Myanmar Tallest Pagoda : Bago Golden God Temple – Shwemawdaw Pagoda

Myanmar Tallest Pagoda : Bago Golden God Temple - Shwemawdaw Pagoda

Why visit Bago?

Bago is just 2 hour drive away from Yangon and I strongly recommend anyone who is doing Yangon free and easy to include Bago too. It is the ancient capital of Myanmar, 4 important historical sites are located around Bago city and one of them are Shwemawdaw Pagoda.

A day trip to Bago is doable as hotel in Bago is still lack of proper facilities and city folks like us may not get use to it.  So I still suggest you to stay in Yangon.

Myanmar Tallest Pagoda : Bago Golden God Temple - Shwemawdaw Pagoda

15 meter higher than Yangon’s Swedagon Pagoda

Shwemawdaw Pagoda in Bago is 114 meter which made the tallest pagoda in whole Myanmar. Swedagon Pagoda in Yangon is also huge and tall but it is still shorter than Shwemawdaw Pagoda by 15 meter.  Before reaching, you can see Shwemawdaw Pagoda from a far.

The refection of the Shwemawdaw Pagoda on the puddle of water can be seen. (Below picture)

Myanmar Tallest Pagoda : Bago Golden God Temple - Shwemawdaw Pagoda

Sheltered Stairway

At the entrance, you need to take off your shoes before entering.  There are stairs to go up to the Shwemawdaw pagoda.

Myanmar Tallest Pagoda : Bago Golden God Temple - Shwemawdaw Pagoda

Earthquake

The tall stupa has experienced several earthquake over the centuries, one in 1917 and the other in 1930. Each rebuild and repair made the stupa a little taller untill 115 meter now.

Myanmar Tallest Pagoda : Bago Golden God Temple - Shwemawdaw Pagoda

Cleaning time

Volunteers are cleaning the stupa during my visit, so the floor was very wet.  Walk carefully as I nearly fell down couple of times.  Usually there are long mat placed around the stupa, so it is safer to walk on the mat but it is a bit irritable.

Myanmar Tallest Pagoda : Bago Golden God Temple - Shwemawdaw Pagoda

Pavilions & Shrines 

There are several pavilion and shrines around the big stupa. It is more spacious as compared to Yangon’s Swedagon Pagoda.

Myanmar Tallest Pagoda : Bago Golden God Temple - Shwemawdaw Pagoda

Little monk walking around the temple complex added a calming ambience.

Myanmar Tallest Pagoda : Bago Golden God Temple - Shwemawdaw Pagoda

Visitors resting under the Bodi tree.

Myanmar Tallest Pagoda : Bago Golden God Temple - Shwemawdaw Pagoda

Burmese are usually seen wearing their traditional clothing when visiting the temple. No shoes, no sleeveless and knee-length attire.

Myanmar Tallest Pagoda : Bago Golden God Temple - Shwemawdaw Pagoda

Moment of prayers at the praying corner.

Myanmar Tallest Pagoda : Bago Golden God Temple - Shwemawdaw Pagoda

The layout look similar to Swadagon Pagoda in Yangon but less crowded and less foreign tourists.

Myanmar Tallest Pagoda : Bago Golden God Temple - Shwemawdaw Pagoda

Myanmar Horoscope

Myanmar horoscope practise based on the day of the week and the person date of birth is important. There are 8 zodiac signs in Myanmar, one for each day of the week (but two on Wednesday). These signs representing by animals with Monday being a tiger, Tuesday a lion, Wednesday morning an elephant, Wednesday afternoon a tusk-less elephant, Thursday a rat, Friday a guinea pig, Saturday a dragon and Sunday a Garuda (mythical bird). When a child is born, it is common to be named using a name associated with their zodiac sign.

Myanmar Tallest Pagoda : Bago Golden God Temple - Shwemawdaw Pagoda

Birthday Corner

Most pagoda has a special corner dedicated to each sign of the zodiac and this is the birthday corner. People visit pagodas to pay respects to their corner. Can you remember which day of the week you were born?  Well, I don’t know which day of the week I was born so I was not able to pay respect at the birthday corner.

Myanmar Tallest Pagoda : Bago Golden God Temple - Shwemawdaw Pagoda

Legend

The Shwemawdaw Pagoda was built in the 10th century by a Mon King. The pagoda enshrine two hair relics of the Buddha. According to legend, the hair strands were given to two Burmese traders by the Gautama Buddha himself. In the year 982 and again in 1385, tooth relics were enshrined in the pagoda.

Myanmar Tallest Pagoda : Bago Golden God Temple - Shwemawdaw Pagoda

Earthquake Evidence

This is the section broke off during the earthquake 1917.  It is not pained with gold.

Myanmar Tallest Pagoda : Bago Golden God Temple - Shwemawdaw Pagoda

Pyatthat Roof

Multi tiered Pyatthat roof are the symbols of Burmese architecture. (See below)

Myanmar Tallest Pagoda : Bago Golden God Temple - Shwemawdaw Pagoda

Final thoughts :

Similar to Swedagon Pagoda, Shwemawdaw Pagoda is one of the icon in Bago city, ancient capital of Myanmar. Shwemawdaw Pagoda is the tallest pagoda in Myanmar, the towering pagoda glittering in the sun can be seen from far away.

Other tips :

  • No shoes no socks
  • No sleeveless & knee-length dress or pants
  • Bring along wet tissue to wipe your feet on your exit
  • Get Bago archeological zone ticket at US$ 10 per person which is valid to visit the pagoda other 3 historical sites in Bago.

Myanmar Tallest Pagoda : Bago Golden God Temple - Shwemawdaw Pagoda

Other attractions in Bago :

29 Replies to “Myanmar Tallest Pagoda : Bago Golden God Temple – Shwemawdaw Pagoda”

    1. Dear Akamatra,

      The one thing I actually find hard to adapt is walking on barefoot around this huge temple complexes. Some part of the temple was pretty wet due to the cleaning while most part are dry but the floor is scorching hot to step on to. LOL.

  1. Your photos, as always, are amazing and make me want to travel! I love how I feel like I am walking through your journey with you – I love your blog 🙂

  2. These structures are all so beautiful. I can only imagine how impressive they are in person. I would love to be able to see it all myself.

  3. I never realized how gorgeous everything is there. All of the gold is just stunning. It would be a fabulous place to visit.

    1. Dear Racheal,

      The walking barefoot for me is the most hardest part in my Myanmar trip. The floor can be very hot and sometimes wet and slippery which I nearly fell down several times. And you never know the wet portion is from the water or poo from the birds…

    1. Dear Shar,
      Myanmar is a land of pagodas, beautiful but still very backward compared to its neighboring countries such as Thailand and Hanoi. It is backward due to political turmoil and isolation for 50 years and closed off to tourists. Myanmar only re-open it doors to foreign visitors and investors since 2011. Having said that, Myanmar is still highly recommended if you are in Asia. I like how cheap this place is as compared to Thailand and Hanoi.

    1. Dear Surekha,

      The temple pagodas, the local market, the street foods are all the reason to visit Myanmar. Tousism is still far behind Thailand but Myanmar still have its own unique characters to attract tourists around the globe.

    1. Dear Annette,

      Shwemawdaw Pagoda is the tallest pogaoda in the whole Myanmar and is located in Bago, just less than 2 hours drive from Yangon city. A
      Bago day trip to visit several important historical site is highly recommeded.

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