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-buys 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.
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.
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 Myanmar Shopping 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.
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.