5/88 Nat Sein Road
Rates: $5 per person
Stayed here: 11th Feb 2009
Well, actually I got here at 5am on the 12th and slept until around 8:30am when I got up for breakfast and joined their excellent 3-day trek to Inle Lake, after having a superb hot shower.
It’s a nice little family-run place and the rooms are nice. Mine had two comfy, firm beds and was en-suite. As I said, the shower was piping hot and towels were included. The breakfast was the Myanmar guesthouse standard.
If you do a trek via these folks, try and get Harry as your guide. He’s awesome – $10 per day, $4 for the boat and $4 to have your bags shipped to Nyaung Shwe.
Royal Guest House
41 25th Street, 82/83
Rates: $4 upwards
Stayed there: 18th, 19th and 20th Feb 2009
Recommended by the staff at Pyinsa Rupa in Nyaung U as well as the Lonely Planet – and I can see why. I got a very tidy room with a double bed and fan for $5 though they do quote $4 as their lowest rate. The room was quiet – no need for earplugs even in the morning.
Towels were provided and the shared shower is hot (apparently – I never had a hot shower, though the heating’s tied into the electric system which is “variable” as in the rest of the country) although up a flight of stairs from my room.
Staff were attentive and the drink prices are very good at 300K for a cola, fizzy orange or water – usual shop prices.
Breakfast was the usual fare though less generous than at other places I’ve stayed.
The main plus point was the number of other travelers staying here and the comfy communal area on the ground floor in which to meet them.
Nyaung Shwe (Inle Lake)
Chaung Rd (a.k.a. Strand Rd)
Rates: $5 upwards
Stayed there: 14th-15th Feb 2009
I turned up here as I’d been told they had dorms at $3 a shot. They don’t, but I did get a room with two beds and a fan for $5 – as well as the promise of a hot shower just outside. Thing is, it wasn’t very hot when I used it which is a shame as I really needed a decent shower after 3 days’ trek.
Things improved on the second day as I dealt with the owner. First he tried to move me to another (better, en-suite) room at no extra charge. I couldn’t manage it as I didn’t have time to shift my things before running off on a boat trip. Secondly, he offered his own shower if I required warm water – which I took advantage of.
After booking my bus ticket with him, he ensured I was up at 4:30 to get on my connecting motorbike (the bus stop is 10km away) with a light packed breakfast.
Talking of breakfast, the one here is the largest I’ve had in Myanmar with a pancake and a bowl of noodle soup in addition to the other food.
I’d heard that Gypsy Inn is “noisy” because of its location right near the river. The only noise I suffered was a party of fellow residents arriving back late one night and insisting on chatting (and shouting) in the hallway in the early hours. As ever, earplugs are a very small thing to carry with you but so useful!
Nyaung U (Bagan)
Pyinsa Rupa Guesthouse
Tel: 061 – 60607
Rates: $4 upwards
Stayed there: 16th-17th February 2009
This was a lucky find after the Panna Cherry couldn’t host me. I’m glad as for $5 I got a hot shower and aircon as well as a very comfy bed. No towels, though.
The staff here are excellent, and always happy to spend time with you planning your next move. Breakfast was top notch with the best morning tea I’ve had so far – I think I’ll be convering to condensed milk when I get home.
If you’re going to hire a bike, do it elsewhere, though. I think they hire one for 1000K (as is charged elsewhere) then pass it on to you for 1500K. However, their bus ticket to Mandalay was very reasonable at 6500K.
Motherland Inn (2)
433 Lower Pazundaung Rd
Rates: Starting at $5 for a dorm bed with free taxi to/from the airport
Stayed there: 10th and 22nd Feb 2009
An excellent welcome to the country as I was swept up by their staff at the airport and given a free ride to the hotel. It’s a little far from the centre – around 15 mins walk – though you won’t notice it as a first-time tourist taking in the sights.
The dorm bed I had was very comfy with an enormous lockable drawer underneath. A shared hot shower and loo were available right outside the door. I think towels were supplied though I didn’t get one. I suppose I could have asked.
Despite only staying one night, I got two breakfasts – one on the morning I arrived and the second the day after. If you sit in the breakfast area for long enough they’ll keep feeding you, and feeding you… It’s standard fare for Myanmar. Two slices of toast, a slice of cake, egg done to your preference, juice, tea and bananas. Variations on this theme do occur, but this is the basic.
Staff were very helpful and obviously used to guests who’ve just arrived in the country. Internet is available at a hefty price, but didn’t seem to work when I was there. Again, this is normal for the country as a whole!