Photo: On the Kalaw to Inle Lake trek.

Aung Ban market

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The small town of Aung Ban might not be on every visitor’s Shan State itinerary. Nyaung Shwe, with its budding guesthouse and cafe scene, this is not, nor does Aung Ban have the trekking cachet of Hsipaw or Kalaw. But every five days, the town comes alive with a fantastic market.

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Overview of Aung Ban Market

Overview of Aung Ban’s market.

Transport-wise, Aung Ban is important as a junction town, lying slightly west of Heho on Highway 4 and where roads branch south to Loikaw and Kayah State, north to the famous cave temples at Pindaya and west to Kalaw and Thazi, where there's a connection to the main Yangon-Nyapidaw-Mandalay highway.

Some of the best tea shops in Shan State - the gentleman on the right claimed to be in the Burmese national chess team!

Some of the best tea shops in Shan State. The man on the left claimed to be on the Burmese national chess team.

So Aung Ban is a bustling commercial and trading town, home to some particularly good tea shops but not possessing any sights to see as such except — and this is what does make a stop worthwhile — its wonderful local market every five days.

The adjective 'bustling' was probably originally invented for Aung Ban market

The adjective ‘bustling’ was probably invented for Aung Ban market.

The huge and highly popular street market circulates on a five-day rota system between the neighbouring towns of Kalaw, Pindaya, Heho, Nyaung Shwe and Aung Ban. Having visited all of them we’d say the latter is the best. Kalaw’s a good one and Nyaung Shwe in high season will see as many visitors as locals; because of its central location, Aung Ban is the largest and busiest as well as the one that sees the least tourists.

Pa-O farmers from surrounding villages

Pa-O farmers from surrounding villages.

Itinerant Burmese, Indian and Chinese traders follow the market and hilltribe peoples, mostly Pa-O and Palaung, flock into town from surrounding villages along with local Shan farmers. It’s a highly colourful and vibrant scene.

We told you it was colourful!

We told you it was colourful!

Aung Ban has several hotels and good local restaurants, but since the town is pretty quiet outside of market day, and with Kalaw lying a mere 20 minutes’ drive away and Nyaug Shwe a coupe of hours to the east, you probably don’t need to overnight here. The market takes place every five days excepting public holidays, so do check the schedule first. The market goes from early morning until mid-afternoon although it does start winding down after lunch.

What next?

 Browse our independent reviews of places to stay in and around Kalaw.
 Check prices, availability & reviews on Agoda or Booking
 Read up on where to eat on Kalaw.
 Check out our listings of things to do in and around Kalaw.
 Read up on how to get to Kalaw.
 Do you have travel insurance yet? If not, find out why you need it.
 Planning on riding a scooter in Kalaw? Please read this.
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See below for more sights and activities in Kalaw that are listed on

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Where to next?

Where are you planning on heading to after Kalaw? Here are some spots commonly visited from here, or click here to see a full destination list for Burma_myanmar.

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