Thursday, April 10, 2014

Yangon - Further First Impressions of Myanmar - Burma

A continuation of my last post, Yangon - First Impressions of Myanmar - Burma. After our authentic Burmese meal at danuphyu daw saw Yee Myanma we visited Shwedagon Pagoda. The sheer beauty of the design of this place takes your breath away when you first see it perched on Singuttara Hill, built of brick but completely covered in gold it shines in the sunlight. The origins of this holy place are cloaked in mystery and there are many interesting legends which you can read about by visiting the link. Shwedagon Pagoda.

There are four stairway entrances to the Pagoda, South, West, North and East, all of which except the latter have either escalators or lifts as well as stairs. The entrance passageway most commonly used by visitors and the one we used is the Southern Stairway,(zaungdan) of 104 steps up to the main terrace is approached from the city centre direction on Shwedagon Pagoda Road. As you can see from my photo above the entrance is closely guarded by two enormous fearsome looking mythological creatures. Known as the chinthe, or leogryph this half lion, half griffin ogre is a man eating monster! 

On reaching the terrace the afternoon light on the many stupas was quite a spectacle as one emerged from the semi-darkness of the covered stairways. In the words of Somerset Maugham "At last we reached the great terrace. All about shrines and pagodas were jumbled pell-mell with the confusion with which trees grow in the jungle. They had been built without design or symmetry, but in the darkness, their gold and marble faintly gleaming they had a fantastic richness, And then emerging from among them like a great ship surrounded by lighters, rose dim, severe and splendid, the Shwe Dagon"

I will now let  my photos take you on a virtual tour of the complex, there was a lot going on as the Shwedagon Pagoda is the most sacred place in Burma for Buddhists and large numbers visit every day to make their offerings at the various shrines.

All around the pagoda are shrines with a Buddha image, one for each day of the week. Every shrine has a planet and an animal sign associated with it in accordance with Eastern astrology. Burmese people pray to the shrine belonging to their day of birth burning candles, offering flowers and pouring water over the image.

In Myanmar there is a long tradition of temporary ordination of Buddhist monks and married men can traditionally return to the monastery from time to time, provided they have their wives' permission. As can be seen in this next photo, with wife and daughter proudly walking along behind this monk.

 The photo above is of members of the East Timor Team who were in Myanmar competing in the South East Asian Games 2013

We would be returning to Yangon again at the end of our trip but for now our visit was coming to an end, we returned to our hotel where we freshened up before going out again for supper. A Thai restaurant Mai Thai where once again we ran into participants competing in the South East Asian Games 2013 

For local directions hit the blue Google button on the right

  • The Shwedagon Pagoda,officially titled Shwedagon Zedi Daw, also known in English
  • as the Great Dagon Pagoda and the Golden Pagoda. Wikipedia
  • AddressDagon, Yangon, Myanmar (Burma)
  • Height105 m
  • Opened1372
  • HoursDaily 4am to 9pm. No foreigners permitted before 6am.

  • Map of Myanmar showing Tourist Destinations with thanks to Myanmar Travel Information 

    With thanks to the following sites for the background information included in this post. The links will take you directly to the official websites if you are interested in learning more about Yangon and other places mentioned.

    Yangon - Encyclopaedia Britannica   Wikitravel - Yangon Travel Guide   Trip Advisor - Mai Thai

    Wikipedia - Yangon History etc.   Shwedagon Pagoda    Myanmar Travel Information

     danuphyu daw saw Yee Myanma - Trip Advisor     Facebook - Ilikemyanmar - Information Channel

                                  All photos are my own unless otherwise stated taken in December 2013

    More Yangon photos can be found on Flickr in My Album entitled Yangon, Myanmar, Burma

    I would also like to point out that this entire trip was organised as independent travellers by my daughter. She planned and researched an itinerary, which we discussed, then she booked all the hotels and flights. 

     Copyright All rights reserved by LindyLouMac Photo Collection


    1. Your photos tempted me to visit Yangon. :) Very beautiful place.

    2. I am in awe, Linda. So much opulence and beauty. I especially like the laid back feel of the people you've captured. :-)

    3. Very incredible shots Linda, and don't think I have ever seen this much gold anything before. Amazing architecture and love the perspective you have captured in your shots. So happy to see you!

    4. Incredibly beautiful architecture!

    5. Stunning! especially that for us in Europe this architecture is something totally different to what we got used to

    6. Hi Lindy, May I know if there's a lot of stray dogs in Yangon, read that the situation is rather bad. Hope to know more before deciding if I want to visit, dont want to be bitten lol.

      1. I am delighted that I have tempted you to visit Yangon, I hope the rest of my posts will make you want to visit the rest of the country, or some of it anyway! I will be honest and say there are many stray dogs in Myanmar but I think more in the countryside than there were in Yangon. However they were never once a problem, they did not bother us or come anywhere near us.

    7. Hi Lindy, thanks for replying. Still deciding between Siem Reap and Yangon or both hahaha. Will see what the rest of family members vote. Have a nice weekend.

    8. Beautiful place, very inviting.

    9. Oh I so look forward to these posts they are like a good geography class. Along with the gold and the beauty of the buildings. I love how everyone is dressed so colourfully

    10. happy you are sharing this beauty ..always in my thoughts. Sending you blessings for Easter.

    11. Such an exotic vacation-- it is like a dream (and your pictures do this beautiful place justice). That was interesting about the temporarily ordained monks who can then return for a time ...

    12. Absolutely amazing photos! So colourful and vibrant and at Christmas time too, when the UK is usually just grey.

    13. I don't know if it is a bad timing or a good one, but we were there, of all times, at the Full Moon Day of Warso, when every Burmese went there. It was rainding periodically so our feet are wet and muddy and we cant take lots of photos because the only space not occupied by others is the area you are standing on!

    14. Very beautiful image, beautiful idea of yours by capturing image of married men with his proud wife and daughter.
      No wonder Shwedaggon Pagoda is one of the beautiful sculptures with golden color.


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