Honestly, I felt the people at the Shwedagon Pagoda was more interesting than the structure.
Shwedagon Pagoda is the one of the most important Buddhist monuments in the world, and Yangon was probably built around it. I will just post lots of pictures because I don’t think I can express myself adequately.
It is entirely possible that I may have taken the same pictures twice. You see, the beauty of the Shwedagon Pagoda is the ability of the pagoda to create new looks for itself depending how the light hits the structure.
I think I should learn from this pagoda.
I was sitting in the same spot for a couple of hours waiting for the sunset and watching the passing light and people. Besides nuns, monks and other foreign travellers like me, there are actual religious tourists from Thailand. They come in large groups bearing gifts.
Of course, they take pictures of themselves at Shwedagon with their iPads.
If you are thinking of going to the Shwedagon (or any of the smaller pagodas in Myanmar), the following tips may be useful to you:
- 1. Bring your own plastic bag and a bag big enough to contain your footwear.
This eliminates the need to get out by the same gate you entered from. Also, if you entrust your footwear to the people at the gate, you may have to make a donation to them for taking care of your shoes.
- 2. Bring a hat and a book if you are waiting for the twilight hour.
- 3. If you are used to the proper behaviour of monks in Thailand, please take note that the monks in Yangon behave differently from those in Thailand. They will actively go up to foreign females to talk to them. I was quite taken aback because I learnt that monks shun female contact. Some of the younger monks/nuns will also openly ask for money, which is not standard monk/nun beheaviour.
The obligatory shot at famous monuments.
Then, I tried out a new toy (I actually got something similar, not the Quik Pod) and snapped a few selfies. I never take pictures of myself while on holiday since I travel alone often. The selfies may turn out weird. They still look weird, though. The one below is the one that looks the least awkward.
I think the Shwedagon Pagoda is somewhere I would go to just once. There are more things to see in other parts of Myanmar. (I am already planning my next trip to Myanmar, which will include Mandalay, Maymyo and Hsipaw.)