A Must-See in the Burmese Capital
With its 99 metre golden stupa, the Shwedagon Pagoda is to Yangon what the Eiffel Tower is to Paris. It is not only the main landmark of Yangon, it’s one of the most remarkable monuments in the whole of Myanmar.
It is not surprising: it’s not every day that you can see several tons of pure Burmese gold. It looks like nobody knows how much gold there is on the giant stupa, the conservative people say 6 tons while others say 60 or even 90 tons. In any case, that’s a hell lot of gold. Oh and I almost forgot to mention the several thousand diamonds and other gems that are encrusted in the stupa as well.
The pagoda is not only about this famous stupa, it has a whole collection of halls and shrines. At the north-west corner of the pagoda, you will find a big 150 year-old Bodhi tree (Ficus religiosa). It is under such a tree that the Buddha sat down to reach enlightenment in Bodh Gaya, India – Hence the name Bodhi tree.
This religious complex fully deserves half a day in your Myanmar itinerary. It takes 10-15 mins to walk to the Southern Stairway from downtown Yangon. I highly recommend going in the afternoon and waiting for the sunset and the night. Check out the virtual tour below to see how different it is at night!