Bagan is one of the more popular destinations of Myanmar and hence most of the hotels located close to the temple are moderate to expensive. The budget travelers stay at a town close to Bagan called Nyaung Oo. This is where the bus stand is and this is where one can find a huge variety of budget accommodation. I stayed at the Shwe Na Di Guest House for 6 days and 5 nights. Below review is based on my recent experience of staying there.
1) Like most of the budget hotels in Myanmar, too much should not be expected of this one too. The rooms are spartan, has an old fan and air conditioner and hard beds.
2) The cost in this guest house is very attractive. For $15, two can share an air conditioned room with a shared bathroom. The bathroom has squat styled toilets. The cost for a similar single room is USD 10. The cost for rooms with attached bathrooms and western toilets are USD 20 and 25.
3) Free breakfast is included into the cost of every room. Breakfast includes bread, butter, jam, fruits and tea/coffee.
4) They are one of the fewer guest houses to have free wi-fi and that too in working condition. I was happy to have been able to make daily skype calls, sketchy, but they did the job.
5) Electricity was sporadic in Nyaung Oo, which is how it is in the rest of Myanmar. The guest house didn’t have a backup power generator. So, during electricity cuts, no fan or AC would work. Nor would be wifi work.
6) The best thing about the guest house are the people running it. They are very helpful and try to make your stay as comfortable as possible. They arrange bicycles, horse carts, taxis and even book bus and flight tickets and all this at zero margins.
7) Old Bagan is a one hour walk walk or a 20 minute bicycle ride away. This is one of the tougher parts of the deal, but the good thing is that it allows you to see temples that start right out of Nyaung Oo.
8) The Nyaung Oo market is a 10 minute walk away and can provide an interesting experience.
9) A lot of good, cheap to moderately expensive restaurants are located close to the guest house. This allows you to save on your food bill, which would have been much higher if you had stayed in Bagan.
10) The bus stand is just a 7 minute walk away from the guest house.
Even though the heat and the lack of electricity didn’t go well with me, I liked this guest house and Bagan. The guest house is ideal for budget travelers and backpackers.