For many, traveling and shopping go hand in hand. You will find this to be especially true when you visit Myanmar (Burma). Pottery, woven goods, precious stones, lacquerware, lotus silk and tapestry are just some of the incredible handicrafts on offer.It won’t be difficult to find some exquisite pieces, but buyers should be careful, use our easy tips below as a guide when shopping, they will help you to understand authenticity and craftsmanship.
Bagan, widely known for its intriguing Buddhist temples and otherworldly landscape is a traditional center for the production of lacquerware. This is a popular local product whose authenticity can be easily tested with a gentle bending and twisting. The finer pieces of lacquerware are easier to manipulate; this should help you distinguish quality among the abundant variety of products that are available.
Those looking for a holiday shopping splurge can add jade, rubies and sapphires to their list. The best and safest places to find these precious gems are at the licensed stores located in the Bogoyoke Aung San (Scott) Market in Rangoon.
Shwe chi doe is the name given to the local tapestry using gold and silver thread. This Burmese specialty is often found in Mandalay and Rangoon- this is a fragile product so it is unlikely you’ll find any genuine antique pieces (despite the occasional claim of local vendors), these tapestries do represent an ancient artisan practice and offer a chance to pick up a unique memento of Myanmar.
Silver jewelry, baskets, lotus silk shawls and wooden marionettes are also local treasures. We just warn you to shop wisely, don’t believe everything the vendors tell you, bargain and generally pay what you think is fair for something you really want.
Photos courtesy of Tumblr, Myanmar Tourist Board, Mynamarburma.com