Bogyoke Aung San Market - Abbey Travel, Ireland

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Welcome to Bogyoke Aung San Market

Bogyoke Aung San Market

Bogyoke is an important market for tourists arriving or leaving Myanmar and not only for shopping, for this is the best place in town to convert foreign currency. The official exchange rates of the Myanmar kyat is kept artificially strong by the government set rates. This has created a large black-market trade in the currency at a much better price for tourists. The best place to change currency is in the central jewellery section of the market. Most of the shops provide the service and money exchanging hawkers line the area waiting for tourists. To maximize the rates it is best to ask several different vendors and bargain hard. Be careful to count your money and do the exchange math yourself.

Once the tourists have money the market is a great place to buy crafts, art work, jewellery or antiques. Popular souvenirs include Burmese cigars, and old currency, some of which was issued in the curious but numerologically auspicious denominations of 35, 70 and 90 kyat notes. It is open daily from 9 am to 5 pm and is centrally located in downtown Yangon.

Information & Facts

Burmese is the official language, yet English is widely spoken and understood. Burmese's alphabet is made up of circular and semi-circular characters. Other languages spoken are Karen, Shan and Kachin.

The official currency is the Kyat (MMK) pronounced 'Chat'. The best currency to travel on in Myanmar is the US Dollar. The Foreign Exchange Certificate (FEC) is a legal currency for visiting tourists that is usable in government shops and hotels. It is no longer a requirement to convert US$200 into FEC upon arrival in Myanmar. One FEC is equivalent to one US Dollar. It is recommended to use US Dollars. It is difficult to cash American Express travellers cheques in certain cities, such as Mandalay, and even when it is possible the commission can be as high as 10 percent. US Dollar notes will not be accepted if they are damaged or torn in any way, or have pen marks on them. There is a big difference between the official and unofficial exchange rates; street moneychangers offer favourable rates at hotels and Scott Market. As a rough guide, the black market rate is in the region of US$1 = MMK 1000 - a dramatic difference when compared to the official government rate. Very few major hotels, airlines, shops and restaurants accept credit cards and ATM cards can rarely, if ever, be used. It is advisable to carry cash. Banks are closed on weekends.

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