Myanmar is six hours and 30 minutes ahead of GMT and observes Myanmar Time (MMT) all year round. So in summer, the time difference with the UK is five hours and 30 minutes.
The national currency is the kyat (MMK). You can exchange pounds and dollars for kyat at currency exchange desks at airports and banks. The exchange rate remains the same at exchange desks and banks. Only new notes will be accepted – they do not accept stained or wrinkled notes. You can use international credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, Maestro or Cirrus) to withdraw kyat in Yangon, Mandalay and Naypyidaw Toungoo. For Visa cardholders you can also make withdrawals in Bagan, Pyin Oo Lwin, Kalaw and Nyaung Shwe. The withdrawals are capped at 300,000 kyat (about £180). You are normally able to process three transactions per day, but we recommend you do not to rely on this too heavily and always carry cash. Some luxury hotels accept credit card payments, but the costs for this are high and payments may take a whole day or more to process. Restaurants and shops do not take credit cards. Please note you cannot exchange kyat for GBP once you return to the UK.
Electricity and Plugs
The voltage is 220 volts. Travellers will need to carry a “universal” adapter. Power cuts are frequent so we’d recommend taking a torch.
Most of the shops are open Monday to Friday from 09:30 to 13:00 and from 13:30 to 16:30. Banks are open Monday to Friday from 10:00 to 14:00.
Journalists are no longer required to follow the instructions of censorship in Myanmar. Press freedom is still limited but growing.
To phone Myanmar from the UK, add 00 95 to the front of the number you’re dialling (removing the first zero from the number you’re dialling). To call the UK from Myanmar, use 00 44 before dialling the number. The use of satellite phones is prohibited in the country, for both tourists and residents.
Internet and Mobile Coverage
Most of the cafes, restaurants and hotels in the cities are equipped with WiFi. However, power cuts are frequent, so the Internet is often slow. The phone signal is poor outside the major cities, especially in the mountains and in the south. The roaming agreements with international operators allow for you to call and connect to the Internet with a 3G SIM card. However, rates for this are high, and it is best to buy a local SIM card on arrival.