Yangon: Marvels, If you can make it
Demand is outstripping hotel supply in the former Myanmar capital, but for those who do find lodgings the city will enchant with modern touches rising up alongside a blend of Indian spice, crumbling colonial heritage and Buddhist traditions
Even if Barack Obama had spent the night during his historic trip to Yangon late last year, chances are he would have steered clear of the White House. For travellers on a modest budget, however, this reliable guesthouse in the former Myanmar capital's frenzied city centre is about as good as it gets _ if they can endure the hike up to the rooms in the upper storeys. The lift-less, decades-old British building also provides the most extensive buffet breakfast in town _ a detail not to be overlooked since most budget and midrange hotels here only offer simple eggs-and-toast meals in the morning.
END OF DAY, PRAY: The faithful pray as darkness settles in at Shwedagon Pagoda.
On his visit, the first by a sitting US president to the country, Mr Obama would have done better overnighting with other high-enders in the Strand, a century-old British institution that is the classiest hotel in Yangon (except, perhaps, the Governor's Residence by Orient-Express). Visitors who can't afford the rooms can at least sip coffee in the Strand Cafe, where the only sounds are the gentle creaking of rattan chairs, clinking of dainty cups being returned to saucers and the almost imperceptible whir of ceiling fans.
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