Shopping is an entirely different experience at Inle Lake and because it is a rural area, Inle Lake does not have malls, shopping centres or supermarkets. The Inthar people that live on the lake get what they need from floating markets present in every village. The sellers carry all their merchandise on boats and conduct sales from there. Shopping at Inle Lake is also dependent on the five-day rotating markets. For tourists, the experience can be tricky since the market does not have a specific schedule and venue. The market is open every five days, and its location constantly changes. For market days, the tribe people from the hills come down to sell their goods. For those looking for a particular product, the shopping can be done in the village in which the product is made.
Myanmar Souvenirs: Silverware
Inle Lake is the favourite area for purchasing silverware in Myanmar. Here you will find local silversmiths forging and polishing the products you buy before your very eyes. Popular purchases include articulated silver Inle Lake fish with ruby eyes, and silver rings and necklaces studded with jade and other precious stones.
Gold and Silversmith Workshops
Gold and silversmithing are also traditional crafts in the Inle Lake area. Travelers will enjoy being able to observe the process of gold and silver metals being processed into jewelry and other crafts at one of the local workshops.
The best place to witness this tradition is Ywama village, where the craft is most alive and accessible. Silversmith shops can be found at most markets in the areas surrounding Inle Lake.
The Rural Development Society Shop
The Rural Development Society Shop is the retail branch of the Rural Development Society, which aims to improve quality of life of individuals living in the Shan and Pa-O tribal regions around Inle Lake.
Visitors to the RDS can purchase goods such as hand-made paper, clothing and fabric produced by local people, all the while supporting growth in the surrounding community.
Mingala Market-Mingala Market
Mingala Market-Mingala Market located in Win Quarter, Nyaung Shwe Township is another good place to shop for local produce. In this market, there is also a lot of good food for those who are brave enough to try it and one of the most common dishes sold by vendors is ‘kauq-sweh’ or noodle soup. Another delicacy sold here is maung jet, which are round and flat rice crisps.
Nampan Market Just like the Mine Thauk Market, the schedule of the Nampan Market also rotates, making it a bit difficult to keep track of. The scene at this market is rather lively, with various townsfolk selling colourful produce and an assortment of other products. It is a treat to see the Pa-O tribal people from the hills come down in their traditional dress to trade in the village. Location: Nampan Village.
Mine Thauk Market
Mine Thauk Market-The Mine Thauk Market is a large and bustling affair that features a wide selection of merchandise for shoppers. It is also known as the ‘five-day market’ because the people from the hills sell their products in five different locations over a five-day period. There are also people selling Shan bags, Buddha statues and lacquer ware. Guests will enjoy browsing through the lacquer ware crafts, and Buddhist sculptures which can also be found here.
Inphaw Kone -Inphaw Khone
Inphaw Kone -Inphaw Khone is not a market; instead, it is a village located in the west of Nampan Village that has become a popular tourist destination because of its weaving workshops. Most visitors stop by to watch young weavers skillfully operate the looms made from bamboo and teak. The various connected buildings vibrate with the clatter of shifting loom frames .The result of the weaving is high-quality fabric; in fact, the village is best place to purchase lotus-silk shawls. The shawls can be expensive, mainly because of the arduous process involved in production. Make sure you spent some time watching how the weavers make lotus shawls!
Ywama Floating Market
Ywama Floating Market Ywama Village is well-known for its floating market because it is the biggest in the area. The canal is packed with local farmers’ boats trying to sell goods to locals, as well as peddlers selling souvenirs to tourists. To enjoy the market before it gets overcrowded, one must wake up early as the market is already in full swing by 08:30. Location: Ywama Village. Ywama village is famous for its goldsmith and silversmith. The villagers commute around by boats, walkways and bridges made of bamboo. Pagoda and monasteries are constructed on built-up areas. Besides creating silver and gold jewelleries, the village is also one of the most popular Inle Lake attractions which is famous for woodcarving and making intricate umbrellas. There are also many floating farms where farmers plant crops like tomatoes on floating mats, anchored in place with bamboo poles.