Gift-giving in Burma

Gift-giving in Burma

What to give and when if you're giving somebody a gift in Burma

’Tis the season of giving.

The Burmese are a generous nation, and gifting is a key part of their culture. The gifts aren’t what you expect though. Here’s a short guide of what to gift, and when.



A rice cooker. The bigger the box the better. And if you can’t get a rice cooker, go for an electric fan. Again size matters. Ideally a floor-standing one.

Rice Cooker


Corporate Gifts

A shrink-wrapped hamper, with as many foreign products as possible. Must include a large jar of 3-in-1 coffee. And crackers.



Higher-End Corporate Gifts (if you're trying to seal a deal)

An iron or a blender. Ideally Japanese. Definitely not Chinese made, unless dealing with the Chinese.




Longyi fabric for boys (a longyi is the cloth that men wear around their waist in Burma - a bit like a sarong), and a bag made of Myanmar traditional fabric for girls. If you're the birthday girl/boy, provide cakes for your office. The more neon the better. 

Longyi Fabric


Treats for the Office

If you've been on a trip, take the local food speciality from wherever you've been back for the office. Potato cakes from Mandalay, palm sugar from Bagan. "Cheese Cake" (proceed with caution - it has grated cheese on top). 

Cheese Cake


Visiting Family

Bumper packs of Ovaltine for your grandparents. A giant box of J'Donuts for the children. KFC for your siblings. As in... a chicken bucket. Don't worry about it surviving the 16 hour bus journey - that's normal. 



A Restaurant or Business Launch

An extraordinary flower arrangement, ideally with dyed flowers. Consider fairy lights and having it wrapped up like Miss Haversham.

Dyed flowers


A Gift for a Departing Colleague

A portrait of them made with glittery sand, and framed in a faux-gold and velvet-effect frame.

Sand Portrait





P.S. This didn't have a specific category, but I can't not include it. It's the Lucky Draw prize for a giveaway from a Burmese cosmetic brand from this summer.

Lucky Draw 

The bumper prize bonanza includes:


A Thai electric blender. Sure.

A Hotpot, BBQ and Steak 3-in-1 pan. Japanese. Only the best.

BK-22 Wireless headphones. Not a brand I'm aware of but nice nonetheless. 

A Redmi phone. Winner.

An electric food mixer.

And, the finale, and the best part: 4 packets of oxygen-flow sanitary pads. FOUR PACKETS.


Where do we sign up?!  





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