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Visiting Bagan’s Jasmine Family Lacquerware Workshop

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Jasmine Family

One of the highlights of our stay in Bagan (Burma) was our visit to the Jasmine Family lacquerware workshop. We knew that lacquerware was a specialty of the region and a friend had recommended that we visit the Jasmine Family in particular. After walking past some of the more popular (and touristy) workshops, we ended up in a little side street and found the big blue sign indicating that we were in the right place.

Jasmine Family laquerware Bagan

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As soon as we walked in, we saw two young ladies delicately engraving some lacquered boxes and bowls. Someone quickly came to greet us and was happy to explain how the family makes its lacquered products. The owner’s son sat us down and went through every step of the process, from using bamboo to create the shapes to applying a different layer of lacquer for every colour in your design.



It was amazing to see how much work goes into each creation – you would never think that it takes so many people so many hours to make high quality lacquerware! Each little soya sauce bowl actually needs many layers of lacquer to make it strong and durable, and a few more to give it some colour. One master engraver creates the designs, while a few ladies engrave all the details on the Jasmine Family creations.

Jasmine Family



After spending at least forty minutes learning about all the steps in the lacquerware process, we were convinced and just had to buy a couple of souvenirs. We went for a little bowl and a plate with beautiful designs with flowers and birds. As we were about to leave, the owner of the shop gave us a little bowl. He then gave it to the master engraver who engraved the Jasmine Family’s “logo” on it, right in front of us.

Myanmar lacquerware

We left the workshop feeling that we had learned a lot, and that we had spent our money with people who really deserve it. I definitely recommend stopping by the Jasmine Family workshop if you ever are in Bagan!

More posts about Myanmar:

Bagan Photo Diary

Climbing Mount Popa with the Monkeys

Nyaung U Market

A Trip to Nyaung U Market in Myanmar

By Posted on 1 min read 934 views

One thing I always love, whether I’m travelling or I’m back in London, is wandering around markets. You get that feeling that you might just find something new, something special, or something beautifully handmade.


These puppets are a popular form of entertainment in Myanmar.

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Aren’t these chillies and cigars amazing?


Nyaung U Market

Nyaung U is a town just 4km from Old Bagan, which is where we stayed during our trip to Burma. After a quick drive on our rented electric scooters, we had a nice lunch at the ironically named “Weather Spoon’s” restaurant before heading to the market.

This isn’t a touristy market – it’s definitely more of a local thing, with spices and (very) smelly fish. That’s what makes it so interesting, you get to see what locals buy rather than just the typical souvenirs. It’s a medley of strong smells and colours.


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They had everything there, from cheap blankets and cigars to mixed spices and fresh fish and vegetables. We walked past young girls using old-fashioned sewing machines and ladies mixing spices by hand.



Happy Chris!


Although we didn’t buy anything, it was really interesting to see what an authentic Burmese market is like. If you need a break from visiting pagodas during your stay in Bagan, then a trip to Nyaung U market is a great way to immerse yourself in the local colours and flavours and perhaps even try something new.

What’s the most interesting market you’ve ever been to?

Climbing Mount Popa with the Monkeys

By Posted on 2 min read 1560 views

mount popa burma myanmar


For me, Mount Popa was the biggest highlight of our trip to Burma. It’s such an amazing, otherworldly place. The monastery at the top of this extinct volcano can only be accessed by climbing up 777 steps, surrounded by wild monkeys hunting for scraps of food and passing through temples and relic sites on the way.

The volcano is about 50km from where we were staying in Bagan. Our taxi stopped in a couple of interesting places along the way; a little farm producing peanut oil and coconut sweets, and a small town with lots of fruit stalls.

Apologies for the inappropriate amount of photos – I just have too many good monkey pictures to share!! I hope your wi-fi is good (I’m sitting in a chalet in Méribel as I’m typing this and every picture is taking approximately 2 hours to load!).

peanut bagan

So we stopped at a peanut and coconut farm on the way…


… and watched as they got oil from peanuts.

mount popa


The coconut sweets were so delicious.

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We also stopped in a town on the way, just to have a look. Look at those huge papayas!



Our driver also took us to a good viewing spot. I’m not sure what Chris was trying to do with his hand…


Definitely not being a glamorous fashion blogger there! It turns out that when you’re travelling around dirt roads on a scooter it’s best not to wear white skinny jeans (I had packed two pairs) – who would have known? You’re not supposed to show your knees when visiting pagodas either, so short skirts and shorts are a no-no.

mount popa monkey



Before you start climbing, you should look for the place that’s guarded by two big tiger statues in the village at the bottom of Mount Popa. That’s where you’ll find the famous 32 nats (spirits that are worshipped).


Start walking up the steps and say hi to the residents – I thought the baby monkeys were adorable; Chris disagreed.

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Over 700 steps sounds like a lot, but you’ll get to the top sooner than you’d expect. There are lots of opportunities to stop and catch your breath as well.


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As you climb up the steps, you’ll find more relics and temples and run into many monkeys. The view also gets better and better as you keep hiking up.


When you get to the top, just have a wander around and enjoy the view!



Don’t forget to take a few more monkey pictures as you walk back down…

Mount Popa is definitely something you can’t miss if you’re in Burma. It’s such a fun and unique experience! It’s not too challenging physically either, as you can really take your time and take as many breaks as you like on your way up. Just be careful with your belongings – we didn’t have any issues at all but the monkeys have been known to steal things!

 Climbing Mount Popa in Myanmar, surrounded by monkeys!

Bagan, Burma Photo Diary

By Posted on 2 min read 949 views


Sunsets over pagodas

Back in December I went to visit Bagan in Myanmar with my family. It was such a lovely, exotic and sunny break from grey and busy London. Walking barefoot around the pagodas and exploring the archaeological zone with our scooters felt both relaxing and exciting at the same time. I was so in love with all the new things around me that I took hundreds of pictures! I’ve now gone through and edited lots of these for you guys, so I hope you like them. I have a couple more posts about Myanmar in mind too, so watch this space. I have plenty more pictures of the colourful markets and the lovely Jasmine Family who make pretty lacquered bowls by hand. Oh and there’s also the famous Popa mountain surrounded by monkeys!



I can’t go to an exotic country and not have a sickly sweet cocktail!


The prettiest lotus flowers!

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Fresh sugar cane juice.


One of the many buddhas we spotted in the many pagodas we visited.


Me, exploring a pagoda!




We watched the sunset every night – so beautiful every time. We stayed at Bagan Thande Hotel which had a great view of the sunset over the Ayeyarwady River.


One of the highlights of the trip: watching hot air balloons go up as the sun rises.

I 100% recommend going to visit Burma as soon as you can, before it gets too busy. It was great to be able to visit the most famous pagodas without being surrounded by big groups of tourists. I’m sure that in a year or two Myanmar will be just as busy as places like Thailand or Cambodia, because it definitely deserves to be on everyone’s travel bucket list.

Is Myanmar on your bucket list yet?

A photo diary of wonderful Bagan, Myanmar (Burma)