The five most important travel destinations for tourists visiting Myanmar include worship shrines comprising of four pagodas or stupas and one Buddha statue – all worship shrines are considered sacred by Buddhists, both local and foreign. Common belief states that if all five places of worship are visited, then one will be blessed with merits of the highest order. That said, all five worship shrines are exquisitely beautiful and carry unrivaled artistic value when compared to their sanctity.
Shwedagon Pagoda (Shwedagon Zedi Daw)
Shwedagon Pagoda of Myanmar is believed to have been built 2,500 years ago and said to contain the sacred relics of the past four previous Buddhas of the present Kalpa. The golden gilded pagoda stands 367 feet tall with an illuminating presence of religious sanctity. The top of the pagoda contains eight hair strands of the Lord Buddha together with 5,448 diamonds, 2,317 emeralds and 1,100 kilograms of gold. Shwedagon is open for worship throughout the day, but most visitors like to go in the early hours or in the evening before sunset to admire the beauty of the pagoda during twilight.
How to go: Shwedagon Pagoda is located in the heart of Yangon and is easily accessed by public and private transportation.
Kyaiktiyo Pagoda (Golden Rock Pagoda)
Kyaiktiyo Pagoda is a small golden pagoda that sits on a golden rock above a mountain peak. The golden rock appears to be barely hanging on a cliff. This pagoda is a sacred place for Buddhists; it is believed that if you come to worship this relic, you will receive merit comparable to worshiping the Chulamanee Pagoda which exists in heaven as the abode of deities. If you visit this pagoda three times, you will receive even greater merit, as all of your wishes will be granted. The outside area of the pagoda is open all night and serves as a meditation place for visitors.
How to go: Travel from Yangon Airport by car for about four hours, then take a cable car up to the mountain where the pagoda is located.