This is part of the Trip Report So Long Mongolia, Hello SE Asia (December-January 2015) which covers:
- Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
- Bangkok, Thailand
- Chiang Rai, Thailand
- Yangon, Myanmar
- Ngwe Saung, Myanmar
- Mandalay, Myanmar
- Bagan, Myanmar
- Hong Kong
- Orlando, Florida
Catch up by reading the preview, The Banana Pancake Trail to Myanmar Starts This Monday, then the overview, Thailand, Myanmar, Hong Kong, Disney, Home, where the game time decision was made to leave Mongolia for good.
Myanmar, the land of the golden pagodas, has opened its doors to tourism. It has not opened its doors to reasonably priced accommodations. The two hotels of prominence are The Strand Hotel and The Shangri-La. Both are worth a visit but certainly not worth the cost of admission.
There are no SPGs, Hiltons, or Hyatts in Yangon. There are only overpriced guesthouses that start at $25 and go up to $100. Regardless of how much you spend, you still receive the same thing: junk. I’ve stayed at hostels across the globe and the reason I do so is because of price, convenience, and opportunity to meet like-minded travelers. In Yangon, none of those factors come into play. The prices are inflated and they are not willing to negotiate. Convenience is impossible in a city of traffic and no street lights. As far as like-minded travelers, one thing I did appreciate about Yangon is the lack of tourists compared to cities like Bangkok.
The tragedy of Yangon is how beautiful the city used to be. The architecture constructed by the British colonists is timeless. The isolationist economy and general disdain for the imperialist Brits are among the reasons these buildings have fallen into disrepair. The dilapidation extends to the entire infrastructure of the city. In comparison, the capital which moved from Yangon to Naypyidaw, a city that no tourists visits, has modern highways and buildings. This makes one question why those resources aren’t spent restoring what was once a splendid city.
As far as hotel reviews go, I have none. Take the cheapest one, survive, then get out and explore.