Travel to Myanmar #6 – About saving money

At the time of writing a holiday in Myanmar is expensive compared to other Asian destinations – and for travelers who have been here before 2010 far more expensiv than then. The main reason for this is the accommodation.

 

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Almost overnight the whole world decided to go to Myanmar

 

… and you dear traveler is not the only one who got this brillant idea 🙂

Carlsberg, Pepsi, Coca Cola, Heineken, VW, Skoda, Maersk, Nestle, Unilever and all the other multi national companies have been waiting for years to get their share of the >60 million people plus huge market and/or access to the country’s natural ressources. These businesses represents thousands of employees. Add to them all the people from the international organisations and NGO’s that have been waiting for years to increase ther business in this big and virgin market, add all the diplomats and finally add all the returning burmese people that have been living abroad and now wants to return home and get their share of it all.

The sum is millions of people that are flooding in to Myanmar. And all are desperate to get a place to stay: property for their HQ, accomodation for their staff, land for factories, land for their shops. ware houses etc. And all are willing to pay the prices the are facing. Prices that rises day by day.

Before 2010 you could easily find budget accomodation. And if you could afford a little more you got good value for money. That is not possible any longer. Hotels we used to pay 40 US$ only two years ago now cost 100 US$ and the quality has not gone up with the price!

Two days ago we returned to Yangon with MAI. In their in Flight Magazine the feature story was about Budget Guest Houses in Down Town Yangon. The 8 hotels that are mentioned represents 180 rooms and prices from 6 US for the cheapest (Mahabandola Guest House – not fit for tourists) to 65 US for the most expensive one (May Shan Guest House).

If you need a place to stay in Yangon from the 2nd January 2014 and two nights Agoda has 1 offer belove 20 US – (Category: Acceptable).

So the fastest and most efficient way to spent money is to reduce the numher of nights in especially Yangon and Mandalay. And stay away fro the beach.

And that is easy with a city like Bangkok only one hour away.

If you plan to take a late plane out of Bangkok DON’T! Instead stay the night at one of the cheap (and good) hotels close to the airports and take the first morning flight. If you leave around 8 am you will be at your hotel in Yangon around 9 am local time.

The same goes for your return. Leave as late as possible and stay the night in Bangkok (or any of the other entry airports to Myanmar).

Finally the usual ways to reduce your hotel costs:

  • If you are going up north – to Myitkyina or down south to places like Mawlamyine take the night train. The sleepers are excellent.
  • Are you travelling by boat down the Ayawaddy River it is possible to sleep on board.
    At the back the blue local boats usually have 4 to 8 very basic but comfortably cabins where you can lay down. When we took the boat from Myitkyina down to Mandalay in January 2012 – we got a cabin with out extra charge. But we had to ask for it – the companies do not promote these facilities.
  • It’s also possible to go to popular places like Mandalay, Bagan and Inle Lake by night bus. We have done that several times before – but feel too old for that now 🙂
  • Finally – if you are a long term traveler with a flexible itenerary try to avoid the high seasons and especially holidays like Christmas and New Year where all prices are crazy

 

This situation will change – there are hotels under construction everywhere!

Prices will go down when the number of hotel rooms will explode the years to come and increase the competition. The dark horse is the tourism that may grow faster than the hotel business.

So if you find the prices too costly the above advices is the best and fastest way to reduce your costs. The positive thing is that – except for the night busses – the advices also spice up your travel 🙂

 

NOTE: The article in the Inflight Magazine only mention 8 budget options. For som reasons the most popular ones are left out. Please check Agoda, Tripadv

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Travel to Myanmar

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