Be Awestruck At Yangon, Myanmar's Shwedagon Pagoda

Be Awestruck At Yangon, Myanmar's Shwedagon Pagoda
Contributing Writer
| 2 min read

Get ready to be awed, because Shwedagon Pagoda is going to make it happen no matter how blasé you are. You may have seen temples tall and small, old and new, but never have you seen something that towers into the sky and glitters like this. Here in Yangon, there is no landmark of even remotely the same scale, making Shwedagon Pagoda and environs a definite must-see destination.

Take those shoes off and start your ascent

be awestruck at yangon, myanmar's shwedagon pagoda | take those shoes off and start your ascent

A pagoda without a climb just doesn’t seem right, but Shwedagon’s really isn’t all that rough of an ascent. You can make your way up using one of the grand staircase like the north one pictured above, or, if you insist on taking it easy, ride one of the elevators. The stairways however are lined with shops selling all types of souvenirs and paraphernalia, and are worth a peek. If you come with exposed legs or shoulders, you will be lent something to cover up with for a small fee once you reach the ticket booth at the top of the stairs.

Rising up in its golden glory

be awestruck at yangon, myanmar's shwedagon pagoda | rising up in its golden glory

That is real gold, and lots of it. The base of the stupa is made of bricks, with gold plates bolted on. Everywhere else is also gold. It is standard operating procedure to walk around stupas in a clockwise fashion, so join the slow moving stream of people doing just that. The sheer religious extravagance of it all shines through, or rather prisms about between the literally thousands of diamonds and rubies that stud the edifice. Foreigners and women are not allowed to enter the pagoda’s interior, so odds are that if you are reading this, you’re just going to have make due with circumnavigation.

Lots of see on the periphery

be awestruck at yangon, myanmar's shwedagon pagoda | lots of see on the periphery

As you walk (clockwise) around the pagoda, be sure to look off to the left. Prayer areas, tributes, and more dot the surrounding plaza, as do storytelling towers such as this one. There are also shady areas to take breaks and rehydrate, which you definitely should take advantage of.

The moment of prayer

be awestruck at yangon, myanmar's shwedagon pagoda | the moment of prayer

Grand spectacles abound, but devotees’ personal relationship with their religion can often have an even bigger impact. Here, in one of the prayer halls on the periphery, a woman spends some quality time with Buddha while trying to keep her toddler from running off. She’s doing a so-so job of it.

Being on the top of a hill, views also come in true

being on the top of a hill, views also come in true

Shwedagon Pagoda is on the top of Singuttara Hill, which commands excellent, 360 degree views across the city. Most vantage points will boast views of the generally low-lying city off into the distance, with religious structures punctuating here and there. The blue sky and clouds can be a pretty amazing accompaniment as well!

Religious impact, spectacle, and scenery, all in the center of the city

Shwedagon Pagoda is a must-see attraction for good reason. It’s easy to get to, and has so much to share with visitors from both near and far. Stop by and be transported to another place.

Admission is currently 8 USD.

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Kevin is a passionate writer and the visionary behind Pinpoint Traveler, a travel planning venture. Although born in the United States, he decided to live abroad. Having resided in Japan for nearly...Read more

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