Picture big bunches of bananas all tousled about and cascading piles of coconuts practically pouring into the backs of small trucks or trishaws ready to cart them away. Yangon’s coconut and banana wholesale market, located to the side of Kyee Myindaing Kanner Road near the intersection of Bagayar Street, is also known for having mountainous mounds of mangoes when in season. It’s the right amount of commotion for a memorable Myanmar encounter. There’s action here day and night. Look for the hues of a sunrise or sunset reflecting off the Yangon River when swinging by.
Local fishermen dressed in rolled-up sporty shorts, jerseys and colorful rain boots can be seen sloshing the day’s fresh catch at San Pya Fish Market just up Kyee Myindaing Road from the coconut and banana spot. It’s open all day and night, but go before sunrise for the best experience and expect to have your senses aroused in every possible way. The deals that go down here with fish traders and suppliers offer a fascinating glimpse of the journey seafood goes through to get from water to table in Yangon.
Moseying along pretty much any street in Yangon’s city center feels like a never-ending market. Most shops found on the same block or two sell similar types of items, so it’s as if entire swatches of downtown are identical stores. Overflowing from the mouths of these bustling urban tributaries are vendors and their baskets bursting with anything and everything a shopper could want. Theingyi Market is the largest traditional market in the area. It boasts many household goods, cosmetics and medicinal herbs.
One of the most thrilling stops along Yangon’s Circular Railway is Da Nyin Gone Station — where an actual market seemingly spills its way onto the tracks as trains slow to a halt. The buzz of the area is riveting. Hands extend out train windows to buy tiny sachets of quail eggs. Arms reach in through train doors to toss on a load or two of just-picked watercress. Why not hop off and follow that rich scent of something beckoning for a closer sniff? A wet market is very close by as well, so it’s worth adventuring some before the next train comes along in about 30 minutes.
Bogyoke Aung San Market (also called Scott Market) is by far the touristiest bazaar of them all. To travel to Yangon and not tread upon Bogyoke’s cobblestone streets or admire its colonial façade would be a shame. There are hundreds of shops within its enclosed compound — the majority filled with Myanmar handicrafts and souvenirs. And among these shops are paintings on display for purchase. Many stunningly depict popular scenes of Myanmar beautifully splashed against a backdrop of canvas. Bogyoke Market is also ideal for finding traditional fabrics and having outfits made or altered. This historic landmark opens around 10 a.m. and closes at about 5 p.m. from Tuesday to Sunday (not open Mondays).
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