Trendiest address in town
The 2016 star of the Bagan accommodation scene, Ostello Bello’s smart formula and attention to detail has taken the place by storm.
You’ll need to book in advance for any month of the year.
The original Ostello backpacker hostel was in Milan and the Italian owners have applied their time-tested system to Burma. They’ve opened Ostello Bello Mandalay (still running under the old name of Hotel Rama at the time of our visit) and have another branch due to open in Nyaung U in late 2016.
The hostel is run by a mix of experienced Western staff and local employees, all of whom are enthusiastic and buzzy. It’s all well thought out and attention to small details really makes the place. The hostel may look chaotic and random as it’s so busy, though it isn’t behind the scenes.
While a few private rooms are offered, most of the accommodation is split among a series of four-, six- or eight-bed dorms. Being new, they are all sparkling clean, and come with both air-con and ensuite bathrooms. The dorms aren’t exactly spacious and rates compare with private rooms in other budget guesthouses, but all the little add-ons do make it worthwhile. Private rooms are pricey -- we saw upmarket Old Bagan resorts going for less.
There’s a rooftop crash area with showers available for those arriving early on night buses and awaiting rooms, plus free guided sunset and sunrise tours for guests. (Just get your own e-bike and tag along.) The cramped reception is crammed with advice, maps and suggestions for off-the-beaten-track temple visits plus all-day free tea, coffee, Burmese cheroots and thanaka are available. There’s even a free pasta tasting three times a day. Trivia and bingo nights keep the residents entertained. It’s smart stuff and while we can see competitors picking up on some of these ideas you do need the management and staff training to carry them through.
This kind of one-stop sleeping, eating, drinking and socialising can at its worst reek of a backpacker holiday camp (though they don’t offer Pai-style communal pub crawls and fire breathing lessons yet), but for solo travellers in need of company, entertainment and a clean cheap bed, this is a very good option. Location is smack bang in the middle of New Bagan on the chedi roundabout on Khayea Pin Street.
All dorm accommodation includes breakfast. Below we’ve simplified a complicated monthly price system, so consider them approximate only.
Address: Cnr Thiri Sandar and Main St, Bagan
T: (061) 65069; (092) 5703 9009;
Coordinates (for GPS): 94º51'39.75" E, 21º7'55.79" N
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Room rates: Under US$20
What we were quoted as a walk-in.
Eight-bed dorm. Six-bed: $19/$25. Four-bed: $22/$28
|Dbl air-con private bathroom|
Up to $49/$100
Based in Chiang Mai, Mark Ord has been travelling Southeast Asia for over two decades and first crossed paths with Travelfish on Ko Lipe in the early 1990s.
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