Myanmar / Burma Travel Update
Since I was there, the situation in Myanmar/Burma has changed a lot. In February 2021, a military coup sparked widespread civil unrest and armed conflict.
The U.S. State Department currently advises: "Do not travel to Burma due to civil unrest and armed conflict." You can find their full travel advisory and security alerts here. And you can find the British Foreign Office's travel advice for Myanmar / Burma here.
Tucked away in a little dirt side street of Myinkaba Village, just south of Old Bagan, is the morning market. While the tourists and visitors flood to the Manuha Temple across the street, local women mind their makeshift stalls and shop for the day’s supplies.
It’s very much for the locals—there aren’t any tourist souvenirs in sight (you can find them across the street in the plaza outside the main entrance of the Manuha Temple, along with tamarind lollies/candy, a personal favorite). And you’ll have to be there early—it’s all packed up by around 10am.
But if you’re in the market for soft bamboo shoots, betel leaves, fresh chicken, fresh fruits and vegetables, or fresh, dried, and salted fish, this is the place. As is standard with morning markets in Asia, there’s no refrigeration here, so the meats and fish have to be brought in fresh each morning. Which is why it’s all done and dusted by mid-morning.
If you don’t have access to a kitchen to put any of the local ingredients to use but still want to sample some of the local flavors, head to the tea house on the corner at the end of the street. You’ll get a pot of hot green tea on the house, but I recommend ordering some Myanmar tea (lapae yea), which is a mix of black tea, sweetened condensed milk, and sugar. It’s rich but delicious. You can also get it with house-made pastries. And it’s a great perch for watching this quiet spot of the world go by.
Photos of Myinkaba Village’s Morning Market
What To Know Before You Go
- It’s a very small market–much smaller than Mani Sithu market nearby in Nyaung-U. And it’s a local market, meaning there’s nothing here specifically for tourists.
- It’s a morning market, so expect it to be gone by around 10am, perhaps before.
- There’s no sign for the market, but you can’t really miss it since there’s only one street in Myinkabar Village. It runs perpendicular to the main road, the Bagan-Chauk Road, and is just across the street from the Manuha Temple. Look for the tea house on the corner.
- As with most Burmese names that have been rendered in English, you’ll come across variations on maps and signs. It’s also sometimes rendered as Myin Ka Bar.