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6 Reasons to Visit the Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon

 

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)

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Travelling to Mandalay our guide on what you can do in Mandalay can be read here.

Where is Burma? (now known as Myanmar)

Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon
Map showing Myanmar (Burma)

Myanmar is located in South East Asia.  It borders China to the North, Thailand and Laos to the East and India and Bangladesh to the West.


Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon
Map of Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon

Pro-Tip

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.

Shwedagon Pagoda Facts

  • it is the most sacred pagoda in Myanmar
  • it is the oldest in the world approx 2,600 years
  • official name Shwedagon Zedi Daw
  • also known as the Golden Pagoda and Great Dragon Pagoda
  • contains the relics of 4 previous Buddhas
  • built on the highest hill in Yangon – Singutta Hill which stands at 51m high – council regulations stipulate that no building in Yangon can be built taller than 127m above sea level which allows the Pagoda to be a prominent site in the city
  • it stands at 112m tall

    1.  Shwedagon Pagoda

    Shwedagon Pagoda at Sunset
    Shwedagon Pagoda at Sunset

     

    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.

     

    2.  Visit the Museum

    The Museum at Shwedagon Pagoda
    The Museum

     

    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.

    3.  King Tharyarwady’s Bell

    King Tharyarwady's Bell at Shwedagon Pagoda
    King Tharyarwady’s Bell

    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.

    4.  Reclining Buddha

    Reclining Buddha at Shwedagon Pagoda
    Reclining Buddha

     

    The Reclining Buddha indicates the end of life and the approach of nirvana.

    5.  Watch the washing of the Buddha

    Washing the Buddha Statues at the Tuesday Corner at Shwedagon Pagoda
    Washing the Buddha Statues at the Tuesday Corner

    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.

    6.  Enjoy wandering around the grounds

    Buddha Image Inside one of the many Pagodas at the Shwedagon Pagoda
    Buddha Image Inside one of the many Pagodas
    Pagodas at sunset at Shwedagon Pagoda
    Pagodas at sunset
    Stupa within the grounds at Shwedagon Pagoda
    Stupa within the grounds
    Inside the many pagodas that surround Shewedagon Pagoda
    Inside the many pagodas that surround Shwedagon Pagoda
    Gathering for prayer time at Shwedagon Pagoda
    Gathering for prayer time
    Buddha Image in Pagoda at Shwedagon Pagoda
    Buddha Image in Pagodas, there are many scattered around the grounds

    Essential Information For Visiting the Shwedagon Pagoda 

    Entrance Fees

    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:

    Visit Temples of Bagan by Horse and Cart

    Bagan Hot Air Balloon Ride

    A Day in Mandalay, Myanmar

    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

    Yangon, Myanmar

    Budget Accommodation at the Ocean Pearl.

    Visit the Shwedagon Pagoda

    For Mid Range Accommodation in Yangon: Hotel Shwe Yee

     

    For Luxury Accommodation in Yangon: Pan Pacific Hotel

     

    For more accommodation options in Yangon:

    Visit the Shwedagon Pagoda

    Pyay, Myanmar

    We travelled by bus from Yangon to Pyay approximately 449km away.  Pyay is definitely worth a visit.

    Lucky Dragon Hotel Pyay Myanmar

    A great hotel to stay in, there is even a swimming pool which was welcomed after a long hot day of sightseeing.

    Visit the Shwedagon Pagoda

    It is a popular hotel so if it is booked out click here for more options.

    Visit the Shwedagon Pagoda

    Bagan, Myanmar

    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.

    Visit the Shwedagon Pagoda

     

    For more hotel options in Bagan:

    Visit the Shwedagon Pagoda

    Mandalay, Myanmar

    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.

    Visit the Shwedagon Pagoda

    For more hotel options in Mandalay:

    6 reasons to visit the Shwedagon Pagoda

    Inle Lake, Myanmar

    Hotel options in and around Inle Lake.

    6 reasons to visit the Shwedagon Pagoda

     

    Myanmar Weather

    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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    Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon

     

     

    Travel Insurance

    We recommend that you take out travel insurance before you travel.  If you are based in Australia we can recommend 1Cover.

    If you are based outside of Australia World Nomads is our recommendation.

  • Visas for Myanmar

    Do you need a visa for Myanmar?

     

     

totraveltoo
totraveltoo

Thanks for stopping by and welcome to To Travel Too – Australia’s top Baby Boomer lifestyle and travel blog, with an international worldwide audience in mind, run by the married couple, freelance writers and full-time travellers Jane and Duncan Dempster-Smith. Come with us as we explore the world. Our two mantras that we live by are 'chase time not money' and 'age is no barrier when it comes to travel'.

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