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, covering such a massive and elegant landmark. Seems like nobody knows for sure 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.
Shwedagon Pagoda is really magnificent. I don’t know how many times I walked all around it, exploring all the shrines and marveling at the central stupa.
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!
Address: U Htaung Bo Rd, Yangon, Myanmar
GPS (Southern Entrance): 16°47’44.18″N, 96°9’1.06″E
How to go: Walking, taxi
Entrance fee: 8,000 kyats. Will increase to 10,000 kyats from Dec. 1, 2017 (about 7.5 USD)
Opening hours: Open daily, 4:00 am to 10:00 pm. Last admission 9:45 pm.
Duration of visit: 1 hour or more. Taking my time and waiting for the sunset, I stayed 3 hours!
Best season: November to February for cooler temperatures.