Feb 28, 2014

Shwedagon Pagoda changes to local currency

Shwedagon Pagoda’s board of trustees says it will change the currency from US dollar to Kyat for entrance fees to make it more convenient for tourists.

The move will also end the hassle of accepting old US dollar notes. Many tourists pay the entrance fees, with old or torn dollars that are later rejected by the Myanmar Foreign Trade Bank.

It is a standing practice to always obtain fresh new US dollar notes when visiting Myanmar to avoid that problem. However, the trustees said fee collectors were reluctant to upset tourists or cause delays at the temple entrances, when they presented old bills.

MFTB bank officials also recommended the change to kyat.

At present, the entrance fee for tourists is US$8, up from US$5; it was raised to US$8 last December.
As of 1 April, the official fee will be 8,000 kyat.

On average, more than 1,000 tourists a day visit Shwedagon Pagoda. Last year, it attracted 400,852 visitors representing an increase of 47.92% compared to over 271,000 visitors in 2012.

The pagoda’s board of trustees collected entrance fees of over US$204,000 and 1.5 million in other currencies since 2008.

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