Tour Mandalay recommends: Hpa-an Lodge (Hpa-an)

Located at the foot of the domineering Zwegabin Mountain, Hpa-an Lodge is far enough away from the town centre for it to be quiet, but close enough for it to be convenient.

Hpa-an Lodge's chalets

A view of the chalets from Hpa-an Lodge’s lobby

All of the wooden chalets look out onto Zwegabin Mountain, with the rooms towards the back boasting the best views. The interior decoration is simple, yet characterful in style. The quality of furnishings is top class and the beds easily rival the quality and comfort of a 5-star city hotel. Tour Mandalay can quite honestly say it was the best night’s sleep we’ve had in ages. There’s no TV, but the hotel does provide a wireless Bluetooth speaker to listen to your favourite music – just be sure to bring a Bluetooth enabled device!

Karen Chalet at Hpa-an Lodge

Inside the Karen-style chalet at Hpa-an Lodge

The hotel’s swimming pool is another one of the hotel’s selling points. Surrounded by comfortable sun loungers, bean bags and a clear view of Zwegabin Mountain, it’s the perfect spot from which to enjoy a cold beer. For those seeking something a bit more adventurous, it’s possible to hire mountain bikes or carry out light treks around the area.

Hpa-an Lodge's pool

A reflection of Zwegabin Mountain in Hpa-an Lodge’s open-air pool

For us, the main highlight however was the food. The menu boasts a range of items ranging from an extremely authentic tasting Phad Thai to a succulent and meaty sea bass cooked with provencal style vegetables. This will set you back a bit more than eating locally, but saying that, the quality of food is of a much higher standard. For $10-15 you can purchase the majority of items on the menu and they also have a small, yet well chosen wine list. It was also clear to see that the money made from the menu goes straight towards the employment of an excellent chef and restaurant staff.

The hotel’s management team (Leila and Paul) are excellent hosts and it’s unlikely Hpa-an Lodge would be anywhere near as good without them. They are extremely attentive, hard working and have a great eye for detail – we even saw them helping out with daily chores (stuffing pillows, hanging our pot plants etc), which I’m sure you’ll agree, is quite an unusual sight to see in this day and age. If time permits, Tour Mandalay would strongly recommend spending 2-3 nights here – it will provide the perfect sense of adventure and relaxation, a combination that is a rarity in Myanmar’s Deep South.

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