Mandalay's Railway & Jade Markets

Mandalay has a number of interesting markets, but two of its best showcase different sides to the trading skills that are inherent in the city’s population. The first is the ‘Railway Market’ which takes place in a residential part of Mandalay. Once a day, around 10am, a train runs through the heart of a busy local market selling all manner of fruit, vegetables and other household goods. Luckily, the vendors know about it and hear it coming. Carefully they lift the overhanging sunshades and clear the track of their baskets full of fruit and vegetables. The train rolls through and one minute later everything is back to normal, only for the train to return with new carriages. Besides the superb photo opportunity that the market provides, the routine of the market sellers is an act of perfect coordination, timing and nonchalance - one not to be missed.

Not too far away is Mandalay's famous Jade Market which teems with traders and chancers alike. In Myanmar, the jadeite mines are found in Kachin State to the far north, but Mandalay is the main commercial for the sale of this precious stone. In the market you'll see buyers and sellers hoping to get a good deal. It's a fascinating place, with vendors displaying everything from huge chunks of the green rock to tiny fragments, while later in the afternoon session other precious stones and gems also make an appearance.

These markets can be included in any tour of Mandalay and if you would like to see the beating heart of the city in action these markets are worth a visit.

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