Sanctum Inle Resort
This luxurious Sanctum Inle Resort is located in Inle Lake. Unlike some of the other hotels that are on stilts, this one has a European-villa vibe with its whitewashed exterior, romantic arches, swimming pool, and spa services. It is one of the most popular hotels in this region because it has lots of reasonably-priced rooms and customers give it great ratings. The lake views are worth it – this place is the ultimate sanctuary after a long day of touring by boat.
Maing Thauk Village, Inle Lake, Nyaung Shwe Township, Myanmar +95 9 252 818 800
Inle Heritage is one of the most unique places on the lake (full disclosure: the writer currently works here as an English teacher) because it is run by its vocational training center. That means students between ages 16-23 are receptionists and chefs-in-training. It is tucked away on the south end of the lake. There are only six rooms here, but each provides exceptional service and design. You’ll also get a chance to pet the Burmese cats that stay here – all 34 of them. You won’t regret staying here and contributing to the students’ education as part of your stay.
One of the cutest, chillest hostels in the world is Song of Travel. It is the pioneer hostel in Inle Lake and is located in Nyaung Shwe, the main town. Among the features are comfortable cubicle-style beds complete with all the necessities (plugs) and visitors to the hostel will inevitably make friends. There is a good breakfast every morning and free snacks, coffee, and water. What more could you ask for? If watching the budget, you won’t regret staying at this fun hostel whose exterior is a giant boombox.
Aureum Palace Hotel
This hotel is actually located in Bagan’s archaeological zone. That’s a big deal. From one of its two swimming pools, you can see pagodas on the hotel’s property. During the day they look fake because they’re so beautiful and at night, they’re simply majestic. Though Aureum Palace Hotel Bagan comes with a hefty price tag, it is definitely worth the splurge for these unparalleled views of ancient Bagan in your literal backyard.
Another Bagan favorite. This hostel offers the traditional dorm beds but also private rooms. Ostello Bello originates from Milan – they often have free pasta for its guests – and has locations in Italy and Myanmar. It opened in 2015 so you can ensure it is modern and clean, one of the first hostels in Myanmar. Ostello Bello is located in New Bagan and features lots of free local guided tours for its guests, in addition to a bar and restaurant.
Kayay St, New Bagan, Myanmar +95 61 65 069
Belmond Governor’s Residence
Paradise, oasis, sanctuary… these are just a few of the recurring themes when someone thinks of Belmond Governor’s Residence. The authentic 1920’s colonial-style building is coupled with two superb restaurants, a spa and a gorgeous swimming pool that wraps like a moat around the hotel. It is peaceful, beautiful, and the perfect getaway from chaotic Yangon. Everyone knows this place because it’s the hallmark of 5-star hotels.
35 Taw Win Road, Dagon Township, Yangon, Myanmar +95 1 229 860
Pickled Tea Hostel is walking distance from Shwedagon Pagoda, Yangon’s can’t-miss attraction. Located in Sanchaung Township, this hostel is tucked away on a side street with many restaurants and street stalls nearby. It’s clean and has powerful modern showers, lots of privacy and spacious bunk beds. Though it may be a little more expensive than your typical hostel, the extra cost is well worth it. Long stay is also available.
11 Myaynigone Zay St, Yangon, Myanmar +95 9 250 903 363
The Home Hotel
Mandalay may not be as progressive as Yangon, but a couple of cafes and shopping centers are beginning to pop up here. It’s a great place to explore some of the traditional aspects of Myanmar culture – particularly the snacks and desserts on side streets. The Home Hotel is a great place to relax for a good value. Spacious, clean and welcoming.
Hpa An Lodge
Hpa An Lodge has a 5-star rating on TripAdvisor with over 130 reviews – so you know it has to be good. This gorgeous lodge is located in Hpa An, a place heaving with caves and nature. It is arguably the best place to stay in Hpa An, mostly because of its scenic pool area where an entire mountain range is in view while lounging in your bikini. This place comes highly recommended and that is the result of finely-tuned design and marketing.
While Loikaw isn’t one of the most visited destinations in Myanmar, it is actually loaded with local culture that has been brought to focus by community-based tourism groups. The Padaung women (the ladies who wear brass rings around their neck to stretch them) originate from villages in this area. There are sausage-making activities, ox-cart rides, visiting the villages, and Taung Kwe Pagoda. The place to stay here is Loikaw Lodge, which just opened in late 2016. It is a gorgeous building with a friendly welcoming atmosphere.