The Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon, Myanmar, is the most important Buddhist temple in all of (the state formerly known as) Burma and a famous Buddhist pilgrimage site. The pagoda was built well over 2,500 years ago and renovated many times since then. It is believed to be one of the few surviving original structures from that era.
Its five-tiered gold leaf-covered stupa is the tallest of its kind globally, at nearly 100 meters. This Buddhist monument is also home to many other Buddhist relics, including a piece of the Buddha’s hair.
The temple complex is huge, with many different buildings and shrines. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Yangon, and visitors come from all over the world to see the amazing Shwedagon Pagoda.
If you plan to visit Myanmar, be sure to add a stop at the Shwedagon Pagoda to your itinerary!
Table of Contents
- About The Shwedagon Pagoda
- History of The Shwedagon Pagoda
- What to See at Shwedagon Pagoda
- The Buddhas in Shwedagon Pagoda
- Communal Buddhist Practices
- Shwedagon Pagoda Festival
- How to Get to Shwedagon Pagoda
- Travel Tips to Shwedagon Pagoda
- Best Things to do in Shwedagon Pagoda
- 1. Explore the Shwedagon Pagoda
- 2. Climb to the top of the pagoda
- 3. Enjoy the pagoda’s atmosphere
- 4. Visit the surrounding temples
- 5. Learn about the pagoda’s history
- Shwedagon Pagoda Nearby Attractions
- Inle Lake
- Mandalay Hill
- Bogyoke Aung San Market
- Kyaiktiyo Pagoda
- Yangon Zoo
- National Museum of Myanmar
- Mahamuni Pagoda
- Sule Pagoda
- Chauk Htat Gyi Pagoda
- Kandawgyi Lake
- Places to Stay Near Shwedagon Pagoda
- Best Luxury Hotels
- Best Mid-Range Hotels
- Best Budget Hotels
About The Shwedagon Pagoda
Shwedagon Pagoda, Myanmar’s holiest Buddhist shrine (also called Shwedagon Paya, Golden Pagoda, Great Pagoda, Shwedagon Zedi Daw, and Shwedagon Pagoda), is thought to date back to the 6th-10th century.
Still, legend has it that the structure is even older, about 2,500 years old. Either way, it is the oldest Buddhist stupa and Buddhist monument.
An inscription dated 1485 is written on the eastern stairway telling the story of the Shwedagon in Pali, Mon, and some of the native Burmese languages (of which the total number of languages is in the hundreds).
The building suffered damage from several earthquakes over the years, and the version we see today was constructed in 1769 under King Hsinbyushin. In 1871 a new hti (the decorative top) was added.
The structure has not only a religious significance, but during the drive for independence from the British Empire, the pagoda was the site of political demonstrations and gatherings. For many, it was a symbol of the nation’s struggle. Later, once independence has gained, the site continued to be used for national celebrations.
The pagoda itself has a 432.81-meter perimeter; it is 98 meters high and stands on Singuttara Hill, 50 meters above the city, which lives in the monument’s shadow. The huge structure demonstrates refined artistic skills in decoration and architecture.
The pagoda is decorated with gold and jewels, and 32 smaller pagodas surround it.
There are also many statues and images of Buddha inside the pagoda. Visitors can buy flowers and offerings to make to the monks who live at the Shwedagon Pagoda.
The Shwedagon Pagoda is a must-see when visiting Myanmar. It is an amazing example of Buddhist architecture and art, and it is a very holy site for Buddhists.
History of The Shwedagon Pagoda
The Shwedagon Pagoda is a Buddhist pagoda in Myanmar (Burma). The pagoda is located in Yangon (Rangoon), the former capital of Myanmar.
It is one of the most sacred places in Myanmar and is a major tourist attraction guarded by Cinthe statues, the Burmese mythological lions.
The Shwedagon Pagoda was built by the Mon people in the 2nd century BCE. The pagoda is said to contain relics of the Buddha, including his hair and teeth.
The Shwedagon Pagoda is the most sacred Buddhist site in Myanmar. It is also known as the Golden Pagoda because it is covered in gold leaf.
The Shwedagon Pagoda is one of the tallest buildings in Myanmar. It is 98 meters (322 feet) tall, and the stupa is surrounded by 64 smaller satellites. The Shwedagon Pagoda is the most sacred Buddhist site in Myanmar, and it is also a major tourist attraction.
The pagoda complex includes many buildings and structures, such as temples, monasteries, statues, and ponds. The main shrine is the Shwedagon Pagoda itself. The complex also consists of the Zoological Gardens, home to some of Myanmar’s rarest animals.
What to See at Shwedagon Pagoda
The Shwedagon Pagoda is a must-see for anyone visiting Myanmar. Built over 2,500 years ago, the pagoda is covered in gold leaf and houses numerous precious stones and artifacts. The view from the top of the pagoda is breathtaking.
Visitors can also explore the many temples and shrines on the grounds.
The Buddhist monument is a huge complex, and it’s hard to miss. A park surrounds it, and there are many food stalls and souvenir shops in the area.
There is no entrance fee to enter the complex, but you need to take your shoes off before entering the temple. There are shoe racks near the entrance, and you can leave your shoes there for free.
Inside the temple, you’ll see many Buddha statues and images. There are also several stupas (Buddhist shrines) in the complex.
The main attraction of the Shwedagon Pagoda is the central stupa, which is covered in gold. It’s said that the stupa contains relics of the Buddha, and it’s a sight to behold.
There are also many other temples and shrines in the complex, so there’s plenty to see and explore. You can easily spend a few hours here.
Here are some of the best sights you’ll see when visiting the pagoda.
- The five-tiered gold-plated leaf-covered stupa is the tallest, at nearly 100 meters. The temple complex is enormous, with many different buildings and shrines.
- It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Yangon, and visitors come from all over the world to see the impressive Shwedagon Pagoda.
- The Buddhist monument is also home to many other Buddhist sacred relics, including a piece of the Buddha’s hair.
- The pagoda itself has a 432.81-meter perimeter; it is 98 meters high and stands on Singuttara Hill, 50 meters above the city, which lives in the monument’s shadow.
- The huge structure demonstrates refined artistic skills in decoration and architecture.
You can take the bus or taxi back to your hotel or guesthouse when you’re ready to leave.
Or, if you want to walk, it’s about a 30-minute walk back to downtown Yangon. Either way, the Shwedagon Pagoda is worth a visit!
See Related: Best Tourist Destinations in the World
The Buddhas in Shwedagon Pagoda
The pagoda holds the sacred buddha relics of the four previous Buddhas: Kakusandha, Koṇāgamana, Kassapa, and Gautama.
Kakusandha is one of the four Buddhas who were present at Shwedagon Pagoda. He is often depicted with a halo around his head and is usually shown sitting in a lotus position.
He is known as the Buddha of purity and is said to have reached enlightenment after only seven days of meditation. He is also said to be able to travel through the air and is often shown surrounded by a group of disciples.
Koṇāgamana is a Buddhist temple in Yangon, Myanmar. It is one of the most sacred places of worship for Buddhists in Myanmar and is said to contain relics of the historical Gautama Buddha.
The pagoda was built in the late 6th century AD and has been rebuilt and renovated many times. It is now covered in gold leaf and is one of Asia’s most impressive and iconic religious buildings.
Kassapa is one of the most famous and important disciples of the Buddha. He was a very accomplished monk and teacher and is said to have attained enlightenment before the Buddha himself.
One of the most famous stories about Kassapa, the third Buddha, is his encounter with a young woman named Uttaralamba.
Uttaralamba was a very devout Buddhist, and she had been praying for many years to be reborn as a man so that she could become a monk. One day, she met Kassapa and asked him to teach her the path to enlightenment.
Kassapa refused, saying that she was not ready yet and needed to first focus on developing compassion and wisdom.
The Shwedagon Pagoda is a sacred Buddhist shrine in Yangon, Myanmar. It is said to be the most important religious site in Myanmar.
It is visited by faithful Buddhists from all over the country. The pagoda is also a popular tourist destination, offering visitors stunning views of the cityscape and surrounding countryside.
But the Shwedagon Pagoda is not just any old temple. It is said to house sacred Buddha relics of Gautama, the fourth buddha. These relics are believed to have miraculous powers and are said to bring good luck and prosperity to those who visit them.
For this reason, the Shwedagon Pagoda is one of the most important Buddhist pilgrimage sites for Buddhists around the world.
The Gautama Buddha is said to be enshrined at the Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon, Myanmar. The pagoda is the most sacred Buddhist site in the country. It is said that the Gautama Buddha himself visited the pagoda and left his footprint on one of the pillars.
Communal Buddhist Practices
The communal Buddhist practices at Shwedagon Pagoda are based on the Theravada school of Buddhism. This includes morning and evening chanting, walking meditation, and precepts ceremonies. There is also a large community of monks and nuns who live at the pagoda and carry out these practices daily.
One of the most important aspects of communal Buddhist practice is giving alms to monks and nuns. There are also timeless Buddhist teachings.
It is seen as a way of accumulating merit, and it is believed that the more merit one has, the better their next life will be. Almsgiving also helps to support the monastic community, which relies entirely on donations for its survival.
Another important aspect of Shwedagon Pagoda’s Buddhist practices is a pilgrimage. Pilgrims come from Myanmar (and even further afield) to circumambulate the pagoda and pay respects to the Buddha image inside. It is believed that this helps to purify oneself and accumulate merit.
Shwedagon Pagoda Festival
The festival is a religious festival at the Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon, Myanmar. The festival celebrates the full moon of Tabaung, the eighth month of the Burmese calendar. The festival is a time of prayer and celebration attended by thousands of people each year.
Highlights of the festival include religious ceremonies and processions and fireworks displays, and other traditional entertainment. The Shwedagon Pagoda is a sacred site for Buddhists in Myanmar, and the festival is an important time for pilgrims to visit the pagoda.
The Shwedagon Pagoda Festival is a significant event in the Burmese calendar and is one of the most important festivals in Myanmar. The festival is when people from all over the country come to Yangon to pray and make offerings at the Shwedagon Pagoda. The pagoda is a sacred site for Buddhists, and the festival is an important time for pilgrims to visit.
The festival takes place for five days and includes a range of religious ceremonies and celebrations. On the first day of the festival, Buddhists take part in a procession to the pagoda, making offerings and praying.
The second day of the festival is dedicated to the memory of those who have died, and Buddhists visit the pagoda to make offerings and prayers.
On the third day, there is a ceremony to bless the animals, and on the fourth day, there is a procession of monks around the pagoda. The fifth and final day of the festival is a day of celebration when people come together to enjoy traditional entertainment such as music and dance.
The Shwedagon Pagoda Festival is an important event in Myanmar and attracts visitors from all over the world. If you plan to visit Myanmar during the festival, it is advisable to book your accommodation and travel arrangements.
See Related: Best Festivals Around the World
How to Get to Shwedagon Pagoda
The Shwedagon Pagoda is a popular tourist destination in Myanmar. It is located in the heart of Yangon and can be easily reached by taking a taxi or bus.
If you’re taking a taxi, tell the driver to take you to the Shwedagon Pagoda. The fare should be around 1500-2000 kyat (US$1.50-2.00).
If you’re taking the bus, take bus number 8 or 11 and tell the driver to drop you off at the elegant Shwedagon Pagoda. The fare is only 200 kyat (US$0.20).
Travel Tips to Shwedagon Pagoda
The pagoda is located on Singuttara Hill and can be easily accessed by taxi or bus from downtown Yangon. Admission is free, but it’s customary to donate to the temple if you wish to enter.
When visiting Shwedagon Pagoda, be respectful and dress appropriately; women should wear long skirts or pants, and men should avoid shorts or sleeveless shirts. The pagoda is open daily from 6 am to 10 pm, so you can easily fit a visit into your schedule.
Once you’re inside, take some time to explore the temple complex. The gold-plated main stupa is over 2,500 years old and is covered in gold-plated leaf; make sure to take a picture in front of it! You’ll also find several smaller stupas, eight small shrines, and statues scattered throughout the complex.
Spend some time walking around and taking in the sights and sounds of this incredible place. And when you’re done, be sure to stop by one of the many street food carts outside the pagoda for a delicious snack before heading back to your hotel!
Best Things to do in Shwedagon Pagoda
1. Explore the Shwedagon Pagoda
The Shwedagon Pagoda is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Myanmar, and for a good reason – it’s a stunning sight. Circumnavigate Buddhist stupas and see their beauty.
2. Climb to the top of the pagoda
If you’re feeling adventurous, why not climb to the top of the pagoda? The views from the top are definitely worth the effort!
3. Enjoy the pagoda’s atmosphere
The Shwedagon Pagoda is a special place, and spending some time there is a truly unique experience. Take a few minutes to relax and take in the peaceful atmosphere.
4. Visit the surrounding temples
There are several other temples and pagodas near the Shwedagon Pagoda, so be sure to explore them too!
5. Learn about the pagoda’s history
The Shwedagon Pagoda is an ancient structure with a fascinating history. There are plenty of resources available to learn about its past – books, guides, etc. – so make use of them.
Shwedagon Pagoda Nearby Attractions
Inle Lake is a picturesque body of water in Myanmar, home to floating villages and markets. The lake is approximately 22 kilometers long and has an average depth of 3 meters.
Inle Lake is unique in that it is home to many Intha people who live in stilt houses and floating gardens.
The Intha are known for their leg-rowing technique, which they use to propel their boats through the water. In addition to being a popular tourist destination, Inle Lake is also an important source of fish and vegetables for the Intha people.
Every morning, the Intha people can be seen fishing and farming on the lake. The floating markets come to life in the afternoon as vendors sell everything from fruits and vegetables to clothes and souvenirs. Inle Lake is a mesmerizing place that should not be missed on any trip to Myanmar.
Mandalay Hill is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Myanmar. Located in the center of Mandalay, the hill provides stunning views of the city below. Mandalay Hill is also home to several temples and Buddhist pagodas, making it a popular spot for religious pilgrimages.
Mandalay Hill is an easy walk from Mandalay Palace and other attractions in the city center. Visitors can reach the top of Mandalay Hill via a staircase or an elevator. From Mandalay Hill, visitors can enjoy panoramic views and tours of Mandalay and the surrounding countryside. Mandalay Hill is a must-see for any traveler to Mandalay.
Bogyoke Aung San Market
Bogyoke Aung San Market, also known as Scott Market, is a major bazaar located in Pabedan township in central Yangon, Myanmar. The city’s historic architecture and interior cobblestone streets have earned it a place in history.
Bogyoke Aung San Market was built in 1926 and was initially named after the British colonial governor, Sir George Scott. The market was renamed in honor of General Aung San, the father of modern Myanmar, after the country’s independence in 1948.
Bogyoke Aung San Market is a popular tourist destination. It is home to more than 2,000 shops selling a wide variety of merchandise, including traditional Burmese arts and crafts, textiles, jewelry, and paintings. The market is also home to several restaurants and food stalls offering local Burmese cuisine.
Kyaiktiyo Pagoda, also known as the Golden Rock, is a sacred Buddhist site in Myanmar. The pagoda is perched atop a massive golden boulder, which is said to be held in place by a strand of the Buddha’s hair.
Kyaiktiyo Pagoda is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Myanmar, and it is said to be a place of great power and pilgrimage. Visitors can hike to the summit of the pagoda, where they can enjoy incredible views of the surrounding countryside. Kyaiktiyo Pagoda is an unforgettable destination for anyone who visits Myanmar.
Yangon Zoo is home to tigers, elephants, and other exotic animals. The zoo is located in Yangon, Myanmar. Yangon Zoo is one of the largest zoos in Asia and covers an area of over 200 acres.
The zoo has a wide variety of animals, including lions, tigers, leopards, bears, elephants, rhinos, and crocodiles. Yangon Zoo also has several rare and endangered species, such as the critically endangered Yangtze River dolphin. Yangon Zoo is a popular tourist destination and receives over 1 million visitors.
National Museum of Myanmar
The National Museum of Myanmar is a must-visit for history buffs. This museum houses an extensive collection of artifacts from Myanmar’s long and rich history, ranging from Prehistory to today. Visitors can see everything from ancient tools and weapons to traditional clothes and jewelry.
The National Museum of Myanmar is also home to an extensive collection of Buddhist art, including statues, paintings, and sculptures. Whether you’re interested in history, art, or simply want to learn more about Myanmar, the National Museum is worth visiting.
Guided tours of the museum are available.
Mahamuni Pagoda is a sacred Buddhist temple in Myanmar home to a giant Buddha statue. The Mahamuni Buddha is one of the most revered Buddhas in Myanmar and is said to be over 2,000 years old. The Mahamuni Pagoda complex also includes several other temples and shrines, making it a popular tourist destination.
Visitors to Mahamuni Pagoda can expect to see the Mahamuni Buddha and several other beautiful Buddhist sculptures and paintings. The complex is also home to some monks who live and study at the temple. Mahamuni Pagoda is an essential stop for anyone interested in Buddhist history and culture.
The pagoda is one of the most iconic landmarks in Yangon, Myanmar. The pagoda is over 2,000 years old and sits at the center of Sule Square, in the heart of Yangon city center.
The Sule Pagoda is octagonal and stands over 50 meters tall. It is covered in gold-plated leaf and has a large stupa at its center. The pagoda is a popular spot for tourists to visit as it offers a glimpse into Myanmar’s rich history and culture.
Chauk Htat Gyi Pagoda
Chauk Htat Gyi Pagoda is a major Buddhist temple in Yangon, Myanmar. The Chauk Htat Gyi Buddha statue is a reclining Buddha that measures over 200 feet long and is one of the largest in Myanmar.
Chauk Htat Gyi Pagoda is also home to a sizeable gold-plated stupa and smaller temples and shrines. The pagoda and its grounds are popular with both locals and tourists alike.
Visitors can explore the temple complex, admire the Buddha statue, and learn about Buddhism and Burmese culture. Chauk Htat Gyi Pagoda is a must-see for anyone visiting Yangon.
Kandawgyi Lake is one of two major lakes in Yangon, Myanmar’s largest city. The other is Inya Lake.
Kandawgyi means “great royal lake” in the Burmese language. It is a man-made reservoir created in the early 1900s by damming a creek. The lake is home to several species of fish and attracts many waterbirds.
There are also several large islands, which are popular picnic spots. Kandawgyi Lake is a popular tourist destination, and there are several restaurants and hotels located around its shores. Visitors can take boat rides, fish, or simply enjoy the scenic views.
Places to Stay Near Shwedagon Pagoda
Best Luxury Hotels
Governor’s Residence, A Belmond Hotel, Yangon
Governor’s Residence is a luxury Belmond hotel located near the Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon, Myanmar. This five-star hotel offers travelers the opportunity to stay in luxury while enjoying the nearby pagoda and other attractions in Yangon.
The Governor’s Residence features 63 guest rooms and suites, each decorated in a unique style that reflects the hotel’s colonial history.
The hotel also has two restaurants, a bar, an outdoor swimming pool, and a spa. Governor’s Residence is the perfect place to stay for travelers who want to experience the best of what Yangon has to offer.
WYNDHAM GRAND YANGON Hotel
The staff is very friendly and helpful. The breakfast buffet is very good with a wide variety of food.
The hotel has a swimming pool, gym, and spa, all very lovely. The hotel’s location is perfect, and it is close to many restaurants, bars, and shops. Overall, WYNDHAM GRAND YANGON Hotel is an excellent option for travelers looking for a luxurious and comfortable stay in Yangon.
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Best Mid-Range Hotels
Novotel Yangon Max
Novotel Yangon Max is a modern hotel located in the heart of Yangon. The hotel offers travelers a variety of amenities, including an outdoor pool, a fitness center, and a spa. Novotel Yangon Max also has several restaurants offering both international and local cuisine.
The hotel is within walking distance of many Yangon attractions, including the Shwedagon Pagoda and the Sule Pagoda. Novotel Yangon Max is the perfect choice for travelers who want to experience all Yangon offers.
Chatrium Hotel Royal Lake Yangon
Chatrium Hotel Royal Lake Yangon is the perfect base for exploring the city’s most iconic sights. The hotel is located just a short walk from the Shwedagon Pagoda, and it offers stunning views of the country’s largest Buddhist temple.
In addition, Chatrium Hotel Royal Lake Yangon is within easy reach of many other attractions, including the National Museum of Myanmar and the Bogyoke Aung San Market. Whether traveling for business or pleasure, Chatrium Hotel Royal Lake Yangon is the perfect place to stay in Yangon.
Best Budget Hotels
Hotel Shwe Yee
Hotel Shwe Yee is a popular budget hotel in Yangon, Myanmar, located just a short walk from the world-famous Shwedagon Pagoda. Hotel Shwe Yee offers clean and comfortable accommodations at an affordable price, making it an excellent choice for budget-minded travelers.
The hotel features a restaurant and bar and a swimming pool, and a fitness center. Hotel Shwe Yee is also located within walking distance of many of Yangon’s best shopping and dining options. If you’re looking for a budget hotel in Yangon, close to all the action, Hotel Shwe Yee is a great option.
Hotel H Valley Yangon
Hotel H Valley Yangon is a budget hotel that offers excellent value for money. The rooms are clean and comfortable, and the staff is friendly and helpful.
The hotel is conveniently located within walking distance of many Yangon attractions, including the Shwedagon Pagoda and the Bogyoke Market. Hotel H Valley Yangon is an excellent choice for travelers looking for an affordable place to stay in Yangon.
Koo Art Boutique
Koo Art Boutique is a rental closed to Yangon International Airport with high-end amenities.
The rental has a studio and one bedroom decorated with contemporary Myanmar artwork. The studio has a kitchenette, while the bedroom has a king-sized bed and an ensuite bathroom.
Koo Art Boutique also offers a laundry service, airport shuttle, and concierge service. Koo Art Boutique is the perfect base for travelers who want to explore Yangon.
The rental is close to the airport and many of the city’s attractions. It also offers a comfortable place to relax after a long day of sightseeing. Koo Art Boutique is the perfect place for travelers who want the best of both worlds.
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Samadhana Inn is a rental and cozy home in Yangon, Myanmar. It is located near many attractions such as Bogyoke Market and Sule Pagoda. The rental comes with three bedrooms, a kitchen, a living room, and two bathrooms.
Samadhana Inn has laundry services, and Wi-Fi is included in the rental price. This rental is perfect for families or groups of friends looking for an affordable and comfortable place to stay while exploring Yangon.
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