From scanning the stalls of Bogyoke Market for a teak shoehorn to popping into Pomelo for a papier-mâché giraffe, we’ve all been faced with a general lack of inspiration when it comes to buying gifts in Yangon. But in recent months a new wave of artisanal shops have opened up across the city, marking a new era of gift-giving. Here to help you prepare for the Christmas countdown is our definitive list of the best places to go Christmas shopping in Yangon.
Young-On is the place where the traditional meets the trendy. Full of gifts that will travel well when they’re taken abroad, you’ll find plenty for mothers, sisters and girlfriends. From lacquer lunch boxes in bright modern colours, to handmade children’s dresses and eco-friendly soy candles in cut-glass pots, the products are fun and reminiscent of Myanmar, while still being modern. Plus, if you simply can’t choose what to buy, gift cards are available so your friend or family member can drop in at anytime and choose the item what they want in person.
Address: Inside Burma Bistro, Corner of Merchant Road & Shwe Bon Thar Road
Located on the ever-improving Bogalay Zay, Bonjour is a treasure trove of high quality knick-knacks and keepsakes. From a bronze turtle paperweight to a plush rattan picnic hamper, Bonjour is home to a mix of traditional Myanmar items, created with a modern twist. Founded by Patrick Robert, the French interior designer and architect who is responsible for the current design of the Governor’s Residence, his 25 years experience in Myanmar have culminated in this collection of locally-made delights. Though on the more expensive end of the scale, Bonjour is the place to go to find something truly special.
Address: 94 Bogalay Zay, Yangon
3. Yangon Zay
If Christmas shopping isn’t really your thing, but good food and fresh drinks really are, head to Yangon Zay. In amongst the food and drinks stall are a whole range of vendors including clothing brand Lilla, jewellery stall Pretty Little Gems, or Wolf Kitchen who sell pots of Himalayan salt in range of flavours. With a fresh, chilled coconut in hand, you can peruse the stalls at Yangon Zay to the sound of house music from DJ Yu KT. Open most weekends at the Tea Factory on Kan Yeiktha Street, head to Yangon Zay for your most convenient and fuss-free Christmas shopping experience yet.
Address: 2 Kan Yeiktha Street, Kabar Aye Pagoda Road, Yangon
Opens: 10am-8pm on selected weekends
Located off Parami Road, dacco. Helps to keep centuries-old traditional Myanmar crafts and culture alive. A great place to go for presents for Dads, brothers and boyfriends, they recently introduced neckties made from men’s longyi fabric which make an excellent gift for all. Other possibilities include rattan waste-paper baskets, handcrafted wooden bowls and lacquerware cups from Bagan. dacco. also has a team of local artists creating intricate textile weaves from Shan, Chin, Naga, Karen, Kachin, Mon and Rakkhine.
Address: Room 5, 12 Parami Road, 10 Quarter, Mayangone, Yangon
5. The Atelier – YGN Walls
A recent addition to 41st Street, YGN Walls are best known for decorating the alleyways of Yangon with their vibrant artwork but they have now opened a small concept store where you can buy their art to take home. Featuring the bold prints, photographs and paintings created by the collective, bring a little piece of Yangon into your home this Christmas. A percentage of their profits will also go back into the YGN Walls project, helping to spread art in the city.
Address: 124, 41st Street Upper Block, Yangon
1. Yuwaddy Shoulder Bags
These gorgeous handmade Karen cotton bags come in a variety of designs and colours and make a great gift. They can be purchased at Yuwaddy Center on Bogalay Zay and they accept orders via Facebook page.
2. Ma-Ngum Coconut Bowls
Ma-Ngum (which means coconut in Mon ethnic language) are bowls are made from 100% recycled coconut shells. Coated in a food-safe mixture of oil and beeswax, these bowls are eco-friendly, biodegradable and perfect for a morning smoothie mix. Available exclusively at Hla Day.
3. Palu Bamboo Straws
If you’re planning a Christmas in Yangon, why not pick up a pack of these bamboo straws from Palu so you and your gests can sip your Christmas Eggnog in style.