Take a right off Insein Road, head down a dirt track and on the left you’ll spot a small sign for the Nagar Glass Factory. The winding path through the trees will lead you into an overgrown wilderness at the end of which you’ll find the remains of this forgotten glass factory, one of Yangon’s best kept secrets. Even the locals think it’s closed down!
Opened in 1948 by a master glass craftsman and his wife, the factory was left to their family of five daughters and two sons who made the factory famous for its hand blown designs. Over the years, Nagar Glass received high-profile commissions, such as the 5ft glass eye’s of the Chauk Htat Gyi reclining Buddha. It has did work for the Strand and other high-end hotels. The factory was even once visited in 1966 by the American astronaut, John Glenn, who blew his own glass bowl.
The factory, its kilns and most of its machinery were destroyed in the 2009 cyclone, leaving behind an endless amount of glassware scattered across the grounds. Given just a few hours warning, the family and workers managed to vacate the area and found safety before the cyclone tore down most of the buildings.
What you will found now are piles of wine glasses, water jugs, dessert bowls, fruit bowls, carafe’s and wine stoppers, in blues, browns, greens and plums. The majority of the glass is hand blown, the rest formed in glass moulds. No glass has been produced since the cyclone, but one machine still runs to smooth the edges of the cut glass. There is order amongst this chaos, however, and the owners are only too happy to show you around and help you find matching sets for an odd wine glass you might take a shine to.
Prices range from around 3,000K for a small tumbler, 6,000K for a blown drinking glass, and upwards of 8,000K for bowls, vases and carafes. Make sure you have a full afternoon to wander around, as there some real treasures to be unearthed here. While your items are being cleaned and wrapped, lend an ear to the owners who seem to have more stories than glassware. Before you leave, ask directions to eat at the Minn Lane Rakhine seafood restaurant nearby, you won’t be disappointed.
Address: No.152, Yawgi Kyaung Street, Hlaing Township
Tel.: 95-1-519718, 95-1-526053