Odds & Ends
At the moment, most commerce in Yangon is cash-only. Almost all purchases made in Yangon must be done in cash. For this reason, it’s probably best to exchange a good chunk of your foreign money at the airport, at the booth next to the baggage claim. They have reliably good rates, and are government-sponsored. With the lifting of US sanctions on financial services, ATM’s are beginning to pop up more and more in the busier parts of the city, but credit cards will remain useless for everything but settling room bills at expensive hotels. Due to forgery concerns, the Burmese will only accept crisp, new foreign notes. Locals: They’ll always accept USD, but bringing other currencies can be is a bit of a gamble. The best way to deal with this is to take out a large sum of crisp, American dollars at the airport as well as some of the local currency, which will be useful when making donations at religious sites. For more withdrawals, it is best to visit a bank to take out cash. Hopefully soon, foreign banks will be allowed to do business in Myanmar, but until then, opt for private banks like Kanbawza Bank, First Private Bank, Myanmar Oriental Bank, Cooperative Bank, United Amara Bank, Myanmar Apex Bank, and the Myanmar Livestock and Fisheries Development Bank to which Western Union has introduced money transfer services. Be wary of street youths who offer to change money with them. They’ll give great rates, but will end up screwing you with sleight of hand and, sometimes, intimidation.
When visiting holy sites (pagodas, etc.) be sure to take off your shoes and dress conservatively!
If you go to a bar/club and see someone you’d like to talk to (or maybe more), be careful. Burmese guys especially can be very possessive of their girlfriends and girls they like, and may intervene forcibly if you get too cozy with one.
Always negotiate cab fares. You may save a bit of money each time, which adds up.
Yangon is one of the safest cities in the world and street crime is very rare. The government takes crimes against foreigners very seriously, so walking around at night or alone is not a problem for most people (including young, single women). The most common crime is being short-changed by money-changers when converting foreign currency. To avoid this, always count bills after the exchange and take most of your transactions to the private banks, instead of the money-changers on the street or in markets.