Where to Stay in BurmaAccommodation in Burma
Accommodation, Food and Attractions in Burma
This is Burma's enchanting time for a visit - the democratising thaw is still cool and has not yet had the full effect of it. Burma's area code is 95. Burma's response to Cambodia's Angkor Wat is the capitol of the old Myanmar state. From October to March Balloons Over Bagan offers sunrises and sunsets over the temple (1-652-809; from $320 per person).
There is a looming shortage of hotels, but so far nothing beats the 1-Hôtel @ Tharabar Gate, an 84-room outdoor haven next to Ananda Square (61-60037; double room of $135). Two cottages at Bagan Thiripyitsaya Sanctuary Resort overlook the Irrawaddy (61-60048; double room from $110). A puppeteering in the evenings will spice up the pan-Asian meal in the backyard with 1 Sarabha II (Tharabar Gate; 61-60055; entre?es from $5).
Well-known for its lacquer goods, look at the master craftsmen at work and see the antiquities at 1 Bagan House (Jasmine Rd., New Bagan) or 2 Golden Cuckoo (Myin Ka Par Village). Burma's last imperial capitol may not have the chilly Rangoon ratio, but the view over the reconstructed Rangoon Castle from the 3 Mandalay Hill Resort Hôtel, a 206-room resort and spas just off the coast, makes it simple to invoke the fame of the Myanmar empire and its 1885 plunder by the Brits (2-35638; double rooms from $220).
The Sedona Hotel, a delicate but non-functional giant, is attracting many visitors (2-36488; double room from $230). This quirky 25-room, 5-bed hotel on the Red Canal is part of the city's best Edinburgh restaurants, 2 Spice Garden, overlooking the palm-fringed swimming pools (2-61177; double rooms from $135; entre?es from $10). Rangoon and Bagan outpost restaurants, the 3 Green Elephant occupying an old Mandalay farmhouse.
Moustache Brothers comedies ( (39th and 1980th Mt; 2-61237; entre?es from $4). Orient-Express luxurious Road to Mandalay takes the Irrawaddy down to Bagan. As the swell increases (in August and September), the ferry travels through the Upper Irrawaddy's Drama Gorge to Bhamo (800-524-2420; three nights Bagan cruise from $2,400 per passenger, all inclusive).
The way to the home of the missing Iraqi Imperium is no longer a problem thanks to the 6 Mrauk Oo Princess Resort with its delightful tea mansions and first-class cuisine (9-850-0556; double rooms from $270; entre?es from $8). Ngapali Beach is perhaps the Phuket of the past and the future with its smooth waves, smooth sandy beaches and oversleepy atmosphere.
In the 7 Sandoway Resort overlooking the sea, eat carpaccio and al dente noodles. Opening from October to May (43- 42233; double room from $180; entre?es from $12). Alternatively, relax with a sundowner drink (perhaps Burma's own Pegu Club, gingerbread with bitter oranges, and lemon juice) at the seaside resort café at 8 Bayview Beaches Resort (1-504471; double room from $180).
On the Ngapali Road, you' ll find one of the fish eateries, such as 4 Smiley, for its aromatic octopus lettuce and lemon grass enriched shrimp terrine (Ngapali Rd.; 43-42267; entre?es from $3). Ngapali's quiet acres are perfect for catching fish and snorkelling; book a cruise through the motel or ask for Captain Zaw on the shore (half days from $25 for 4 people).
The choice of hotels remains small, but there are three stand-outs. 229-860 (double room from $410) at the swimming poolside of the 9 Governor's Residence, a renovated 1920s manor house. This 30-room 10 Savoy is charmingly loaded with tea wood and antique furniture (1-526-289; double rooms from $300). Experience the beach's history of colonialism, with granite flooring, fan ceilings and the spirits of former guest Rudyard Kipling and George Orwell (1-243-377; double rooms from $420).
Dinner at 5 Happy Cafe & Noodles (62 Inya Rd.; 1-525-112; entre?es from $3) or tasty salad at 6 Feel Myanmar cottages (124 Pyidaungsu Yeiktha St.; no telephone; entre?es from $3). Meanwhile, for the afternoons, meet the crowds waving dairy teas on sidewalk squats or gnaw on a slice of chocolatey millet lemoneuille with Rangoon's new cream at the 7 Acacia Teahouse Salon (52 Saya San Rd.; 1-554-739; entre?es from $7).
In the evening, go digging into the godly butter fish on the 8th monsoon, in a Colonian bench house (85-87 Thinbyu Rd.; 1-295-224; entre?es from $6), or dining outdoors at 9 L'Opera, where noodles are eaten on a candle lit turf over Lake Inya (62D U Tun Nyein St.; 1-665-516; entre?es from $10). Get a rough silk gown and handicrafts at 3 J's Irrawaddy Dream and painting at the 4 River Gallery (both at The Strand).