Types of Accommodation & Where to Stay in Myanmar

From hostels and guesthouses to camping and free accommodation, which accommodation is right for you? Will Hatton (The Broke Backpacker) shares his tips on how to pick the right spot to rest your weary eyes in Myanmar.

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Accommodation prices in Myanmar can vary anywhere between US $5–100, catering for all budgets and preferences. The vast majority of hotels, hostels, guesthouses, and homestays include breakfast – and nine times out of ten, this is toast topped with an egg, sugar, banana, and a cup coffee (not on top of the toast, that would be weird). There’s also a local’s breakfast available – you just have to ask. 

The price of accommodation in Myanmar has actually decreased in recent years, due to improved infrastructure and increasing tourism levels. Once upon a time there was a huge accommodation shortage across the whole country, and while it’s still advisable to book accommodation in advance for Bagan and Inle Lake, there’s now plenty of new accommodation popping up throughout Myanmar.

Most hotels and hostels have their prices in US dollars, however they’ll accept payment in both US dollars and kyat. I found that it was cheaper to pay for my room in kyat – depending on the exchange rate that the hotel or hostel was offering.

If you’re traveling Myanmar during high season, you should definitely reserve a bed in advance, as many places book out.

Hostels & Guesthouses in Myanmar

Hostels and guesthouses are a great place to socialise and meet like-minded people from all over the globe. Myanmar doesn’t have a huge backpacker hostel scene, but it’s definitely growing – especially in hot spots like Bagan, Inle Lake, and Yangon.

You can snag a dorm bed for a little as US $5 – however, it can rise to as high as US $15 during high season, especially if you want air-conditioning. Hostels in Myanmar predominantly cater for foreigners, so you don’t have to worry about squat toilets, or using the bum gun.

Guesthouses are usually just as social as hostels in Myanmar, and if you’re traveling with a buddy, it’s often cheaper or around the same price to get a private room.

You can find a double-fan room with shared bathroom facilities for as little as US $10. The majority of guesthouses and hostels are pretty basic, so don’t expect hot water, 24-hour electricity, or Wi-Fi everywhere you go.

Homestays in Myanmar

Homestays are a great way to immerse yourself in the culture, and experience living like a local. The majority of travelers in Myanmar do homestays while trekking, stopping at ethnic minority villages, and staying with a local family.

I particularly love homestays, as the money goes directly to a local family – rather than a big corporation owned by the ethically-questionable government.

The money from homestays and other home-grown tourism initiatives allows local people to stay in their villages, maintaining their way of life – as opposed to moving to bigger cities in search for work. Homestays are an important source of income to locals looking to preserve their culture and way of life, and everybody visiting Myanmar should try to stay at a homestay at least once.

Is a Homestay Right for You?

The accommodation and facilities are usually pretty basic in homestays. You’ll either sleep on a bamboo matt with a mosquito net, or on a thin mattress with no mosquito net.

You share the bathroom, and could potentially have to bathe with a bucket of water, rather than an actual shower.

Don’t let the lack of modern facilities deceive you, it’s a rewarding experience that every traveler should try.

Keep these etiquette tips in mind if you do choose to experience your first homestay in Myanmar.

A local village on the Irrawaddy River. Photo credit: iStock

Hotels in Myanmar

There’s a range of hotels in Myanmar to suit every budget, from backpackers to luxury vacationers, and everything in between.

Budget hotels start from US $10, but you can find a decent hotel with lovely modern amenities and facilities from US $20.

Check online for the best deals, I found that hotels were generally more expensive when you walk in and book a room. Sometimes it’s worth the extra couple of dollars for a little more comfort, especially when there’s a pool! The major downfall with staying at a hotel is the lack of common areas for socialising.

AirBnB is starting to catch on in Myanmar, and provides a great opportunity to find a high quality apartments at a decent price, especially if you snag AirBnB’s sign up bonus.

Camping & Free Accommodation in Myanmar

Camping is technically illegal in Myanmar, however some trekking tours offer camping in their packages. You may find beach bungalows that offer camping, but only during high season when the bungalows are fully booked.

If you’re willing to risk the penalties of getting caught, it’s relatively easy to camp near waterfalls or on beaches – you just need to be self-sufficient, and carry all camping gear including a tent, first-aid kit, food, water, and other essentials.

If you’re trying to save money on accommodation, you can always sleep for free at Buddhist monasteries. You’ll be sleeping on the hard floor, and have little security for your belongings – but it’s a unique experience waking up to Buddhist prayers and chanting. If your travel partner is the opposite sex, you’ll have to follow Buddhist ethics and sleep in separate rooms.

I traveled in Myanmar extensively with a tent and slept out a few times – which is especially possible if you choose to explore by motorbike. Couchsurfing is also technically illegal in Myanmar, but it is possible to find a host.

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