“A constellation once seen over Royal David’s City” – Tim Wheeler.
One of the major sights in Yangon is the impressive Shwe Dagon Pagoda. This gleaming golden complex is a feast for the eyes, whether you’re a Buddhist or not. I visited it this week, here’s an overview of visiting the Shwe Dagon Pagoda in Yangon, Myanmar. I’d personally recommend a visit if you end up in Yangon someday.
How to get to the Shwe Dagon Pagoda in Yangon
You have three options, and depending on time, you’ll work out which one is best for you:
1. Walk it – it’s a fair distance outside the main city centre of Yangon, but some backpackers have the time to stroll out to it. Carry a map and keep asking people where it is. The locals will know of course, but bear in mind you might get lost on route. Yangon is not the easiest city to navigate round. If you want an easy tip – get onto Shwe Dagon Pagoda Road and just keep walking north. Once that road ends, you’re on U Htaung Bo Road, in behind which you will see the massive Shwe Dagon Pagoda. It’s a fair few kilometres.
2. Local bus – You can get bus number 204 from Shwe Dagon Pagoda Road opposite Yangon General Hospital. The bus will most likely be crowded and make sure you head north rather than south.
3. Taxi – taxi is the most expensive option, but yet it’s not really that expensive if you’re sharing and when you compare it to other countries. Myself and my two travel buddies (Arnaud and Camille from France) got a taxi in rush hour for 2,500 Kyat ($2.5 US) which is reasonable, working out at less than a dollar each! I’d recommend getting a taxi actually, which is unusual for me, but we were pushed for time and keen on visiting the Shwedagon Pagoda in day light and in darkness.
How much is the entry fee when visiting the Shwe Dagon Pagoda?
It’s a flat rate of $5 US Dollars, payable in local Kyat (pronounced “Chat”) which is 5,500 Kyat. The entrance fee gets you inside to see everything. It’s unavoidable and you should pay it.
What is the dress code for visiting the Shwe Dagon Pagoda?
Don’t turn up in a bikini, but basically when you get there, you will get given a sarong to wear if you’re in shorts (no extra cost for this) or a short skirt, so don’t worry. Shoes off at the entrance obviously.
What do you do at the Shwe Dagon Pagoda?
Once inside you get a lift up two floors then walk along the balcony bridge to the entrance. Walk around at your leisure. If you’re a Buddhist you can obviously practice your religion. If you’re not, just marvel at the statues, stupas and architecture and colours within. It’s mostly golden and gleaming. My travel buddy Camille described it as a “Buddhist Disneyland” which is a random description though given the lights and the colours, it did seem quite apt. It is like a theme park of Buddhas. Photography and videos are completely permitted but obviously don’t be filming people praying etc. – give them respect.
When is the best time to visit the Shwe Dagon Pagoda?
We did it late afternoon just before sunset. I’ll be honest and admit this is the best time to visit it. You get the best of both worlds – you see the Pagoda in daylight and then enjoy the sparkling nights by night.
So if you’re in Yangon in Myanmar, get the Shwe Dagon on your list!!
My videos from visiting the Shwe Dagon Pagoda in Yangon, Myanmar: