I stayed in the spacious J-Suite with a great view of the temples, lit up at night. I was comfortable and relatively happy. However, the bathroom had no shower curtain which meant the floor was sopping wet every time I took a shower. It was also hard to read and write in my room because the lights were really dim. I ate frequently in the hotel restaurant and found the service to be atrocious. Placing an order could result in a 45-min. wait. If there is a big group having dinner, you may have to wait even longer. Check how much time it will take before you order an item. Clearly, the hotel can hire more staff/cooks but is not willing to invest, despite charging a good bit of money for the rooms.
On the positive side, Kumudara offers free internet service, apparently one of the few in Bagan to do so. And they don't make their guests pay for a compulsory New Year's Eve dinner like so many hotels do.
The location is New Bagan which means you will need some form of transportation to see the temples. However, a few famous ones are within easy walking distance such as Abeyadana, Socmingyi, Nagayon, and Nan Paya. I hired a horse cart for two days ($25 per day) and covered all the big names. My favorites: Ananda Pahto, Thatbyinnu, Shwegugyi, Gawdawpalin, and Sulamani.
I did experience temple fatigue on the second day--most of the temples are very similar and, unlike Indian temples, are largely bereft of sculpture, carvings, and decoration. Some have frescoes and murals but, the lack of internal lighting, makes it nearly impossible to view them. Flashlights are a must but can do only so much.
Because of the terrible, swirling dust, I strongly recommend wearing a face mask while visiting the temples. You won't look strange or stupid--plenty of people will be wearing them. I got a sore throat because I didn't.
My first Bagan sunset was on the Irrawady. You can go for a boat ride, if you wish. My second was up on Shwesandaw temple, and the view was just stunning.
My flights and hotel were booked by Dimple Swe [firstname.lastname@example.org] of 7 Diamond Express. She was extremely helpful and totally reliable. And she always answered my e-mails promptly. She met me at my hotel in Yangon on my very first day, and I paid her in crisp US dollars. (BTW, it would be a good idea to change your money in Yangon because you will get an inferior rate in Bagan). I flew Air Bagan, which doesn't have the best safety record, but there were no problems.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Every time you open the curtains from your room, you can see the panorama view of ancient Bagan temples. Located at the edge of archeological monument zone, surrounded by farms and ruins of temples, Kumudara Hotel is the only hotel in Bagan with the unbeatable location where you can enjoy the priceless view of hundreds of pagodas and at least 10 famous ones. Famous pagodas include Su La Ma Ni Pahto, Dhamma Yan Gyi Pahto, Ananada Temple, Shwe San Daw Paya, and That Byin Nyu Temple. Situated in the middle of 4 acres of beautifully landscaped gardens and 12.9 acres of farmland, the atmosphere is very quiet, peaceful and serene. If you are looking for a place to escape from your daily stress at the best location in Bagan, Kumudara Hotel is the right choice for you. This is where your Bagan dream comes true! ... more less
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