A Disclaimer On Visiting Myanmar

Myanmar is an incredible country to explore, but also one that is sadly fraught with controversy. Myanmar’s modern history alone is marred by ethnic genocide (see The Rohingya Crisis), and the events of an unjust military coup and false imprisonment of political leaders. For a long time, Myanmar has been run by a military junta and free elections have not been held.

While there are ethical questions around traveling to Myanmar, we believe that the people of Myanmar deserve the opportunity to benefit from tourism. The people of Myanmar are undoubtedly some of the kindest people you will ever meet and will welcome you into their home with a smile. Tourism was the country’s biggest economic industry but the people have been suffering for over 5 years now, from Covid and now from the war and diminished tourism.

Supporting locals with your tourist dollars can really help them, just ensure that you opt for locally run businesses rather than big hotels (which are usually owned by the military junta). The local people are excited to see tourists and show you around their homeland, ensure that you tip generously where you can as there are very limited opportunities in the country.

Tourists are unlikely to come into contact with any of the conflict as it is in areas that are off-limits to travelers. Whilst it is sometimes possible to get into Shan state, we do not recommend trying to explore areas with active conflicts.

Like anywhere in the world, there is a risk involved in travelling in Myanmar. Crucially though, Myanmar remains one of the most magical backpacker destinations (this is REAL exploring) and you can still make a big difference in the daily lives of the locals by supporting small businesses.

Be smart and safe, spend your money wisely to ensure it supports the government as little as possible, and do research ahead of time on the current situation as it changes daily. We recommend that you do not take photos of police or military units and do not say anything disparaging about the government on social media whilst in the country.

Mandalay, the second-largest city in Myanmar, is an absolute must-visit destination. Whether you’re leisurely strolling through the Zay Cho Market for a morning bite or visiting one of the many sacred pagodas scattered throughout the city, Mandalay offers something for everyone.

And what better way to kickstart your day than from the comfort of a cozy crash pad? That’s why I’ve got you covered with my favorite accommodation picks from my own stay. Each morning, I eagerly rose from bed, excited to savor a warm cup of Burmese tea before embarking on my daily adventures.

So, without further ado, let’s dive into my top picks for where to stay in Mandalay!

Audy poses for a photo in front of a pagoda in Bagan, Myanmar.
Wandering around Myanmar.
Photo: @audyscala

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Where is the Best Place to Stay in Mandalay?

Need help finding the perfect place to stay? I’ve got some great recommendations for accommodations in Mandalay. It’s an amazing backpacking destination in Asia and a must-visit for any trip in the region.

amanda buying flowers from a local in bagan, myanmar
Buy flowers from every Cornershop!
Photo: @amandaadraper

Mingalar Mandalay Hotel | Best Hotel in Mandalay

Mingalar Mandalay Hotel, Myanmar

If you’re deciding where to stay in Mandalay for a night or a longer visit, this is a great choice. It’s in the city’s heart, close to pagodas and other attractions.

The prices start at $100 USD and include breakfast, a swimming pool, free private parking, a fitness center, and a garden. My favorite part was the sauna. Breakfast is included and available each morning, offering American, Asian, and vegetarian options.

E-outfitting Golden Country Hotel | Best Family Hotel in Mandalay

E-outfitting Golden Country Hotel, Mandalay Myanmar

The team at E-outfitting Golden Country Hotel is absolutely amazing! Ma Thwe, the restaurant manager, went above and beyond to make my stay special. The staff was so helpful in arranging drivers and Yangon bus tickets for us, and they even provided super-fast laundry service.

This hotel is perfect for families with its fantastic pool and delicious breakfast buffet. And who can resist an all-you-can-eat breakfast? Count me in!

Ostello Bello Mandalay | Best Hostel in Mandalay

Ostello Bello Mandalay, Myanmar

This is undeniably one of the best places to stay in Mandalay, and not just because it offers shared and private room options with bathrooms catering to different travel preferences. The prices are very reasonable, with dorm rooms starting at $8 per night and private rooms available for $30 USD a night.

It is conveniently located in the city center, making it easily accessible to all activities. In my opinion, this is the top hostel in Mandalay.

Mandalay Neighborhood Guide – Best Places to Stay in Mandalay

FIRST TIME IN MANDALAY
shutterstock - mandalay - Chanayethazan Township
FIRST TIME IN MANDALAY

Chanayethazan Township

The Chanayethazan Township is the city’s business center and it’s where you’ll find most of the Mandalay accommodation options. Whether you’re trying to decide where to stay in Mandalay on a budget or have a little more cash to spend, this is the first area you should look at.

ON A BUDGET
mandalay - Chanmyathazi Township
ON A BUDGET

Chanmyathazi Township

The Chanmyathazi Township is a good choice if you’re deciding where to stay in Mandalay on a budget. This are is located slightly south of central Mandalay, but still close enough that it’s considered part of the city center.

If you are backpacking Myanmar, chances are you will have Mandalay on your list of places to visit. You will be surprised by this bustling city. As a busy city in Myanmar, you will find many things to do, from sacred pagodas to yummy street food; you have many options for how you want to spend your time.

Although Mandalay is mighty, you will find two main neighborhoods with the most accommodation options. Chanmyathazi and Chanayethazan. Both townships are centrally located, so you will find a great base for your adventures no matter where you choose to stay.

Both areas are great for walking, and if you need a taxi, be sure to coordinate with your hotel as this is a safe option in Myanmar. However, the heat and busyness can be challenging, so remember to stay hydrated and take breaks while exploring. Navigating transportation in Mandalay can also be tricky at times, so it’s often best to stay centrally located for easier exploration.

amanda smiling in the backseat of a grab taxi in myanmar
I was happy to find a taxi.
Photo: @amandaadraper

The Chanmyathazi Township, located just south of the main area, is a popular district in the city’s center and is within walking distance of everything. It’s one of the best areas to stay in Mandalay if you want to be close to the center but in a more residential area.

Additionally, Chanayethazan Township is the most popular area for tourists and the best place to stay in Mandalay if you want to be close to all the best attractions and restaurants. It’s also a popular place to visit for its local crafts and is well worth seeing.

Mandalay’s Two Best Neighborhoods to Stay in

If you’re ready to visit this mesmerizing city, here are the best places to find accommodation.

1. Chanayethazan Township – Where to Stay in Mandalay for Your First Time

The Chanayethazan Township is the city’s business center, and you’ll find most of the Mandalay accommodation options. Whether you’re trying to decide where to stay in Mandalay on a budget or have a little more cash to spend, this is the first area you should look at.

Amanda trying the elaborate and unique street food in Myanmar.
Make sure to try the street food!
Photo: @audyscala

This township has most of the city’s best attractions, from the biggest markets to the shopping center. It’s also a good walking city, which is a bonus because transport can be expensive.

So, just put on your walking shoes and sunscreen and head out to see what you can find!

Ease Hotel | Best Hotel in Chanayethazan Township

Ease hotel, Mandalay Myanmar

Ease Hotel is an amazing place to stay. We had a great time during our visit. The room was spacious, and the bed was large and very comfortable.

We really enjoyed the complimentary breakfast, and the food at the rooftop bar was excellent. The pool was a fantastic treat, especially on a hot summer day. The staff was outstanding—friendly, helpful, and attentive.

E-outfitting Golden Country Hotel | | Best Family Hotel in Chanayethazan Township

E-outfitting Golden Country Hotel, Mandalay Myanmar

The team at E-outfitting Golden Country Hotel is absolutely amazing! Ma Thwe, the restaurant manager, went above and beyond to make my stay special.

The staff was so helpful in arranging drivers and Yangon bus tickets for us, and they even provided super-fast laundry service. This hotel is perfect for families with its fantastic pool and delicious breakfast buffet. And who can resist an all-you-can-eat breakfast? Count me in!

Ostello Bello Mandalay | Best Hostel in Chanayethazan Township

Ostello Bello Mandalay, Myanmar

This is undeniably one of the best places to stay in Mandalay, not just because it offers shared and private room options with bathrooms catering to different travel preferences. The prices are very reasonable, with dorm rooms starting at $8 per night and private rooms available for $30 USD a night.

Additionally, it is conveniently located in the city center, making it easily accessible to all activities. In my opinion, this is the top hostel in Mandalay.

Things to See and Do in Chanayethazan Township:

  1. Check out what’s on at the multi-purpose Bahtoo Stadium and be part of the action.
  2. Explore the Htilin Monastery, a Buddhist monastery dating back to the 1800s.
  3. Get back to nature at the Myodaw Garden.
  4. Go shopping for souvenirs or take in local life at the Yadanabon Market.
  5. Go on a guided tour of Mandalay to get the local scoop of the town.
  6. Check out the local handicrafts at Zegyo Market.
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Want more deetz on why these packs are so damn perfect? Then read our comprehensive review for the inside scoop!

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2. Chanmyathazi Township – Best Place to Stay in Mandalay on a Budget

The Chanmyathazi Township is a good choice if you’re deciding where to stay in Mandalay on a budget. This area is located slightly south of central Mandalay, but it’s still close enough that it’s considered part of the city center. This means you get all the convenience of staying in the middle of the city at slightly better prices.

Mandalay is home to over 700 pagodas, many of them in this area of town. If you’re like me, you’ll want to see as many as you can. (I was able to see over 50 different pagodas!) This is one of the most Buddhist countries I have visited while backpacking in Southeast Asia.

Mandalay is home to over 700 pagodas, many of them in this area of town. and if you are like me, you’ll want to see everyone you can. (I was able to see over 50 different pagodas!)

a girl pointing at a art piece a local artist panted in a small village in myanmar
Street art in Mandalay
Photo: @amandaadraper

You can easily walk from The Chanmyathazi Township into the heart of the city, but don’t do that before you check out the attractions in this district! It’s home to many of Mandalay’s top tourist sites and cultural attractions.

And you’ll also find some cheap and interesting places to stay in this part of the city.

Havana Hotel | Best Budget Hotel in Chanmyathazi Township

Havana Hotel, Mandalay Myanmar

I really enjoyed my stay at the Havana Hotel because I got great value for my money. Where else can you find comfort and luxury for under $75 USD?

This hotel in Mandalay offers free Wi-Fi, an outdoor pool, and complimentary breakfast. There’s also a bar and restaurant on-site in case you don’t feel like going out at night to find somewhere to eat. The rooms are clean, modern, and bright.

Mingalar Mandalay Hotel | Best Family Hotel in Chanmyathazi Township

Mingalar Mandalay Hotel, Myanmar

If you’re deciding where to stay in Mandalay for a night or a longer visit, this is a great choice. It’s in the city’s heart, close to pagodas and other attractions.

The prices start at $100 USD and include breakfast, a swimming pool, free private parking, a fitness center, and a garden. My favorite part was the sauna. Breakfast is included and available each morning, offering American, Asian, and vegetarian options.

Ritz Grand Hotel | Best Luxury Hotel in Chanmyathazi Township

Ritz Grand Hotel, Mandalay Myanmar

During my stay at the Ritz Grand Hotel, I treated myself to a mountain view suite and had such a positive experience. Comfortable beds, room service, and a gorgeous view are always a recipe for success.

To top it off, they even have an airport shuttle, which makes commuting easy. The staff is available at the front desk 24/7 and is happy to assist with booking excursions and bus tickets.

Things to See and Do in Chanmyathazi Township:

  1. Get back to nature at the Kandawgyi Gardens.
  2. Take photos of the stunning, golden Mahamuni Buddha.
  3. Wander around the Mahar Sandar Muni Pagoda.
  4. Take a day to explore the monasteries and pagodas crowding the sides of Sagaing Hill.
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FAQ about Finding a Place to Stay in Mandalay

Here’s what people usually ask me about where to stay in Mandalay.

How much does a hotel cost in Mandalay?

It all depends on whether you prefer a private room with an ensuite bathroom or a bed in a shared dorm. The average price for a bed in a shared dorm room is $8 USD, and it can range to around $150 for a private room.

What are the best hotels in Mandalay near the airport?

Although the main accommodation areas in Mandalay are around 45 minutes from the airport, I recommend the Ritz Grand Hotel because of its airport shuttle.

What To Pack For Mandalay

Pants, socks, underwear, soap?! Take it from me: Packing for a hostel stay is not always quite as straightforward as it seems. I have perfected the art of deciding what to bring and what to leave at home over many years.

Product
Description
Don’t Let Snorers Keep You Awake!
Don’t Let Snorers Keep You Awake!

Ear Plugs

Snoring dorm-mates can ruin your nights rest and seriously damage the hostel experience. This is why I always travel with a pack of decent ear plugs.

Keep your laundry organized and stink free
Keep your laundry organized and stink free

Hanging Laundry Bag

Trust us, this is an absolute game changer. Super compact, a hanging mesh laundry bag stops your dirty clothes from stinking, you don’t know how much you need one of these… so just get it, thank us later.

Stay Dry With a Micro Towel
Stay Dry With a Micro Towel

Sea To Summit Micro Towel

Hostel towels are scummy and take forever to dry. Microfibre towels dry quickly, are compact, lightweight, and can be used as a blanket or yoga mat if need be.

Make Some New Buddies…
Make Some New Buddies…

Monopoly Deal

Forget about Poker! Monopoly Deal is the single best travel card game that we have ever played. Works with 2-5 players and guarantees happy days.

Reduce Plastic – Bring a Water Bottle!
Reduce Plastic – Bring a Water Bottle!

Grayl Geopress Water Bottle

Always travel with a water bottle! They save you money and reduce your plastic footprint on our planet. The Grayl Geopress acts as a purifier AND temperature regulator. Boom!

Check out my definitive Hotel Packing list for even more top packing tips!

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance for Mandalay

ALWAYS arrange your backpacker insurance before your trip. There are plenty of options, but a good place to start is Safety Wing.

They offer month-to-month payments, no lock-in contracts, and require absolutely no itineraries—the exact kind of insurance long-term travelers and digital nomads need.

ALWAYS sort out your backpacker insurance before your trip. There’s plenty to choose from in that department, but a good place to start is Safety Wing.

They offer month-to-month payments, no lock-in contracts, and require absolutely no itineraries: that’s the exact kind of insurance long-term travellers and digital nomads need.

SafetyWing is cheap, easy, and admin-free: just sign up lickety-split so you can get back to it!

Click the button below to learn more about SafetyWing’s setup or read our insider review for the full tasty scoop.

Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in Mandalay

As you begin your travel adventure, remember that a comfortable bed and a refreshing shower are the perfect start to an amazing day. And when you’re in Myanmar, get ready for the real adventure!

In Mandalay, every day felt like a treasure hunt, with so much magic to uncover and friendly locals to meet. One morning, I woke up early in my hostel bed and explored with some new friends. We managed to see all the best of Mandalay in just one day and felt incredibly grateful for the whole experience.

Mandalay is a city full of captivating wonders, with countless gems waiting to be discovered. Don’t miss the chance to visit the mesmerizing Hsinbyume Pagoda – it was definitely a highlight of my trip!

Looking for more info on travelling to Mandalay and Myanmar?
amanda looking at a golden pagoda, in front of a 'monday corner' sign for prayer
Say hi to the Pagodas for me.
Photo: @audyscala