• If you tour Burma, do not forget to buy some handicraft souvenirs, made by skilled craftsmen, or other unique ones as the wonderful presents for your beloveds and friends. Here are a number of the best places for shopping we recommend to you so that you can purchase high-quality items in your tours of Myanmar.

    1. Ko Than Hlaing Silk

    Besides lacquerware, silk is also chosen by a lot of visitors as a nice souvenir in their tours of Myanmar. Although there are silk-weaving workshops in Nampan village, Ko Than Hlaing Silk, a family-owned enterprise, is not quite so crowded out by tour groups. Arranged over three floors is the rickety wooden workshop where you can watch women spin the silk by hand and weave intricately patterned dress lengths on handlooms. Don’t miss the process of extracting delicate fibers from the lotus flower stem. The lotus stem fibers were originally woven into weather-proof shawls for prominent Buddhist monks and now are used by exclusive Italian fabric house named Loro Piana. The extensive shop sells cotton and silk clothing, lotus and silk shawls and scarves in a lot of colors and sizes. Prices are fixed.
    Address: Inpawkhon Village, Inle Lake
    Contact: silkandlotusweaving.biz
    Getting there: hire a boat
    Opening times: daily, 9am-6pm
    Payment type: credit cards not accepted

    2. Thein Nyo Silk

    Amarapura was once a former royal city, which explains why silk weaving has developed there. Thein Nyo Silk is one of the most accessible workshops that you can find during your Myanmar travel. Visitors can wander through the building, watching men dye the silk skeins and supervise the reeling and spinning. In another area of the workshop are women weaving intricately patterned longyi skirts priced at hundreds of dollars. The attached shop sells lengths of cotton and hand-loomed silk in jewel colors, both patterned and plain. There are covetable woolen scarves, plain and plaid which are wonderful presents for men in a smaller room next door. Prices are fixed.
    Address: Oh Taw Quarter, Amarapura
    Getting there: cycle or hire a horse cart
    Opening times: daily, 9am-9pm
    Payment type: credit cards not accepted

    3. U Ba Nyein

    If you are interested in high-class lacquerware created by traditional way, make a visit to U Ba Nyein in your tours of Myanmar. There are 70 people working at the workshop and you can watch the whole process from weaving the bamboo and horsehair bowl frames to etching the intricate designs. The shop sells the whole range of lacquerware, from traditional, eight-sided, collapsible tables to lucky owls decorated in gold leaf. At the back of the shop are its 'special room’ displaying the more expensive artisan pieces. You should go there before 10 am or after 4 pm to avoid tour groups; however, notice that the workshop closes at 5 pm. It will take you at least an hour to watch the production processes for the different types of lacquerware.
    Address: Main Road, New Bagan
    Contact: 00 95 616 5056
    Getting there: cycle or hire a horse cart
    Opening times: daily, 9am-9pm
    Payment type: credit cards not accepted

    4. Ngapali Pearls

    Ngapali Beach is not only an ideal place for relaxation, with the stunning sea scenery and luxury resorts, but also the best address to purchase pearls when you tour Myanmar. Here local women sell strings of local pearls (white, black, beige and pink) on stalls located along the beach. A necklace of dyed black pearls will take $20 out of your wallet while misshapen pink pearls cost just a few dollars. Attractive ladles and spoons made locally from buffalo horn and mother-of-pearl boxes are also on sale. The younger women often speak English quite well, so do not hesitate to sit down for a chat to learn about their lives.
    Address: Ngapali Beach
    Getting there: Walk
    Opening times: daily, 10am-6pm
    Payment type: credit cards not accepted

    5. Bagan Book House

    This bookshop may be one of the most special places you have visited during your Burma tours as you can find here the gems in a mess. Indeed, the shop houses facsimile copies of 19th- and 20th-century books on Burma. Some are good photocopies of the originals; others are reprints from the Thai publisher, White Lotus Books. It’s the best find accounts by travelers to Burma and colonial officials.
    Address: 100, 37th Street in block north of Merchant Street
    Contact: 00 95 1 377 227
    Getting there: walk or take a taxi
    Opening times: daily, 9am-6pm
    Payment type: credit cards not accepted
    During your tours in Myanmar, spend your time visiting these places to have the best souvenirs. They will remind you of the charming and friendly Myanmar and the wonderful time you had there when you come back your home.

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  • What are brought back from your tours to Myanmar? The answers may be very diverse as you can find a variety of unique and interesting souvenirs in Burma, from colorful fabrics and carpets to sophisticated wooden carving and gemstones. To ensure that you can purchase your favorite souvenirs at a reasonable price, we recommend these places to shop when you tour Burma.

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    1. Augustine's Souvenirs

    This treasure used to be called Augustine’s Antiques; however as the Burmese government doesn’t allow antiques to be sold outside the country’s border, its name has been changed. Today, the shop concentrates on newer items but the quality remains to be guaranteed. Visiting Augustine's Souvenirs in your tours to Myanmar, you can find carvings from Mandalay workshops, colonial-style furniture, lacquer from producers in the Shan States, gilded wooden statues and some beautiful 20th-century silver and brass temple offering bowls, which are sold by families in need of the cash. Make sure that you receive a receipt and a stamped letter proving that the items you purchase are not antiques.
    Address: 23 Attiyar Street, off Thirimingalar Street, Kamayut Township
    Contact: 00 95 1 705 969; augustinesouvenir.com
    Getting there: take a taxi
    Opening times: Mon-Fri, midday-7pm; Sat, Sun, 2pm-7pm
    Payment type: credit cards not accepted

    2. Pansodan Gallery

    If you make a great effort into painting collection, do not miss this place in your tours to Myanmar. Hundreds of paintings are stacked around the walls of the fine art gallery on the edge of the colonial quarter. At first sight, you may be discouraged by the ramshackle state of the place, but don not leaves away: some of Aung Soe Min's artists sell internationally and he nurtures rising talents from all over Myanmar. Everyone will able to find something for themselves here: portraits, landscapes, and abstract works, mostly in acrylics. If you buy to purchase a large canvas, it can be taken off its wooden stretcher and rolled up to transport back home at ease.
    Address: 1st Floor, 286 Pansodan Street, Kyauktada Township, Yangon
    Contact: 00 95 9 513 0846; pansodan.com
    Getting there: walk or take a taxi
    Opening times: daily, 10am-6pm
    Payment type: credit cards accepted

    3. Bogyoke Aung San Market

    The Market is always included in the must-visit destination list of Yangon when you have a Myanmar travel. Built by the British in 1926, the market was considered as the larger and oriental version of London’s Covent Garden market. It’s now largely given over to stalls designed to draw tourists: woodcarving from Mandalay, lacquerware from Bagan and woven textiles from the Chin and Naga tribes. Friendly saleswomen will size you up for a traditional longyi skirt and blouse, made-to-measure upstairs in minutes. Make your outfit more perfect with a pair of traditional velvet slippers which are sold on the south side. Along the west side is a range of antique shops although much is new-made-old these days. On the south side are also several currency shops with goods with good rates for changing dollars into kyats. Do not pay attention to the roving moneychangers.
    Address: Bogyoke Aung San Road, Yangon
    Contact: bogyokemarket.com
    Getting there: walk or take a taxi
    Opening times: Tue-Sun, 8.30am-4.30pm
    Payment type: credit cards not accepted

    4. Pomelo

    Every visitor in their tours to Myanmar should buy something at this fair-trade shop. It sells extremely high-quality crafts made by some of the most disadvantaged people in the country: orphans, destitute families, and AIDS sufferers. Here you can buy soft toys made by convent girls, silk purses by AIDS sufferers from troubled Rakhine state, cross-stitched iPad cases designed by Shan villagers as well as hand-woven fabrics, homewares, and jewelry. Support handloom weaving among the Chin tribe by purchasing a Sone-Tu table runner.
    Address: 89 Thein Phyu Road, Yangon
    Contact: pomeloyangon.com
    Getting there: take a taxi or walk
    Opening times: daily, 10am-9pm
    Payment type: credit cards not accepted

    5. Myanmar Lacquerware

    Lacquerware is considered one of the most typical souvenirs visitors bring back from their tours to Myanmar. The shop sells a large selection of well-made bowls, plates, trays and boxes in both traditional and modern styles at very affordable price. The simple black lacquer bowls lined with gold leaf, the most beautiful items, costs only $10 here while they cost US $40 in Bagan. Lacquerware chips and cracks easily so it’s better for you to ask staff to pack it and take it back as hand luggage if you can. The staff are very helpful and speak English quite well so you don't need to worry about communication when having Burma tours.

    Address: 7, 13th Street, Yangon
    Contact: 00 95 1 226261; myanmarlacquerware.com
    Getting there: take a taxi or walk
    Opening times: Mon-Sat, 9.30am-5pm
    Payment type: credit cards not accepted
    Besides these above-mentioned addresses, there are a lot of other ideal places to shop in Burma which are described in our next articles. Purchasing a meaningful item in your tours to Myanmar will be a wonderful way to keep the best Myanmar’s characteristics.

    Source: http://ancharm-myanmar.com/travel-guide/travel-experiences/go-shopping-tours-myanmar/

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  • The Irrawaddy River (also known as Ayeyarwady River) flows through the heart of Myanmar, with some of the country’s most iconic sights located on its banks. Here are top 6 reasons why taking a river cruise Burma on the Irrawaddy is so special, with useful tips and opinions from tourists who have enjoyed this remarkable voyage for themselves.

    1. A window onto real life

    Now matter when you go in Myanmar, the warmth and hospitability of the locals will surprise you. However, when making a visit to remote communities along the Irrawaddy River, who may see a small number of international visitors a month, their keenness excitement to meet and interact with travelers is all the more special. Visiting these remote riverside communities, you can be sure what you see and experience is the locals’ real lifestyle – nothing is “performed” for visitors. Paul, a UK traveler, shares his own idea about this phenomenon that when you cruise Burma, you have an opportunity to explore a different side of a country. Seen from the river, where people have very little contact with tourists, the interaction with the locals (especially the children) is a much more genuine and unforgettable experience.

    2. Get off the beaten track

    A river cruise Burma takes you to many remote locations totally cut off from the outside world, and only accessible from the water. Cruising the Irrawaddy River allows access to the real Myanmar, and visit communities and beautiful landscapes unfamiliar to most tourists during their Myanmar travel. Places such as Yandabo, a picturesque community famous for its incredible pottery, and Hpowindaung, a unique Buddhist cave complex, are unlikely to be included in the itineraries of land-based travelers but can be easily reached from the river.

    3. See the sights from a different perspective

    Myanmar houses countless incomparable sights, from majestic ancient temples in Bagan, to the sparkling Shwedagon Pagoda, but few can admire these incredible places from the water. Making a river cruise Burma on the Irrawaddy enables you to gain a new perspective on these iconic sights, as Liz from USA found in her journey last year:
    “The highlight in Myanmar for me was spending a day around the temples of Bagan and then getting to see them all dotted along the river banks as we sailed onwards, to see them from that perspective was really something. Plus you can view it all from the comfort of your cabin or from the top deck or even when in the pool!”

    4. Spend time sightseeing, not packing

    If you want to see and experience all of Myanmar, moving from place to place daily, but you have been bored to death with packing and unpacking every day, then a river cruise Burma is for you! Why you have to waste your valuable time check in and check out hotels while you can spend that time going out and exploring the charming country. On your cruises on the Irrawaddy River, these quandaries no longer happen. You just get into your ship, unpack once, and spend the rest of your time exploring the interesting destination.

    5. Relax, everything is taken care of

    On a river cruise Burma, you can relax and enjoy your Burma tours, feel comfortable in the knowledge that everything from touring and excursions, to meals and entertainment, is taken care of. Drinking and dining are commonly included in your voyage cost – no dashing back to your cabin to take your wallet, no deliberating over which restaurant to choose – you can just sit back and what the go by from the riverbank.

    6. Get to know your hosts

    Instead of moving from hotel to hotel and contacting totally strange staff, on a river cruise you will get to know the on-board crew and staff by the end of your journey. Not only will you quickly be on first-name terms, but they will be able to serve perfect services without even asking, from knowing your favorite wine, to being able to recommend a dish from the menu which they think you might be interested in.
    Are these reasons enough for you to cruise Burma on the Irrawaddy? In fact, once you travel to Myanmar, you will realize that too many reasons are not necessary as the only reason that Myanmar is so enchanting is enough persuasive.

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  • The boat floats in the middle of the river; on the river banks are beautiful quite villages. Magnificent temples appear in the distance and space is full of golden and red light. The picturesque scenery like that is one of the numberless memorable moments visitors can catch in their Irrawaddy River cruise holidays. If you desire to have your river cruise on the Irrawaddy in style, there are a lot of travel companies offering various ships for your voyage. We recommend some of the popular ones so that you can choose the river cruise ship which is most suitable for your want and need.

    Belmond - Road to Mandalay 

    The Road to Mandalay offers three- to 11-night itineraries from Yangon in the south to the town of Bhamo, only 50 miles in the north to the Chinese border. The ship started to cruise the Irrawaddy River in 1996. It was refurbished in 2008 after being damaged by Cyclone Nargis, and guest capacity reduced to 82 passengers to increase space and comfort.
    Road to Mandalay is more like a floating boutique hotel than a big river cruise ship. Overall décor is light and airy, combined with local carvings and antiques. The ship comprises 40 luxurious cabins, with TV, DVD, wardrobe, and bathrooms with showers. There is also an Observation Deck with swimming pool, and gourmet dining, including both Western and Eastern menus. In addition, a gym and a small spa provide guests with various services.
    Ship Facts:
    Crew: 87
    Launched: 1996
    Decks: 4
    Tonnage: 900
    Passengers: 82

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    Belmond – Orcaella 

    Orcaella, the baby sister of Road to Mandalay, offer the similar itineraries to its sister. The river cruise ship was created by local craftsmen in Yangon, and the elegant interior was designed by Francois Greck -- a French-born architect who now lives in Asia.
    The ship has 25 spacious staterooms with private bathrooms, of which four are interconnecting and 17 are suites. The amenities include flat-screen TVs, iPod docking stations, DVD players and air-conditioning.
    Meals are served in the main restaurant on the Upper Deck, and lunch can be served alfresco on the Observation Deck if the weather is fine. Afternoon tea is served in the Piano Bar (Upper Deck), and early-morning tea and coffee can be served in cabins on request. Tea, coffee and bottled water are free of charge and available at all times.
    There are also a fitness center, spa and splash pool on the Observation Deck which can be a highlight for your Myanmar travel. Moreover, a shop, hair salon and medical facility with an onboard doctor are present on the ship.
    The river cruise ship is ready for use from July to December and January to April. The price included all meals, excursions, transfers and domestic flights.
    Ship Facts
    Crew: 58
    Launched: 2013
    Decks: 4
    Tonnage: 200 feet
    Passengers: 50

    Sanctuary Retreats - Sanctuary Ananda 

    Sanctuary Ananda sails on eight itineraries, from three-night cruises between Bagan and Mandalay to 11-night ones along the Irrawaddy and Chindwin rivers.
    The river cruise ship comprises 21 cabins, located on three decks, of which 4 are Luxury staterooms. All staterooms have balconies with room to sit outside. The cabins are decorated with local fabrics, wood and lacquerware and vintage photography on the walls; they have iPod docking station and iPad connectivity, personal electronic safety deposit boxes and air-conditioning.
    Meals are served in the main dining room, Talifoo Restaurant, and alfresco lunch is available in the Mindoon Restaurant. On the upper Bhamo Deck is Kansi panorama lounge, a sun deck and plunge pool. There is also the Thambayadine Spa, where local treatments and massages are available.
    All meals, soft drinks, local beer and guided sightseeing are included in the cost of Sanctuary Retreats. Both domestic and international flights are not included.
    Ship Facts
    Crew: 45
    Launched: Late 2014
    Decks: 4
    Tonnage: 200 feet
    Passengers: 46 adults, plus 4 children

    Pandaw – Seven river cruise ships

    Pandaw pioneered cruises on the Irrawaddy River in the 1990s. The fleet of seven ships sail one-, two-, seven-, 10-, 14- and 20-night Burma itineraries on the Irrawaddy and Chindwin rivers: RV Indochina Pandaw (60 passengers), RV Orient Pandaw (60 passengers), RV Pandaw 2 (48 passengers, RV Kindat Pandaw (40 passengers), RV Kalaw Pandaw (40 passengers), RV Katha Pandaw (32 passengers), and RY Kalay Pandaw (10 passengers).
    Tea, coffee, beer, soft drinks, and domestic spirits are free of charge and served at the bar/library on the upper deck.
    Having Irrawaddy River cruise holidays in style during your Burma tours may be not easy for all tourists as the price is relatively high. But you will able to have the best time with perfect services on a luxurious river cruise ship in exchange.

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  • The Irrawaddy River (also known as Ayeyarwady River) is the largest river and the most important commercial waterway in Burma. In recent years, together with the general development of Myanmar tourism, the river has attracted more and more travelers all over the world. There are a lot of different itineraries for an Irrawaddy River cruise offered by various travel agencies. We recommend some of those popular so that you can choose the one which is most suitable for your taste and time.

    Popular Irrawaddy River Cruise Itineraries

    Three to Four Nights: The river cruise itineraries between Mandalay and Bagan are the most important. These journeys usually last three or four days and give a wonderful taste of this magical country and its serene river. The initial and final points, Mandalay and Bagan, are two of most culturally significant sites in Burma. You will be able to experience Burmese daily life and culture during organized excursions offered on the extended stays in both cities.
    Seven Nights: A number of travel agencies are also offering longer voyages from Bagan to Yangon (and vice versa), while other run their vessels from the city of Pyay, situated between Yangon and Bagan. The longer Ayeyarwady river cruise gives a true immersion into the contrasts of this country and visits the places which remain unfamiliar to mass tourism, such as Magwe with its famous Myathalon Pagoda.
    Longer Voyages: Even more remote areas can be experienced during an 11- or 12-night Irrawaddy river cruise through the gorges of the river upper reaches. Several of these sailings head north from Mandalay and Bagan to Bhamo, which is just 30 miles south of the border of China. Recently, a range of luxury vessels has begun their adventurous voyages to the Chindwin River. These longer duration journeys reach as far north as Homalin close to the border of India and are seasonally held because of the challenges posed by the ever-changing river conditions.

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    Irrawaddy River Cruise Port Highlights

    Bagan: The ancient city of Bagan, the former capital of the Burmese empire, is the spiritual heart of Burma. In a period of three centuries (the 11th-century to the end of the 13th-century), devout Burmese monarchs built over 4,000 temples across a 20 square-mile area. Although many of the original pagodas have been devastated and ruined by time, there are more than 2,200 ones rising from the dusty terrain. In this mysterious city, white stupas contrast with red-brick temples, some soaring 180 feet in height with sophisticated terraces, porticos, and carvings. Come and have a Myanmar travel to explore by yourself.
    Mandalay: The city was once the royal capital of Burma, and now is a cosmopolitan city. King Mindon, who ruled from 1853 to 1878, originally named the city Yadanapon, which means “the city of Gems” in the Burmese language, and then the city was renamed after Mandalay Hill located in the northeast of the city. You can visit the famous attractions of Mandalay such as Kuthodaw Pagoda, where 729 pillars are inscribed with Buddhist Tripitaka scriptures; the Golden Palace Monastery with its elaborate wood carving; the hills full of pagodas in Sagaing, the spiritual capital of Burma; and Mingun, home to the largest 'ringing bell' in the world.
    Yangon: The incomparable Shwedagon Pagoda, the jewel of Yangon with gilded temples, stupas, and statues, is the first must-visit destination in the city. The heady air is filled with the sound of chanting and incense. Barefoot pilgrims and monks in maroon outfits donate offerings of fruit and flowers. The ancient Sule Pagoda is also an attractive site in the city full of golden pagodas. Built in 1920, the busy 70-year-old Bogyoke Market is a massive bazaar that sells everything from wood carvings to brightly-colored fabrics and tapestries.
    Pyay: The city is another highlight on the Irrawaddy river cruise or your Burma tours. You can make a visit to the Shwe Myet Hman pagoda to see the unique Buddha wearing gold sunglasses. At the old city of Thayekhittata, discover a wealth of stupas in different sizes built between the 4th and the 13th centuries. The Shwesandaw Paya temple is famous for housing what are said to be Buddha's hair and also one of his teeth, whose form is like a golden bell and is publicized only during the full-moon festival in November.
    Whether you choose a short or long itinerary, your river cuisine will be a wonderful opportunity to discover the charming and friendly Myanmar.

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