The Shwe Dagon Pagoda Yangon is worth a visit

Shwedagon Pagoda

The Shwedagon Pagoda (also called Shwedagon Paya) is the highlight in Yangon. Actually every tourist who visits Myanmar (the former Burma) has been here once. One reason for this is that most international flights arrive in Yangon. Therefore, most visitors usually spend their first days of travel here. On the other hand, the Shwedagon Pagoda is also one of the most famous stupas worldwide. And at the same time the most important landmark in Myanmar.

Stupas play an important role in the Buddhist faith. In Myanmar, stupas are also called paya. Remains (relics) of the Buddha are often kept here. At the same time, the Payas are considered monuments and are usually bell-shaped. The Shwedagon Paya in Yangon is a particularly magnificent monument. she is 99 meters high and sits enthroned on Singuttara Hill above the city. For their construction were total 60 tons of gold used. Therefore, there are also many guards and police officers on site who protect the sanctuary from possible theft and damage.

By the way, in March 2016 58,466 foreign visitors came to Shwedagon Pagoda. This corresponds to a number of visitors 1,886 tourists per day (Source: Statistics on the official, English-language website of the Shwedagon Pagoda). The vast majority of them were from Thailand. There are also many local visitors from Myanmar. Since the area around the stupa is very large, the visitors are well distributed here. The marble platform around the large stupa alone measures around 60,000 square meters (around 8.4 soccer fields).

We have prepared the most important information for your visit in the following overview:

The entrance fee can only be paid in cash on site. If you don't have cash with you, there are also cash machines (ATMs) at the entrances where you can withdraw money with your credit card. By the way, we use them ourselves displayDKB credit card for our travels. With this you can worldwide without bank charges Withdraw money. After you have paid the entrance fee, you will receive a sticker that you should wear visibly on your top during your visit.

Table of Contents

Our top 3 tips for the Shwedagon Pagoda

In order to make your visit to Shwedagon Paya as pleasant as possible, we have put together our top 3 tips below. If you have any further tips, we would be happy if you share them here. Then future visitors can still benefit from your experiences 🙂 Please leave one Comment below the postif you want to add a tip.

Since September 2018, the top of the Shwedagon Pagoda has been scaffolded with bamboo for renovation purposes. New gold leaf is attached here. Even when we were there in February 2019, the stupa was actually surrounded by scaffolding. However, since the scaffolding is matched in color to the pagoda, the scaffolding is not too noticeable. The renovation is supposed to End of March 2019 to be finished. Incidentally, there is no reduced entry fee due to the renovation work.

Tip No. 1: Visit the Shwedagon Pagoda in the evening too

As it gets very warm in Yangon during the day (depending on the season between 30 and 37 degrees Celsius), you should avoid planning your visit at noon if possible. Because then the solar radiation is also strong and there is hardly any shade around the large stupa. Therefore, a visit either in the morning or in the late afternoon and evening is recommended.

Since the Shwedagon Pagoda is also illuminated in the evening and a particularly large number of locals come here to pray, this is the best time to visit from our point of view. If you do later in the afternoon at around 4:30 p.m. come, you can initially experience the stupa in the light. Depending on the season, the sun sets between 5:30 p.m. (in December) and 6:42 p.m. (in July). You can find the exact time of sunset for your day of visit e.g. on this website.

Shortly before sunset, the golden stupas and pagodas are also bathed in a particularly beautiful light. Therefore, this time is also very attractive for photographers. As soon as it gets dark, the area is nicely lit. In addition, the believers set fire to numerous around the large stupa Candles at. This makes the mood even more beautiful and romantic.

Since it is too warm for the locals during the day and they often have to work, it is in the evening Main time for prayers. Therefore, in the evening you will experience a lot of prayer chants and offerings around the stupa. Due to the beautiful atmosphere and the authentic hustle and bustle around the pagoda, we had the most beautiful visit in the evening. However, if you are looking for a time when fewer people are around, mornings and noon are the better visiting times.

Tip # 2: Take enough time to discover all the details

Not only the large stupa itself, but also the many pagodas around it are worth seeing in the Shwedagon. Hence, many visitors spend here approx. 2.5 to 3 hours. At the beginning we didn't expect that we would be there for so long. After all, we have already seen many Buddhist temples and stupas in Thailand, among others. But we were taught better 🙂

Because the Shwedagon Pagoda actually offers a lot of details that are worth a closer look. The large stupa, which consists of 60 tons of gold, is also at the top with many Diamonds and rubies decorated. There are around 1,100 diamonds on the weather vane alone. At the top of the stupa, the so-called Hti, there are a total of 4,351 diamonds. One of them is even 76 carats.

Around the large main stupa there are also 60 other, smaller stupas. There are also on the entire site several hundred Buddha images. The devout Buddhists come to pray especially in their so-called “weekday temples”. This is determined by the weekday of your birth. If you want to know what day of the week you were born, you can find out on this website, for example, by entering your date of birth.

Meaning of the days of the week

A different Buddha figure is assigned to each weekday. Wednesday is also divided into morning to morning (until 12 noon) and afternoon to evening. The believers pour over their weekday Buddha as a whole 5 times with water. For this purpose, metal cups and water jugs are available next to every weekday Buddha. As a tourist, you are also invited to take part in this ritual. Above all, it should bring happiness and satisfaction.

There is also an associated one, depending on the day of the week animal and one Celestial bodies. Similar to our zodiac signs, animals are assigned different characteristics. From this, conclusions are sometimes drawn about which animal images go particularly well with one another. Which animal and which celestial body you are according to the Buddhist belief in Myanmar, you can see from the following overview:

Note: If you are currently using a smartphone, you can scroll to the page within the overview to see all entries.

You can also use the during the day as well as in the evening Prayer chants listening to the locals. You can also find some Buddhists meditating in the temple. In between, the “cleaning service” seems a bit bizarre. You will always see some groups cleaning the platform around the large stupa in long rows with brooms. This promises good karma, so that the cleaning is done by volunteers. If you also want to do something for your karma, you can take one of the brooms on the edge and help.

Tip # 3: Remember mosquito repellent

Another important tip is the mosquito repellent. Because unfortunately there is in Myanmar too Tiger mosquitoeswho can transmit dengue fever, malaria, and the Zika virus. The tiger mosquitoes are both diurnal and nocturnal and are therefore a permanent potential risk. Since there are unfortunately no vaccines against dengue fever, malaria and the Zika virus, only a good mosquito repellent or long clothing will help.

Since we visited Shwedagon Pagoda on our first day in Myanmar, we haven't been to that yet Walking around barefoot set. So we had sprayed ourselves with mosquito repellent beforehand, but forgot our feet. These are normally protected by our shoes. In the twilight we actually got two mosquito bites on our feet. Fortunately, it doesn't seem to have been a tiger mosquito.

However, it is better to be safe than sorry here. Because you certainly don't want to get dengue fever, malaria or the Zika virus on your trip. We therefore recommend that you always have a mosquito repellent with you and that you spray it on regularly (approx. Every 4 to 5 hours). When it comes to traveling, we ourselves have the best experiences with displayAnti hum forte made.

Unfortunately, since we ran out of this on site in Myanmar, we also had to resort to local mosquito repellent sprays. These also contain the Active ingredient DEET, but in a lower concentration. Therefore, from our experience, they do not seem quite as reliable. But still much better than no mosquito repellent at all. By the way, DEET ensures that the human smell can no longer be recognized by the mosquitoes.

You can find out more about mosquito protection when traveling in these articles from us:

Getting to Shwedagon Paya

The Shwedagon Pagoda is centrally located in Yangon. As most of the way around the city is done with taxis, we also recommend one taxi for getting to the pagoda. Depending on where you start from, our experience shows that the prices are between 2,500 kyat for short journeys and 6,000 kyat for trips to the outskirts. This corresponds to around 1.44 to 3.46 euros per trip (as of February 2019).

You can also from some hotels on foot walk to Shwedagon Pagoda. We have listed a selection of nearby, well-rated hotels below. The ratings are correct as of February 2019.

Note for smartphone users: You can also scroll to the page in this overview.

display

You can reserve all hotels e.g. via Booking. As a rule, you can still cancel this free of charge up to the day of arrival. If you create a new account with Booking, you will save with ours displayBooking starting credit coupon also 15 euros.

If you want to visit the Shwedagon Paya as part of a city tour, this is also possible. This then has the advantage that you also have a Guide with explanations and information about the pagoda and all other sights in Yangon. In addition, you will be picked up from your hotel in an air-conditioned car and you do not have to take care of the transfer yourself.

Our long-term cooperation partner getyourguide, for example, offers a guided city tour. In addition to the Shwedagon Pagoda, you will also see the Chauk Htat Gyi Temple with a large, reclining Buddha, the Scott Market and the Sule Pagoda. The tour takes place in English and costs 25 euros per person including entrance fees and transfer (as of February 2019). displayAnd here you can see the offer for the city tour.

The story of the pagoda

There are different versions of the history of the origins of the Shwedagon Pagoda. A story passed down by monks says that the merchant brothers Bhallika and Taphusa met the Siddhartha Gautama Buddha personally on the 49th day after his enlightenment. This must have happened during the Buddha's lifetime before the year 486 BC.

They gave him a few pieces of honey cake. After the Buddha ate it, the brothers asked him for a present to take home. The Buddha reciprocated by giving them 8 hairs on his head gave. On the way home, however, the brothers had to give up a total of 4 of the hairs. 2 hairs went to the king of Ajjhatta and 2 more hairs to king Jayasena as a kind of road toll. The brothers returned to Yangon with 4 hairs and handed them over to the then King Okkalapa.

The king paid tribute to this gift by giving him a 10 meter high stupa built for it. The Buddha hair was walled into it in a gold casket. At that time, the Shwedagon Pagoda is said to have been significantly smaller. You can also read the full story on the English language website of the pagoda.

According to archaeological estimates, however, the pagoda should only be opened between 6th and 10th centuries AD have arisen. It is believed that the construction was done by the oldest known residents of Myanmar, the Mon people. What you want to believe of it is up to you 😉

In 1372, the then King Binnya U extended the pagoda to 18 meters. In the centuries that followed, there were other kings who enlarged Shwedagon three more times. The pagoda finally got its present size in the Year 1774 by King Hsinbyushin. The stupa was then further adorned with gold, precious stones and bells. In addition, there were several earthquakes, which in the meantime repeatedly required renovations to the pagoda.

in the Year 1920 Shwedagon went down in history again. Because the pagoda became the most important location for the student revolt against the British colonial government.

FAQ - questions and answers

So that as few questions as possible remain unanswered for your visit to the pagoda, we have created an FAQ below. If you have any more questions about the Shwedagon Pagoda, we will be happy to answer them (if we can). Just write one for this comment with your question under the post.

When is the best time to visit Shwedagon Pagoda?

As it gets very warm in Yangon during the day, the best times to visit are on Morning and late afternoon / evening. At sunrise and before sunset, the sun's rays cover the golden pagodas in a particularly beautiful light. Therefore, these times of the day are not only a highlight for (hobby) photographers. If you want to experience as many prayers as possible and the authentic goings-on around the pagoda, the best time to visit is in the evening.