Amsterdam view from Amsterdam Tower

Amsterdam view from Amsterdam Tower
The view from Amsterdam Tower

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Shopping and Visiting Religious Sites – Yangon, Myanmar

Sightseeing continued and so did the shopping!  It was a good excuse as Mr. Right forgot his cufflink for his meeting.  

Luckily there are two jewelry shops in the hotel, one of them has two sets of silver cufflinks which are decent quality but such US$ price do not match with their quality. So I decided to walk out of the Hotel...

Bogyoke Aun San Market or it used to be called Scott Market
Travel trip: must bring sunglasses, hat, umbrella and fan!  Sunblock might be good too.  Perhaps it is time to try Tanakha powder… It is secret of the natural beauty of the Burmese girls which is further enhanced with flowers and cheeks brushed.

Poster in a local theatre, see the girl on the right who's wearing Tanakha powder

Bogyoke Aung San market in Bogyoke Aung San road was my destination. On my way walking there, I followed my intuition to stop by at Traders Hotel. It is located in the cross section of Sule Road and Bogyoke Aung San Road. The jewelry shop has three sets of gems cufflink. The jade ones look nice. Mission accomplished!

Street painter in front of Bogyoke Aung San market

I continued my jalan-jalan and shopping to the main destination which is the Bogyoke Aung San market.  My guess is that this market is similar to Ben Thanh market in Saigon or Chatuchakin Bangkok. I was right. It is where the tourists go for souvenir and stuff.

Bring enough cash for shopping in Yangon! Kyat is the local currency
This traditional market is sometimes called as Scott Market as its British name.  It is occupying an old building and accommodating 2000 shop owners selling gems, jewelry, clothes, sarong or locally known longyi, souvenir, art and everything else such as girl hair stuff and even food… 
Inside part of Bogyoke Aung San market
The two-storey building itself; exterior shops are bigger and nicer condition with air-con or fans, interior shops are more crowded with no air-con.

Beautiful umbrella
The appropriate dress code would be knee-high pants and t-shirts!  Bargaining skill is also good.  Based on my experience, the shopkeepers are polite and do not seem to be pushy. 
Among all of the textile shops, I noticed Batik clothes. I came closer to pay more attention, how beautiful they are, colorful in different patterns... Decent packaging in plastic, but wait...the logo on the plastic is familiar to me... It looks like...Batik Keris! Indeed it's Batik Keris from Indonesia!
Food vendors at Bogyoke Aung San market
Some jewelry shops has signs government license. It is safer shopping in these shops.

Myanmar T-shirts for souvenir
In front of the market, there are a few street vendors selling t-shirts and mugs with Aung San Suu Kyi and Obama pictures.  There is also street painting, old coins, and food sellers.   

Should I buy Suu Kyi’s mug?  As Mr. Right had said that he would like to have one as souvenir.  Curiously, I asked its price and the seller did not intend to lower the price.  So I walked away…  There would be another seller, I told myself.  But, the other seller had only the ‘black & white’ mug and they are not so nice.  Oh well, I still had time in Yangon, maybe I would find it somewhere else.

One of the building nearby Bogyoke Aung San Market
At the opposite side of Bogyoke Aung San market, there are also a lot of street vendors along the street.  It looks like flea market, some counters sell second hand books.  No Suu Kyi’s mug was seen... I started to worry...

The Reclining Buddha - Chauk Htat Gyi

Reclining Buddha - Chauk Htat Gyi

This is the second Reclining Buddha that I had ever visited after the Wat Pho in Bangkok, Thailand.  Here’s more story that I wrote about it Thailand, visit the most popular highlights of bangkok in one day

Reclining Buddha, Yangon

Chauk Htat Gyi and Wat Pho are different in style and size.  The Wat Pho Reclining Buddha is 43 meter long.  Meanwhile the Chauk Htat Gyi is 70 meter long.

Feet of Reclining Buddha, Yangon

Anyway, pic of this two Reclining Buddha tells explains all…

Reclining Buddha in Yangon (left) & Bangkok (right)

The work on Chauk Htat Gyi was started in 1899. It was extended and modified during construction.  Extensive reconstruction completed in 1973 extended the length of the image to what it is now.

The Monestery of where the Reclining Buddha is

The Botataung Pagoda

The lady at the Tour Desk told me that this pagoda is well-known by the locals.  It was first built the time as was Shwedagon Pagoda—according to local belief, over 2500 years.

Entrance of Botataung Pagoda

Small shops around Botataung Pagoda

I found there are two interesting things here.

First, the pagoda is hollow within, and houses what is believed to be a sacred hair of Gautama Buddha. 

Buddha Bronze Image at Botataung Pagoda
Second, it is the Buddha’s bronze image. It was made of gold, silver, bronze, iron and lead in different proportion.

Andrew, my tour guide, told me an interesting legend about it.  This Buddha’s image was cast from Mandalay Palace in Myanmar and was shipped to Britain by the British Army in 1888.  The image was exhibited at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. 

This bell was made in 1913
It was finally returned to Myanmar as per order of Queen Victoria, the Queen of Britain.  Andrew said that in the legend, the Queen had dreams of this Buddha’s image.  The same dream happened three times in three continuous days, and that that caused her headache when she woke up the next morning. 

At the end, this Buddha’s image was returned home, to Myanmar, in 1951.
Botataung Pagoda
Home is a place where our heart belongs.  Even though I enjoy traveling to different places, deep down inside my heart, there is always a place that I always call home…

My mind wandered...

Could I go home without Suu Kyi's mug that I hadn't bought for my loved one?  No worries, I'd buy it on Saturday before we meant to leave Yangon...  

Next story – culinary experience in Yangon!

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