The Shwedagon Pagoda is one of the most famous Buddhist pagodas in the world and it is certainly the main attraction of Yangon,Myanmar. No visit to Myanmar is complete without a visit to this gold leaf-covered, centuries-old Pagoda, which is said to enshrine strands of Buddha’s hair and other holy relics.
The Shwedagon Pagoda in Myanmar is decorated with almost 10,000 treasures. Over half a ton of gold can be found under Shwedagon’s umbrella. It’s also set with over 5500 diamonds. Its main spire boasts 2300 rubies, sapphires, and other gems, and 4000 golden bells (Source: MMTimes).
When visiting, modest attire should be observed. Shoulders and knees should be covered. Upon entering, I was asked to borrow a Longyi—a traditional, sarong-style wrap around. A deposit of 3,000 Kyat (or around 150 Pesos) is required; which is also fully refundable. Footwear and socks are not allowed within the temple premises. Best to bring your own string bag to carry your shoes.
Best time to visit Shwegadon is early in the morning. Temperatures can climb to almost 40’C by noon, making the flooring hot on bare feet. Most of the paths and corridor flooring is made of marble slabs. There are also patches that are made of rare green marble, which is worth noticing.
The Pagoda is open seven days a week,4 a.m. to 10 p.m. Last admission is 9:45 p.m.
Entrance fee is 10,000 Burmese kyat (around 400 Pesos)
There are 4 entrances to the Pagoda (North,South,East,West). Elevators and wheelchairs are available at the North and South entrance.
There are drinking water dispensers at certain stations within the temple grounds. Water is safe to drink, but it’s best to bring your own mineral water.
Getting there is easier by taxi;though many north bound public buses from Sule pass by the area. When staying near Sule, it is best to ask the tourist assistance kiosk for proper bus route.
Other Places to See Around Yangon in a Day
Random snapshots of Yangon city center, with the Sule Golden Pagoda as the main landmark. The white building on the left side is the city hall. Most of the public transportations terminate here, including airport buses.
Where I stayed in Yangon:
Wizaya Hostel, located just at the back of the city hall near Sule Pagoda. I actually didn’t stay there overnight, as I only had less than 24 hours in Yangon. Arriving at 6AM from Bagan by bus, I only needed a place to freshen up and safely leave my bags while I go around the city. Hostel costs around 5000 kyat (250 Pesos). Place is ok for “Check-in Anytime”. I didn’t have to wait for 12 nn to settle. Location is very convenient to public transportation. Almost all routes terminate at Sule Pagoda/city hall, including the red airport buses.