TRAVEL DIARIES: Shwedagon Pagoda Yangon

The highlight of our stay in Yangon was the Shwedagon Pagoda. It was by pure luck that we ended up there late in the afternoon, and I highly recommend going there before sunset to anyone planning to go. You’ll see why in the pictures after the jump. Be warned, it’s a photo binge!

No visit to the Union of Myanmar is complete without a visit to the 2,500 years old Shwedagon Pagoda, which enshrines strands of Buddha’s hair and other holy relics. Shwedagon Pagoda is the most sacred and impressive Buddhist site for the people of the Union of Myanmar. From a humble beginning of 8.2 meters, the Shwedagon Pagoda today stands close to 110 meters. Shwedagon Pagoda is covered with hundreds of gold plates and the top of the stupa is encrusted with 4531 diamonds; the largest of which is a 72 carat diamond. it is clearly one of the wonders of the religious world.  - ShwedagonPagoda.com

If I am not mistaken there is a different rate for foreigners vs diplomats vs locals. The dress code is very strict.

This is the entrance that the driver dropped us off at and and thank God I took so many pictures because it helped us find it when it was time to meet the driver. We didn’t realize it would be so hard to find the entrance that we came in from! (We were lost for 30 mins asking monks and guards and going around in circles before we finally found the right gate!)This bridge way on top of the entrance has orchids on the sides. When we got into the Pagoda, we were mesmerized by all the sights and sounds. It was a maze of colors and textures. Locals, tourists and monks alike walking around, taking in the views, praying  and  taking photos and just hanging out. When dusk fell the lights came on and we were treated to an astounding visual display! Enjoy! 

We made sure to bring our own bottles of water. These water stations for the locals are sourced from their natural bodies of water. As a tourist we might not be used to it. So mineral water for tourists is a must.

The locals drink from the water stations from common cups that are attached to the water faucets.

While we were looking for the exit and getting lost, we ended up in this wing going down. One of many. I didn’t realize how painful it would be to walk on the escalators! And this is definitely not for the germaphobe – our feet were horrendous! =P

It was disconcerting to see so many colored lights… I felt like it was Christmas! But they have this everyday of the year. How cool is that?I was also moved by the solemn prayers that were being offered by everyone of all ages. How beautiful!

I hope you enjoyed my photos! It was so hard to choose from the more than 300 photographs I took in the Shwedagon that afternoon. So many more photos deserved to be posted, but I guess something should be left for those who want to wander and get lost for themselves. It’s definitely a must see in Myanmar!

TIPS WHEN VISITING THE SHWEDAGON
  • Have your driver write down the name of the entrance in the local language so it’s easy to ask the locals where it is when you are done with your sightseeing.
  • Take a pee break before going to Shwedagon.
  • Bring your own bottle of water and take sips (not gulps).
  • Go in the late afternoon, so you can see how it looks in the day and in all it’s lit up glory at night.
  • Have tons of wet wipes for cleaning your feet after.
  • I’d recommend using slippers beforehand so you don’t feel so bad about getting your shoes dirty when you are done with the Shwedagon. (I don’t think I’d like to stick my foot in a sock after either.)
  • Wear long pants, long skirt or pedal pushers/capris and a sleeved top that doesn’t bare too much skin, but make sure it’s in a light material because it will be warm.
  • It’s very big and there is a lot of walking to be done, so take this into account if you are with children.
  • Bring small snacks that you can nibble on, incase you get hungry.
  • It can be really warm so bring a fan, or evan a water spritzer (i.e. Evian) so cool off

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Lovely comments

    • says

      Thanks Kaho! I was in awe of the intricate details of the massive structure. I highly recommend a trip to Myanmar, especially Bagan. And be sure to take advantage of the cheap sapphire and rubies. =)

    • says

      Hi Dev Mommy, you should definitely go for it. It is safe… even safer than the Philippines. The only gulo is Rakhine State, which is near Bangladesh. I’ve only visited Yangon and Bagan and I highly recommend both. Yangon for gem and jade shopping + shwedagon, while Bagan to take you back in time in this temple forest. We really wanted to visit Inle Lake but we didn’t have enough time. I hope you get to visit! I recommend it for anyone’s bucketlist!

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