Sunday, November 11, 2012

Number 31 Crossed-out: A Golden Experience

by Regin Reyno

31. be in awe while beholding Shwedagon Pagoda in Burma

A massive pagoda made of real gold, I first saw Shwedagon when I was a child in one of the books at our home. Since then, I wanted to personally see this wonderful infrastructure, so I added it in my 50 before 40 list. 

On October 17, 2012, I came face to face with one of Asia's most amazing and most wonderful religious infrastructures-and the experience and moment was priceless. 

After an hour flight from Bangkok, I arrived in Rangoon at around 1:00 pm-and headed straight to my hostel called Ocean Pearl Inn-thanks to their free airport pick-up. A had my lunch in the streets, took some photos, explored some of the nearby places, checked my email (and facebook) in an internet cafe and had a short nap. I know that it'll be going to be a wonderful night that day as I was going to visit the Shwedagon. Some people told me to visit at night or right before the sun sets as the lighting and effects will enhance the beauty of the pagoda.

In my hostel, I met a fellow Pinoy Travel Bloggers (PTB) member, Rheiza Dejito of Wander If You Must. She's backpacking Southeast Asia together with her sister. It was an instant PTB meet-up. We decided to explore Shwedagon together. 

From our hostel we took a taxi. It cost us 2,000 kyat ($2.35). By the way, taxi drivers in Rangoon are very honest and kind. 

We arrived at Shwedagon at around 5:55 pm. Rangoon time is 30 minutes late than Bangkok time. 

I was immediately struck by the beauty of the Shwedagon beholding it from a distance. My anticipation of awesomeness grew stronger. 

After paying for our admission fee of 4,500 kyat($5.29) each, we took off our shoes and flipflops and headed inside. The sun was about to set which gave the sky a bluish hue and the pagoda shimmer as it is being hit by the rays of the sun. A lot of people were there, mostly locals, doing their prayers and rituals.

There were also quit a number of tourists, westerners and Asians alike, but not as much compared to Angkor Wat or the Grand Palace of Bangkok. It is not yet that toursity. I also witnessed Burmese guides explaining to tourists the pagoda.

Everybody was walking barefooted as any footwear is not allowed. 

As I behold the majestic and grand pagoda, I can't help but admire its beauty. Real gold surrounding the pagoda is just too awesome to behold. 

As evening is approaching, they turned on the lights. As a result, a more shimmering golden pagoda was seen. It was really amazing. During that moment, as I was beholding those shining gold, beautifully shining in Rangoon and attracting a lot of people because of its beauty, I began to think of heaven, where according to the Bible the streets are made of pure gold. 

The Shwedagon is so special especially among Buddhists because it enshrines strands of Buddha's hair. And apart from the real gold plates that envelops it-4,531 diamonds are encrsuted on the top of the stupa-and the largest is 72-carat diamond. It was built 2,500 years ago and it has a towering height of 110 meters. 
I was so happy I've finally seen the Shwedagon-a childhood dream come true. 

As you visit Burma, no visit to this beautiful country is complete without the Shwedagon. Make it a point to visit it and be awed by its beauty. 

31. be in awe while beholding Shwedagon Pagoda in Burma (October 2012)


Getting there: AirAsia have direct flights from Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur to Rangoon.

Accommodation: Ocean Pearl Inn. $20/night with AC, cable TV, hot shower and breakfast. Free pick-up from the airport.
Taxi from hostel to Shwedagon: 2,000 kyat ( $2.35)
Shwedagon admission fee: 4,500 kyat ($5.29)

Best time to visit: Before sunset until evening

  Want to have a real golden experience? Head to Rangoon then and experience Shwedagon. 


  1. Nice post do! One item crossed! Let's do this on our 60 Days in SEA soon..

    This place looks amazing!

  2. Wow! Nice place to visit. I did not have list of places to visit but it's more of countries. Maybe someday me and friends (non bloggers but workmates) can visit Laos. We just came back from KL last week for a hospital benchmarking at Penang Adventist Hospital.

    1. Thanks. It really a wonderful experience to be here. Wow, I wanna visit Penang Adventist Hospital too.

  3. It was fun discovering the corners of Shwedagon with you. It was a pleasure meeting you, Regin. Love your shots!

    1. I'm glad we've met. Hope to see you again in Africa someday.