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About Myanmar

Even those amongst us who are lucky enough to consider themselves well travelled speak with shining eyes of Myanmar, which was, until fairly recently, referred to by most of the world as Burma.  This is a country scattered with beautiful Buddhist temples, stupas and pagodas, some grand and gilded and some small and simple, but you’ll find them sitting proudly on hills and hidden deep in forests.  There are 4000 sacred monuments on the misty plains of Bagan alone.  And with these many monuments you will see many monks.  And these two factors, probably more than any other, are what make Myanmar so unique.  This is Asia of antiquity.  

This introduction may leave you thinking the accommodation might be a bit aged too, but that’s far from the truth, yes, some of the best places to stay in Myanmar are elegantly fading colonial era beauties, but if you prefer your accommodation more modern you’ll not have any trouble finding somewhere great to stay.   

2015 marked a turning point in Myanmar’s history, the Burmese military stood back to allow a democratic election - the first for half a century.  Since then other countries have started investing in Myanmar, and, at least in the larger towns and cities, you’ll find mobile coverage and a reliable internet connection.  But in the rural regions you’ll still see people wearing traditional dress and using horses or bullocks and carts to get around.  So now is a great time to visit.  Generally you’ll find people open to sharing and learning, and incredible sights not yet swamped by visitors.  

Some of our Myanmar Collections

Most people start off in Yangon, which was the Burmese capital, Rangoon, until 2005, but despite being ’deposed’, Yangon is still Myanmar’s largest, and arguably most commercially important city.  The architecture and design of this city is unblended British, Chinese, Indian and Burmese in style, and there’s plenty of majesty and quite a bit of crumbling.  The best places to stay in Yangon are still the old colonial stalwarts, but they do have some ultra-modern properties if that’s more to your taste.   Since 2005 Nay Pyi Taw has been the capital.  It’s surprisingly empty, but its vast multi-lane highways are testament to the fact that the intention was for it to be a bustling hub.  

Then, despite the romance in its name, many folk just pass through Mandalay, stopping off to see the Mahamuni Paya temple with its ancient 13foot tall Buddha on their way. But it's certainly worth stopping for a while to look behind the modern zones with their drop, concrete towers, and see the strange collection of mosques, temples, churches and pagodas and the countless monasteries lining the riverside.

Mystical Bagan, an area of misty plains on the beautiful banks of the Ayeyarwady (Irrawady) River, has the world’s largest concentration of Buddhist temples, stupas and pagodas.  Bagan is often compared to Angkor, with the main difference being that Bagan's monuments are spread out over a much greater area, but not hidden by jungle, so your view is always full of great temples, stupas and pagodas.  Some of the structures date as far back as the 11th century, but the area has been built on over the decades and every monument is different, with its own shape and significance to Buddhist history and thinking.  Part of the magic of this place is the wonderful red colour of the monuments - visible now that the original stucco is eroding away and the red brick underneath is exposed - which, when added to the plants growing in and out of the structures, gives a feeling of graceful decay.  

Like Bagan, but built across a hill, Sagaing is another popular place for visitors to see.  Scattered with gold and white pagodas and stupas, the real experience of this place is walking the strange, winding, stair-filled trails between the monuments and monasteries.  And Mrauk U is another well known archaeological site, with less elegant, more fort-like temples, but still an incredible number, and this time arranges in amongst small villages and hamlets and the rice paddies and fields of crops which sustain them.  If this site were in a different location it would surely attract more than the five thousand or so visitors it receives annually.  

The Inle Lake region is also a headline destination: a huge lake, smooth and serene, surrounded by marshland and edged with floating gardens.  As well as Buddhist temples, here you’ll find houses on stilts and an entirely unique style of rowing.  The markets here are incredible, feeding the whole many-hilled region of villages.  

If the works of Rudyard Kipling or George Orwell have anything to do with your choice to visit Myanmar then you’ll want to see Mawlamyine, a wonderfully crumbling colonial-era treasure which will give you a good idea of what life was like during the Raj.  Hsipaw is also on the road-less-travelled route, and is a great place from which to set out on a hill trek.  But it was also once a Shan royal city.  

What Not to Miss

  • Yangon’s Shwedagon Paya is one of its most impressive sights: a 90+metre high Buddhist temple covered in tonnes of gold leaf and decorated with diamonds and other previous stones.  Inside are several of Buddhism’s most significant relics.  
  • Another of Yangon's Buddhist treasures is Chaukhtatgyi Paya, a 65metre reclining Buddha.  Close by is Ngahtatgyi Paya, a 14metre seated Buddha.  
  • Quieter, and close to the river, Botataung Paya is a 40mete high gilded stupa, which has a fantastically beautiful pool inside which is home to hundreds of turtles.  
  •  Then there are Yangon’s wonderful colonial constructions, like Royal Lake, now called Kandawgyi Lake,which is another impressive sight, and is a place of peaceful views and wide, graceful paths.
  • Yangon’s markets are also unmissable.  Bogyoke Aung San is the largest and offers around two thousand undercover stalls!
  • Mandalay’s Mahamuni Paya temple draws people to this romantic old town, but don’t leave directly after seeing it, the Mandalay Palace, with its watch tower is a wonderful place to get a feel for all the treasures hidden in this city - including Kyauktawgyi Paya and its 26ft tall Buddha weighing a huge 900-tonnes and cut from a single block of marble! and the old fortress with its moat, and the atmospheric Jade Market.  
  • Bagan is unmissable, and one of the main destinations many visitors are heading for and planning their trip around, but if you don’t have time to see everything, then gold cladded Ananda Pahto is one of the largest monuments - it’s around 50metres high - and best preserved monuments.  
  •  Dhammayangyi Pahto, is another of the largest and best preserved temples, and is also famous for its grisly history - supposedly workers who didn't produce masonry which fitted together so perfectly that a pin could not pass between the stones had their arms amputated just inside the west entrance, where there are arm shaped grooves in the walls.
  •  Shwesandaw Paya is a white, pyramid shaped pagoda, and worth visiting because it also offers one of the best views of Bagan.
  • Taunggyi is known for its wonderful fire balloon festival held at the beginning of November during which vast paper hot air balloons in the shape of animals hover in the air over the city. In the evenings the balloons carry treats and fireworks as well, so it can get pretty interesting. On a non-festival day Taunggyi is a big, mountaintop market town known for tea and Thai and Chinese goods.
  •  You might also want to pay a visit to the fascinating Indein Village - reached by boat on the Inle Lake, this ancient village has many ancient stupas. There's also local vendors selling everything from food to clothing.  Local farmers grow crops in floating gardens, sheets of organic matting which floats on the water, and in which crops are able to grow.  
  • Shan State’s Sagar Villages is another small village offering a great glimpse into life in the rural villages. 
  •  The Nga Phe Kyaung Monastery, in Shan State, is an experience like no other. Beyond the golden statues and shrines, it is also known as the Jumping Cats Monastery, owing to the resident cats trained to jump through hoops.
  • Mt. Kyaiktiyo and the Golden Rock which perches atop it are also well known treasures.

The Best Places to Stay in Myanmar

In Yangon

  • The Savoy Yangon is a charmingly antique filled hotel just ten minutes walk from the Shwedagon Paya. The decor is colonial with the 30 rooms and six suites arranged around a central courtyard. There is a large pool and plenty of sun loungers.
  • The Strand is an iconic five star hotel in the heart of Yangon and is remarkable for its grand colonial architecture Rooms are high ceilinged and furnished with teak floors and hand carved wooden framed beds alongside Burmese lacquerware and antiques. Fine dining in the Strand Grill and there is a small spa.

In Mandalay

  •  The Hotel by the Red Canal is a 26 room boutique hotel tucked away down a backstreet just 15minutes drive from Mandalay Hill and the city centre. The main building is reminiscent of a Burmese monastery and there is a cavern-like underground spa. It has all the mod. cons. and more, like iPod docks and flat-screen TVs and black marble bathrooms.

For Mystical Bagan

  •  The Areindmar Hotel, in New Bagan, is an elegant 50 room hotel, built around a beautiful, acacia filled garden. You're well located for exploring the town, but this hotel is also full of its own charms with antiques, wooden sleigh-beds and traditional lacquerware.
  •  The Bagan Lodge in New Bagan is a new hotel, with 82 rooms and all the mod. cons., including a large spa with a long menu, and a promise of the sort of looked after feeling you get from a luxury safari camp.

To Escape

  • Bagan Thande is right in the heart of Old Bagan, on the Ayeyarwady River, and surrounded by 27 acres of beautiful tropical gardens. The Bagan Thande first opened in 1922 to welcome King Edward, and is extremely comfortable and beautifully decorated. There are 92 rooms and it is ideally located to see the best of Bagan's archaeological treasures.
  •  The Monte Divino Lodge is a wonderful hideaway not far from Taunggyi and Inle Lake. It also has the honour of being Burma's first vineyard. So far there are just three minimalist teak bungalows on stilts, offering views of the vines and the lush, misty valley beyond. There's also a restaurant, and, of course, plenty of local wine to try.
  •  If you want to overlook Lake Inle, then Villa Inle is a a great option, a boutique eco-lodge offering immaculate stilted villas, a superb spa and excellent food.

Great B&Bs

  •  The Alamanda Inn is a ten room B&B in a quiet, upmarket residential area of Yangon. Owned by a French couple, the decor is colourful but tasteful, with plenty of traditional handicrafts and it has one of the city's best French restaurants.

For an self-catering Apartment or Villa

If you’d prefer to stay in an apartment or private villa we recommend you visit our online partner, booking.com.

Travel Information

  • Most visitors arrive in Myanmar via Yangon International Airport, which is about ten kilometres outside of Yangon, or Mandalay International Airport, 37kms outside Mandalay.  Nay Pyi Taw is your third, and smallest option, and is 16kms outside the capital city.  Of course you can cross the border on the ground, but it’s a slightly more complicated prospect so, if that’s your plan, and it’s certainly a spectacular one, make sure you have a solid idea of the process.  
  • If you want to hire a car we recommend you visit our online partner, Rentalcars.   
  • For most visitors winter is the best time to visit Myanmar, which is between October and February.  Between March and May the temperatures in central Myanmar can reach 40°C, and for much of the erst of the year there’s a lot of rain - though, if you have a choice between rain and heat, the people who’ve been suggest rain every time.  

Still not sure which is the best place to stay in Myanmar for you?  

See all » 3 hotels in Yangon

  • Alamanda Inn 10 rooms from £84

    Yangon (Bahan Township)

    A tastefully decorated, French-owned B&B in a quiet, upmarket area of Yangon. Great value and good for families.

    Sights nearby  -  A stone's throw from the Shwedagon Pagoda and other Yangon highlights.
    Traditional
    Check prices
  • The Savoy Yangon 30 rooms from £177

    Yangon

    Antique-filled rooms and corridors, a lovely pool and a central location near the Shwedagon Pagoda; this is, undoubtedly, one of the best places to stay in Yangon.

    Sights nearby  -  10 minute walk from the Shwedagon Pagoda
    Swimming Pool  -  Outdoor pool
    Local markets  -  Good for local colour.
    Spa
    Check prices

See all » 3 hotels in Bagan

  • Areindmar Hotel 50 rooms from £150

    New Bagan

    A charming, antique-filled bolthole tucked away on a quiet, dusty street in New Bagan. A peaceful place to put your feet up and relax after a day’s temple-hopping.

    Sights nearby  -  Ideally situated for exploring the ancient temples and pagodas of Bagan.
    Swimming Pool  -  Outdoor pool
    Check prices
  • Bagan Lodge 82 rooms from £126

    New Bagan

    Opened in 2013, this is one of the newest and best places to stay in the temple city. Great service and beautifully designed – this is a slick operation.

    Sights nearby  -  Archaeological sites, temples, pagodas on your doorstep.
    Spa  -  Eight treatment rooms with a range of massage and beauty therapies on offer.
    Swimming Pool  -  20x0m outdoor pool
    Check prices

See all » 2 hotels in Taunggyi

  • MONTE diVINO Lodge 3 rooms from £115

    Taunggyi (Taungyyi)

    An idyllic, off-the-beaten-track hideaway on Myanmar’s first vineyard, not far from Inle Lake. This is a wonderful place to relax, eat and drink.

    Wine tasting
    Views  -  Across the Vineyards
    Secluded setting  -  For escaping.
    Hideaway  -  Tranquil and intimate.
    Check prices
  • Villa Inle from £169

    Taunggyi (Taunggyi, Shan)

    A beautiful boutique hotel on the banks of picturesque Inle Lake. Secluded, peaceful, at one with nature yet utterly spoiling in every way. Great for romantics and nature lovers.

    Back to Nature
    Sights nearby  -  Taunggyi hot-springs. Kakku Pagodas and Pindaya Caves.
    Birdwatching  -  Lots of wildlife to be seen on the lake
    Outstanding location
    Check prices

See all » 1 hotel in Mandalay

  • Hotel by the Red Canal 26 rooms from £111

    Mandalay (Aung Myae Tha Zan Township)

    A tropical oasis in the heart of the city of Mandalay. Indulgent, secluded and packed full of charm.

    Sights nearby  -  A 15 minute drive to Mandalay Hill, the city centre and Zeygo Market. Minutes from Mandalay Palace
    Spa  -  Ayurvedic, holistic and natural body treatments available
    Local markets  -  Good for local colour.
    Swimming Pool  -  Indoor/outdoor
    Check prices

See all » 3 hotels in Yangon

  • Alamanda Inn 10 rooms from £84

    Yangon (Bahan Township)

    A tastefully decorated, French-owned B&B in a quiet, upmarket area of Yangon. Great value and good for families.

    Sights nearby  -  A stone's throw from the Shwedagon Pagoda and other Yangon highlights.
    Traditional
    Check prices
  • The Savoy Yangon 30 rooms from £177

    Yangon

    Antique-filled rooms and corridors, a lovely pool and a central location near the Shwedagon Pagoda; this is, undoubtedly, one of the best places to stay in Yangon.

    Sights nearby  -  10 minute walk from the Shwedagon Pagoda
    Swimming Pool  -  Outdoor pool
    Local markets  -  Good for local colour.
    Spa
    Check prices

See all » 3 hotels in Bagan

  • Areindmar Hotel 50 rooms from £150

    New Bagan

    A charming, antique-filled bolthole tucked away on a quiet, dusty street in New Bagan. A peaceful place to put your feet up and relax after a day’s temple-hopping.

    Sights nearby  -  Ideally situated for exploring the ancient temples and pagodas of Bagan.
    Swimming Pool  -  Outdoor pool
    Check prices
  • Bagan Lodge 82 rooms from £126

    New Bagan

    Opened in 2013, this is one of the newest and best places to stay in the temple city. Great service and beautifully designed – this is a slick operation.

    Sights nearby  -  Archaeological sites, temples, pagodas on your doorstep.
    Spa  -  Eight treatment rooms with a range of massage and beauty therapies on offer.
    Swimming Pool  -  20x0m outdoor pool
    Check prices

See all » 2 hotels in Taunggyi

  • MONTE diVINO Lodge 3 rooms from £115

    Taunggyi (Taungyyi)

    An idyllic, off-the-beaten-track hideaway on Myanmar’s first vineyard, not far from Inle Lake. This is a wonderful place to relax, eat and drink.

    Wine tasting
    Views  -  Across the Vineyards
    Secluded setting  -  For escaping.
    Hideaway  -  Tranquil and intimate.
    Check prices
  • Villa Inle from £169

    Taunggyi (Taunggyi, Shan)

    A beautiful boutique hotel on the banks of picturesque Inle Lake. Secluded, peaceful, at one with nature yet utterly spoiling in every way. Great for romantics and nature lovers.

    Back to Nature
    Sights nearby  -  Taunggyi hot-springs. Kakku Pagodas and Pindaya Caves.
    Birdwatching  -  Lots of wildlife to be seen on the lake
    Outstanding location
    Check prices

See all » 1 hotel in Mandalay

  • Hotel by the Red Canal 26 rooms from £111

    Mandalay (Aung Myae Tha Zan Township)

    A tropical oasis in the heart of the city of Mandalay. Indulgent, secluded and packed full of charm.

    Sights nearby  -  A 15 minute drive to Mandalay Hill, the city centre and Zeygo Market. Minutes from Mandalay Palace
    Spa  -  Ayurvedic, holistic and natural body treatments available
    Local markets  -  Good for local colour.
    Swimming Pool  -  Indoor/outdoor
    Check prices