“Rangoon. And now I found that in my recollections, so vague and uncertain, the Shwe Dagon rose superb as on that first morning it had risen, glistening with its gold, like a sudden hope in the dark night of the soul of which the mystics write, glistening against the fog and smoke of the thriving city.” – Somerset Maugham
The taxi driver dropped me at the entrance with elevator. A coincidence. This entrance led me to the Tuesday corner. I was born on Tuesday and the mentioned corner is where I should pray and say my wishes based on Buddhist beliefs. Paid the entrance fee of 8000 kyats and 2000 for longyi rental fee. For simple conversion, 1000 kyats is 1 USD. I was wearing short so I needed the longyi. I left my slippers as people should be barefooted when inside this holy compound. I took the lift which brought me up to the temple ground level.
Shwedagon Pagoda, which means Great Dragon Pagoda, dominated the skyline of Yangon City. It is the most sacred temple for Burmese people. It’s main stupa of 99 meter high is gilded with gold plates with a diamond bud at the top tipped with 76 carat diamond. The compound consists of many tiny temples which enshrined the different Buddha relics.
Exploring this temple compound is my only itinerary of the day thus I made myself not in a hurry. There were moments which I just sat in a corner and observe the Burmese people doing their religious obligations. Oh, the compound offers free wifi. Yes, free wifi.
A tourist guide approached me and offered to help me to take picture of myself and of course a guide service to tour me around the compound. I am aware, there are a lot of them inside the compound. I took his offer and paid him 5000 kyat which I thought was enough for an hour service. Of course he insisted it was quite small amount but I told him I don’t have extra money and that was enough.
After staying for 3 hours in the compound, observing the Burmese people, I left the place to find something for lunch. I hailed a cab and asked him to bring me to the nearest Lotteria, the famous fast food restaurant in Myanmar.