Travel Tips for Shopping in Myanmar

Half the fun of visiting a country is buying that country’s special products like lacquer ware, local textiles, precious and semi-precious stones, pearls, paintings, and various souvenir articles. However, with first-timers taking Burma tours, shopping might be a bit challenging. In this article, we provide you with some interesting tips for shopping in Myanmar. Let’s check it out!

Scott Market in Myanmar.
Scott Market in Myanmar.

Haggling over prices
When someone is about to visit the East, the first piece of advice received is, ‘You have to haggle over prices’. Though you find that more and more commodities are being sold at fixed prices, that advice may still be useful as a principle of commercial behavior. You engage in haggling over prices to compensate for the almost automatic response of the seller to raise the price of seeing a foreigner.
The visitor who is not so experienced haggles over the price. She asks for the selling price to be reduced. The smarter visitor asks for a larger discount on the selling price. To reduce the price implies that the seller had raised the price in the first instance. To increase the discount rate demonstrates that he is being generous. He will be easier persuaded to be generous.

Beware of imitations
Myanmar production is not yet of that quality to successfully imitate international brand names. However, neighboring countries do have that ability and there are imports not specially directed to foreign visitors but to local customers. But foreign visitors may unwittingly be taken in. So do beware of imitations of international brand name goods you find in the stores.

Be careful in buying gems
Myanmar is a big producer of rubies, sapphires and assorted semi-precious colored stones. With the opening up of the market-oriented economy, more private dealers have opened gem and jewelry establishments. This has increased the possibility of imitations being offered as the genuine stones or stones enhanced with treatment being offered as natural ones.
Myanmar diamonds have not yet entered the market in volume so there may not be many there presently.

Be alert to antiques
Antiques cannot be taken out of the country. What looks like antique has to be certified that it is not before customs will pass it. So if you like a handicraft that looks like an antique, and is not, don’t pay ‘antique’ prices for it and ask if the shop is willing to go through the process of getting a certificate that it is not an antique.
This puts the shop in a bind.