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 fist thing you'll read online about Burma is how difficult it is to get a hotel room. This is 100% accurate. We booked our first night in Yangon ahead of time, only to be told when we called to confirm that they "did not have our reservation."
Because there was no way to pay in advance in 2013 unless you did a group tour or use a travel agent, hotels will often give away your room if it serves their finances- i.e. if someone offers more money for it.
It took about one hour at the tourist desk at the airport for them to find us an available room at the MGM Hotel. We were quoted $50 a night, though they only charged $40 when we got there in a cab (12000K). The room had a pretty gross private bathroom and a super cooling AC. We also got free water bottles at the front desk and a decent breakfast. From the reviews, it sounds like they've made some (though not many) improvements in the last year, so it may be worth another look. It was literally the only available room in town the night we landed.
The next day, we moved to the White House Hotel, which is pretty much where everyone in town tried to stay in 2013. We paid $27 for a double bed with fan with a view of Shwedagon and a shared bathroom. We would have paid for an AC but they were sold out of those rooms by 8:30am when we walked over. (In other words, book ahead! You can now do it online!) Sleeping with a fan was miserable, but the breakfast was delicious and our pillows didn't wreak of smoke like at the MGM. Wifi was free but spotty. Location was good and made it easy to get buses.
To be honest, lodging in early 2013 in Burma really sucked. That said, it was worth the pain to see the country.
If you have any budget travel tips for Burma, leave a comment!