Visit Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon, Myanmar

length of shwedagon pagoda

Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon, Myanmar

The picture perfect and postcard worthy Shwedagon Pagoda is exactly that. It is featured as the main attraction in Yangon, and oftentimes, Myanmar itself. Shwedagon Pagoda is no doubt the most beautiful temple, but also the most beautiful religious building I have had the opportunity of experiencing.

Walking around the golden Stupa itself, to the extensive grounds and the locals who visit for meditation, you could honestly spend hours here. There are so many sites to take in and numerous buildings to explore.


How I Book Cheap Transport In Myanmar: 12Go Asia


view when leaving shwedagon pagoda in yangon


Where To Stay In Yangon?

Find the best hotels in the area

Backpacker Bed & Breakfast

Prices starting at $12.00 per night including breakfast in a luxurious dormitory room.

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Shwe Yo Vintage Hostel

Super affordable with prices from $7.00 per night including a delicious breakfast.

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Hotel Wai Wai Place

Prices starting at $25.00 per night for a private single room including breakfast.

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Hotel Bond

Prices starting at $30.00 per night for a private room including breakfast.

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shwedagon pagoda in yangon


The History of Shwedgaon Pagoda

Shwedagon Pagoda is known as the oldest Buddhist Stupa, having been built 2600 years ago. Though, this is according to legend and Historians and Archaeologists like to maintain it was built between the 6th and 10th Centuries AD.

In this legend two brothers, Taphussa and Bhallika, meet the Lord Gautama Buddha and receive eight of Buddha’s hairs. These brothers then return back to Burma and make their way to Singuttara Hill with the help of King Okkalapa. At this hill is where other Buddha’s had been enshrined. The King presents the hairs in the casket and they go about enshrining it by creating a relic chamber. On top of the chamber is where the golden pagoda is erected. Within the pagoda was more pagodas, each made of, silver, gold, copper alloy, bronze, iron, marble and brick.

Throughout the years the Stupa has been raised by the leaders until the height that it stands today of 99 meters. Gold plates cover the base and the umbrella crown is tipped with 5,448 diamonds and 2,317 rubies. At the very top is a diamond bud tipped with a 76 carat diamond.

Looking at photos you may think that the gold is just painted on, though it is actually made from genuine gold plates. Locals in Myanmar will donate gold to maintain the pagoda. I actually took a taxi ride in Yangon with a businessman who regularly donates gold. The practice of dontating the gold started in 15th Century when Queen Shin Sawbu gave her weight in the gold plates.

details on shwedagon pagoda

wooden entry to shwedagon pagoda


Shwedagon Pagoda Entrance Fee

The entry fee to visit Shwedagon Pagoda is $8.00.

Though, I didn’t know about the fee on my visit, and walked right in without paying. It was only later, while talking to other travelers back at my hostel, that I learned about the fee. They were surprised that no one had waved me down, or noticed that I didn’t have a sticker. Please don’t do as I did,  just pay for your ticket as you never know the implications of your actions in a foreign country.

grand buildings at shwedagon pagoda

crowds walking around shwedagon pagoda


Shwedagon Pagoda Opening Hours

The opening hours for Shwedagon Pagoda are 4.00am to 10.00pm Monday to Sunday.

The last admission is at 9.45pm daily.

On the Waxing Day of Tabaung (around March) and the Waxing Day Wakhaung (around June) Shwedagon Pagoda is open 24 hours.

people praying at shwedagon pagoda

religion at shwedagon pagoda


How To Get To Shwedagon Pagoda

Shwedagon Pagoda is located in Downtown Yangon and is easy to access via walking or public transport.

Taxis and rickshaws are cheap in Yangon providing an affordable mode of transport. There is also the local buses, though unless you know Burmese these can be quite confusing.

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close up shot of shwedagon pagoda in yangon


What To Wear To Shwedagon Pagoda

As with visiting any temple in Asia it is expected that you dress conservatively to respect the culture and those visiting the religious site. It is important that you do dress modestly otherwise you will not be allowed to enter, plus you do not want to offend the locals.

On the lower half wear trousers or at the bare minimum shorts or a skirts that falls below the knee. On the upper half at least have your shoulders covered, though it is expected that you have elbow length sleeves.

Lastly, as standard practice please remove your shoes before entering Shwedagon Pagoda.

buildings around shwedagon pagoda

What To Expect When Visiting

As Shwedagon Pagoda is a temple expect a lot of Burmese people and people of the Buddhist faith to be praying to Buddha. So please remember even though it may be a tourist attraction for certain people, it is not for the locals and you should respect this.

Within Shwedagon Pagoda itself is absolutely stunning with the shinning gold colors contrasting against the crisp white highlights. In all honesty Myanmar is not the cleanest country, and that’s no secret. Though, within the grounds could not have been cleaner. Never in South East Asia did I see somewhere cleaner than Shwedagon Pagoda.

To my surprise Shwedagon Pagoda is a whole lot more than just the golden Stupa itself, even though photos in the media like to focus on this Stupa. The grounds of Shwedagon Pagoda are filled of Buddhas and religious buildings of the most amazing colors. They line the courtyard with the actual pagoda directly in the middle.

wide views at shwedagon pagoda


My Experience When Visiting Shwedagon Pagoda

Visiting Shwedagon Pagoda was no doubt one of the most amazing experiences I had in Yangon. I visited by myself and honestly spent hours wandering around in complete awe of the amazing architecture, watching the locals go about their religious ceremony and taking way too many photos.

I managed to walk to Shwedagon Pagoda from where I was staying at Backpackers Bed & Breakfast. It was a super easy walk, though I did have a couple issues crossing the road, but following the locals seemed to make it a lot easier. The land was relatively flat except all the stairs at the entrance of Shwedagon Pagoda.

As I previously said, I did not actually pay to visit Shwedagon Pagoda. I think this may have been because I was a solo traveler who just strolled with confidence straight past the ticket desk and they did not want to say anything. In all honestly I do not know why they did not stop me, but I was too busy ogling the beautiful golden Stupa in front of me to notice the ticket desk.

Overall, I loved my visit to Shwedagon Pagoda and it was the perfect way to begin my adventures in Myanmar. It gave me some insight into the Buddhist religion and how important it is to the Burmese people.

tasha amy at shwedagon pagoda


How I Book Cheap Transport In Myanmar: 12Go Asia


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  • about tasha amy sidebar

    Your typical New Zealander, now discovering the world one country at a time. With a high-end backpacking style I prefer to glampack across the globe by embracing the best of each destination. All of which I share right here on Backpackers Wanderlust. 

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  • 35 Responses

    1. Wow! Shwedagon Pagoda really look stunning. Your photos of it were beautiful. And I do think it would look even better if we are personally there to take it all in.

    2. Looks beautiful, it really reminds me of the pagoda they built for the deceased King of Thailand in Bangkok, I was there a couple of weeks ago.

    3. Wow, that place looks majestic *-* Asia has so many beautiful temples and building! As aways, great information. Super handy post!

    4. I so so loved the pictures!!! Some wonderful work here. Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon certainly looks picture perfect place.

    5. Wow! You were able to get such beautiful photos without too many people in them, that’s pretty incredible!

    6. I visited this temple in the day AND at night and was blown away. It is truly spectacular. Your pics are amazing and enjoyed learning more of the history.

    7. A picture perfect pagoda built in 6th century, wow. It really is a postcard perfect place and I would love to see the Pagoda myself. Hopefully one day 🙂

    8. I love the detailed guide. My dad keeps talking about Shwedagon and convinced me to visit but i was super short on time. But i think now i really want to.. soon. Thank you for this 🙂

    9. Beautiful photos! I love how majestic Shwedagon is and yet, a humbling place where locals congregate to practice their beliefs. Thank you for sharing this post!

    10. Absolutely stunning! Do they have armed guards there all the time to prevent people from stealing all the precious stones and gold?

    11. This doesn’t look real! Stunning. I keep seeing such beautiful photos of Burma, it’s high on my list to go to. Seems like a fascinating country.

    12. Your photos are very beautiful! It looks like a stunning spot to visit. It’s always so amazing visiting sites that are so old, especially when they are still in use!

    13. Looks beautiful. Your photos really are gorgeous. And I can’t believe you didn’t have to pay but I’d probably do something similar. Too busy gawking to notice the ticket booth!!

    14. Love this, I have been to the Shwedagon Pagoda three times and have never ever seen it that empty. Such a beautiful sight though, can’t wait to go back again!

    15. This is so impressive! The amount of sheer gold, I mean. I thought it was plated, not that it was made of actual gold. I am really impressed, it must have a wonderful glow in real life!

    16. 2600 years ago…?!?! 5,448 diamonds and 2,317 rubies?!?! That’s just incredible 😀
      This place looks amazing and it would definitely go on my must-do list if I ever visit Myanmar (and I’d love to). I love how colourful it is and the architecture is stunning. It is great that local people are actually using it and that it gives visitors an opportunity to experience somehow part of their culture and religion.

    17. This is gorgeous! As of now I had only hot air ballooning on my list for Myanmar, but thanks to you the pagoda has been added too 🙂

    18. Oh my word, those photos are STUNNING! What an incredible place! I can see how you’d easily spend all day there, just wandering with mouth wide open. And to think, it all started with a few of Buddha’s hairs! (Really great insight with the history too, thank you for that) Will definitely put Shwedagon Pagoda on the list. Thank you so much for sharing! x

    19. Amazing pics! I visited it a while ago and fell in love with the place. One of the most beautiful places that I have ever seen. If you are curious and want to know what I wrote about my visit, you can read it on my blog post 😉

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