Budget bells and whistles
We might not have seen the best that Ocean Pearl Inn can dish out, but with its adequate lodgings, WiFi and air-con, along with a free airport transfer, this downtown Yangon (Rangoon) budget hotel is very good value for your dollar.
The entrance to Ocean Pearl Inn is less than spectacular. Big sliding glass doors sit on the opposite side of a narrow, wobbly concrete slab that spans the footpath and gutter. The lobby doesn’t change much of the impression, as it is dimly lit but a refreshing retreat from the outside heat. Air-con is set to max, the front desk is staffed 24 hours, and we found the staff very pleasant with a decent grasp of English.
All the rooms were occupied when we stopped by, aside from one of the ground floor ones. We had heard rumours of a strict spic and span mentality at Ocean Pearl, but found nothing resembling that with this room, which is perhaps why it was still unoccupied and staff were hesitant to show it. Wires hung loosely over the ageing TV/computer screen that we were told shows a whopping three channels. There was no view from the ground floor, and the two windows pretty much had to stay closed. We were already warned that their bottom floor was the worst of the three, but unfortunately we weren’t able to see any of the uppers.
All rooms are air-con and hot water, and start at US$25 for a single, US$30 for a double and US$38 for a triple. They come equipped with a mini-fridge, TV, air-con, shabby table and clean bedding; WiFi is included too. A big mirror hangs in the clean bathroom, which boasts a Western toilet and complimentary toiletries. There was a faint musty smell of leftover rainy season, but we’ve found the same scenario across all hotels at this time of the year.
The location is a big positive for this budget guesthouse. It’s on the very east side of downtown, perfect for those who want to have everything accessible without being in the middle of it all. Traffic is not overwhelming but it’s easy to find a taxi or trishaw. Every downtown attraction is walk-able, although not all are the shortest of journeys. Botataung Pagoda and the harbour are only down the street a few blocks and this area actually has a real local feel, more so perhaps than other areas in Yangon. We reckon this is one of the better areas in the city to observe typical Burmese life — not just Yangon city life. There are also still plenty of convenience stores and restaurants in the area, with ATMs and money-changers on the same street.
The room we saw wasn’t fantastic, but it’s the bells and whistles that make Ocean Pearl Inn a solid budget deal. They include a simple breakfast of toast, coffee or tea and fruit plus one free transfer from the airport — with the going rate of a cheap taxi being US$7 for a one-way trip to Yangon International Airport that’s a fair deal for budget travellers. And with the downtown sights being within a committed walker’s range of distance or a cheap taxi ride away, this place becomes better value for your dollar than many others in downtown Yangon. You’ll need to book directly with the hotel as they are not listed with Agoda.
By Christopher Smith
Last updated on 11th November, 2013.