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Ultimate Guide for Shopping in Myanmar

Myanmar’s cities are not shopping destinations on a par with regional favorites such as Bangkok or Singapore, but there are still some bargains to be found. Souvenirs include jewelry – some of the most interesting being made from petried wood or from jade – plus art and handicrafts such as marionettes, Buddha gurines and tapestries. Lacquerware is available throughout the country, with the Bagan style particularly popular with tourists, although quality and prices vary significantly. The plainer styles of Shan state are also worth seeking out. The western town of Pathein is known for its handmade parasols, which are sold throughout Myanmar.

11 Pocket tips for shopping in Myanmar

First thing first, we’d better learn some tips and trick before breaking down the shopping streets. Here are a few tips before you begin your exploration:

1. Bargaining

Bargaining and haggling for a better deal is all part of the experience when shopping at markets in Yangon, Mandalay, or Bagan. The first price offered is rarely the true price, especially in overly tourist areas.

Tips: 

  • Remember that while bargaining is common in markets, it is not accepted or possible in convenience stores like May Minimart or upscale shopping malls.
  • Look around and check with your guide to have the idea of what you are going to buy. You can check the 8 tips for bargaining in Myanmar for more detail (Check below)

2. Freshen Up on Your Calculator Speak

Market shopping is all about the bartering. If you pay full price for something at one of Myanmar’s many markets, you have become one of many tourists who overpay at one of these outdoor shopping arenas. If you do not know any Burmese, brush up on your calculator skills. Be prepared to barter with a vendor or merchant, if not just for the banter.

3. Don’t Be Too Proud

While bartering is a must, do be aware when you are taking the situation 30 Kyat too far. Do not fight with a vendor over an insignificant price, and do not make a scene if you do not get the price that you want.
Be prepared to simply thank the shopkeeper and move on. There is nothing worse than watching a foreigner lose their cool over 300 Kyat. Burmese people hate losing face, so if you are losing your temper and getting into theirs, things are bound to end badly.

4. The Friendlier, The Better

Though having a struggling history, the people here are some of the friendliest in the world. If you enter a shop with all guns blazing, ready to fight to the death for the best deal you can muster out of a shopkeeper, think again. Burmese people are receptive to friendliness, and the more aggressive your attempt to receive a discount, the less likely you are to get one.

5. Know Some Burmese language

While this is certainly useful for almost every country you visit, having the knowledge of a few numbers and phrases to help you barter will go a long way. For one, a merchant will appreciate your honest attempt at speaking their difficult language, and they might even give you a discount just for trying. Knowing how to say words like ‘expensive’ or ‘discount’ can help you in all aspects of your visit to Myanmar, not just once you are lost in a maze of stalls at one of its markets. Knowing a few numbers is the best way to ensure you have a positive, and affordable, market experience.

You can check the below video to learn some basic Burmese language.

6. Download A Currency Converter

Figuring conversation rates from your home country’s currency to Kyat will certainly be a struggle. With fluctuating rates and figuring out money that is different from anything you have ever seen before, you are better off downloading an offline currency application to your phone before taking on one of Myanmar’s markets. Things move quickly while you’re bartering, and you will want to know just as fast how much a price is before trying to go any lower. Who knows, you might already be getting an amazing price on something, and you just did not know it.

7. Browse A Little

Do not purchase the very first thing you simply must have. Chances are, there will be an abundance of whatever it is you have your eye on just a hop, skip, and a jump away. Do make note of where something is before leaving it behind, however, just in case.

8. Pay what the locals are paying

If you are one customer behind a local and find they are paying a significant amount less than you are, you are getting a bad deal. Simply being a foreigner can make you susceptible to being ripped off. Make note of what Burmese people are paying and be sure to get the same price.

9. Do not barter for food

Although we are not sure if this is a custom or simply not done, but do not barter for food. Are you wanting to purchase elephant pants? Barter! Are you hoping to buy that hanging tapestry for your room at home? Barter away. But before chowing down on one of Myanmar’s most coveted dishes, do not muster up your bartering skills in hopes of receiving a discount.

10. The more items, the better the discount

You are more likely to receive a discount if you intend to buy more items at once. If you are genuinely only wanting to purchase one thing from a vendor, convince a friend that they need that identical item or something else from that merchant, and chances are you will both receive a slight discount.

11. Don’t overload

You have not so much space in your luggage. Unless you want to send some home over post, try to avoid heavy and massive items. Many stores offer free shipping service so check for your convenience.
Shopping in Myanmar is a culture, a ritual, and a lot of fun. It is rewarding for those who really take it more seriously than just getting some souvenirs off the shelf. Whatever reason you come to Myanmar for, make sure shopping is one of the bullet points in your travel agenda.

8 tips for haggling in Cambodia

As with anywhere in the world where haggling is a way of life, there are some general haggling tips to keep in mind in Myanmar.

1. Have an approximate price in your mind

Have a rough idea of what you’re willing to pay for a product or service. It also helps to know the usual average prices to prevent overpaying or having unrealistic expectations. You can ask at your accommodation how much things like transportation, souvenirs, trips, massages, etc. generally cost if you have no idea yourself.

2. Shop around

Compare a few basic prices before handing over any cash to make sure you really have got the best deal. Negotiate with people who start with the lowest prices; you may not have much negotiating to do to reach a great price.

3. Don’t bargain for things you don’t want

While it’s okay to ask out of curiosity how much something costs and then move on, it’s really bad form to go through the motions of haggling if you really don’t intend sealing the deal at any price. Likewise, if the seller agrees to your price it’s really not cool to then say you don’t want the item or service. Remember, people are just trying to make a living. The time that they’ve spent with you is not only frustrating but could have caused them to lose a sale elsewhere. If you don’t reach an agreement that’s acceptable to both sides, however, it’s okay to walk away.

4. Maintain an air of disinterest

While you should definitely be interested in the item or service, don’t show the seller that you’re overly keen. If they think you’re too interested, it will be difficult to get them to offer their lowest price.

5. Don’t suggest the first price

Whenever possible, let the seller open the negotiations with a price. It’s common to be asked what you will pay but try to stand firm and make the seller state the first amount. If you open too high, the vendor will accept with a gleeful smile, yet open too low and the seller may give you a look of disdain and not even bother entering into any discussion.

6. Start lower than you’re willing to pay

Part of the haggling dance involves both parties making offers and counteroffers, eventually meeting (hopefully) somewhere in the middle with a price that everyone is happy with. Stating a price lower than you’re ultimately willing to pay lets you increase the amount incrementally until you reach an agreement.

7. Keep your cool

There’s little point in getting angry or frustrated while bargaining; either you find an agreeable price or you don’t. Losing your cool will only result in you looking ridiculous and the seller refusing to negotiate further. Keep things lighthearted and friendly. Remember, Cambodians are very friendly and easy-going!

8. Decide on a fair price. 

Haggling is a lot of fun once you get used to it, but never lose sight of the fact that this is someone’s livelihood. When shopping at markets, be prepared to ask for big discounts (between 40-50%) and then settle on a final price closer to 65-75% of the asking price.

Useful words and phrases for Myanmar shopping

Do not worry if you are not fluent with the language. The sellers tend to give some more discount if they see that you are trying to learn their language.

Popular shopping phrases

ENGLISH BURMESE
How much is it? Da beh-lauq-leh?
That’s too much Mya-ba-deh
Won’t you reduce the price? Mashaw-nain-bu-la?
I’ll pay 40 Kyat Le-zeh pe-meh
OK/ All right Kaun-ba-bi 
Here’s the money Paiq-san di-hma
I’ll keep on looking Ci-oun-meh
Go away please Thwa-deh-naw?
I don’t want it/one Ma-lo-kyin-bu

Myanmar Numbers

Number Burmese Number Burmese
1 Tit 6 Chout
2 Hnit 7 Khoon Nit
3 Thone 8 Shitt
4 Lay 9 Ko
5 Nga 10 Tseh

 

Top 11 things to buy in Myanmar

1. Jewellery

The most signature jewellery item easily found in Burma is gemstones, mainly rubies, jade or sapphire stones, which contain high value and appreciation in market. It is also reported that the gemstone industry accounts for almost half of Burma’s GDP. Not only more exquisite but also cheaper are Myanmar’s gemstones, as opposed to other countries’ types. However, there is one thing to bear in mind when you go buying gemstones. As mixed with gold, these jewelleries are easily made fake. To ensure the authentic quality, count on your local tour guide and only select from government - secured sites, one of which is the famous Bogyoke Aung San Market - the most popular touristic bazaar.

2. Longyi

The sight of longyi is so common that it becomes the top gift of mind for the best local feel of Burma. This indigenous costume is basically a piece of cloth in traditional patterns, a skirt wrapped around legs. Longyi comes in various textures, from popular to high class, in different types for each gender, and even in diversified prices, depending on the sophistication of design and quality of material. On average, it is sold at $3, an affordable price to take home some for your friends and families (note: price is vary and can go up to $100USD depending on the material and the sophistication of the products). Nowadays, you can also own a customized longyi by your own taste and preference, making longyi more like a fashionable item than a functional wear. 

The 2 best places to buy longyi in Myanmar are Bogyoke Aung San Market (Scott market) in Yangon and silk workshops in Mandalay where to offer high quality of products and great shopping experience. In Scott market, the shop owners will take your size and make you a perfect fit longyi whenever entering their shops. 

The workshops in Mandalay on the other hands, give you a chance to experience the making of a beautiful longyi and a wide range of stunning garments for your Myanmar souvenirs.

Here is everything about Burmese Longyi

3. Thanaka Powder

Thanaka is the name of a slow-growing tree that thrives in the arid central parts of Myanmar. It is widely said that the trees must mature for at least 35 years before becoming viable, but many newer thanaka ‘farms’ are able to put product on the market after just 3 to 7 years of growth. The eponymous paste is made from grinding the bark against a flat, wet stone and then applied to the face. Although parts of the thanaka tree are used medicinally in other parts of Asia, it is only in Myanmar that it is used cosmetically. It is said that Burmese have been using thanaka this way for 2,000 years, but the first written evidence of it comes from a 14th century poem.

Here is everything about Myanmar Thanaka

4. Sand paintings

Rumour has it that the idea of sand paintings stems from the 1975 earthquake, when local inhabitants made great efforts to save the remains of valuable mural paintings by creating a stuff resembling them. From that point on, sand paintings are coined, becoming the main livelihood of many local people and one of the most beautiful souvenirs as rated by tourists. Apart from sand - the main ingredient, a handful of other like glue, cloths, paint, stylus is required to make this artistic product in several days. Not only the final marvellous painting but the handcrating process itself is impressive, as the skillful and delicate handcraft men focus on each movement with great patience and creativeness to deliver such an astonishing artwork.

Sand painting can be found anywhere in Myanmar, however, the best place to buy is in Bagan. You can find plenty of vendors selling this beautiful product around the Buddhist sites in Bagan temple plain or Nyaung Oo.

5. Tapestries

Another stunning handcrafted artwork must include tapestries, which are widely considered a symbol of Myanmar’s culture. Similar to sand paintings, it is necessarily required that craftsmen must pay enormous attention and effort into each movement to create such a peculiar souvenirs. Various materials are employed such as cloths, threads, glasses, pearls, gems, making tapestries complicated and awesome artworks for your appreciation. Nowadays, in addition to traditional tapestries, a wide range of products like handbags, purses or blankets made from this technique has also gained popularity among tourists.

Best places to buy this famous Myanmar souvenir is in Mandalay. Price can range from K5,000 to K50,000 ($3 - $33) or more depending on the quality of the products. 

6. Lacquerware

Although regarded as being originated from China and heavily affected by Thailand, Burma’s lacquerware still stand out with its own unique selling point. There are many special designs to determine lacquerware’s uniqueness, namely Thayoe Pan Yun (relief molded), Ka Nyit Yn (incised) and Shwe Zawa Yun (gold leaf). From simple items like bowls or more exquisite ones like ornamentation can be found widely sold in Myanmar, especially Bagan, the richest archaeological site and the highest - quality lacquerware production. Take your time to mingle with local markets and look for the best ones to take home. 

7. Marionette

As a culturally rich country, Myanmar has treasured many traditional forms of arts and cultures. There are a wide range of gifts like palm leaves, wall murals, parchment, in which the beautiful and diverse culture of Burma is vividly displayed. When it comes to antique arts, one of the most iconic symbol is Marionette. This is a traditional form of puppet performance in Burma. In Burmese, marionette puppetry is also called Yoke the, mainly referring to string puppetry. Although originated from this fined art, was later on popular among ordinary audience. Nowadays, tourists in Burma are not only captivated by elegant puppet shows but also attracted to exquisite hand made wooden puppets to buy as souvenirs.

8. Carvings

Carving is one of the best things to buy in Myanmar. There are two most significant types to opt for, either wood carvings or marble carvings. 

Teakwood carvings are the first type, offered in various designs from religion-related to daily forms of animals and flowers, mostly produced from Mandalay. Another one is marble carved statues, which may be found from Sagaing Hill as the most famous site.

9. Gold leaf

In this golden land, the sight of gold leaf is so popular that it has gone beyond functional purpose to become a top must - buy souvenirs. Pure gold leaves are utilized to create the glistening spectacles in lacquerware and Buddha stupas or mixed with other ingredients for local medicines and local women’s facial apply. 

Should you have time to visit Mandalay, drop by King Galon to observe the fine production of gold leaves, involving the beating, cutting and packing of gold which will highlight your list of things to do in Myanmar.

10. Tamarind flakes

The list cannot be complete without a mention of tamarind flakes, one of the most iconic delicacies, exclusive to Bagan. This sugary but pleasantly sour sweet will surely satisfy a sweet tooth, although the price is quite affordable at only $1 for a 6-7 pieced bag. Take time to wander around Bagan and don’t forget to grasp some home for a savory taste of Myanmar.

11. Cigars

The most renowned cigar manufacturer in Burma is Shan State. Handmade cigars include a tobacco leaf as the main one, with other spices like stems, wood chips to create a unique and tasty indulgence. Inle Lake’s shops are said to offer the best quality, but otherwise, they are available in all markets across the country.

Thanks to natural ingredients, Burma’s cigars are impressive with a warm and pleasantly fragrant taste. You can try one and observe the skillful making process from local women, before deciding to take cigars home as souvenirs. Why not, for such great gifts at inexpensive offers?

37 Shopping places in Myanmar

Below is some of the best shopping places in 4 main tourist sites of Myanmar including Yangon, Mandalay, Bagan, and Inle Lake

Yangon Shopping

1. Bogyoke Aung San Market

Formerly known as Scott Market, named after Municipal Commissioner C. Scott, it was later renamed to honour General Aung San. This is the most famous and popular local market in Yangon. The large colonial building was built in 1926, and houses some 1,641 shops selling everything you might want, including handicrafts, lacquerware, wood and ivory carvings, tapestries, silverware, brassware, silk and cotton fabrics, clothing, hardware, food, and so on.

  • Opening Hours: 09:00 – 17:00
  • Location: Bogyoke Aung San Road, between Shwe Dagon Pagoda Rd. & Shwe Bontha St., Latha Township

2. Yuzana Plaza

A popular shopping destination for local residents, the plaza is something more like an old shopping mall than a traditional market. On the ground floor there are many wholesale outlets, selling packaged food, beverages, and even pets. Shops on the upper floors sell locally made products, fashions and household appliances.

  • Opening Hours: 08:30 – 17:00
  • Location: Banyar Dala Street, Mingalar Taung Nyunt Township

3. Blazon Shopping Centre

Opened in 2000, this three-floor shopping centre features upscale brand-name stores including Adidas, Esprit, Guess, Shiseido and Wacoal. This was the first shopping centre in Yangon to offer such brand names.

  • Opening Hours: 09:00 – 21:00
  • Location: 72 U Wisara Road (north of People’s Park), Kamaryut Township

4. FMI Centre

This destination is the best place for those who prefer a comfortable shopping experience. Situated beside the Bogyoke Aung San Market, this air-conditioned mall is home to a number of retail outlets, making it a good place to buy fashion items for both men and women. Here, one can find Uncle Sam, KSL and Heart Rock Cafe.

  • Location: 380 Bogyoke Aung San Street, Pabedan Township, Yangon.

5. Junction 8 Shopping Centre

Named after its location in Yangon, Junction 8’s first level houses City Mart Supermarket, a bakery and beauty salon. On both levels, there are many shops and boutiques that retail clothes, bags, shoes, cosmetics, suitcases and fabrics.

  • Opening Hours: 09:00 – 21:00
  • Location: 8 Mile Junction, Mayangone Township, Yangon.

6. Ocean Super Centre

For a one-stop shopping experience, this destination is the best place to visit in Yangon. The Ocean Super Centre provides the widest range of products for shoppers. Items to be purchased here include laptops and computers; electrical appliances, furniture, household utensils, fashion wear and accessories, toys and sporting equipment. The cafés and restaurants in the centre's food court offer different kinds of Asian and Western dishes.

  • Location: Corner of Pyay Road and Thiri Road, Thiri Condominium, Mayangone Township, Yangon.

7. Sein Gay Har Super Centre

Sein Gay has shops selling clothes, electronic goods, cosmetics, shoes, stationary, and mobile phones. There is also a supermarket, a food court, a Burger Star, an ice cream shop, a Donut King, fried chicken shops, and an excellent liquor section. Somewhat the same as Taw Win Center, but a bit older, and prices are cheaper.

  • Opening Hours: 09:00 to 21:30
  • Location: 44 Pyay Rd., Dagon Township (opposite Taw Win Center)

8. Taw Win Centre

One of the newest and largest additions to the shopping scene in Yangon, it comprises five floors of brand-name shops, clothes, electronics, jewelry, furniture, restaurants, a super market, game centre, 3D Cineplex, promotion & events centre, and much more. It is said to have the largest book store in Yangon.

  • Opening Hours: 09:00 to 21:00
  • Location: 45 Pyay Rd., Dagon Township (south of the National Museum)

9. J's Irrawaddy Dream

For those who are looking for locally made and dyed silk fabrics, this is a great place to go. They also have a good selection of clothes, lacquerware, handicrafts, Buddhist statues, jewelry, betel boxes, books, and more. J’s sells mostly new products, but has some old items as well.

  • Opening Hours: 08:00 to 18:00
  • Location: 92 Strand Road, 2nd floor Strand Hotel
  • Tel: +951-392471, 243377

10. Treasure Land Gems & Jewelry Souvenirs

Here you will find a good selection handicrafts, souvenirs, gems and precious stones (jade, sapphires, and rubies), jewelry, tapestry, traditional puppets, etc. Established in 1996, this shop is a reliable source of high quality gemstones and fine jewelry. Nice place, but tourist oriented.

  • Opening Hours: 09:00 to 18:00
  • Location: 11 Ma Kyee Kyee Street, Sanchaung Township
  • Tel: 95-1-526286, 539241

11. Royal Rose

Because an outfit would not be complete without accessories, a visit to Royal Rose is necessary. Found on the east of Inya Lake, this store is known as the ultimate destination when it comes to handbags and sandals. One of its best sellers are beautifully crafted women's slippers. Foreign residents are loyal patrons of this establishment.

  • Location: Inya Yeik Thar Street

12. River Gallery

River Gallery exhibits the works of some 30 contemporary Myanmar artists. Open since 2005, this gallery has been giving talented local artists exposure in exhibitions in Toronto, New York, Singapore, Hong Kong, India, Shanghai, and other venues around the world.

  • Opening Hours: 10:00 to 18:00
  • Location: 92 Strand Road, Strand Hotel Annex
  • Tel: 243377, ext. 1821

13. Bagan Book House

Bagan has a very good selection of new and secondhand English-language books on Myanmar and Southeast Asia. Here, visitors can photocopy rare and out-of-print books about Myanmar.

  • Opening Hours: 09:30 to 18:00
  • Location: No.100 37th St. (between Merchant Rd. & Mahabandoola Rd.), Kyauktada Township
  • Tel: 01-377227, 09-5117470

Mandalay Shopping

14. Gem Palace

Myanmar is a popular destination for tourists who are interested in precious stones and jewellery. In the city of Mandalay, one great place to shop for these items is the Gem Palace. The Gem Palace is considered as one of the best sources in the area. The establishment also sells timepieces, eyewear and sterling silver pieces.

  • Location: No. 376, Corner of 33rd Street and 83rd Street, Chan Aye Thar San Township.

15. Kai Tan Market

Like the Yadanarbon Market, the Kai Tan Market also has five floors. This shopping destination, which opened in 1997, has a total of 315 shops. The ground floor is home to vegetable and fruit produce while the second floor sells mainly fish products, such as pounded fish and dried fish.

  • Location: 28th Street, between 86th Street & 87th Street, Chan Aye Thar San Township.

16. Amara Waddy

Myanmar is also known for its woodcraft and other handicrafts. Most tourists often bring home a Buddha sculpture with them as a reminder of their trip. In Mandalay, the Amara Waddy is one of the best souvenir shops selling sculptures.

  • Location: 493/25, 81st Street, between 35th Street & 36th Street.

17. Mahar Aung Myay Gems Dealers' Market

The name of this market says it all. Visitors who are fond of gems should stop by and check out the extensive selection of precious stones found in this place. Most of the shops here are wholesalers of gems, and tourists can get enjoy reasonable prices for different kinds of products.

  • Location: Between 39th Street & 40th Street, between 87th Street & 88th Street, Mahar Aung Myay Township.

18. The Man Thiri Market

Among all Mandalay markets, this one benefits most from its location. Because it is close to the Zegyo Market and in line with the Kai-tan Market, the 500-shop Man Thiri is frequently visited by shoppers from the other two markets.

  • Location: 86th Street, between 25th Street & 26th Street, Aung Myay Thar San Township.

19. The Mingalar Market

The Mingalar Market is the ideal shopping destination for those who travel by train because it is situated near the Mandalay Railway Station. It is a four-storey building, but the ground floor and first floor are the only ones with shops.

  • Location: 30th Street, between 72nd Street & 73rd Street, Chan Aye Thar San Township.

20. The Nan-She Market

The Nan-She Market is similar to the Kai Tan because it was also opened in 1997 and the main commodity sold here is also produce. However, this market does not sell anything else. The three-storey market is dedicated to selling fruits and vegetables from the rural areas to the east of Mandalay.

  • Location: 19th Street, between 63rd Street & 64th Street, Aung Myay Thar San Township.

21. The Thiri Mandalar Market

This is the place to go for those interested in shopping for regional products, because the Thiri Mandalar Market is the centre of trading for all goods that come from the rural areas along the Irrawaddy River. The structure of the market itself is interesting: it consists of nine three-storey buildings and an octagon-shaped six-storey building. This market has a total of 2,318 shops.

  • Location: Between 22nd and 23rd Roads, East Thiri Mandalar Quarter, Aung Myay Thar San Township.

22. Yadanarbon Market

The Yadanarbon Market is the largest market and biggest shopping mall in Mandalay. The structure is a five-storey building and the ground floor alone has 1,533 shops, while the first floor houses the Skywalk Shopping Mall that has 1,310 stores. Items such as fabrics, ready-made clothes, cosmetics, kitchenware and electrical goods can be purchased here.

  • Location: Between 77th Street & 78th Street and between 33rd Street & 34th Street, Chan Aye Thar San Township.

23. Zegyo (Zay Cho) Market

This shopping destination is the oldest and main market of the city and is the place for one-stop shopping. You can pretty much find everything here, from practical items like spices, fabrics and home wares, to gems and fine jewellery. Because of the sights (ethnic people in traditional costume) and smells (ripe produce and other edible goods) of the market, you’re sure to have a memorable shopping experience here.

  • Location: Between 84th Street & 86th Street and between 26th Street & 28th Street, Chan Aye Thar San Township.

Bagan Shopping

24. Chan Thar Lacquerware Workshop

Like the Golden Bagan, the Chan Thar Lacquerware Workshop is also a highly recommended shopping destination. Shoppers will not be disappointed in this place as the store carries an extensive selection of lacquerware, and their collection includes everything from kitchenware (plates, cups, etc) to ornamental pieces (jewelry boxes) to furniture.

  • Location: Main Road, Myin Ka Par, Bagan.

25. Ever Stand Lacquerware Workshop

Ever Stand Lacquerware Workshop is another good store to visit in Bagan when it comes to lacquerware. The wide selection is impressive and the prices are budget-friendly. You’ll probably be enticed to purchase at least one piece because of the sheer beauty of the items sold, which include water jars and vases.

  • Location: Between Old Bagan & Nyaung Oo.,Wetkyi-in Village.

26. Golden Bagan Lacquerware Shop

The Golden Bagan Lacquerware Shop is included in the list of the best lacquerware stores in Bagan and like other souvenir shops in Bagan, this one presents the consumers with a wide range of items to choose from. From something as small as a cup to bigger items like treasure chests, the Golden Bagan delivers the best when it comes to lacquerware.

  • Location: Khaye Main Road, New Bagan.

27. Golden Cuckoo Lacquerware Workshop

Visitors in search of lacquerware can go to the Golden Cuckoo, one of Bagan's most notable sources of the product. The family-run workshop, which has been around for four generations, displays their best pieces in front of the store: cups, bowls, plates and trays. The proprietors of the shop speak English, and are willing to demonstrate the process of lacquer making to interested tourists.

  • Location: Myin Ka Par Village, Bagan.

28. Moe Moe Family Lacquerware

The Moe Moe Family Lacquerware Workshop is an important shopping destination for consumers who are serious about lacquerware. Here, you will find both traditional and modern pieces in the spacious showroom. The factory is very busy during the day, but proprietors can still show how the lacquer is created step by step.

  • Opening Hours: 09:00-21:00
  • Location: Main Road, Ywar Thit Quarter, New Bagan.

29. Shwe La Yaung Lacquerware Shop and Store

The people behind the Shwe La Yaung Lacquerware Shop and Store know that there is more to lacquerware than just functionality. The intricately designed merchandise of this shopping destination also tells stories, often those of love and astrology (a prominent feature of their lacquerware is the mythical bird named Hintha). The store's best-selling products include small finger bowls and bucket-sized betel-nut canisters.

  • Location: South Quarter, Myinkaba, Bagan.

30. Shwe War Thein Handicrafts Shop

Shwe War Thein is considered as one of the best souvenir shops in the region. This shopping destination is the place to go for truly exquisite items. Its merchandise includes puppets (antique and new), wood carvings, chess sets, lacquerware, bronze pieces and gems. The staff members are passionate about the products they sell, but customers will never feel pressure to buy.

  • Opening Hours: 07:00-21:00
  • Location: East of Tharabar Gate, Taung Be Village, Old Bagan.

31. Tun Handcrafted Lacquerware

Yet another lacquerware store that is a recommended stop for all Bagan shoppers is Tun Handcrafted Lacquerware. The handmade artefacts in this store include lacquerware to be used as accessories or for home decoration. Visitors will be impressed by the many kinds of items found in this well-known Bagan store.

  • Location: 6/1 Khan Laung Quarter.

32. U Ba Nyein Lacquerware Workshop

Just like Moe Moe, the U Ba Nyein Lacquerware Workshop has a large showroom to display the best items they have to offer. Everything from plates to cups, ashtrays to vases, jewelry boxes and furniture (lacquer tables and chairs) can be found here.

  • Opening Hours: 09:00-21:00
  • Location: Main Road, Myo Thit, Bagan.

Inle Lake Shopping

33. Inphaw Kone

Inphaw Khone is not a market; instead, it is a village that has become a popular tourist destination because of its weaving workshops. Most visitors stop by to watch young weavers skilfully operate the looms made from bamboo and teak. The result of the weaving is high-quality fabric; in fact, the village is best place to purchase lotus-silk shawls. The shawls can be expensive, mainly because of the arduous process involved in production.

  • Location: West of Nampan Village.

34. Mine Thauk Market

The Mine Thauk Market is a large and bustling affair that features a wide selection of merchandise for shoppers. It is also known as the ‘five-day market’ because the people from the hills sell their products in five different locations over a five-day period. This is where the Inthar people buy produce such as tomatoes, eggplants, peppers and the like. There are also people selling Shan bags, Buddha statues and lacquerware.

35. Mingala Market

Mingala Market is another good place to shop for local produce. In this market, there is also a lot of good food for those who are brave enough to try it and one of the most common dishes sold by vendors is ‘kauq-sweh’ or noodle soup. Another delicacy sold here is maung jet, which are round and flat rice crisps.

  • Location: Win Quarter, Nyaung Shwe Township.

36. Nampan Market

Just like the Mine Thauk Market, the schedule of the Nampan Market also rotates, making it a bit difficult to keep track of. The scene at this market is rather lively, with various townsfolk selling colourful produce and an assortment of other products. It is a treat to see the Pa-O tribal people from the hills come down in their traditional dress to trade in the village.

  • Location: Nampan Village.

37. Ywama Floating Market

Ywama Village is well-known for its floating market because it is the biggest in the area. The canal is packed with local farmers’ boats trying to sell goods to locals, as well as pedlars selling souvenirs to tourists. To enjoy the market before it gets overcrowded, one must wake up early as the market is already in full swing by 08:30.

  • Location: Ywama Village.

Means of payment

For your purchases and personal expenses, note that card payment is not as common as in your home country. Most transactions here are made in cash. ATMs are nowadays available in most touristic places. It is wise to let your bank know you will be overseas to avoid your card being blocked.

In any case, it is a good idea not to rely exclusively on your credit card, since the banking system is quite new and can sometimes experience mishaps. 

Bringing some US dollar bills in good condition can be handy in some situations. Other foreign currencies are not recommended because not often traded in Myanmar.

You can learn more on our page “Budget & currency”.

Frequently asked questions about shopping in Myanmar

Q. Which is the best place to shop in Myanmar?

A. No doubt, it is Bogyoke Aung San Market, where you can find good quality jewelry, lots of jade, other semi-precious stones, lacquer ware, wooden items, some antiques, paintings and other art, clothing and T shirts. The quality ranges from good to poor, and prices are generally according to quality. 

Q. What are the best things to buy in Myanmar?

A. Some may choose Gold and lacquer products, for us, we choose Longyi & Thanaka Powder

Here is our guide about Burmese Longyi & Myanmar Thanaka

Q. What is Myanmar famous for?

A. Myanmar was coined the Golden Land for its rich cultural history and natural resources. A country that has endured several decades of rise-and-fall empires and military dictatorships, it is now a coveted tourist destination.

Q. Is Myanmar safe to visit?

For the vast majority of visitors, travel in Myanmar is safe and should pose no serious problems.

  • Some areas of the country remain off limits due to ongoing civil war and/or landmines.
  • In off-the-beaten-track places, where authorities are less used to seeing foreigners, local officials may ask you what you are up to. Saying you're a tourist normally satisfies them.
  • If you have any tattoos of Buddha on your body, keep them covered up.

Here is more about Myanmar Safety and Precautions

Q. Why you should go to Myanmar?

A. Simple: It is amazing! 

This captivating country is richly endowed with spectacular scenery, colorful cultures, and awe-inspiring historic sites, with something new to discover around every bend. While it’s true that Myanmar only recently relaxed its travel restrictions, this should be no deterrent. As local experts, we can assure you there is plenty of travel infrastructure and as many chances to experience luxury as there are to immerse yourself in the country’s rustic charms, or to delve into its spirituality. Drawing on decades of experience in the region, we can think of multiple reasons why you should book a trip to Myanmar without delay.

NOT READY YET?

We believe you have the right to arm yourselves with as much information as possible before making any decision.

Check below our detailed tips & guide for every places to visit in Myanmar, recommendation regarding the inclusion in each theme you prefer, and what you can do based on the time frame you have.

PLACES TO VISIT IN Myanmar
Yangon
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Bagan
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Mandalay
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Inle Lake
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Mergui Archipelago
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Ngapali Beach
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Myanmar PLANS BY TRAVEL THEME
Must-see
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Check out all the must-see places and things to do & see

Luxury
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Unique experience combined with top-notch services

Wellness & Leisure
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Easy excursion combined with week-long beach break

Family
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The combination of fun and educational activities

Unseen
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Reveal off-the-beatentrack routes, least explored destinations, and unknown tribe groups

Trek & Hike
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Explore the least visited destinations and unknown experience on foot

Cycling
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Explore every corners of the destination on two wheels

Honeymoon
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Easy excursions combined with unique experience making the long-lasting romantic memories

Cruise
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The combination of some must-see experience and the cruise tour along the mighty rivers

Myanmar PLANS BY TIME FRAME
white-icon About 1 week
yellow-icon About 1 week
white-icon About 2 weeks
yellow-icon About 2 weeks
white-icon About 3 weeks
yellow-icon About 3 weeks
white-icon About 4 weeks
yellow-icon About 4 weeks
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SPECIAL Myanmar TIPS & TOURS

Search for your nationality below to see our special Myanmar travel tips & advice for your country. CONTACT US if you cannot find yours.

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Myanmar BLOG ARTICLES

Thanaka or  thanakha is a yellowish-white cosmetic paste made from ground bark. It is a distinctive feature of the culture of Myanmar, seen commonly applied to the face and sometimes the arms of women and girls, and is used to a lesser extent also by men and boys. The use of thanaka has also spread to neighboring countries including Thailand.

Within this article, we will learn everything about Thanaka and the benefits of its powder in making a secret beauty ingredient of Burmese women.

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Burmese Longyi, along with the country’s longtime history, art, and heritage sites has contributed to the richness of the local culture that will grasp your attention whenever you find yourself in strolling around the streets of Myanmar. With just a piece of fabric grasping on the lower part of the body through time, the longyi has made it become an incredible pattern of Myanmar traditional costume for both men and women. In this article, we are going to find out the secret of Myanmar quintessence through Longyi, about why it has been worn for centuries by the Burmese people.

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Kachin Manaw Festival is an annual traditional dance festival celebrated by Kachin people. Mostly held at Myitkyina, Kachin State also known as Manaw Land in Myanmar and also celebrated by Kachin people around the world. Manaw is the largest festival in Myitkyina, held at the beginning of January. Manaw Festival is the most significant event for Kachin People. Tribes of Kachin gather together in Manaw ground and dance around the erected Manaw poles. The Manau dance is performed at Manau festivals, which originated as part of the ‘Nat’ or spirit worship of the past.

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If your idea of fun involves a blurry riot of colour and explosions, look no further than the Taunngyi Fire Balloon Festival, which takes place in the culturally diverse capital of Shan State over several days every November. This celebration is held around the Full Moon of Tazaungmon, a Myanmar national holiday that marks the end of rainy season and is also known as the Tazaungdaing Festival of Lights.

Traditionally, it is a festival to pay homage to the Sulamani Pagoda by sending up decorated hot air balloons, and lately it also became as a Hot Air Balloon Competition Festival and the festival is divided into two parts; daytime competition and nighttime competition. In the daytime, hot air balloons are sent up with the shapes of various animals and mythical creatures, and hot air balloons with firework & fire-cracker (known as Nya Mee Gyi) and lot of lanterns are hanging in the hot air balloons (known as Seinnaban) are sent up in the nighttime.

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All year round, visitors to Myanmar can experience the country’s warm and rich culture. However, one particularly special and unique time to visit is during the Naga New Year Festival, which will be held in Lahe around mid-January every year.

This special time allows visitors the chance to experience the traditions and customs of Myanmar’s Naga people. For the Naga, Lahe (New Year) is a significant time when people share their wishes and hopes for the future, and families are reunited.

It is a time of great celebration; where lively dances are performed in traditional dress, to the beat and sounds of traditional instruments.

Few tourists are lucky enough to share in the joy and festivities of the Naga New Year, but those who do are richly rewarded with an incredible cultural experience.

Overall, for those who seek genuine cultural exchange and the opportunity to take some truly stunning photographs, the Naga New Year is an amazing and unique festival to attend.

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The full moon of the Thadingyut month is when Buddhists believe the Buddha descended back to earth after three months of preaching in the spiritual realm above. While the rest of Myanmar celebrates it by lighting the Buddha's way home, the town of Kyaukse near Mandalay commemorates it a little differently: with a Elephant Dance Festival, populated not by real elephants, but by pairs of dancers in gigantic elephant costumes.

Hmm... What is it? What makes it so special? and how to join the festival? You will have all the answers below.

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Thailand
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Friendly and food-obsessed, hedonistic and historic, cultured and curious, Thailand tempts visitors with a smile as golden as the country's glittering temples and tropical beaches.
Cambodia
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There's a magic about this charming yet confounding kingdom that casts a spell on visitors. In Cambodia, ancient and modern worlds collide to create an authentic adventure.
Laos
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Vivid nature, voluptuous landscapes and a vibrant culture collide with a painful past and optimistic future to make Laos an enigmatic experience for the adventurous.
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