Things to buy in MyanmarShopping in Myanmar
This is an inside scout to the best shopping in Burma, Bogyoke Aung San Market and Pakokku Market. From Gill Charlton, the Burma specialist at Telegraph Travel. Don't let the dilapidated state of the place put you off: Some of Aung Soe Min's performers are selling themselves on an international scale and he promotes up-and-coming talents from all over Burma.
You will be able to get warm ladies for a custom made long yo-yo rock and shirt on the upper floor in no time. Anyone visiting Yangon should buy something in this Fair Trade store next to the Monsoon Restuaran. They sell handicrafts of high value from some of the most deprived Burma: the "Burmese people": Some years ago a native of the city brought me into this store at the end of Thirteenth Street and since then I have been buying my paint gifts here.
These are the simplest pieces of varnish coated with pure golden leaves. Paintware crisps and tears slightly, so ask the personnel to grab it for you and take it back as carry-on baggage if you can. This wobbly woodworking shop is spread over three storeys and you can see the ladies spinning silks by hands and weaving elaborately figured clothes on handwoven looms.
Don't miss the demo that shows how fine fibers are obtained from the stalk of the Lotus blossom. Initially weaved into weatherproof cloths for celebrity Buddhist friars, today Lotusstiel fibers are used by the prestigious Loro Piana cloths. People can walk through the buildings and see men dying the silks and monitoring the weaving.
Another area of the shop is where ladies make elaborately woven Longyi's, which are sold for tens of thousands of dollars. Since the 1930' the Bagan company has been producing lacquer goods in a careful and traditionally way. There are 70 employees in the shop and the visitor can follow the whole process: from waving the frame of bush-hair and horse-hair shells to engraving the elaborate design.
For the more costly artisans, there is a "special room" at the back of the store. They have to plan one hours to observe the manufacturing process for the different kinds of paint products. Native ladies selling pearl necklaces (white, rose, tan and black) at temporary stands on the beaches.
Younger girls often talk good English, so go for a talk and get to know something about their life. mandalay has many goldfoil work shops, but this is the most available. Foliage is in great demand due to Buddhist attempts to earn merits by putting the leaves on important Buddha-paintings. Some of them now look like Mr. Blobby.
It' amazing to observe the production processes by hands. Situated between Old Bagan and New Bagan, this large town is full of small, family-run paint manufacturers. You' ll see how common varnish products are made from plastics; the designs are drawn on instead of cut. If you are looking for high-quality lacquered goods, you should go to the Golden Cuckoo Shop in the town.
It is an important market place in a bustling Myanmar city an hours away from Bagan.