietnam, are virtually impossible to exchange when you leave the country in question. Weak currencies usually means wads of small-value notes to carry around. For the most part, it's simpler to deal in the local currency, and you stand less chance of being ripped off with sleight of hand tricks. Whenever I exchange money, I try to initially do so with one only $US100 bill. This makes calculation of the exchange rate really easy. Usually there is no need to change money into the local currency until you arrive at your destination. Money-changers / banks, etc are usually on hand at transport entry terminals, such as airports and the like
Very helpful as usual...thanks Wocca