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Crisp, Creased, Printing Ink on USD

Question: I’m planning a trip to Burma in a couple of days, been reading alot that I must make sure the USD / Euros i am bringing over is in perfect condition. How true is it now for 2012?

Answer: Hi there, unfortunately that’s very true. When in Myanmar, they will check your USD / Euros with magnifying glaases, and tend to offer you lesser exchange rates for those “imperfect” notes, many times, they will even reject exchanging those, leaving you with lesser than expected budget for the trip!

So please do inform your bank ahead that you want new notes for your travel, this can be done a few weeks before your departure. (however that’s only viable if you are from the USA)

Here are some other travellers’ experiences with exchanging the USD

Now I’m back from Myanmar and can give my experiences. Nobody said anything about printing ink on my bills. Only time when they refused to change my 100USD bill was in Yangon airport because my note had AB series. I don’t know why it was a problem for them.But as only 200USD was changed per person I gave them another one with different series and with AB note just paid my travel agent bill later. In Yangon airport I saw that some people had folded notes and that wasn’t problem at all. At the same time in Mandaly airport they refused to take note with tiny color spot.

Yes, it could be a problem in a bank. We took USD2500 in brand new notes and three of the USD100 were refused because they had a small water stain in one corner (where the teller had used a wet sponge to count out the bills). You should still be able to offload slightly soiled bills at hotels – pay your final bill with them and tell them it’s all you have – they want the money! At the end of our trip I was asked by other travellers to change their dodgy notes for our left-over pristine ones = not a problem, our bank here in New Zealand has changed them all back to NZ dollars.

I brought about thirty 100 Dollar bills and went to the official money changers offices in Yangon at Thein Pyu Road. about half got rejected. I also brought Euro bills. 1 got rejected because the Euro flag had a small printing error. A miniscule line of a fraction of 1 millimeter had no ink. I needed a magnifiction glass to see it.

We took the best quality $US bills that I could find after trips to 3 Canadian banks. As we arrived in Yangon before the bank exchange at the airport opened, our guide took us to a bank. The woman barely glanced at the bills before giving us our crispy new 5000s. At a travel agency in Mandalay, the woman just ran the bills through a machine. No problem. We got fairly new 1000s. At a Mandalay bank there was a brief look at the bills but, again, no problem and all new 5000s.

We are 7 malaysians on a tour to Yangon-Bagan-Mandalay-Inle Lake for 6 days by Exoticmyanmar tours and Travels on-line agency from 14 to 19 January,2012. .We didn’t know that they are are so particular about the condition of the USD ; and also credit cards cannot be used .So , we had to settle @ a lower exchange rate @ 1 usd to 770 kyats for our less ” crisp and unsoiled usd notes. The money exchange bureau in the Yangon airport give a better exchange rate .

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PkTan is fascinated with this beautiful, complicated country. He love advising travellers to Myanmar and have developed this site to share all his knowledge of Myanmar with everyone.

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