Myanmar is well know for its beautiful temples and incredible culture. Burmese people are incredibly spiritual and if you want to dig in the culture and traditions, you’ll have to visit a few temples.
If you are planning to spend a few days in Yangon, I’ve put together a list of the best temples to visit in Yangon. Apart from their beauty and importance in the local community, each of these temples has unique characteristics.
If you want to check out the most beautiful temples in the entire Myanmar, click here.
1. How to dress when visiting temples in Myanmar
The most important rule when visiting temples in Myanmar is to take your shoes off. Also, you will have to dress conservatively and cover your knees and shoulders. I recommend carrying a scarf with you. You can tie it around your waist and cover your feet.
For more details about how to dress when visiting Myanmar, read this comprehensive guide.
2. Sule Pagoda
Sule Pagoda or Sule Paya is a Burmese Stupa located right in the heart of Yangon. According to the legend, this pagoda was built 2600 years ago, before the Shwedagon Pagoda, during the time of the Gautama Buddha. Also, this stupa is believed to enshrine a Buddha hair.
The legend states that the actual site of Shwedagon Pagoda was asked to be revealed by an old nat (spirit worshiped in Myanmar) who resided in the same place where Sule Pagoda is nowadays. The pagoda received its name after this old nat – Sule Nat.
Yangon Sule Pagoda is 44 m high and it is topped with a hti (an ornamental element shaped as an umbrella). The pagoda is surrounded by a circular building with shops where services of astrology and palmistry are offered.
Sule Paya is one of the most beautiful temples in Yangon and one of the most important attractions in the city. I really loved getting lost in the neighborhoods near Sule Pagoda and I would definitely recommend exploring the area around it.
If you want to find out the difference between temples, pagodas and stupas, you should check out this article.
Sule Pagoda entrance fee: $3
Sule Pagoda opening hours: 6am – 10pm
3. Shwedagon Pagoda
Probably one of the most famous temples in Southeast Asia, Shwedagon Pagoda is a true wonder. This 99m tall pagoda, situated on Singuttara Hill impresses through its height and beauty. Shwedagon Pagoda is considered to be the most sacred Buddhist pagodas in Myanmar since it includes relics of 4 previous Buddhas.
The Shwedagon Pagoda’s architecture is quite impressive. The top of the pagoda is decorated with 5,448 diamonds and 2,317 rubies. The very top of the pagoda is tipped with a 76 karat (15 grams) diamond and the pagoda itself is all covered with golden plates.
The pagoda consists of hundreds of other colorful temples, stupas and statues, all with incredible details. Just take your time (I would recommend spending at leat 2 hours here) and admire its incredible beauty.
Shwedagon Pagoda is definitely Yangon’s most beautiful temple.
Tip: It is customary to walk clockwise when visiting the Shwedagon Pagoda.
Shwedagon Pagoda entrance fee: $6.5
Shwedagon Pagoda opening hours: 4am – 10pm
4. Maha Wizaya Pagoda
The Maha Wizaya Pagoda in Yangon is a beautiful structure on top of Dhammarakhita Hill, opposite to Swedagon Pagoda. The pagoda was completed in 1980 and it has a mix of traditional and contemporary elements.
A unique feature is Maha Wizaya’s main stupa. Unlike other Burmese stupas which are closed to visitors, this stupa is open. Inside it there is a round room where Burmese people gather to pray. Take a walk around the circular room and admire the murals on the ceiling which depict various animals.
The Maha Wizaya Pagoda is one of the must see temples in Yangon, Myanmar due to its unique architecture.
Maha Wizaya Pagoda entrance fee: free
Maha Wizaya Pagoda opening hours: 6am – 10pm
5. Nga Htat Gyi Pagoda
Nga Htat Gyi Pagoda is home to the famous 14 meter tall, Five Storey Buddha. This huge seated image of Buddha sits on a pedestal and it was built in 1900.
Unfortunately, when we visited Nga Htat Gyi Pagoda, the Buddha image was under renovation and we couldn’t see much of it. However, we couldn’t help but notice the statue’s incredible details and golden robe.
The Buddha image is different in style from the ones you can find around Myanmar. This is why visiting Nga Htat Gyi Pagoda should be on your list when in Yangon. Also, not many tourists visit this pagoda. Nga Htat Gyi Pagoda is a great place to explore Myanmar’s culture and traditions without bumping into hundreds of tourists.
Nga Htat Gyi Pagoda entrance fee: $3
Nga Htat Gyi Pagoda opening hours: 6am – 8pm
6. Chauk Htat Kyi Pagoda
Chauk Htat Kyi Pagoda is home to one of the biggest reclining Buddhas in the world and the biggest one in Yangon. The biggest reclining Buddha in the world is in Mawlamyine, Maynmar – you can read all about the impressive 180 meters Buddha Statue in this article.
The 65m long Reclining Buddha image in Yangon is highly revered in Myanmar and it was originally completed in 1907. In 1966, during the renovation, another 6 meters were added to the original structure.
Buddhist people come to Chauk Htat Kyi Pagoda to pay their respects while burning incense and offering flowers. Around the statue there are shrines dedicated to each day of the week where Buddhists come and pray.
This pagoda is situated just across the street from Nga Htat Gyi Pagoda. If you are in the area, make sure to visit both. Each of these Yangon temples is unique and special in its own way.
Chauk Htat Kyi Pagoda entrance fee: free
Chauk Htat Kyi Pagoda opening hours: 6am – 8pm
7. Tooth Relic Pagoda (Swe Taw Myat Pagoda)
As the name says, this pagoda was built to enshrine a sacred Buddha tooth relic which was brought from China in 1994. The interesting part is that here, at Swe Taw Myat Pagoda, you can see the ivory copy of the Buddha tooth relic.
The pagoda impresses through its unique shape and symmetry.
Tooth Relic Pagoda entrance fee: free, $0.20 photography fee
Tooth Relic Pagoda opening hours: 6am – 6pm
8. Where to stay in Yangon
Low Budget – Backpacker Hostel – excellent location, clean, good breakfast included
Mid Budget – Hotel G Yangon – modern, excellent location, spacious room, beautiful decor
Luxury – Pan Pacific Yangon – beautiful infinity pool, excellent views, excellent location, friendly staff
These 6 temples in Yangon, Burma are among the most beautiful ones in the whole country. If you have enough time to spend in Yangon, I would recommend visiting all 6 of them. However, if you have limited time, then make sure to visit at least the Shwedagon Pagoda and Sule Pagoda.
If you only have a few days in Yangon, I recommend reading my guide. Also, an excellent guide to help you plan your trip around Myanmar is the Lonely Planet one. Check it out for awesome tips & tricks and recommendations.
May the travel bug bite you!
More about Yangon:
- Backpacking Myanmar – everything you need to know – click here
- The ultimate guide to Mandalay – click here
- Myanmar awesome hidden gems – click here
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