Yangon (Rangoon), Myanmar
What to See
Anyone visiting Yangon will visit the Shwedagon pagoda, but I strongly recommend to visit twice: once during the day, and once at night. I found that the place sets a very different mood depending on when you're there, not to mention that different times present different opportunities for great photos. And the extra $5 you might pay to get in is obviously well worth it. Speaking of which: for foreigners, the fee was either $5 or 5000 kyat when I was there, $5 being a bit cheaper. Some may try to talk you into paying 5000 kyat instead - I'm sure they change it to dollars and keep the difference. So make sure to have that crisp $5 bill ready when you get there :-)
Where to Shop
Arts & Handicrafts
One of your aims to visit Myanmar may be to buy some traditional arts & handicrafts and Bogyoke Market is the best for it.
You can buy (or at least window-shopping) the followings.
From the expensive ones by Asia famous Myanmar artist to a nice and affordable painting.
2) Old Notes & Stamps
As the notes of Myanmar currency has been changed frequently, you can collect the old notes. And all the old tamps.
Yes, there's a block in the Market where all the gem and jewelery shops are gathered.
5) Wall Hanging
Nice wall hangings which are pure handicrafts.
Know the average price of what you want to buy and bargain!
Image Credit : http://goo.gl/7AxoV
Taxi fares are quite cheap in Myanmar. But you need to bargain as the drivers may ask you slightly higher than their usual price for locals. There are meters operated but are rarely used. So ask the price before you get into it.
1) Asking to on the meter, they may go around the city to reach a very short distance.
1) Know the way you need to go.
2) The minimum fare for shortest distance (2011' jun) is 1500 kyats ($2) and maximum is 7000 kyats ($9) (eg. from airport to city).
3) Ask any local the average fare for the route you wish to go. (If you don't have one, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org)
4) Bargain with smile using the word "please".
Image Credit : http://goo.gl/3uwgF
Money and Banking
Times are a-changing in Myanmar. Here are some up-to-date tips about what you need to know about money exchange in Myanmar: 1. You can now use your Mastercard at CBS ATMs. Other cards are still useless.
2. You can now exchange money at the airport. The rate is normal. The rate might be higher on the streets, but then you stand the chance of being cheated, but hey just keep an eye out in that case.
3. You will get the best rate when you bring 100 dollar bills, from 2006 and later (coloured printing), without any folds/scratches/stamps/scribbles. It however useful to bring 10/20 dollar bills to pay for your hotel as sometimes the exchange at hotels is horrible.
4. The current biggest note is 10.000, but this is hardly used.
There are no ATMs in Myanmar, and you won't be able to use your credit/debit cards. Before you leave the U.S., get clean, crisp, nearly mint condition bills from your bank. It's possible to get nice bills in Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, and China, but it may be a lot of trouble. Keep in mind that in Myanmar, they will not take bills that are creased, torn, limp, or marked up in any way. The tiniest edge tear will likely be cause for rejection. Once you get your clean bills, keep them in a book. If you put them in a wallet or money belt, they will get folded and damp.
You can't find a single ATM there so please be advised to take cash instead of cards! You can exchange your foreign currency (preferably U.S dollar or Singapore Dollar) at your hotel as the safest and fastest way. But the rate there is slightly row than outside. Go to Pan Soe Dan Road or Bo Gyoke Market if you wish to get a bit higher or yours is not a hotel. Be careful. They won't accept if you notes are folded, all the notes should be at its best. Ask at least two or three people to know the average rate. Bargain if you think you should. The current biggest Myanmar note is 5000 kyats and the widely used one is 1000 kyats. Count the notes carefully after you received it.