What we mainly use here in Myanmar are the banknotes from the Third Kyat that were created after government changed the country name from Burma to Myanmar. From 1990 to 1995, banknotes of 50 pya, 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, and 500 kyats were created. Nowadays, notes like the 50 pyas, 1 kyat, 5 kyats, and 10 kyats are not used anymore.
Exchange rate: 1 USD = 1400 Kyats
The 20-kyat note is mainly green in color. It has a chinthe on the obverse side and on the reverse side, there is the People's Park and Elephant Fountain. A chinthe is a lion-like mythical creature that is usually seen at the entrances of pagodas and temples. This note was issued on March 1994. The 20-kyat is really rare and people usually just pay 50 kyats if something costs 830 or 840 kyats.
The 50-kyat note also has the chinthe on the obverse side and a lacquerware artisan on the reverse side. The color is a mix of orange and brown. 50 kyats is the lowest amount that is used here in Myanmar. It is just small change - paper money of low value. However, a practical use for 50 kyats is that you can use it to buy small amounts of chillies and other small vegetables at the local market.
The main colors on a 100-kyats note are blue, green, and pink while the ones on a 200-kyats note are dark green and some pink. Both notes have the chinthe on the obverse side. For the 100-kyats note, there is a picture of people renovating a temple on the reverse side and for the 200-kyats note, it is a picture of an elephant teak logger. 100 kyats and 200 kyats can also be used to buy small vegetables at the local market. It is also used for bus rides that can get you all around Yangon for a cheaper price than taxis!
The colors on a 500-kyats note is similar to a 50-kyats note with the orange, but on the 500-kyats note, there is some purple. This also has the chinthe on the obverse side. On the reverse side, it shows people working and painting on the General Mahabandoola statue. 500 kyats can get you most of the soda drinks or a cup noodle at a convenience store.
The 1000-kyats note is purple and green and it has a chinthe on one side and the Ministry of Finance and Revenue on the other side. 1000 kyats can get you a meal at those small restaurants on the streets. However, do be careful because sometimes those street side vendors are not that clean. Do not let this completely ignore Burmese street food though. Just consider the sanitary conditions by yourself and then buy, because Burmese street food is amazing. Check out our basic guide on Burmese food here.
5000-kyats note is orange and pink. It has an elephant on the obverse side and the Assembly of the Union on the reverse side. 5000 kyats is only about $3.50, so you need to get used to having a lot of cash in your wallet during your stay in Myanmar. 5000 kyats will be enough for a one-way taxi ride with Grab and maybe even a round trip ride if it’s not far away.
The 10000-kyats note has a lot of colors but it’s mainly light blue. On the obverse side, is a defaced State Seal of Myanmar with the lotus and a pair of elephants. On the other side is the Mandalay Royal Palace Moat. 10000 kyats is about 7 US dollars and it can get you a decent meal.
We hope this guide on the Burmese currency was useful and if we missed anything, let us know down in the comments below.