Eat, Sleep and Enjoy Myanmar on a Budget Brian Vu Thursday, October 5, 2017 No Comment

I decided to spend 800 USD for a 9 day trip to Burma in which $400 US for essential payout and the rest for unexpected situations. Before departure, I had read many backpackers’ blogs about Myanmar travel guides and they all come to a conclusion: this country recently opened its door for tourism after decades suffering under the dictatorship, the infrastructure doesn’t meet the requirement of booming tourism. Therefore, the lack of accommodations is common and the price is particularly higher than other neighbor countries. You will have to pay 90USD for a standard room with basic facilities. This makes me worry the most when I choose to travel to Burma in the peak season (November to February, the weather is not too hot with less chance of raining).


In my opinion, Myanmar food is pretty easy to eat. However, its culinary is influenced by other neighbor countries’ cuisine as some dishes are similar to Chinese food, some is like Indian dishes and some tastes like Vietnamese meals. Thus, a Korean tourist said that Burmese cuisine has no distinctive characteristics.

You can have a breakfast at the hotel or wander around the street to find your own favorite items of food. The cost is pretty cheap with a wide selection of local dishes such as noodles salads, Shan style rice and fried cakes. Markets are also the perfect place to satisfy your hunger. 3 of us had a nice meal with only 1,800 kyat (1.3 USD). For lunch and dinner, you can go check out some food stalls or restaurants with a diverse menu of Burmese specialties to Western courses. 

Your food journey to Burma cannot be completed without visiting a tea house. Burmese people love tea. They drink black tea sweetened with milk which is usually served with some side dishes. Tea house in Burma is not only a place to quench the thirst but to experience a part of local life. Yangon is a perfect place to explore Burmese cuisine with a wide range of food selections. Join now our Yangon food tour to experience the quintessence of Burmese culture.


My only concern about accommodation in Burma was the price because I spent half of my journey travelling alone and the cost for a single room was nearly equal to the double. However, everything turned out fine eventually. 

Not too difficult to find: It is not necessary to book hotel in advance in Myanmar due to the majority of them do not have the internet and they are not likely to reply your email. As long as you know where to find cheap accommodations, the problem is solved. Here are some of my recommendations: In Mandalay, cheap hotels are located in the centre, particularly in Road 85 (only main roads in Myanmar are named, the smaller ones are numbered). Nyaung Oo is where you can find low – priced lodges in Bagan and in Nyaungshwe is around the market (2 minutes walking from the bus station). The price will decrease as the accommodations are far from the markets or situated in the small streets. I didn’t spent any nights in Yangon so I am not recommenced any particular spots. Hence, according to the Lonely Planet the China town features many hotels with reasonable price.      

Not too expensive: I stayed at Joe Joe Lay guesthouse (Mandalay) and Eden Motel (Bgan) for 10USD/night per person. I also spent a night at Winner guesthouse in Bagan with 2 of my friends and all we had to charge was 40 dollars for a room with a shared bathroom (they also have single rooms for $11 – 14 US/ night). When visiting Inle Lake, I stayed at Diamond Star Hotel in Nyaungshwe for 10USD a single room with shared bathroom. 
The price has included: Breakfast (usually eggs, toasts with butter and jam, fruits and coffee). Joe Joe Lay Guesthouse, in particularly, had the best breakfast with fruits, orange juice and a Burmese dishes changing daily.  

Hotel’s quality: pretty good for backpackers. The room is old but clean with basic amenities. Water and the laundry service are very cheap.  

Hotel’s Services: The staffs are very enthusiast and friendly. They are always willing to help you to plan your trip, arrange transportations or book the tickets, etc. with the smile on their face. Staffs in Diamond Star Hotel even woke up at 5 in the morning to prepare breakfast for me to go watch the sunrise in Inle Lake. 

Moreover, as the overnight buses usually arrive in Inle at dawn, the hotels here have their own way of charge. As long as they have spare rooms, they will allow you to check in at 4a.m and check out at noon in the following day and charge as 1 night only.

Although I traveled in the peak season, tourist accommodations did not seem to be lacked thanks to the effort of the country to develop the infrastructure in recent years. There are now a great number of hotels and guesthouses around the famous destinations for you to choose. I arrived in 2 places at 3.30 a.m and still found a hotel for myself with a great price.  

So, How Much Do We Need?

My total spending in Myanmar was about 250USD. Apart from looking for cheap accommodations and low – priced food, I chose bicycle as my main means of transport (instead of taxi) when travelling a distance less than 3km. Travelling in the night by coaches or pick - up trucks. Therefore, with the budget of $30 – 40US/day, you can completely enjoy your trip in Burma even in the peak season. And if you travel in the low season, the price will get cheaper because there are not many visitors. In summary, Myanmar is definitely suitable for tourists on shoestring, especially backpackers.   

Travelling alone definitetly has it own interesting factors and unexpected situations also. For a tailor made holiday to the golden land, book now Myanmar Tour Packages or join in Burma River Cruises. 

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