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MMK - Kyats (Lakh)
Nestled in the western portion of mainland Southeast Asia, Myanmar has a total area of 676,576 square kilometers, making it the second-largest country in the region. In 1989, its official English name was changed from the Union of Burma to the Union of Myanmar. Myanmar was one of the most oppressive dictatorships in the world. It remained under military junta until 2011 when the country finally opened up and moving towards a new democracy. Its first democratic elections in over two decades were held in 2015, and since then, the country has gone through a massive political, social, and economic change. The progress has been astonishing, with its GDP growth among the highest in Asia and poverty rates significantly reduced.
Learn more about the Myanmar house market through trends and average prices.
Myanmar’s former capital, Yangon, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country, welcoming over 1 million tourists each year. Home to over 5 million people, it is the most populous city in the country. This city has experienced a significant transformation since the country opened its doors to foreigners. Today, visitors can find a number of boutique hotels, world-class restaurants, and rooftop bars all over the city. Shwedagon Pagoda is the most popular attraction in the country. It is a 100-meter high structure that is entirely plated with gold and has a diamond-studded shire. The Pagoda is beautifully lit up at night, making it a magnificent sight to see. Yangon is very popular among expats as well as it is home to the country’s largest international airport and hub for commercial business.
A very popular tourist attraction is the ancient city of Bagan, this UNESCO World Heritage Site was once the capital of the powerful Pagan Kingdom. It used to be filled with over 10,000 Buddhist temples, pagodas, and monasteries, but only around 2,000 temples and pagodas remain to this day. Visitors can walk around to explore the pagodas, ride a bike, or even get a bird’s eye view of Bagan from a hot air balloon ride.
Myanmar is also filled with natural beauty, visitors can go to Ngapali beach, the most popular beach in the country, and spend their days relaxing on the beach, snorkeling, watch the sunset, or eat fresh seafood at one of its many restaurants. However, since Ngapali Beach tend to be crowded, those who want to relax in a more tranquil beach, Ngwesaung Beach is the perfect place to go.
A wide range of house types is available in Myanmar to suit all budgets and requirements. The most common types are semi-detached, detached, bungalows, shop houses, and, in some parts of the country, mansions.
Semi-detached houses share a common wall with its neighboring home and its layout is a mirror image of the other, while detached houses stand alone and do not adjoin with another home but may have a ‘twin’ house next door.
Bungalows are similar to detached houses, but usually without a twin next door or anywhere nearby. It gives residents more space and privacy, usually with its own surrounding gardens.
Shophouses in Myanmar are very similar to other shophouses that are found in other parts of Southeast Asia. These may have a shop on the ground level with homes on the second level. Nowadays, most shophouses in the country have been refurbished and made entirely into homes or offices.
Mansions are the biggest and most luxurious type of house in Myanmar. They come with a large amount of land, allowing its residents to have a big garden and, sometimes, a swimming pool. They usually feature luxury appliances and furniture as well.
The houses in Myanmar can be designed with traditional Myanmar style, colonial style, contemporary style, modern minimalist style, or a mix of the four styles.
The cost of living in Myanmar is relatively affordable for most foreigners and excluding rent is approximately 40% cheaper than in the United States. However, do not expect the country to be super cheap or to live luxuriously on very little. The price of items in the country can be different for locals and foreigners and rents have skyrocketed since the country began to open up to foreigners. A single person needs a minimum of 1,900,000 MML (about 1,400 USD) and a family of four needs around 3,300,000 MMK (around 2,500 USD) to live a comfortable life in Myanmar.
Burmese Kyats (MMK) is the official currency of the country. Its exchange rate form 1 USD is around 1,360 MMK. ATMs accepting international cards and businesses accepting credit cards are more and more widespread throughout the country, particularly in tourist areas. In many popular tourist destinations, such as Yangon and Bagan, you can pay for goods and services using US dollars. However, they only take the crispest and most pristine dollar bills.
Since the biggest religion in the country is Theravada Buddhism (around 90% of the population adhere to the religion), the customs, etiquette, and culture of the country are deeply rooted in Buddhism. Other religions, including Christianity, Islam, Vajrayana Buddhism, Mahayana Buddhism, and Animism, are also freely practiced in the country. Most people in the country are friendly and welcoming, so most foreigners can adjust pretty easily.
Burmese is the official language of Myanmar, which is spoken by almost all of the country’s population. Most people have at least an elementary knowledge of English, so visitors can expect the people to speak and understand the language to some extent. Still, it is a good idea to learn some common phrases of Burmese before traveling to the country.
A Stay Permit and Multiple Journey Special Re-entry Visa is needed for foreigners to stay or live in the country for an extended period of time. The stay permit allows foreigners to live in the country for a period of three months to a year, while the Multiple Journey Special Re-entry Visa allows foreigners to leave and re-enter the country while they live there.