Myanmar White Elephant – A Symbol of Rarity and Power

Do you know that besides magnificent pagodas and precious gemstones, Burma is also known for having rare elephant specie? The Myanmar white elephant. The white, or Albino, the elephant is not your typical dark colored elephant and it is not exactly white also, an albino elephant has a slightly pink or brown hued skin that distinguishes it from its other family members.

Myanmar White Elephant

Besides the white elephant being a rare and prized species, white elephant’ term is widely used in literature to signify an object that is of less value but requires high maintenance. Interestingly, Albino or white elephants are treated in the same way, since they are always considered as a valuable possession; it was not treated as other elephants that are used for riding and for entertainment purpose. As a result, they are practically of no use rather than pampering and, and some more pampering.

Why are they considered white?

Albino elephants are considered white because they lack the usual dark colored pigmentation that work as a camouflage for them. As a result, Myanmar White Elephants are significantly lighter in color with equally white skin and hair color, their toenails are light in color and their eyes have pink or blue iris with deep red pupil.

Historical Importance of White Elephants

For centuries, white elephants are considered as the symbol of peace, prosperity and power, countries like Thailand and Burma worship these rare elephants as they are kept in luxurious fashion to ensure their perfect health. Myanmar is a Buddhist country and therefore, they are amongst the countries that believe that having a white elephant will bring happiness and fertility to the land.

Presently, Myanmar has a total of nine white elephants out of which three are kept in Rangoon, or Yangon, and it is stated that the Myanmar’s military strongman, Than Shwe, wants to possess one of more of these rare species to signify his own power and rule. Other than Buddhism, white elephant holds equal importance in Hinduism also as god Indra is considered their owner and, in many depictions, he is seen with a white elephant. Likely, Buddha’s mother had a dream that a white elephant has entered her womb before she gave birth to him, which elevates the importance of this unique breed.

White Elephants in Myanmar

Thinking how important white elephants are in Myanmar? You can well calculate the fact of knowing that to capture the animal a training camp, White Elephant Capture and Training Group, has been exclusively set up to capture and train them for ‘royal’ life. If you want to see these royal creatures, then head to the Royal White Elephant Garden in Yangon, the place is not a usual Myanmar tourist attraction because many of them actually do not know that albino elephants do exist and that also in this mysterious pagoda land.

When visiting the Garden, you will receive a brochure stating how white elephant has ‘blessed’ the land with prosperity and is further bettering the country’s condition in regards of development, peace, modernizing and improved foreign relations. As they are such regal creatures, they are believed to be suited only for the very rich, royals and military men that can keep them lavishly. In case a Myanmar White Elephant dies, it is considered to be a disastrous omen for the owner.

How are they Treated?

Believed to be sacred creatures, Myanmar White Elephants are treated luxuriously with everyday bath and their cuisine of grass and sugarcane’s. White elephants are kept in Naypaydaw, the newly formed Myanmar’s capital, the city is military built by Than Shwe, a Burmese military man and monarchical aspirant who also built a couple of pavilions at the base of the Uppatasanti Pagoda for the comfort of his royal creatures. The downside of their treatment is that one of their feet is tied with a chain, which does not allow them much freedom. They are believed to be sacred that means that they are not for any work other than as a sign of royalty and power and a sacred animal of worship for people.

Have you had the coincidence of watching one of Myanmar White Elephant? Do let us know of your experience in your comments below.

Related Article: Top 10 things to do in Myanmar

Top 10 Rare Myanmar Facts to know before Travelling

Think you know all about Myanmar facts? Think again. Myanmar is a mysterious land and there are a lot of things and facts that are still unknown about it. The chaotic governmental conditions and downfall of monarchy had quite a lot of disastrous effects on nearly each of the country’s sector. Luckily, things are changing now and as more and more travelers are making Burma their preferred traveling destination, the country’s previously hidden information and facts are coming out.

If your next travel destination is Myanmar then you should know the rare Myanmar facts that will help you in having a great stay and a head up in gathering more information. You can also read about best things to do in Myanmar to make most of your trip to this ancient land.

Top 10 Myanmar Facts you did not Know

While there is no other way to know about a land or culture than actually visiting it, it is still highly advisable that you do your research and collect as many facts about your destination as possible.

Below are the top 10 unknown Myanmar facts that you should know before planning a visit:

1. They like to have Crisp US Dollars

Bid farewell to all of your crumbled and creased dollar notes, as they are most likely to be rejected at many money exchange stations. Based on the previous, and still, the economic turmoil of the country, it is quite understandable that the people now want to safeguard their conditions by storing their wealth in the form of dollars. Still, their insistence on accepting only the perfect notes can be quite agitating, but if you want to travel the land with peace, then have crispy perfect US dollars with you.

2. The Week has 8 Days

The traditional Burmese week has 8 days instead of the standard 7 days, what is more interesting is that each day is associated with an animal and you are must to know the day you were born on. The monks split Wednesday into two days, the one from midnight to afternoon and the other from afternoon to midnight. The temples have separate corners for each day and people go to the corners, to worship, according to their day of birth.

3. Buddhist People are highly Superstitious

Superstition is in full swing in Myanmar and people like astronomers, fortune tellers, palmists and numerologists are regarded with great respect. People consult them in matters like naming their children, starting a new business, changing the house and marriage. The astrologists suggest the number of cups to pour at the corner of birthday to receive good luck and success. The same goes for government generals and rulers also.

4. Kissing Sounds are Common

No, this doesn’t mean that the Burmese people are into kissing at open public places, they are too conservative for it, but the locals use this sound to gain attention of the waiter at restaurants and other eating places. The practice is not observed in high-class restaurants, but it is common on streets and in many restaurants. You are more likely to hear all these ‘kissing sounds’ at Chinatown, one of the busiest spots in Yangon.

5. Women can Travel Alone … at Night too

Now this is our personal favorite, the crime rate in Myanmar is very low and females can easily and safely travels alone at night also. However, it is always good to take precautions by dressing the way Burmese women do, sleeved tops with longyis or anything that is conservative and covers you up nicely.

6. People are surprisingly… Educated

Yes, Burmese people are more educated than others, actually think or know. They love to read and bookstores and stalls at nearly every corner is enough to prove this point. Many of the people of Myanmar know English and other languages like French and German and very eager to learn about new cultures. While visiting a pagoda or temple, you may come across some locals that just walk up to you and start a conversation. However, they are friendly and will not bother you if you are not comfortable.

7. People have Red Teeth

And it is not because they have some dental problems, but because they chew betel nut, a famous and Burmese favorite pastime activity. A leaf of betel nut is spiced with limestone paste, spices and tobacco and rolled into a small packet. After chewing it for some time, it produced red colored saliva that could be seen all over the streets and corners, yes, they spit it out. People that have long held this habit usually have red stained teeth.

8. Their Cosmetic is Different

Unlike us, they do not use manufactured cosmetics, but they’re only cosmetic is the Thanaka paste made from the bark of a tree and mixed with water to form a yellowish white paste that the Burmese women apply on their face and body. Thanaka is good as a sunscreen and to prevent sunburn and skin inflammation.

9. There is no Credit Card Culture

When traveling in Myanmar, be sure that you have plenty of cash at hand, as they do not accept credit cards. The country is in its rudimentary stages of development, there is not a widespread culture of credit cards, online banking and ATMs. Talking of ATMs, there are some of them in the country but don’t depend on them as there is scarce electricity availability.

10. You will not find your Favorite International Businesses

There are no international brands and chain restaurants in Myanmar; the reason is that Western countries like US are reluctant to invest in the country mainly due to its unstable economical and commercial infrastructure. There are no reliable transportation and sufficient electricity to manage and preserve frozen and fresh food and dairy items. The upside, you will not miss McDonald’s, KFC or Starbucks here because of its very own delicious cuisine.

Have we missed some significant Myanmar facts? What other facts travelers should know before visiting the Myanmar? Please help the community by commenting below.

Myanmar Tourist Attractions – Top 10 Must-Visit Attractions

Myanmar is a wonder place of beautiful gemstones, ancient pagodas and other Myanmar tourist attractions, each year the country witnesses influx of a huge number of tourists from all over the world. In the recent years, Myanmar has faced a lot of political and social upheaval due to which the country did not have much chance of development and modernizing. Therefore, the country has been facing a number of issues and low income and standard of living are one of them. But, luckily for the people having love for tourism, things are changing now as Myanmar has now unbolted its gates in the outer world. There are a number of tourist attractions that you could visit in Myanmar and, believe us, you will not be disappointed.

Myanmar Tourist Attractions

Want to know what tourist attractions to visit in Myanmar? We are here to get you going. The entire country is known for its unique monuments, but let’s be honest, you simply cannot visit the entire country in a single visit. So, make sure that you do not miss the most and must visit tourist attractions in Myanmar. Below is the list of the places that are high on the tourist radar.

1. Yangon

While planning which place to start from, your choice should be Yangon. It is an ancient and one of the most known places of Yangon and therefore, it is the focal point of tourist attraction. Yangon has a lot to offer in both the regards of people and places, the city is filled with well-known Temples, Pagodas and Monasteries and you can enjoy the visit in their local dress of longyi and open sandals. Besides interesting places, it is also a hub of delicious local food and tea, which you can both drink and eat. Read more about what you can do in Yangon, to make the most of your trip.

2. Inle Lake

Talking of enjoying and exploring the supreme beauty of Myanmar, Inle Lake should definitely have its place in your list. The lake is a canal of five kilometers that further unbolts into a wide lake. The lake is known for the beautiful view of floating gardens and villages present in a stilted position; during the visit, you will also have an opportunity to have a good look of floating tomato fields and numerous lakebeds of flowers and fresh vegetables. Other than fresh flowers and vegetables, you can also buy local products and silk from the nearby markets and weaving centres. Read more about Inle Lake Myanmar.

3. U-Bein Bridge

Are you a fan of early morning and sunset scenes? Then U- Bein Bridge is the best place for you. The bridge is the longest teak bridge with the length of 1300 yards stretched on the Taungthaman Lake. The bridge is built in an elongated fashion and the scene is quite pictorial in nature, which means that you can make as many pictures as you want. U-Bein Bridge is a premium Myanmar tourist attractions site, where you can watch the monks crossing across the bridge as Kyunktawgyi Paya is built at the other end of it and you can visit it too. Besides a Pagoda, the bridge also surrounds green fields and a perfectly pleasant sunset view, a great place to enjoy a few moments of silence.

Related Article: Top 10 things to see in Myanmar

4. Bagan

Bagan is one of the foremost and famous Myanmar tourist attractions, the city is known for its lively culture, delicious cuisine and delightful sights it offers. Being one of the known places in Myanmar, it is also the main tourist attraction as hundreds of people come here from all over the world. The city has a large number of Pagodas, as with every place in Myanmar, interesting local markets offering fresh vegetables, fruits and unique objects of interest that make great gifts and Myanmar Souvenirs. Other than shopping, you can enjoy interesting activities in Bagan like hot balloon tours and horse cart tours, since the people use horse carts and bicycles as their primary mode of transportation these are the best ways to explore the city around.

5. Scott Market

Known by the name of Bogyoke Aung San Market, the former Scott Market presents the view of colonial era ad the architecture of the place depicts it as it was in the old days. Slow modernizing of the country has helped in preserving the ancient Bogyoke Aung San Market and it is still an interesting and a must visit place of Myanmar. Since the place is present for years, you will find many of the shopkeepers that sell their things for a very long time. Some of the chief specialities of the market are genuine gemstones, especially jade and ruby that is found in abundance, pearl jewellery, handmade tapestries, lacquer bowls, plates and things and fabric like cotton and silk.

Related Article: Top 10 things to buy in Myanmar

6. Myanmar Gems Museum and Gems Mart

Myanmar Gems Museum and Gems Mart is located in the central Yangon and the centre of attraction for the gem lovers. The building is a multi-storey construction with the gems shops on the first and second floors of the building that sell authentic gemstones and jewellery. Gems Mart is a great if you have an eye for jewels and precious stones and want to buy only the most authentic ones. Each year, gem dealers from all over the world come to Yangon to display their collection of precious stones in the gems fair and auction.

The Myanmar Gems Museum is on the third floor of the building and, interestingly, all three floors portray a dazzling and a marvelous view of Burmese jewels and stones like jade, sapphire, ruby, topaz, diamonds and special Burmese antique jewellery collection, definitely a great place to visit.

7. Treasure Land Gems & Jewellery Souvenirs

If you are one of those people that are highly interested in taking back souvenirs for your personal collection or as gifts for your family and friends then you must visit Treasure Land Gems and Jewellery Souvenir store. The store is a great place offering authentic and genuine rubies and jade, traditional and antique Burmese jewellery, tapestries, handicrafts and Marionettes that you will only find in Myanmar only. The store was established in the year 1996 therefore, rest assure that you will get the best and authentic things at reasonable rates. Read more about Myanmar Souvenirs, which you can take back home for your loved ones.

8. Local Spas

Other than temples, Myanmar has a lot of spas and health centres that offer both natural and with beauty instruments. The treatments are based on natural Burmese beauty treatments that are proven and effective, visiting any such spa is a good way to know about this aspect of Burmese culture. Although the women usually use homemade shampoo made by combining the bark of Tayaw and Kinpun tree fruit and for their skin, they use Thanaka paste, spas are a good option is you are in a mood of pampering yourself. Some of the spas offer stone treatment, skin and hair treatments that are formulated according to ancient Burmese beauty techniques. Some of the spas include Sapel Traditional Burmese Foot Spa, Eros Healthy and Beauty Spa and The Spa Villa’ge.

9. Shwedagon Pagoda

If you have to visit only one pagoda of Myanmar then it should be the magnificent Shwedagon Pagoda. The pagoda is an ancient dazzling construction made of precious jewels, gems and diamonds and is a supreme example of the Burmese architecture. Since the country is richly infused with Buddhist culture, temples and pagodas are in abundance and Shwedagon is the must visit pagoda. The pagoda is a vast construction where you will have the chance to see people offering prayers, walking around the pagoda’s base and see the monks as they move around it. Shwedagon Pagoda is in Yangon and one of the main reasons of fame of the city.

10. Augustine’s Antiques

If you are like us then you will definitely have an undying love for antique and vintage collection and when in Myanmar you should visit such a place. Augustine’s Antiques specializes in offering unique and vintage antique pieces that could be taken back as souvenirs and gifts for your loved ones. Some of the specialty objects you will find at Augustine’s Antiques include silverwares, lacquerwares, wooden figurines and figurines made in lacquer. Augustine’s Antiques are situated on the Attiyar Street of Yangon and is a good place if you want to have antique and unique objects. For more information, please refer to Myanmar Shopping Guide.

Although, there are plenty of Myanmar tourist attractions, but the one discussed above are  must-visit. Have we left out any must visit place in Myanmar? Comments below and do let us know.

Related Article:  Top 10 things to do in Myanmar

Myanmar Activities – Top 10 Things To Do in Myanmar

Myanmar, previously known as Burma, is now considered as one of the most attractive places for people and the main reason for it is that the country is still in the rudimentary stages of development. The country has raw culture and you will have loads of things to do in Myanmar, the people are nice and friendly and, if you make friends with some locals, they will show you a lot of worthy places around. While in Myanmar, you will never be bored or tired of doing new things as there is a good number of things that you should do during your visit.

Things to do in Myanmar

Following are some of the top 10 things that you should do while you are in Myanmar. You can explore the land on your own and try out many other things, but, the below list should be added in your personal list so that you may not miss anything.

1. Visit the Ancient Shwedagon Pagoda

Since Myanmar is an ancient Buddhist country, it has a great number of pagodas and temples that you will find in every city. While in Yangon Myanmar, you should definitely pay a visit to the well-known and the ancient Shwedagon Pagoda. It is the most significant place for Buddhist people and monks and you will have the opportunity to see the people offering their prayers and walking around the pagoda’s base. The significant thing about this pagoda is its top part, known as ‘hti’, the top is decorated and permeated with precious gemstones, jewels and diamonds. The pagoda worth a visit both because of its importance as a religious monument and the beautiful scene it presents & should be in your list of top 10 things to do in Myanmar.

2. Book the Famous Hot Balloon Ride

Hot balloon rides are an interesting way of exploring the Bagan city at the early sunrise, the best thing about this mode of exploring the land is that if you attempt to visit the city by road then you may not be able to reach every destination. The whole arrangement of having a hot balloon ride is quite simple as all you have to do is to inform your hotel about it. They will make all the arrangements that include pick up by a local bus to the hot balloon station, serving of tea and coffee and  a light breakfast with champagne at the end of the ride. While having the hit balloon ride you can notice magnificent pagodas, quiet and peaceful villages, Irrawaddy River and stupendous scenery everywhere. Read more about Myanmar Hot Air Balloon Ride.

3. Visit to Bogyoke Aung San Market

If you are in Yangon, then visiting the ancient Bogyoke Aung San Market is a must as not only you will get genuine and extraordinary things to buy in Myanmar, but you will get them at reasonable prices. The place is more than a century old and gradually modernizing is causing the place to dwindle, but still, there is a significant time of the happening of any such thing. The place presents a pleasant sight of interesting shops, cheerful and a bit loud shopkeepers and, of course, a large array of beautiful and one of a kind thing.

Some of the chief things that you could get from the market are tapestries, gemstones, jewellery and things made from lacquer. Lacquerware is a speciality of Myanmar and Bogyoke Market is one of the best places to purchase them. If you’re a Shopaholic then visiting this market should be in your list of top 10 things to do in Myanmar.

4. Explore Yangon Nightlife

You must be thinking that because Myanmar is not so advanced and modern it will not have any nightlife of its own, no clubs or dance bars, but people visiting the place find it quite pleasing that Myanmar is an interesting place at night also. There are a number of bars and clubs that offer good recreation and lively nightlife to the people. Other than entertainment, these bars have great tasting food and wine that will not disappoint you, Coffee Club and Hola Dance, Blind Tiger and British Club Bar are some of the well-known clubs of Myanmar.

You may not find the places as modern as the clubs in Europe, but they are decent places with good food and reasonable entertainment. Exploring the nightlife is one of the main tourist activities in Yangon.

5. Visit Temples and Pagodas

When we talk about temples, Myanmar is the place that fits well in the description; the country is adequately filled with a large number of pagodas and temples. Myanmar is one of the most significant Buddhist countries and therefore, it presents the respective culture in genuine and raw manner. Besides pagodas, Myanmar has many monk monasteries and if you want to have a closer look of their lifestyle and activities, then visiting one of them is a great idea. Thinking which temple to visit? Other than Shwedagon Pagoda, Ananda Temple is a sure visit and of the top 10 things to do in Myanmar.

The temple was initially constructed in the 11th century and was destroyed by an earthquake; it is made of thousands of tiles decorated with the depictions of Buddha’s life and is one of the most remarkable monuments in Myanmar. Visiting the temples is certainly one of the top things to do in Myanmar.

6. Visit a Lacquer Factory

Lacquerware is a speciality of Myanmar and, undoubtedly, people of Myanmar are quite skilled at making unique objects and things from it. When visiting Myanmar, make sure that you keep aside a whole day for a visit to a lacquer manufacturing facility. Bagan has a lot of lacquer factories where you will find people busy making things from this ancient technique. The method was introduced in the 12th century and therefore, it has been here for centuries. Myanmar has scarce economical means and this craft has become one of the main sources for generating capital. If you want to get authentic knowledge, then you should find a tour guide for an authentic manufacturing facility or get more information from Myanmar Shopping Guide.

7. Try Local Shampoo and Beauty Paste

Women of Myanmar are known for their beautiful skin and shiny hair, the country has a lot of spas and health centres that are great at offering natural and world class beauty treatment. Though, the beautiful skin and hair of the local women are rarely the product of these spa treatments as they use homemade natural paste and shampoo for it. The good thing is that you can also get such a beauty by using homemade Tayaw shampoo that keeps their hair beautiful and healthy. These women use Thanaka, paste made from a specific local tree trunk, for their skin. The paste is used as a sunscreen as you will see many women walking around with Thanaka on their faces.

8. Have a Horse Cart Tour

Horse cart is the primary mode of transport of the local people and hence, it is a best way to exploring the land and a great way to get closer to the Burmese culture. It is the best option if you are visiting the place for the very first time since, you will be interested in knowing the culture and people better. Thinking how much it will cost you? A single horse cart ride’s cost is around $10 to $30 and a single cart will take two passengers other than the driver. Besides this, you can also visit around the place on a bicycle, which will also allow you to have a tour of local fresh produce markets and shopping centres. So, if you’re in Myanmar, you should try this must-do activity.

9. Try a Burmese Wine

Wine and Myanmar may not sound well together, but next to having delicious cuisine, Myanmar is making its appearance in offering wine also. Talking of the vineyards, it is true that Myanmar does not actually produce any grapes or vineyards of its own since the weather is not considered that suitable for it. But, the same weather has turned out to be quite favorable for the grapes imported from France and Italy. The known wines are Athaya Rose and Athaya Red and both are prepared with the imported wines and you can buy the wine in Bagan or, if you know where the place is, you can also have a visit to the vineyard and buy directly from there.

10. Try a Traditional Burmese Cuisine

Situated directly in the middle of Thailand, India and China, Burmese cuisine is infused with the flavours of all three counties along with its own unique texture. The cuisine of the country is delicious, especially, and they are the very first people that eat their tea. People of Myanmar love to have delicious food and tea and this is the reason that it is very unlikely that you do not come across a number of food and tea stalls while having a walk or shopping.

Some of the must try Myanmar traditional dishes include grated ginger salad with sesame, guacamole, special eggplant, pumpkin and ginger soup, Mohinga, rice congee, pork skewers and stir fried dishes and curries. Alongside food, people of Myanmar are adept at preparing different kinds of tea so make sure that you try some of its flavours. Trying out the local food is certainly one of the top things to do in Myanmar.

Myanmar is an ancient country and because it is not as developed as European countries, it is still tightly knotted with its unique culture and history. Have you visited Myanmar lately? What activities did you enjoy besides visiting pagodas? Do let us know in your comments below.

Top 10 Must-Buys in Myanmar – Myanmar Shopping Tips

Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, is a rich traditional and culturally cultivated place with more than 100 ethnic groups. Being so densely cultured, visiting Myanmar will be no less than having a stroll in a living colourful tapestry, which is, surprisingly, one of the ‘must buys’ in Myanmar. If you’re looking for what to buy in Myanmar, then you’re at the right place as we have covered some of the must-busy in Myanmar in this article.

Best Things to Buy in Myanmar

There are plenty of things you can buy in Myanmar as a tourist. If you’re curious about what to buy in Myanmar then we have compiled a list of top 10 must-buys in Myanmar.

1. Sand Paintings

Sand paintings is a rare art and when talking about mastering the art, no one can ignore Myanmar; sand paintings come as a cultural, heritage to the respective land and therefore, it is one of the must buys in Myanmar. Sand paintings date back to the Bagan era when the paintings were created in laboriously intricate and skilled manner. The present version of art is replica of the yester era and is equally difficult to cultivate, the chief depictions of paintings include Vedic, Hindu, Theravada interpretations and Tantric metaphors. Finding these paintings in Bagan is easy as compared to Yangon or Bogyke Market as nearly every temple has them on sale.

2. Tapestries

Tapestries are beautiful and add that subtle elegance to your living room; the tapestry is known by the name of ‘Kalaga’ in Myanmar and is one of the most sought after shopping article. The art of tapestry weaving dates back to thousands of years. Though they can be found nearly everywhere in Myanmar but still, if you want to get the best, then Mandalay is your place. You can find loads of unique tapestry designs there and in Yangon and Bogyoke Market with a price range of $5 to $65. Traditionally it was only used a tapestry, but its contemporary usage includes tapestry shoulder bags that hold the same traditional sophistication.

3. Lacquerware

Lacquerware is a famous shopping article of Myanmar and you will find the best quality lacquerware in Bagan, a good thing about them is that you can buy them in various shapes including cups and vases. Like sand paintings, creating lacquerware is an arduous task and the finished good is decorated with the scenes from the lives of Buddha. As a traditional piece, lacquerware vessel is hand carved, created with terracotta colour and green-pigmented design, however the contemporary pieces are in deep black designed in gold leaf. But you need to be careful while selecting them as there are high chances that end up buying a fake piece, the best way to avoid the situation is to ask a local Myanmarine to buy it for you. You can also get more information from Shopping in Myanmar Guide.

4. Arts and Crafts

Myanmar is rich in culture and because the wave of modernity was not so fast in it, most of its antique arts and culture is preserved. Myanmar is known for a unique variety of crafts that you can find there only; the artists are highly skilled at drawing on palm leaves, wall murals and parchment and are now an eminent part of global painters’ community. One of the most recognized Burmese pieces of art is a Marionette, which is a puppet and a part of Myanmar’s traditional entertainment. You can enjoy the live marionette puppet show and buy them as your personal collection, as a souvenir or as a gift for your friends and family. Some other traditional art pieces include folk dolls, coconut masks and wood carvings.

5. Longyis

Longyi is a traditional Burmese skirt worn by both men and women and is considered as one of the most comfortable dress item. A longyi is a long wrap around skirt that is worn as common clothing in Myanmar, it is called ‘Pasu’ when worn my men and ‘Htamein’ when worn by the women folk. The best thing about them is their diversity as you can find them made in not-so-costly cloth and in pure silk garment also. Like garment, the price also varies and depends on the intricacy of the design and choice of material. Looking for something to buy for your female friends and family members? Surprise them with this customary Burmese clothe article, which you can also buy from Myanmar online shopping sites.

6. Lotus Silk Shawls and Scarves

Now this one is our favorite and should be an absolute must buy in your what to buy in Myanmar list. Lotus silk is a rare fiber that is extracted from the stems of lotus flower and weaved into a commercial thread that is used to produce beautiful scarves and shawls. One thing to know about them is that lotus silk is principally used to make robes for temple monks and pieces for commercial use. Lotus silk is extremely lavish and expensive as around 1200 flowers are used to make 1 piece of scarf and the process takes 2 weeks for completion. If you visit Myanmar, make sure you visit Nyaung Shwe village and places near Inle Lake to buy this as you will NOT find them anywhere else.

7. Gemstone Paintings

Myanmar is famous for its intricate and fine paintings, but what many of the people do not know is that Myanmar artists make unique and beautiful gemstone paintings also, which is a must-buy in Myanmar. Paintings are a chief tourist attraction there, but a painting made with gemstones is definitely worth buying; the process included crushing gemstones into bits and powder and used as colors for the paintings. The themes include relatively traditional touch with landscapes. Pagodas and Buddhist images and you can find this rare piece of art in Mandalay, Yangon and Bogyoke markets. You can also look for these paintings in Myanmar Shopping Malls.

8. Gems and Mother of Pearl Artifacts

Myanmar is extremely notable for its production of a large array of gemstones, no matter what gem you want, ruby, jade, pearls or beads, Myanmar has it all and you are most likely to find the same kind of collection in the respective country only. Besides gems, Myanmar produces a huge collection of mother of pearl products that you can find in all big markets. Mother of pearl has long been a chief manufacturing material for Burmese artisans. Some of the best mothers of pearl must buy in Myanmar include plates, cups, bowls and pearl caviar spoons. You can find them in Yangon and Bogyoke markets and also from these gold shops in Myanmar.

9. Marble Carvings

Buddha statues carved in marble are some of the best things to buy in Myanmar, you can either buy them to add to your personal collection or as gifts for your close ones. Marble carving art has been a part of Burmese culture for nearly 200 years, like other gems the country is rich in premium quality of marble that is extracted from Saqyin Hill and carved into statues and stone slabs. Interestingly, marble carvers do not use metal hammers, but only the ones made from the wood extorted from tamarind or cutch trees.

10. Tamarind Flakes

Myanmar is also known for its cuisine and when visiting Bagan, trying out some of the tamarind flakes is an absolute must. Tamarind flakes are the unusual local sweet that you are not likely to find anywhere else in Myanmar than Bagan and chance of finding them in any other part of the world are even fewer. Tamarind sweets are offered after meals, it has a unique sweet and sour taste that comes from tamarind. The next time you visit Bagan, make sure that you buy these little drops of heaven as souvenirs from Myanmar.

These are some of the must-buys in Myanmar on your trip. You can also use buy these items as a souvenir or a gift for your loved ones back home. If you want to recommend something to the list, please do so by adding comments below.

Myanmar Hot Air Balloon Ride – What is so Unique about It

The hot air balloon ride is a unique activity in Myanmar and it is one of the main tourist attractions, each year, thousands of tourists from all over the world come in Myanmar to experience its rich culture and to have a great hot balloon ride. So what exactly makes this Myanmar hot balloon ride so unique? There are a number of reasons and facts that is special about this ride and attracts the visitors so much.

While in Myanmar, we strongly suggest that you plan and book a hot air balloon ride as it is one of the recommended things to do for tourists in Myanmar. The activity is unique and you may not find it anywhere else, after all, where else you will find the opportunity of visiting loads if pagodas in a single ride? And the second main reason, as we always say in our other articles also, Myanmar is experiencing in a shift of focus to development and we should help them in it. Having a balloon ride will add to this help, a good way to earn some good karma.

What is so Unique about Hot Air Balloon Ride?

Now this is the question that must have arisen in many of our readers’ minds, why do we add this in our ‘must-do’ list and why do we always suggest trying it during your Myanmar visit. Following are some of the main reasons that make this ride so unique and sought after:

1. Hot Balloon Ride is Exclusive

Yes, you heard it right. The Myanmar hot air balloon ride is quite an exclusive experience both in terms of finance and the actual ‘flight’, as an estimate, balloon ride for a single person costs around $385, which may not be possible for everyone to afford. But don’t be disappointed, you can visit all the places by land too. As for the other factor, hot balloon ride is largely based on weather, which simply means that your ride can be cancelled any time before you take off. The hot balloon ride in Myanmar is conducted in bright and sunny weather so if it’s cloudy and forecasted of rain then your flight is cancelled.

*Cost may vary.

2. Great View of Pagodas and Temples

The hot air balloon ride activity is the best choice for the people who want to have a scenic view of the pagodas and temples present in Bagan. While visiting them on land will be time consuming and demanding as you will be required to take off your shoes and, to be honest, you may not be able to visit them all in during your visit. During your balloon ride, you can have the beautiful view of the silent peaceful villages, lakes and temples from a different aspect. All the beauty lying below and the approaching sunrise, it will definitely leave you enthralled, take your camera with you and capture this exquisite picturesque view.

Related Article: Top 10 must-see Places in Myanmar

3. The ‘V.V.I.P’ Treatment

The best thing about booking a hot balloon ride activity is the specialized treatment that comes along with it. The whole arrangement goes like this: you tell your hotel to book the ride, the bus arrives before the sunrise as these rides takes place in such time of the day, the bus takes you to the hot balloon station where you will be served hot coffee to keep you fresh and awake, then the balloon ride and at the end of it, they will serve you champagne and traditional Burmese breakfast. For some, this bus ride to and from the hot balloon station and breakfast at the end may sound unnecessary, but, if you are visiting Myanmar for the first time then we strongly recommend that you take this ride at least for once.

4. The Scenic Beauty on Return

While returning from the balloon ride you will see the astounding beauty lying all round the lush land, slowly awakening villages, sounds of temple bells and gongs and the slow spreading of sunlight. You must be thinking that you can have all this without having to go on a balloon ride; yes, you can but only if you wake up really early in the morning and start your explorations. Still, the bus tour you will have on your return offers you more as it will pass through villages and other green pastures that you may not be able to access by yourself.

5. You will not find the same Experience anywhere Else

You can have a hot balloon ride in other parts of the world too, but, you will not have the sacred and beautiful views of pagodas and rural villages. Since the country is not as modern as other advanced countries, it has loads of villages and other rural areas that are ornate with green pasture and peacefully simple environment. Therefore, if you are looking for one solid reason to book this ride in Myanmar, then this is it, sky-scrapping pagodas and ancient temples are in full view that you can enjoy during your hot balloon ride.

The Myanmar hot air balloon ride is an exclusive activity that is enjoyed by both the locals and tourists alike, did you have the hot balloon ride during your Myanmar visit? Comment and let us know of your experience.

Try this Myanmar Restaurant in Singapore for Burmese Food

Burmese food is not famous in Myanmar only, but Burmese food fanatics are present in the neighboring countries also, especially Thailand and Singapore. Singapore’s Peninsula Plaza is notably filled with a number of Burmese restaurants that offer authentic & traditional Myanmar food.

One of the chief reasons of the cuisine’s popularity is that Burmese community has moved to Singapore in a significant amount. Since Myanmar has unstable economical means, and the condition was even worse in previous times, people have moved to neighboring countries for better opportunities.

The search for Myanmar restaurant in Singapore can be a bit difficult, but thanks to Peninsula Plaza, as you will find several good Burmese food restaurants and spots there. It has two famous Burmese restaurants, Yanant Thit Myanmar Restaurant and Inle Myanmar Restaurant.

Myanmar Restaurant in Singapore

Both Yanant Thit Restaurant and Inle Myanmar Restaurant are famous for their food & recommended Myanmar restaurant in Singapore. But we will dedicate our post to the latter and the reason is that it is based on a famous tourist attraction place in Myanmar, Inle Lake. The place is known for its floating villages, gardens, one-legged fishermen (called so due to their unique style of fishing) and availability of rare lotus silk fabric.

The Inle Mynamar Restaurant is located at the 111 North Bridge Road, #B1-07 (A/B) Peninsula Plaza, Singapore and is open daily from 11am to 10pm. The place is located nearby the Yanant Thit Restaurant and is quite famous with Singaporean and Burmese community, who are in search of rich and authentic Myanmar cuisine.

What is Inle Myanmar Restaurant is about?

The place is about Myanmar and local Burmese food; they have skilled chefs that are adept at preparing delicious and authentic Burmese dishes. The ingredients and recipes they use are passed down to them from generations and therefore, it is safe to say that what you will get is good quality authentic Burmese food. The cuisine is heavily influenced by Thai, Indian and Chinese cultures, but the chefs at Inle Myanmar Restaurant are experts at fusing the flavours and giving them that unique Burmese texture and taste.

Inle Restaurant Menu

The menu is filled with local Burmese cuisine and has appetizers, noodles, rice dishes, set meals and desserts. Some of the notable appetizers featured on the menu are pickled tea leaf salad, prawn salad, chicken salad, spring rolls, gourd fritters and century egg salad. Pickled tea leaf salad is an all time favourite Burmese local food and what they serve at the restaurant is quite good and delicious, besides, the century egg salad is also delicious. Most of the Burmese food is prepared with fermented ingredients, which means they are both delicious and healthy.

The noodles are topped with the famous traditional Burmese dish Mohinga, thin rice noodles serves in fish soup and with several assortments like egg slices, fish cake and fritters. Other than this, they have Meeshay, another Burmese favourite served with a side soup and condiments like Shan tofu fritters, crispy and fried bean sprouts, etc., Rakhine, Dry Nangyi Thoke and Myanmar fried Kway Teow.

The Rice dish menu is filled with traditional fried rice, salted fish fried rice, pickled tea leaves rice, butter flavoured rice with the curry of your choice, chicken or pork. The desserts served by the restaurant are an interesting collection of fruits sundae, egg pudding garnished with fruits and vanilla ice-cream, Myanmar style ice kachang and Moh Let Sung.

Other than serving, Inle Myanmar Restaurant also offers party hosting and catering services, which means that you can get authentic Burmese food right at your doorstep. Some of the events they host are office gatherings, anniversaries, birthday parties and wedding parties.

Have you tried the traditional Burmese food at the Inle Myanmar Restaurant? Please comment and let us know of your experience. If you’re in Singapore, you can get more information about the city and tourist places by visiting this Singapore Travel Blog.

Myanmar Souvenirs – Top 10 Souvenirs & Gifts to buy in Myanmar

Having a memorable visit and wondering what Myanmar souvenirs to buy back home? We have a whole list compiled up for it. Myanmar is an ancient and interesting place; it has loads of memorable pagodas, delicious and unique cuisine and extremely dexterous people that are known for their skills and hard work.

While in Myanmar, shopping there will have multiple advantages, having rare and beautiful things to buy in Myanmar for your family and friends and helping the people are two of the main benefits. Since the country has been in a constant state of chaotic flux, the situation had its toll on its economic and social diffidence. Therefore, buying from there is the best way to show your appreciation and respect for this rich cultured land.

Top 10 Myanmar Souvenirs to Buy

You will have myriad choices of what to buy and what to leave in Myanmar due to which we strongly recommend that you have your local guide to help you buy original and good quality souvenirs. You can also buy these souvenirs from one of the Myanmar Shopping Mall.

Following is our list to acquaint you with some of the must and best souvenirs to buy in Myanmar:

1. Marionettes

Since the arrival of more digital and electronic modes of entertainment, people have moved away from this traditional type of entertainment. Marionettes are puppets that were once used for live puppet shows, which is now swiftly becoming a thing of the past. Still, there are marionette shows that you can enjoy and, these marionette puppets make great Myanmar souvenirs and take back gifts for your family and friends.

2. Longyi

Longyi is a comfortable traditional skirt that is worn by both the Burmese men and women, it is a wrap around skirt that is either made in simple cotton fabric or more sophisticated silk thread, in both ways it is equally comfortable. When worn by men, it is called Paso and in case of women, it is called Htamein, it comes in different designs from the plain simple fabric to printed one. Longyi skirts is a great attire to wear during your stay in Myanmar as well as a great gift and souvenir for a Myanmar idea to take back home.

3. Paper Umbrellas

Burmese people are skillful people, and these paper umbrellas are clear examples of it, while visiting Inle Lake Myanmar you can actually visit one of such paper factories and buy some for yourself and your friends as a souvenir. These umbrellas are handmade, the motifs and designs are created and painted directly on the paper, and they are pleasant enough to make these masterpieces in the presence of visitors also.

4. Traditional Gongs

Gongs and bells are used in temples as the monks use them to make the public and visitors attentive to the tasks of virtuous deeds. Besides, families to call the members for meals also use these, you can buy these for the same purpose or you can simply hang them in your house as a commemoration and souvenir from Myanmar.

5. Genuine Gemstones

Myanmar is home to the finest quality of gemstones including rubies, jade, topaz and sapphires, and it is the chief exporter of gemstones in the world. You can buy raw stones and you can also buy the jewellery made out of it, in case of raw gemstones, you will need to have a government-issued permit to buy and carry them. You can visit any of the gold shop in Myanmar to buy unique gems as a souvenir.

6. Shan Bags

Shan bags are hand woven on wooden handlooms and a common form of baggage used as Shan style shoulder bags. The bags are quite versatile in nature as they are used as school bags and as a casual snack or hand bag that could be carried to a market or mall.

7. Silverware

Besides lacquerware, silverware is the second most highly sought after craft in Myanmar, the craft is here since the 13th century and people are extremely adept at creating a number of objects from them. Some of the silversmiths make their things purely by hand and the range includes silver jewellery and intricately designed pots and vessels. When it comes to Myanmar souvenirs, silverware is a must-buy.

8. Hand-Woven Tapestries

Hand woven tapestries are the unique Myanmar souvenirs and the art dates back to the 18th century and the weavers are busy making this elaborately crafted and designed cloth for dance costumes and wall hangings for family hearth. Some modern uses of this ornate piece of cloth into fashionable and ethnic handbags.

9. Lotus Silk Shawls and Scarves

Lotus thread is the rare produce of Myanmar and since you will not find it anywhere else in the world, it is better that you buy its fabric when in Myanmar. The process is quite painstaking and time consuming, which makes it extremely priced and luxurious. Visit Nyaung Shwe village and other nearby places to Inle Lake to buy genuine lotus silk shawls and scarves as a souvenir & gift.

10. Marble Carvings

Other than gemstones and silverware, Myanmar is known for its premium quality marble also, Burmese people are extremely skilled and creative in making beautiful and rare handicrafts. Buddha statues made in marble directly extorted from Saqyin Hill and  carved with the wooden tool made from tamarind or trees only, are one of the best Myanmar souvenirs to take back home. Buy some when there and present them as gifts or keep them in your personal collection.

These are the best Myanmar souvenirs & gifts to buy on your trip. You can get more information about where to buy these souvenirs from our Myanmar Shopping Guide.

Myanmar is no less than a wonderland and you will have numerous choices of souvenirs there, which ones are your favourite? Let us know in your comments.

Myanmar Shopping – Your Shopping Guide to Myanmar

Myanmar is a beautiful place filled with precious gemstones, stunning pagodas and people with the heart of gold. Myanmar Shopping is no less than having a walk in a rich cultural land with rare objects to behold and equally rare shopping items to buy as Myanmar souvenirs and gifts. Although Myanmar is not big on modernization and you will rarely find the same New York shopping experience, that does not mean that it does not have anything to offer. Besides, it is more likely that what you will find here will not be available in other parts of the world.

Here is a complete guide of where to go for shopping in Myanmar, and what to buy in Burma, the place is filled with a good number of shopping destinations and all you need to do is to find them.

Myanmar Shopping Guide

You have the choice to either visit the Myanmar shopping mall and shops personally or make the purchase through online shopping stores.

Following are some of the places to buy rare and unique things in Myanmar:

1. J’s Irrawaddy Dream – For Authentic Handicrafts Shopping

Looking to buy some authentic and rare handicrafts in Myanmar? Make J’s Irrawaddy Dream a sure destination for it. When in Myanmar it is quite easy to indulge in locally crafted objects, but it is equally important that what you buy is 100% authentic and is coming from a quality seller. The shop specializes in all kinds of crafts, lacquarware, lush silk fabric and beautifully crafted jewellery and Buddha’s statues. The place is impressively filled with modern day and antique art pieces that you will hardly find anywhere else & thus a preferred Myanmar shopping destination for tourists.

Address: 1st Floor, Strand Hotel, 92 , Strand Road, Yangon, Myanmar

2. Bogyoke Aung San Market – For Gifts & Souvenirs Shopping

The ancient and one of the most widely known and attractive shopping destinations in Myanmar, Bogyoke Aung San Market is a located in central Yangon and is melting pot of Burmese culture. Previously known as Scott Market, it has everything you want to have as souvenirs and gifts and what makes the place a perfect shopping spot is that it is run by locals who offer genuine things like handwoven tapestries, the much renowned sand-paintings, authentic and rare silk fabric and gemstones, pearl jewellery and house ware and things made from lacquer.

Address: Bo Gyoke Rd, Yangon, Myanmar (Burma)

3. Zawgyi Mart – Online Store

Zawgyi Mart is a significantly large online shopping store in Myanmar, and has everything you need to buy during your stay in Myanmar. Unlike many of the online superstores that are in the rudimentary phase of development, Zawgyi Mart is quite developed and fairly equipped to cater to the shopping needs of the locals and tourists alike. The collection consists of home appliances, electronics, cosmetics, handbags, fragrances, bed sheets and other house ware and much more. It also has a good collection of branded things from Gucci, Michael Kors, Burberry, Furla and Tory Burch. The country gradually inclining towards online shopping options and Zawgyi Mart is a good addition to it.

4. Inle Lake – For Local Products Shopping

Th Inle Lake is among the top 10 must-see places in Myanmar, and it is an equally magnificent place to buy beautiful and authentic fabric, lacquerware and other handicrafts. Inle Lake is home to a number of textiles in Myanmar and while having a boat cruise or walking near the dock, you will hear voices of loom busy weaving fabric and thread. Inle Lake Myanmar is the best place to buy rare and authentic lotus thread that is the product of Myanmar only. Usually, women are in the big majority of these places, or textiles, as they are more skilled and trained at making this fabric than men.

5. Gems Museum and Gems Mart – For Gems & Jewellery Shopping

Probably the best place to buy gemstones, Myanmar Gems Museum and Gems Mart is the chief tourist attraction. Myanmar is extremely famous for its precious gemstones like jade, ruby, topaz, pearls and diamonds and it is the best place if you want to buy genuine gems. The Gems Mart has everything, including jade and other single gem jewellery with multi-gem pieces that are beautiful, rare and authentic. Besides jewellery, you can also buy gem-carved animals, Buddha statues made in jade and raw uncultured stones that require permission to buy and carry. Along with gems, you will also receive the certificate of authenticity for your gems. You Myanmar shopping experience will be incomplete, if you miss out to visit Gems Museums.

6. Ocean Super Center – Preferred Shopping Mall in Myanmar

Want to visit the best shopping mall in Myanmar? Choose the Ocean Super Center. The mall is considered as one of the best malls in Myanmar and has everything you can think of, a good thing about it is that it has everything under single roof, from a wide and large collection of products including electronics, home appliances, house ware, furniture, kitchenware, sports equipment and other products and many other things. Eating is a part of quality shopping experience and you will get a good collection at the mall as it is filled with a number of cafes and food spots serving Asian food. The Ocean Super Center has presence in major cities of Myanmar, including Yangon, Mandalay & Nay Pyi Taw.

Address: Thiri Condo, Corner of Pyay Rd & Taw Win Rd, Mayangone Tsp, Yangon.
Phone: (951) 508460 / 61 / 62

With cultural local markets to newly modernized shopping malls, Myanmar shopping can be an overwhelming experience for many of us.

How was your shopping experience in Myanmar? Have we missed any creditable shopping destination in Myanmar? Please let us know in your comments.

Related Article: Top 10 must-buys in Myanmar

Your Comprehensive Yangon Online Shopping Guide

Yangon is the largest city of Myanmar and attracts a lot of visitors each year and shopping in Yangon is always in full swing, the main reasons that make this city so popular are the huge number of temples and pagodas present here, lavish Myanmar shopping malls and restaurants, both roadside and well-built coffee and tea houses. Where Myanmar is now entering into a new wave of modernization, by opening its gates for tourists, it is also taking a more advance shift towards shopping.

Online shopping is becoming a slow trend in Myanmar, especially online shopping in Yangon, Myanmar as people are now inclined towards online options mostly due to the ease of the process. People can now easily shop everything from jewellery to clothes to home ware without abandoning the comfort of their home. Where the process is easy, it is more likely that the users or tourists fall for low quality products, with single search you will come up with a whole number of websites. Wondering, how will you know which sites to contact and buy from? We have the answer to your question.

Yangon Online Shopping Guide

Following are some of the sites that specialize in online shopping for Yangon and you will get the value of your money.

1. Yangon Online Store

Yangon Online Store is one of the notable online shopping stores of Yangon, Myanmar. The store is user friendly with clean graphics and simple user interface as you will be able to see, find and browse the categories easily. The categories include electronics, Myanmar books, tools, clothing and computer accessories and things that you could easily find there are handbags, eye-wear, footwear, clothing, camcorders, eBook readers a number of Apple products, cosmetic and perfumes. Though the collection is not that wide but, again, the area is at rudimentary stage and will take some time to develop. Overall, the store is decent and you can access it from here.

2. Kaymu

Kaymu is larger than Yangon Online Store since it has a significantly large collection of products of all kinds. The site is in a local Myanmar language with the product details presented in English, some of the categories include housewares, cosmetics, appliances and shoes and things you can purchase are watches, cameras, fitness and sports goods and a good collection of smart watches. The collection is good and you will find a number of good products to buy from here. Access the store from here.

3. Dailymart

OK. So this is not a usual ‘shopping site’ where you could buy clothes and shoes, but you can definitely buy fresh vegetables and fruits here and this is what Dailymart is all about. Dailymart is an online grocery store in Yangon, focused on delivering fresh and frozen food to doorstep, a good way of revolutionizing grocery shopping there. The look and feel of the site is simple, which is a good thing after all, who wants to lose their way in a labyrinth of Web Pages? So, what exactly can you find there, everything, including Polar and Magnolia ice-cream, milk, bread and eggs and vegetables and fruits. Besides, they also offer a good collection of household, home decor and personal care products. Visit the site here and see what they got.

4. Zawgyi Mart

Now this is what we call an online superstore, the store is ‘really big’ with loads of products and good collection of nearly everything. Some of the products you will find here include handbags from Michael Kors, Furla and Tory Burch, Gucci and Burberry fragrances, bed sheets and a big collection of appliances and electronics. The best way to find out more is to browse through it, access the site from here and look for yourself.

5. Scarlet Online Fashion Shop

Scarlet Online Fashion Store is a specialty store entirely dedicated to the cause of offering trendy clothes and dresses to their consumers. You can place the order directly from their Facebook page and, unfortunately, their official email address on their Facebook profile page. Some of the clothes they sell are jeans, sweatshirts, sweaters, blouse and tops, dresses and oh so adorable superman shirts in white, orange, black and green colors. If you want to place your order, you can access their Facebook profile page here.

Online shopping in Yangon is gradually increasing in the country as people are becoming interested in this trend. The country is improvising and so are their shopping and other daily routine trends, but still, it is deeply rooted and it will take quite some time to develop.

Related Article: Top 6 Must Visit Online Myanmar Shopping Sites

Have you bought anything via a Yangon online shopping store? Do let us know about your experience and products’ quality through your comments.