Where We Slept is our hotel roundup from our time on the road. We hope it helps budget travelers see how far their dollar can go--even though sometimes, it's not far enough!
The night bus from Inle Lake put us into Bagan at about 3:30am. We had Skype'd a hotel from Inle to ensure we would have a place to stay, but were hoping to save a night worth of lodging and so reserved the place for the following night (i.e. we left Inle Monday night, arrived Tuesday morning, and had a reservation for Tuesday night).
Luckily, Motel Eden in Nyaung Oo seemed to be fine with this arrangement when they let us in at 4am. At $30/night for a double with private bath and AC, Eden was a decent stay. Unfortunately, the power went out at least 12 times during our three days in Bagan, which meant AC, lights, etc. were a luxury that didn't work. That said, the breakfast was pretty good.
If you are on a budget and still want a pool, you are in luck. You can stay at a cheaper hotel without a pool, then go to a hotel with a pool and pay to use it. Aureum Palace Resort was $10/person and had an infinity pool with a view of several temples (and had the fastest wi-fi we used in Burma). Sunset is also quite nice at Aureum. It was a worthwhile splurge, and not THAT expensive if you're not a road warrior.
Have you visited Bagan on a budget? Leave your tips in the comments below!