Bagan Thande Hotel - book now at special rates via Agoda.com
Archaeological Zone, Old Bagan,
Bagan, Myanmar 05232
In a nutshell:
Excellent location, relaxing & spacious surrounds, a bit of a splurge for a backpacker's budget, but worth it!
Rating: 4 / 5
Right at the heart of the Bagan Archaeological Zone, Bagan Thande Hotel is situated behind the Bagan Archaeological Museum, and is within walking distance of notable structures like Gawdawlin Temple. One side of the property is facing the river, offering amazing sunset views. When we stayed there, we could step out of the hotel and easily explore Old Bagan on foot (we walked to Shwesandaw Paya to catch a sunrise on our second morning), but bicycle and horse cart rentals are also available outside the hotel (we hired the services of Aung Aung and his horse cart No. 38 – we highly recommend him!).
Accommodation and Amenities
We booked the cheapest cottage for two. The room had the features of a basic hotel. The bathroom was clean and the heater was reliable. The room itself was a bit dark, the lighting unable to offset the dark wood of the walls to brighten up the room, but we didn’t mind – it helped us sleep better, and if we needed a little sunshine we just stepped out into our little porch, or hung out by the pool or the riverfront (all of which we did often!). They had fairly reliable WiFi nearly everywhere in the property as well. An al fresco buffet breakfast was set up every morning at the restaurant by the riverfront, which served a fair variety of options. Every night at the same outdoor restaurant, they stage a traditional Burmese puppet show for guests.
Bagan Thande Hotel has a bit of an old, British colonial charm with its cottage accommodations (supposedly King Edward VIII stayed in the most premium suite of the hotel in 1922. The suite is now aptly named after him) and lush green surroundings. Its greenery and riverside view provided a respite from the incredibly dry surroundings and heat of Old Bagan. When we weren’t catching a sunset in one of the temples, we were enjoying the views by the river in Bagan Thande Hotel. We also used the pool often, after spending time exploring the temples and powering through the heat. We don’t often spend on accommodations when we travel, but I’m glad we did in Bagan. The heat can be punishing especially at noon, and we were often advised to start our exploration of the temples early so we can come back to our hotel at lunch to rest and wait it out until the heat subsided a little. We are Filipinos after all, and we do enjoy our siesta!
Another curious thing to note about Bagan Thande Hotel is that it plays host not only to its traveler guests, but also to a huge group of crows and squirrels. Yes, crows and squirrels, and a whole lot of them. They roam the grounds freely but never seem to bother the guests.
Bagan Thande Hotel is a lot more expensive than the usual accommodations that we book on a trip. Due to limited food options in the area, for a number of our meals we settled for eating at the hotel restaurant and found the prices of meals to be quite expensive, though this is to be expected for a hotel. Nevertheless, I thought our little splurge on Bagan Thande Hotel was worth it, and made our trip much better and more comfortable. After two nights in transit without a bed in order to get to Bagan from Manila with two stops (Kuala Lumpur and Yangon) in between, we felt we deserved a little bit of luxury! I wouldn't have wanted to stay anywhere else.
Credit cards are still virtually unheard of in Myanmar, even at places like Bagan Thande Hotel. But they do accept US dollars as well as Burmese kyat, provided the former is in mint condition. That said, it's best to book and pay for your accommodations online, which is what we did to save us the hassle of bringing extra dollars and making sure that we didn't damage them during the trip. One less thing to worry about on a trip is always a good thing. We booked our accommodations for Bagan Thande Hotel via agoda.com, which was a breeze!
In general Myanmar is experiencing an influx of travelers and the country's tourism industry is still catching up to the sudden demand for travel services. So book your accommodations in advance to ensure you have a place to stay. Try agoda.com or hostelworld.com for great deals and prices.