Photo: Temple outside Monywa.

Burma forum

No room at the Inn?

Posted by JohnnyM on 9/10/2012 at 02:05

Along with seemingly half the travelling world - I was intending going to Burma in November - but haven't booked any accommodation. From what I can gather, all the web bookable hotels are booked up. I understand that Burma has a very limited infrastructure which will take a few years to catch up with current demand.

So, does anyone have an educated view on whether there is much lower range accommodation that just doesn't take advance/internet bookings, or whether Burma really is full up?

So far I've only booked flight to Bangkok - so wondering whether to go to Laos or Vietnam (again) instead and leave Burma to settle down a little - or take a chance & go now before the 7elevens start popping up.

#1 JohnnyM has been a member since 2/9/2012. Posts: 26

Posted by Kalli on 9/10/2012 at 16:50

Hi JohnnyM,
November and December are the most popular month for hollidays in Burma. Special around christmas and New Year the beautiful beaches, as Ngapali, are highly frequented. My experience: I always find a nice accomodation - but, sometimes it was a little bit expensive. I dont know what you prefer - I avoid hotels and try to stay in small guesthouses. By the way, I found all beach fronts in Burma rather expensive - but worth to stay there. Down south it is empty and a little bit cheaper.
On countryside, at the hotspots and in the cities I never had problems to find propper accomodations. The infrastructure is not bad and until today only a few guesthouses have internet.
Anyway, I travelled around in Burma since 2003 and I love this country and the people. But the things are changing. If you are interessted to feel the traditional Burmese culture, I recommend to visit Burma now - before the big travel- groups are taking over ! No risk, no fun !

#2 Kalli has been a member since 9/10/2012. Posts: 3

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Posted by SBE on 10/10/2012 at 13:12

Until recently Yangon was where everyone arrived and departed from. Everyone HAD to pass through Yangon and there simply aren't that many budget guesthouses for foreigners there. A few years ago you could just show up and find a room but that is no longer the case and it's pretty essential to reserve somewhere to sleep in advance now.

Air Asia is just starting flights to Mandalay as well ... so the same thing applies there no doubt. I haven't been to Mandalay since 2005, but back then there weren't all that many budget options there either.

For other places I've always just phoned ahead (my last trip there was last December) but I don't know if that's still going to work this year! Like Kalli said, Myanmar is in imminent danger of losing what made it so unique and special, a culture largely untouched by western influence. On the other hand maybe if you wait a year or two maybe there will be a lot more guesthouses and the transport infrastructure will have improved. Transport already has improved compared to the first time I was there... they even have some fairly OK A/C buses now on some (but not all) of the main tourist routes.

If you do decide to go and can't find a way to book a room in advance, there's a place a few blocks from The Ocean Pearl aptly named Everest (lots and lots of steep stairs) that the Ocean Pearl uses as an overflow place ... eg when they *lose* your booking. You could try there you're really stuck and the alternative is sleeping on the street. It's a total dump and a bit more expensive than the Ocean Pearl to boot, so I'm not recommending it at all but there might be a room available there if everywhere else is full.

Sorry I can't be of more help.

#3 SBE has been a member since 14/4/2008. Location: Global Village. Posts: 2,052
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Posted by Kalli on 11/10/2012 at 11:36

Hi, unfortunately SBE is right. Few minutes ago I talked with a travel agent, and he told me that everybody is going to Burma this year and it is full and full and full.................... So, the idea to wait 2 or 3 years could be an option.

#4 Kalli has been a member since 9/10/2012. Posts: 3

Posted by enigmatic on 21/10/2012 at 22:43

There are a lot of foreigner registered hotels in Yangon that aren't in LP or bookable online though plenty of them will be at the expensive end in the market or not ideally located

I can't see tourist hotspots like Bagan being a big problem either; it's the small and mid-sized towns that only have a couple of hotels (though Hsipaw has plenty of rooms) that will book up.

#5 enigmatic has been a member since 14/4/2011. Posts: 84

Posted by loral on 22/10/2012 at 01:01

I am in the same position. I started booking hotels for my itinerary a few months ago and succeeded for Yangon, Bagan, Inle and Kalaw. But those firm bookings commit me to Mandalay for 16-20 November with everything I have contacted booked out.

I can't plan for a different time for Myanmar with those other hotels and flights already booked and the passport sent off for visa. So I am open to advice. If Mandalay is impossible, another option I have looked at is flying to Lashio instead and taking the train back to Hsipaw and Pyin oo Lwin, then a boat to Bagan.

I'll also post on transportation and drivers; that may also hold a solution but I'll ask on that topic.

Cheers, Alan

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Posted by JohnnyM on 23/10/2012 at 14:57

I had a change of plan and decided to do some Thai Island hopping instead - i've only got a few weeks and want a reasonably hassle free trip (as opposed to if I was travelling for a few months and could just go with the flow) - hopefully i'll get around to going once things have settled down a bit - i'll be interested to hear how thing pan out this season in Burma

#7 JohnnyM has been a member since 2/9/2012. Posts: 26

Posted by altmtl on 23/10/2012 at 20:34

#8 altmtl has been a member since 18/5/2009. Location: Canada. Posts: 1,003
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Posted by loral on 23/10/2012 at 20:38

It is an interesting read. This appears to be part of the problem:

>For visitors without expense accounts, $200 nightly room rates are likely too much, but there's not much else on offer, as rooms at mid-range hotels are also being snatched up by corporate visitors.

#9 loral has been a member since 3/8/2007. Location: Australia. Posts: 12
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Posted by mareeS on 8/12/2012 at 07:44

We've had a river trip booked with Pandaw for more than a year now, and the pre- and post- hotel nights have almost doubled in price since last November despite a longterm contract between the boat operators and the hotel.

Burma is in carpetbag territory at present, just as was Vietnam in the late 1990s. This all happened in Vietnam back then, and it happened very quickly. When the generals sniff a dollar, move out of the way.

All of the crap that has overtaken the coasts of Bali, Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, is headed for Burma in spades, sadly.

#10 mareeS has been a member since 8/12/2012. Posts: 13

Posted by RubyMarino on 18/12/2012 at 03:05


#11 RubyMarino has been a member since 18/12/2012. Posts: 2

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