Travel Expenses: Brunei and Myanmar

Brunei surprised me. It wasn’t as expensive as I initially thought it would. Though my taxi from the airport was expensive, my expenses in Bandar Seri Begawan was kept at a minimum. You can live in Brunei for BND$20 a day: $10 for a night’s stay at Pusat Belia, $3 for breakfast, lunch and dinner and $4 for bus rides all around the city. None of the places we visited had any admission fees.

Myanmar can both be expensive and cheap. In restaurants catering to tourists (usually ones that appear in the guidebooks), you can expect to shell out an average of MMK 2,000 per meal. If you’re adventurous and eat in the streets though, you can get noodles as cheap as MMK 500. A liter of purified water usually go for MMK 300 per bottle. Taxi rides within Yangon can go for MMK 1,500, depending on the driver, the distance and your bargaining skills.

Brunei and Myanmar
November 16 – 27, 2010
US$ 1 = MMK 830 BN$ 1 = PHP 33
US$ 1 = PHP 43.50 MYR 1 = PHP 14

In local currency In Peso
Air transfers
Cebu Pacific
Manila – Bandar Seri Begawan PHP 1,799.50 PHP 1,799.50
Inflight meal PHP 250.00 PHP 250.00

Malaysia Airlines
BSB – Kuala Lumpur, KL – Yangon
KL – Manila
ASEAN Pass US$ 299.00 PHP 13,006.50 1
Itinerary change fee MYR 79.00 PHP 1,106.00 2

Air Asia
Yangon – Kuala Lumpur US$ 122.95 PHP 5,348.33 3
Includes red seat, Nasi Lemak meal

Philippine Travel Tax PHP 1,620.00 PHP 1,620.00
NAIA Airport Tax PHP 750.00 PHP 750.00
Brunei Departure Tax BN$ 12.00 PHP 396.00
Myanmar Departure Tax US$ 10.00 PHP 435.00 4

Bandar Seri Begawan
Pusat Belia BN$ 20.00 PHP 660.00 5
Female dorm, shared toilet and bath
2 nights

Kuala Lumpur
Concorde Inn MYR 184.00 PHP 2,576.00 6
Standard room, breakfast included
1 night

Garden Hotel US$ 9.00 PHP 391.50 7
Single room, ensuite toilet, TV, A/C
1 night

New Heaven Guesthouse MMK 18,000.00 PHP 943.37 8
Twin room, ensuite toilet, A/C
2 nights, US$9 per night

Ocean Pearl Inn US$ 10.00 PHP 435.00 9
Single room, ensuite toilet, TV, A/C
1 night

Meal expenses
Bandar Seri Begawan BN$ 17.20 PHP 567.60 10
Kuala Lumpur RM 25.00 PHP 350.00 11
Yangon MMK 9,320.00 PHP 473.72 12
Mandalay RM 6,700.00 PHP 351.03 13
Bagan MMK 5,300.00 PHP 277.52 14

Transportation expenses
Taxi to and from airport PHP 940.00 PHP 940.00 15

Bandar Seri Begawan
Taxi from airport BN$ 25.00 PHP 775.00 16
Bus BN$ 8.00 PHP 264.00 17

Taxi from airport to bus station and city US$ 15.00 PHP 652.50 18
Taxi MMK 17,000.00 PHP 890.87 19
Bus to Mandalay MMK 10,500.00 PHP 550.27 20
Taxi to airport MMK 6,200.00 PHP 324.94 21

Taxi MMK 20,000.00 PHP 1,048.35 22
Motorcycle to boat dock MMK 2,000.00 PHP 104.84
Boat to Bagan US$ 36.00 PHP 1,566.00 23

Taxi MMK 4,000.00 PHP 209.67 24
Horse Cart US$ 37.00 PHP 1,609.50 25
Bus to Yangon MMK 15,000.00 PHP 786.04 26

Mandalay Hill shoe locker MMK 200.00 PHP 10.44 27
Bagan Archaeological Park fee US$ 10.00 PHP 435.00 28
Shwedagon Paya admission fee MMK 6,000.00 PHP 314.50 29
Brunei Souvenirs BN$ 6.50 PHP 208.00 30
Myanmar Souvenirs MMK 11,500.00 PHP 608.45 31
Internet MMK 5,000.00 PHP 262.30 32

Total PHP 43,297.74

1 Decided to try out Malaysia Airlines’ ASEAN Pass. I put off buying the tickets until a month before the trip, so getting the pass was a better value since prices on low cost airlines have already shot up.
2 Here’s the thing about the ASEAN Pass: you can make changes to your itinerary, but it’d cost you US$25 each time.
3 Ended up buying an Air Asia ticket because the flight date I got on MH was too soon (Nov 25) and the next available flight is too far (Nov 30).
4 Payable only in US dollars in mint condition.
5 Cheapest place to stay in Bandar Seri Begawan. The rooms are clean, as are the toilets. The location is unbeatable.
6 Opted to stay near KLIA. I could have just slept at the airport, but I was glad I reserved a room ahead because I wasn’t feeling too good that night.
7 It was okay enough, but will definitely try out other options if I find myself in Mandalay again.
8 What I like about this place is the small veranda outside the room. Room and toilet is very basic, but has A/C and hot water.
9 I love them because they let me check in at 5am.
10 Food is surprisingly cheap in Brunei. You can get a nasi katok meal or a huge serving of char kuey teow for only BN$1.
11 Room service at Concorde Inn. Kissman wouldn’t let me pay for any meals we had when I stayed with them on the way back to Manila
12 A traditional Myanmar meal (one dish served with rice and side dishes) usually go for MMK 2,000 – MMK 3,000 in restaurants. Noodles brought at streetside stalls can go for as low as MMK 600 per bowl.
13 Had a MMK 3,000 fried rice meal on the boat to Bagan
14 Fried rice overload.
15 I hate the yellow airport taxis.
16 Taxis from the airport usually cost BN$ 30. For some reason, I was only charged BN$ 25.
17 The city buses in Brunei costs BN$ 1, regardless the distance. It even goes to the airport!
18 Both the airport and the bus station were a fair distance from downtown Yangon. The driver and I agreed on $7 for the trip to the bus station (with a detour to his friend’s place to exchange my dollars) and $8 for the trip to the city.
19 Taxi fares around Yangon averages at MMK 2,000, depending on your driver.
20 Airconditioned bus, comes with a free bottle of water and bread.
21 Surprisingly cheap, arranged through Ocean Pearl Inn.
22 Bargaining isn’t my priority at 6 in the morning and fresh from a 12-hour bus ride. That ride up Mandalay Hill was priceless.
23 The tourist boat. It has an air conditioned cabin where they show Hollywood movies with no audio, just English subtitles. Most of the passengers are on the 2nd deck, where they can tan and enjoy the fresh air.
24 Fixed rate, as stated in a tarpaulin at the boat dock.
25 MMK 8,000 for a half-day tour, US$25 for a sunrise tour (5am – 3pm)
26 Similar to the bus to Mandalay, bus is airconditioned and comes with free bottle of water and snacks.
27 There was a sign asking people not to carry their shoes, and my guide was quick to put our footwear in a locker.
28 With a booth set up at the boat dock, it was impossible to avoid them. The pass is valid for 5 days, but I was never asked to present my pass at any temple.
29 Admission fee is US$ 5, but for some reason they weren’t accepting dollars, only kyat at the rate of MMK 6,000 per person.
30 Magnet, postcard and postage
31 Magnet, postcard, postage and packets of Myanmar tea
32 Internet is slow (and firewalled), but cheap. Price range from MMK 200 to MMK 1,000 per hour.
RELATED:   Travel Expenses: Hong Kong

Brunei and Myanmar.xls (20k)
Brunei and Myanmar.pdf (60k)

Article by Nina Fuentes

Nina doesn't aim to travel to every country in the world -- she just wants to travel to the places that means the most to her. She started traveling in 2006, and hopes to travel for as long as she can. Her travel blog, Just Wandering won the Best Travel Blog in the 2010 Philippine Blog Awards and in the 2011 Nuffnang Asia Pacific Blog Awards.

This Article Has 27 Comments
  1. Ed says:

    anlinis nina! hehe. linis ng pagkagawa ng sheet. is this in Excel only? hehe.

    thanks for posting! this will be really helpful once i plan to check out these places. :D

  2. flip says:

    nice one nina… agit tuloy ako mag travel kasola pa pera hehe ipon muna…

  3. chyng says:

    ang mahal ng asean pass! i wanna ask what’s that for, pero wala pa din naman ako balak magtravel to these places very soon. hihi

    • nina says:

      Mahal compared to tickets on budget airlines bought way in advance, but reasonable if you book close to your departure date. Also, this is on Malaysia Airlines, so di na masama ang presyo kasi you’re getting better service ;) Nakailang Ferrero Rocher at Häagen-Dazs din ako sa ere lol.

      The pass can be used to travel to ASEAN cities. Kaya rin I opted to try it out (aside from wanting to try it out so I can write about it [yes, the lengths I go for my blog]), is that the flights I wanted (Brunei – KL, KL – Yangon) can be quite expensive. Yung total if I do it with 5J and AK, mas mahal pa than the ASEAN pass!

  4. Cedric says:

    First of all, yeah, bilib ako sa tables ng data. Haha. On a serious note, I’m sure this would be helpful eventually when I decide to go to Brunei and Myanmar too in the future. :D

  5. dementedchris says:

    Syempre ang nag-stick sa akin yung fact na may free bread and water ang bus ride mo. Panalo!

  6. dyanie says:

    I’m supposed to ask na re asean pass kaso natanung na pala ni chyng haha. may bayad pala na tax sa ibang bansa pag umalis. ang detailed ng list mo teh!

    • nina says:

      Yup! Yung sa Indonesia, Brunei and Myanmar has to be paid at the airport. If you’re buying from the Malaysia Airlines ticketing office in Makati and you’re using the pass to fly out of Manila, the Philippine Travel Tax will be added on top of the $299, but the Php 750 airport tax still has to be paid at the airport.

  7. Christian says:

    Uy congrats! I just saw that you’re one of the finalists for the travel blog of the year!! =)

  8. Jepoi says:

    This is cool… I miss Brunei… It’s so hot there though… here’s my own account:

  9. Paolo says:

    Hi. Congratulations sa blog award. I just have a question regarding money in Myanmar. I’m going there in a couple of weeks, flying in from Bangkok. (I’m skipping Mandalay and Bagan though to spend time further up north where a friend lives). I read in many posts by travelers that they’re quite anal in Myanmar regarding dollars, that they have to be in mint condition (as in) to be accepted. I already have my dollars in pristine condition, so no problem there, but my concern is that in most cases daw (like in hotels, taxis, etc.) they prefer payment in dollars and not kyat. Which means I would need to bring dollars in small denomination, which I don’t have, puro hundreds lang. What was your experience? Also, do you know anybody in Manila willing to break up my hundreds into mint condition 10’s or 5’s?? Thanks.

  10. […] it’s been a while since I did one of these posts. Most of the travels I’ve done since Brunei and Myanmar last year were either sponsored or paid for by my siblings, so I had no material. The trips I *did* […]

  11. rogie says:

    hi, sis! plan to be in brunei by march 2012, check ko lang taxes u paid kasi i request quote from the travel agent and they charging us$125 brunei tax, did you pay the same or mas makamura talaga if DIY tour? thanks for the reply…. god bless!!!

  12. lian says:

    hi. thanks for your itimized expenses… tanong ko lang if pusat belia accept guests kahit over midnight arrival? or you have prior booking to them. cebu pac arrival in bsb is about 1.40am. 2

  13. kleyr1925 says:

    Nina, dollars are really needed in payment? Or can I just pay Kyat all the time? ‘coz yen is strong nowadays, I’m planning to change yen in kyat. Since ¥10,000 is equivalent to 100,630 kyat.
    Do you think I can survive for 10days in Myanmar for that amount?

  14. kleyr1925 says:

    Nina, are dollars really eeded in payment? Or can I just pay Kyat all the time? ‘coz yen is strong nowadays, I’m planning to change yen in kyat. Since ¥10,000 is equivalent to 100,630 kyat.
    Do you think I can survive for 6-8 days in Myanmar thrice the amount I stated in Kyat conversion? Well I think I travel Like you. I’m a backpacker traveller.

  15. kleyr1925 says:

    Thanks Nina. I’ll just check at the airport then if they yen to kyat money exchange.
    Is it safe to travel alone there as backpackers? And did you have a tour guide when you visited Myanmar?

    • nina says:

      Try to bring US dollars, even a small amount, just in case you are not able to change your yen to kyat.

      It’s safe to travel there solo. I did not hire a guide when I was there, just a horse cart and driver to take me around Bagan.

  16. […] pretty strong Photoshop sorcery happening here. I’m sure there are days that the dawn sky in Bagan would look something close to this. With the aid of […]

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