THE markets of Yangon offer fascinating insights into the ethnic diversity of the city, its produce, heritage and traditions.
Whether you’re actually seeking to stock up on local handicrafts or just to enjoy the chance to browse and interact with locals, a visit to any one of these markets is a must on a trip to Yangon.
Bogyoke Aung San Market
This 70-year-old market, also known as Scott Market, sprawls over a couple of levels along Bogyoke Aung San Road. It’s probably the best known tourist market and a pleasant shopping experience. A trip here is a great chance to shop for handicrafts, food, and jewelry while chatting with locals. You can also haggle for the best prices if you spot something you like. There are some 2,000 shops here selling anything from souvenirs to their famed lacquerware, Shan shoulder bags, puppets, slippers and gems.
Theingyi Zay (Market), Latha township
One of Yangon’s most colorful quarters, and indeed one of the most unique markets in Asia, the Theingyi Zay should be on your itinerary in Yangon. It’s not just the food that stands out, but also the local architecture and charming locals you meet. The market was first built in 1905 and is the biggest local market in the city. Roughly 1,100 shops and stalls make up the traditional wet and dry market that sells anything from fishery products to dry commodities and textiles. Rice, fish paste, clothing, cosmetics, raw herbal medicines, beeswax and toys can be found in the shops inside the existing building as well as the blocks and streets around.
Anawrahta Road Night Market
This central night market is one of the busiest in the city and uniquely atmospheric due to poor lighting that could range from a dim fluorescent lights to a few candles. While you might not exactly be able to see clearly what you’re buying, it’s a fun place to shop. The market starts before sunset as people return home. Fish, chicken and pork are sold right on the roadside, by colorful piles of vegetables, fruit and flowers.
The Chinatown district in Yangon lies west of Sule Pagoda in the downtown part of the city. It takes in 18th Street through to 24th and is streaming with traffic, pedestrians, shops and markets. Roadside stalls serve snacks that sizzle and bubble and are as popular with tourists as they are with the locals. There are gold and jewelry stores, cyber cafes, restaurants, temples and fruit vendors. The narrow streets leading off the main roads are a warren featuring baskets, paper goods, crafts, flowers and even songbirds.
Thiri Mingalar Market
Lying just outside the sprawling madness of central Yangon is Thiri Mingalar Market featuring an array of fresh produce from around the country. Chaotic, smelly and lively, you might stumble across mounds of cabbages, racks of bananas, trays of watermelons or piles of flowers. Crowds of trucks, tuk tuks, bicycles, laborers and shoppers create an energetic bustle arond Thiri Mingala. It’s a must see for tourists, and a great place to capture some colorful photographs.