Few people travel on exotic holidays and don’t buy something that reminds them of the holiday. When it comes to those who book a Myanmar family holiday there are plenty of things that travellers should consider, and among them are clothes, silk often decorative and colourful always. Even though Myanmar may not be the destination for luxury shopping that is rarely the reason for an exciting holiday anyway. Whether you decide to shop in a big city or decide that local crafts bought in remote villages is your preference there is plenty to attract you.
Typical things to look for are paintings and lacquer craft, certainly silk and all that it can be used for, wooden dolls and handbags.
• While Yangon is no longer the capital of Myanmar it remains the most important city in the country and it will always form part of any Myanmar travel package, and most Indochina tour packages. The best place for shopping in Yangon is Bogyoke Aung San Market, centrally located and with almost 2,000 stores. Each of the ideas mentioned above are readily available in this Market.
• Mandalay is well known for its statues and sculpture. Head for the Amara Waddy Market during your Myanmar travel itinerary and you should be able to find something you like.
• Inle Lake is a great place to shop if you want to wander around the villages. There are lots of local crafts and bartering in the floating markets is something the locals do every day.
• Bagan dates back to the early Middle Ages in historical time. It is an ancient city known for its lacquer and certainly a place that should be included on any Myanmar holiday. In the village of Myinkaba there are hundreds of households making lacquer products.
It is worth remembering how important Buddhism is to Myanmar’s people. The authorities really don’t want tourists to buy statues of the Buddha; it lacks respect to do so and it is likely that customs will take away a Buddha image if you try to take one out of the country.
Bargaining is a way of life but you should never get aggressive. No local wants to lose face and you should always remember the actual amount of money you are haggling over. That said you may be able to get discount in a store even if there is a price marked on the item in point.
If you are looking to buy valuable products such as precious metals and jewellery you should get and retain a receipt.
Where you actually buy may depend upon your itinerary. If you don’t want to carry extra luggage from the early days of your Myanmar holiday, then it is likely that you will be spending in the couple of days before your departure. Check with your Myanmar tour operator that something you really like will be available in those couple of days; otherwise if you really like something, then buy it. Memories and photographs are great but a few souvenirs are good as well.