Hotel Recommendations in Burma

Jul 17th, 2005, 04:48 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 6
Hotel Recommendations in Burma


I am planning a trip to Burma in December.

Itinerary;

Yangon - The Strand. Would you recommend this or the Pan Sea?

Inle Lake - Golden Island Cottages. I am having doubts about this. There are two other hotels - Inle Princess and The Lake View. Any thoughts? Inle Lake is the most difficult to determine which hotel.

Bagan - Thiriptsaya Sakura. Is this a good recommendation?

RV Pandaw cruise - Bagan to Mandalay. Is this a good cruise or should we avoid the 2 night cruise entirely and stay in Bagan, Yangon or Mandalay?

Is there anything we should avoid?


sfsoma is offline  
Jul 17th, 2005, 05:00 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 4,282
I'd say the Strand is way overpriced. if you can get it at a decent rate, fine. Otherwise I would go with the Pansea or Strand.

I stayed at Inle Princess in Inle lake and it was fine but not deluxe. At the time it was the best hotel there but that may have changed.

Thiriptsaya is a good choice. Bagan Golf Resort is another one -- even if you're not playing golf.

I'm a big believer that if you want to see Burma you shouldn't isolate you by being on a cruise. The best part of Burma are the people and you won't see them on a cruise. I took the public boat from Mandalay to Bagan. It took most of the day but we spent it with the locals -- only two other tourists there. Definitely more my kind of thing but others have different priorities.
glorialf is offline  
Jul 17th, 2005, 05:00 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 13,099
I can recommend the Lake View in Inle and the Thiriptsaya in Bagan. Both are very nice hotels, especially the Lake View. There is no air-con there but in December it should not be a problem. The hotel is on a lakefront with private boats, the rooms are beautiful and the restaurant is very good.
laurieco is offline  
Jul 17th, 2005, 05:53 PM
  #4  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 6

The pricing of the trip and hotel is all paid in the US. I assume I can not make these bookings while in Burma or the rate would be the same.

Thanks for all the feedabck.
sfsoma is offline  
Jul 17th, 2005, 06:44 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,638
If you pay in the US you will probably be paying 20-30% more than if you paid a local agent in Yangon. Your US agent needs to make a buck, as you would know.

We priced our trip in Australia then got a quote and booked it through a local agent in Yangon, Santa Maria Travel & Tours. They are very good and maybe you could email them for a quote. What's the harm in comparing prices? Check out their website. www.myanmartravels.net. You pay in US when you get to Yangon. These people are very helpful, honest & reliable. We'd use them again. BTW we dislike Pansea hotels. We stayed at the one in Luang Prabang & the one in Yangon and found them to be overpriced and overrated. The Strand is in an excellent location whereas the Pansea is remote. The Bagan Hotel in Bagan is a nice choice and we loved it. Right on the river. You can save a lot of money if you do a bit of research.
Lyndie is offline  
Jul 17th, 2005, 07:06 PM
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 6
Lyndie, Thanks for your reply.

Anyone, has any info on Inle Lake Hotels? If you had a choice between the Inle Princess resort or Lake View?
sfsoma is offline  
Jul 17th, 2005, 07:13 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 13,099
When I went to Burma, I did everything from the US over the internet. I did not use an agent. I either booked directly wth the hotels or used asiahotels.com, which had very good rates. My husband and I saved about $3500 over what an agent wanted to charge for the exact same thing with the same hotels. I told her the hotels I wanted and told her we wanted to spend about $5000 for both of us, including air. The agent said no problem and then came back with a price of about $8200! When I told her that was not acceptable, she blamed me for saying the hotels I wanted were all 5 star but I had done my homework and knew the prices I could get. I thought it would be easier with an agent since we were spending three weeks in Laos, Burma and Bangkok, and the tourism infrastructure in Laos and Burma was not very developed. I decided to ditch the agent and do it all on my own, even the Mandalay air, which can be done on the net, and Lao Aviation, which I was able to book as soon as we landed in Vientienne. I went straight to the Lao Aviation window at the airport and bought the tickets. Everything went off without a hitch and we paid $2400 each for all air, including NY-BKK, and air within SE Asia, all 5* hotels (or best available), and breakfasts at all hotels. This also included 6 nights at the Pen in BKK at the end of the trip. We hired private guides and drivers at each destination. You do not need an agent. All you need is a couple of good guidebooks, a computer and an internet connection and the help of Fodorites for advice and tips. It's also very satisfying to do it yourself (and it impresses the hell out of people who've never stepped off a tour bus ;-) ) You will save a bundle of money and have the trip that YOU want to take, not what someone wants to sell you. No forced stops at factories made for tourists, restaurants that cater to westerners, etc. And once you put a trip like that together, you realize you can do just about anything on your own, and for much less money, and go at your own pace.
laurieco is offline  
Jul 17th, 2005, 07:29 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 333
Yangon - My favorite is the small, cozy, and elegant Savoy Hotel. I think the Strand is overpriced and too over-the-top for Myanmar. I visited the Pansea and it's really isolated and resorty - not what I was looking for. The Savoy is perfect actually. Comfortable, elegant, but also friendly and local- feeling.

Inle Lake - I stayed at the Lake View Resort. It was perfect. I recommend getting the more expensive suite room which is really gorgeous and has a nice balcony. The Inle Princess looked beautiful too - I had a look - but I would still prefer the Lake View if I went again.

Bagan - I stayed at The Hotel at Tharbar Gate. It was okay. Nice, but nothing really special.

I agree that the cruise you mentioned would be a good way to totally isolate yourself in a tourist cocoon. It would be very relaxing and pleasant, but you will not be learning much about the country or the people. You'll get to meet a lot of other tourists though. I'd suggest spending more time in and around the places you'll be going to - especially the Inle Lake area. At Inle, be sure to take a day trip to Kakku for amazing scenery. Taunggyi is also really interesting. It's on the way to Kakku. I've heard Kalaw is very good too.

I would book with a local agent who can make all of the internal flight bookings, arrange guides, and book all hotels. You will get special rates at the hotels and even upgrades. Unless you just want to throw money away, I would suggest the local agent. I also used Santa Maria Travel and Tours, from a recommendation on this board. I was very happy with them. Just ask if you need their contact details.

Mealea is offline  
Jul 17th, 2005, 07:35 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 32,668
Let me second what Laurieco says about doing it yourself!
Kathie is offline  
Jul 17th, 2005, 07:45 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 13,099
You have to remember however, that any agent you use, even a local one, is a middleman and is getting a cut, which you, the tourist, often pays for. When you do it yourself, you cut out the middleman and can usually get a better price.
laurieco is offline  
Jul 17th, 2005, 07:54 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 219
We were in Burma for 2 weeks, January 2005. We stayed at Lake View for 4 nights and were extremely happy with our choice. The manager of Lake View, Bruno, is French & a chef. He has trained his kitchen staff to cook and he runs a very tight ship. He has several acres of garden where he grows his own vegetables and fruit. He also has a farm nearby for chickens & pigs. The level of sanitation is 5* and the best that you will find in Burma. After 7 days of somewhat dodgy food, we were in heaven. In January, we did not need air conditioning. We slept with 2 blankets. We had a deluxe room on the upper floor with a balcony overlooking the lake. There are also suites.
In Bagan, we stayed at The Hotel at Tharabar Gate, also in a deluxe room. Suites are available here. We had dinner at the Bagan Hotel, and thought it looked scrufty. We had lunch at Thiriptsaya and felt the rooms looked like army baracks. Although these hotels are on the river, it is not the main area of river and was very dull.
twofortheroad is offline  
Jul 17th, 2005, 08:44 PM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,638
In Myanmar in Mar/April 2004 we found it was much cheaper to buy air tickets through an agent. We changed our travel arrangements in Bagan & decided to fly to Heho (Inle Lake) instead of driving. Air Mandalay's office in Bagan wanted US20 per person more than Santa Maria had quoted for just this one flight whichh we'd previously decided not to take.

I did my homework and compared prices on many hotel & airline websites and Santa Maria were cheaper, in all cases except one hotel, in Nyaungshwe, which we booked direct. I dislike using travel agents but their prices, in this case were less expensive than I could get. I just love winning, sometimes! Have fun!
Lyndie is offline  
Jul 17th, 2005, 10:02 PM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 333
Like Lyndie, I also researched prices very carefully - directly with hotels and airlines vs. quotes from various local agents. It depends which agent you use and you'll get some different quotes for sure. In all cases, ALL, the deals offered at Santa Maria Travel and Tours were cheaper than booking directly. They have some very good deals, including a special rate at the Savoy. After my research, I concluded that Santa Maria was the very best combination of lowest prices and excellent service.
Mealea is offline  
Jul 18th, 2005, 02:09 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 4,282
I also checked hotels via asiahotels and found it was actually cheaper if I used Gracious Myanmar Travel. Plus that way I could be sure I got the guide I wanted. What I would NOT do is book through a U.S. agent. That way you will be paying much more.
glorialf is offline  
Jul 18th, 2005, 03:36 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 13,099
Next time I go to Burma, I will check out Santa Maria for their prices. I'm assuming they didn't book a "tour", only the hotels and air within Burma? I'm all for saving money. What I don't want to do is have an entire tour planned for me by someone else. The agent I spoke to was in the US and I found her prices to be ridiculous. If a local agent can get hotels cheaper though, that I like! I still don't think I overpaid for what we did and where we stayed.
laurieco is offline  
Jul 18th, 2005, 04:12 AM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 333
At Santa Maria, you have many choices - hotels and flights only, guides if you need them, or a whole complete package with everything planned. They are very flexible. I booked all hotels and flights with them, plus a few days trips, like the one to Kakku.

I contacted many different local agencies, including Gracious Myanmar, but some of them seemed to want me to book a full package only and I didn't want that. Santa Maria let me keep things very flexible.

Kyaw is the office manager at Santa Maria and is a super sweet man. We still keep in touch with him. He and his wife just had their first baby and they are very happy about that.
Mealea is offline  
Jul 18th, 2005, 05:38 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 4,282
I used Gracious Myanmar and they are just booking my hotels, guide, driver and car. One of the reasons I am going through an agent is the difficulty of paying hotels direct. Often credit cards have surcharges and some won't take them at all. I like to have as much prepaid as possible so I don't have to carry a fortune in american dollars. I called Santa Maria because I've heard good things but went back to Gracious Myanmar in order to have the specific guide I wanted -- he doesn't work for them.
glorialf is offline  
Jul 18th, 2005, 06:46 AM
  #18  
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 12,861
As for the Pandaw cruise. Friends went on it a few years ago and gave it two thumbs way up. They said it was the best part of their Burmese trip and that there were only...if I remember correctly...one or two other couples on their boat. I remember it was almost like having a private cruise for them. Happy Travels!
Guenmai is offline  
Jul 18th, 2005, 09:42 PM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,638
We, too, booked only hotels & air at Santa Maria. We made it clear that we did not want anything more. Kyaw is a fine man and a pleasure to do business with. The business is owned by locals who love their country and want others to appreciate it too. They are a small local business, NOT a Government enterprise.
Lyndie is offline  
Jul 19th, 2005, 09:04 AM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,323
I second the Santa Maria! We walked to their office the morning after we arrived in Yangon from Cambodia, told them what we wanted (hotels, internal flights, etc), and we picked up the tickets and vouchers perfectly prepared in the afternoon. We stayed at Traders in Yangon and liked it a lot--laundry facilities on 2 floors, easy walking to market, and it's less than a block from Santa Maria Travel office. It's part of Shangri La chain.
JaneB is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 12:33 AM.