Markets of Rangoon

Click here for images from market around Yangon.

pickled tea suppliesThe first time I visited Burma/Myanmar was in December of 1995. We stayed in the YMCA in downtown Yangon (formerly Rangoon) and were harassed by bed-bugs all night. I remember the streets being particularly gray at that time, except for the bright blue, tiny little taxi’s that were the only vehicles tearing around the roads. This little trucks seem like little blue ladybugs and can still be seen today, packed into the traffic filled streets.

Since then I have had the opportunity to get to know the markets of Rangoon. Most tourists don’t stay long in Yangon, the more mystical tourist destinations are Bagan, Inle Lake or even Kyaiktiyo — the Famous Golden Rock Pagoda, and most tours follow a highly scheduled ten day whirlwind dash to these favorite sites.

Living and working in Yangon at different periods in my life, I had a chance to explore the streets and discover many fantastic markets. My favorite is the Indian Spice market which is on 22nd street (I think, I always get lost trying to find that one), and there I love to buy thick honey-rich sandalwood oil, turmeric, fragrant sandalwood beads, freshly ground whole wheat flour and blocks of beeswax.

There always seems to be a new market popping up as I get to explore other areas of Yangon and they all seem quite different. One market in Chinatown has tons of kitchen supplies and utensils, a market on Strand road has wholesale spices, another has just rows and rows of cloth and one down by Sanchaung is just filled with fruits and vegetables, of course there is also the well-known Bogyoke Market which used to be named Scott Market. There is even a market that seems to specialize in the ingredients for the signature Burmese dessert-salad Laphet (made from pickled tea).

If you get up early enough in the morning you can go to the fish market on the dock, but be careful if you do as it is slippery with all the ice and fish zipping by on the backs of wiry men.

Check out the farmers markets from around Myanmar slideshow as well.

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