Myanmar things to buyBuy Myanmar things
But, as always, we always came home with more than we wanted to buy, and we were wasting a significant amount of time on counterfeit memorabilia. Here are some hints what not to buy in Myanmar. As with many Yangon visitors, most go to Bogyoke Aung San Market, a Bazar of stands and stores that sell everything from chickpeas treats, caps, wooden shells, made-to-measure clothes and footwear to jewellery and jewellery and even more.
We were taken to the fair twice, once at the beginning and once at the end of the journey. The one thing that amazed me was the bulk of the jewelry that was on sale. When you didn't already know Myanmar is known for its Myanmar rubies and saphires, and visitors who have a little money, often look for bargains to take home with them.
Whilst I don't generalise here (I'm sure there are some real traders), the things a tourist wants to buy jewelry must be very different. Bogyoke Aung San Market is the best place to buy Longyi's! They are available for as little as 1000 Kyats ($1) and are one of the best things to carry in Myanmar.
They' re lightweight, quick-drying and are Myanmar's tradition. It is arguably the most visited tourist destination in Myanmar and the locals know it! I' m 100% conscious that most of these guys who sold articles are probably impoverished and the articles they sold are their only source of revenue.
I' m not tolerating the purchase of gifts here, I just want to inform you about what you are actually shopping for. What suspected me, however, was that each stand not only sell the same memorabilia, but that they were all exactly the same. When she brought us to her stand, I asked polite ly why everything looks the same and why everyone in the whole town is selling the same things?
While we looked over their stand and saw nothing we liked, we felt almost compelled to buy something as a thank you for their tour guides (a typical gimmick they try with every tourist). Needless keepsake number one. And we were tempted to buy two jewels of the Shwezigon Pagoda.
Sillyly we thought they would be kind just to be extorted, to buy something back from their stand in return for ours. Two and three pointless memorabilia. We were so impressed that the picture was real that we almost got a number four worthless mementos. Later that evening we went for a stroll after supper and went to see some sandpaper in Nyaung U. To our amazement, almost all the painters gave us a different tale about how the pictures were made, all with different material, all claim to have done them themselves and all claim that their way of drawing is forged.
Irrespective of whether we were actually speaking the truth, we chose not to buy a picture because we did not think we were safe enough to buy a hand-painted genuine fresco, because we wanted an artist that was carefully drawn and made in the traditional way, but since we could not tell the distinction between acrylic, sands, works of art etc., we came back empty-handed.
So, when choosing your artwork, make sure you choose to buy one and buy it before you buy it, as we saw a huge cost differential for images that look the same. When we arrived in Mandalay, it was enough with memorabilia. But during our journey to Mingun I purchased a handbag because I was so much for $1. Useless number four gift (it was broken when we came home because we were crushed, but useful at the tim!
If you leave your vessel, you are full of folks trying to try to get things for you, and we have also found small kids in two of the places in Mingun who ask you to buy something small because they were starving. There was a little draught in your hearts and we saw many folks buy the little things they sold as we were approaching the sanctuary so that we didn't felt so sick when we said "No thanks".
Cruel perhaps, but over a month after our Myanmar voyage we really began to move like a moneybag. The only place we saw no masses of memorabilia or booths was Hsipaw. There was only a local fair and while they were selling the regular caps, longyi's and purses, there was nothing of the regular tattoo we saw everywhere else.
Nevertheless, since Hsipaw does not have nearly as many attendees as Yangon, Bagan or Mandalay, there would be a stronger representation of those trying to make a living with the tourist who were there, but that was not the case. The first time we met at Nyaungshwe Market was a good one.
While we were walking around the fair where they were selling memorabilia (although it was a different kind of souvenir market), we were not asked to stop and look at their stands or to be followed by them. It was a great time for us to go for a stroll, the kids were playing, the crowd was smiling and it was a great time.
The first stop was the swimming but not the swimming markets. It was a bit of a rush, especially since most of our ships went to the markets first, so it was very bustling. "Those pearls are genuine rock not forged, you are paying 10000 ($10)", at this point I started to smile, saying no thanks and gave the wristband "OK OK OK 8000!
When I was standing next to myself, the woman haggled with another salesman and I saw and saw that she was almost purchasing exactly the same wristband that I had just had. So, I went a little bit mad and a little bit disappointed that I had got another gift I didn't need and for more than I should.
Number five worthless memento. It was Leo who purchased number seven worthless souvenirs at the lakeside smokehouse. Whilst I still think it was pointless, it was a good thing for him when he was sitting and watching them being made, and apparently they are pretty good. I had to haggle my abilities drastically improved, and our judgement of what was genuine or counterfeit also needed to be improved.
There are some astonishing memorabilia to be found in Myanmar, so don't be frustrated to buy them. Whilst some are made and are not real objects, the purchase of memorabilia helps the people. The purpose of this article is only to alert you to what you are buying so that you are not disconcert.