Posted by: David Stewart | April 26, 2009

A Morning in Yangon, biggest city in Myanmar

We were in Myanmar last month on vacation (thank you, frequent flyer miles!) Since people often ask me, I thought I would tell you: Myanmar is pronounced like the recent movie Marley and Me, only like it’s "Me and Mar". Or maybe more closely "Me and Ma".

Also, the country is more popularly known as "Burma", but this was a name that the British gave it, and its name was officially changed a few years ago.

We had an extra morning in Yangon so we took care of some shopping. Yangon is the biggest city in Myanmar; the British called it "Rangoon", and its airport code is still "RGN".

Yangon, Myanmar (Burma) The main market in town was built during the British administration of the country, and it was called "Scott Market." Yangon, Myanmar (Burma)Yangon, Myanmar (Burma)

Regional crafts, jewelry, art work and clothing shops are jumbled together in the usual ad hoc manner for Myanmar. In our last visit, I had been absorbed in catching up with my brother-in-law, Court, so for me it was like seeing the place for the first time.

Yangon, Myanmar (Burma)Yangon, Myanmar (Burma)Yangon, Myanmar (Burma)Yangon, Myanmar (Burma)

We helped the local economy by buying some Shan bags, some Burmese shirts and a marionette. A Shan bag is a kind of knit tote bag that you see all over the country, carried by people of both genders and all ages. We got a request from our kids to bring one back.

I had read that a marionette is a "must have" souvenir from Myanmar. They are representative of the puppet shows that were put on for the Burmese royalty. Today, there are still puppet shows put on for tourists in Mandalay and Yangon. Below is a photo of the antique shop called "Bonton" where we bought ours. Yangon, Myanmar (Burma) We had arrived at the market at around 10:00AM, when many of the shops were just opening. In Myanmar, there is a tradition that when a shop makes a sale, they take the money and tap all of the goods in the store with it. They call it "lucky money", and it’s actually one way to get a bargain for that first sale of the day.

Yangon, Myanmar (Burma)


After shopping, we visited some of the old British-era buildings in old Yangon, like the Strand Hotel.

 Yangon, Myanmar (Burma)

This place has been recently renovated, and if you can spend $400 per night, it’s a fine place to stay. I believe Mick Jagger has stayed there once. We enjoyed some of the shops inside the hotel and poked our head into the lobby cafe and bar.

Yangon, Myanmar (Burma)

Most of the buildings that date back to the British administration are very nice architecturally, but they look like they are in need of a good cleanup. As in any overseas destination, you will see some things that you will never see anywhere in the US, like this fellow who was selling live birds out of baskets, near to the Scott Market. Yangon, Myanmar (Burma) Yangon has a very ad hoc feel to it, like practically the whole country. If you like complete and total order, then I suppose this would be your worse nightmare. But if you can tolerate some utter chaos, with almost no influence of Western brands, then it’s a good place to visit. Yangon, Myanmar (Burma)




  2. you have money? we need

  3. Loved it. I totally agree with you about colonial buildings in downtown Yangon. Great you helped local economy. I hope you checked out River Gallery when you visited Stand Hotel.

  4. Yes, we did visit the art gallery in the Strand. Some very nice pieces there as I recall, but I think we were forbidden to take any photos.

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