When the market was originally built in 1926 under British Rule it was known as Scott Market, named after the municipal commissioner of the time, Mr Gavin Scott. In 1948, after Burmese independence it was renamed Bogyoke Market after General Aung San.
The market is located not far from central Yangon on Sule Boulevard and it a one of the major tourist destinations in the city. I’ve visited markets in well over 30 countries and I have to say that this market has to be one of the the best. If you come to Myanmar and need to do your shopping for souvenirs then this is definitely the place. The market is huge and undercover which is great to escape the heat. There are hundreds of stalls and it could be easy to get confused but it has been set up so that most of the shops selling the same items are next to each other and it’s quite easy to navigate around. Some of the items that you see here you will not find in other markets such as in Mandalay. So if you see something you like then my advice would be to buy it if you don’t plan on returning.
The prices are very competitive and you also haggle with the traders, depending on how good you are and how much you buy, you can find really good deals. The one thing that I noticed about the vendors is that they do not hassle or push you into buying anything. If you have been to neighbouring Thailand then you will know how you can be harassed into shops and pressured into buying items, but here they are very friendly and encourage you to shop around.
The market is very clean and spread over 2 floors. There are some quirky antique shops and original wood carvings and handicrafts that you will only find specific to Myanmar. There are many Jewelry, clothing, gem stones and fabric stalls. There are also many banks and currency exchange stalls so if you need to change your money or withdraw money from an ATM it is easy to do so.
The market also has a post office on the top floor so if you still like to send postcards back home or to friends this is the place to do it. If you get hungry they also have a food court where you can try many locals dishes and even wash it down with a local beer.
What impressed me most about the market was that you can window shop and not be bothered in buying anything, just walk around admire the colonial architecture and take it the hustle and bustle of local life. All the vendors speak very good English and there is even free wifi located in the market.
In the end I did buy a jade bracelet which cost me only USD$2 which was a bargain, after being to hundreds of markets I have become an expert at haggling! You can end up spending several hours in the market because you find the atmosphere is so welcoming and the local people very friendly, but I would advise that if you are not so good at haggling then to be sure to travel with a local guide to get the best bargains as there is so much variety and you can easily find yourself in awe of the market if you haven’t been to such markets before.
AsiaTrips offers guided day and multi- day tours to Bogyoke Aung San Market for further information please visit www.asiatrips.travel or email firstname.lastname@example.org.