A Guide on How To Plan Your Visit to The Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon
A visit to the Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon, Myanmar is a must-see for every tourist that plans to visit Myanmar. Set aside the afternoon and ensure that you don’t leave before sunset as the evening becomes cooler and the sun’s rays shimmer on the Pagoda as it sets. It is a magical time of the day to visit.
Our guide will assist you in planning your visit to the Shwedagon Pagoda, Yangon’s most visited tourist attraction.
(Latest update 2020)
Travelling Around Myanmar?
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Where is Burma? (now known as Myanmar)
There are four approaches to the Shwedagon Pagoda – South, West, North and East. It is highly recommended to remember which entry you came through as this is where you are required to take your shoes off to store them in the cupboards provided, and, of course, you will need your shoes when you depart. There are carpets and mats around the terraces for you to walk on as the tiles can become extremely hot during the day.
The story began over 2,500 years ago when two brothers Tapussa and Bhallika, merchants from Myanmar visited Prince Siddhartha in India and gave him a gift of honey cakes. In return, the Buddha gave them 8 hairs from his head for the brothers to enshrine them in their native town which is now Yangon. When the brothers arrived in Yangon they gave the Buddha’s hairs to the King who erected the pagoda and enshrined the hairs together with the relics of three previous Buddhas. The Pagoda stands 100 metres tall.
The Museum is a three-storey building in the northwest sector of the grounds. The top floor is dedicated to religious items donated over the years.
The bell was cast and donated in 1841AD during the reign of King Tharyarwady and given the title of Maha Tithaddha Gandha. It weighs 42,000 kilos with a height of 2.6 metres and a diameter of 3.34 metres.
The Reclining Buddha indicates the end of life and the approach of nirvana.
We visited the complex on a Tuesday and we witnessed the bathing of the Buddha. Around the stupa, you will come across corners of the days of the week. It is considered good luck and good karma if you wash the Buddha at the corner of your day of birth.
Essential Information For Visiting the Shwedagon Pagoda
The entrance fee for foreigners is Kyat 10,000 or US$8, (2020) and there are many guides in the area who will tell you more of the pagoda’s history. For more information, go to the official website.
How To Get There
The easiest way to get to the Shwedagon Pagoda from downtown is by taxi (K2500), although buses (K200) also serve the area, allow 45 minutes for the trip.
Myanmar currency is the Burmese Kyat.
What to wear to visit the Shwedagon Pagoda
The Dress code to be observed by visitors when visiting Shwedagon Pagoda, visitors should dress appropriately and modestly and follow the dress code – wear trousers at least knee-length shorts or skirt; t-shirts with elbow-length sleeves are also expected and you are expected to be barefooted when entering Shwedagon Pagoda. If you are unsure as to the correct dress code, just err on the side of conservative dress and no-one will be offended.
Is there a lift for disabled people?
There is a lift on the North, South and East gates.
What are the opening hours of the Shwedagon Pagoda?
The pagoda is open from 4 am to 10 pm.
How many diamonds are in the Pagoda?
There are 7,000 diamonds and many other precious gems.
Myanmar Points of Interest
We spent a month in Myanmar, it was not long enough. Our recommendations for when you visit Myanmar are:
What To Do in Yangon
Hotels in Yangon
For accommodation, we would recommend staying centrally in Myanmar’s capital Yangon as many of the sites are within walking distance.
Where We Stayed in Myanmar
Budget Accommodation at the Ocean Pearl.
For Mid Range Accommodation in Yangon: Hotel Shwe Yee
For Luxury Accommodation in Yangon: Pan Pacific Hotel
For more accommodation options in Yangon:
We travelled by bus from Yangon to Pyay approximately 449km away. Pyay is definitely worth a visit.
A great hotel to stay in, there is even a swimming pool which was welcomed after a long hot day of sightseeing.
It is a popular hotel so if it is booked out click here for more options.
Bagan is a great destination in Myanmar. We spent a week there visiting the temples by horse and cart and also taking a sunrise hot air balloon ride over the temples. That was an experience, just like the hot air balloon ride we had in Cappadocia in Turkey a few months before.! We can recommend Bagan for the best food we had in the whole of Myanmar.
Bagan Umbra Hotel, Bagan was our choice of hotel, click below for the latest prices.
For more hotel options in Bagan:
We travelled from Bagan to Mandalay by riverboat, took the whole day from sunrise to sunset, slowly drifting down the Irrawaddy River, watching local life as we sailed.
Smart Hotel Mandalay was our hotel of choice in Mandalay. It was centrally located and had a great roof top bar overlooking the city.
For more hotel options in Mandalay:
Inle Lake, Myanmar
Hotel options in and around Inle Lake.
The best time to visit Myanmar is from November to February when it is wintertime.
The hottest time of the year when temperatures reach over 40 degrees is between March and June.
July through to October is the wet season, although prices are lower it can be difficult to travel around the country.
Myanmar Travel – Flight Deals
For the latest flight deals compare prices on Skyscanner here:
Travelling from the USA – click here
Travelling from the UK – click here
Travelling from Australia – click here
Travelling from the rest of the world – click here
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If you are based outside of Australia World Nomads is our recommendation.
Visas for Myanmar
Do you need a visa for Myanmar?