The bustling and colourful “5 days markets” of the Shane State
One of the most popular things about boat tripping along Inle lake is to visit the markets. There’s a series of local markets, floating and street, that rotate over 5 days. A local market offers most common shopping needs and is held daily, but the location of the event rotates through different villages around the lake area (Nyaung Shwe, Heho, Taunggyi, Mine Thauk, Shwenyaung, Ywama, Indein – and other towns in the Shane State); thus each of them hosting an itinerant market every five days.
Here, you live a real taste of Asia with colourful, authentic stands selling fish, meat, fruit, veggies, rice and typical local products like tools, carvings and other ornamental objects, textiles, and cheroots. The thing that stroke us most was the incredible assortment of vegetables, from tomatoes, eggplants, scallions, peppers, betel, beans, garlic to cheroots.
Many different tribes are represented at the market including the Intha, Shan, Pa-O, Taung Yo, Danu, Kayah and Danaw. They travel down from the surrounding mountains to gather in this colourful congregation and sell their hand-made goods for both local use and trading. Every group has their religion, culture, language, and way of trading.
Since Inle lake covering a vast area of 116 km2, the 5-day-market system is a useful innovation to give equal chances to the widely spread villages that can attend in a local market. If you want to experience the friendly and generous nature of the Burmese people, don’t miss this fantastic slice of local life.
The most visited markets on Inle Lake are Indein market, a small village located on the western bank at the end of the marvellous Indein creek, which connected with Inle Lake, and Ywama market, the largest village on the lake where its streets are a web of canals. The markets are not running during the full moon day and dark moon day.
During our trip, we visited the Mine Thauk market on the east shore of the lake, where we found a real, local atmosphere with a variety of products and Pwe Hla market, an authentic market with no tourists, on the way between Kalaw and Pindaya caves.
Need to know
You can find the 5 days market calendar for 2019 and 2020 clicking here.
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