Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The ET Hotel, Mandalay's Backpacker Haven

The ET Hotel in Mandalay is a shoestring wonder. Yep, it's yucky and dingy, but totally worth it.
Single rooms can be found for around 12 to 15 dollars a night, re-check your Lonely Planet prices, but doubles with bathroom go for around 18-24 a night.  Yes, there is hot water, and the rooms are big enough to do push-ups and yoga on the floor while still having space to hang your washed socks and shirts on a rack.
The breakfast is complimentary, which is true for most Burmese guesthouses, and good for some scrambled eggs and fried rice, and the main restaurants and bars are just a quick five minute walk away.
Also, the front desk staff is very helpful with information on some of the amazing day trips like the cool and stunning U Bien Bridge and the delightful boat ride to Mingun.  In fact, that is really the only reason to come to Mandalay, skip that freaking palace in the center of town, but definitely hit the teak monastery and Mandalay Hill is okay too, if you are bored and needing to kill some time before checking out.
Bicycle rentals are a good way to see the city too, but absolutely bring a scarf, because this place is dirty!  Sooty and dusty and if you have asthma, keep your inhaler close.  I awoke every morning with mild asthma attacks, which isn't a new thing in Asia for me, but the dust here is not to be underestimated.  Good luck.  Check out the ET Hotel, pretty decent wify in the little hotel lobby too.  Well, keep your fingers and toes crossed for that!

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