31 March 2015

Meandering in Myanmar: Botataung Paya in Yangon

After exploring the rural countryside of southern Myanmar around Mawlamyine and visiting some Buddhist caves around Hpa-An, I opted to go back to Yangon. This time, I rode the bus, which was a little bit faster, and more comfortable too. So instead of taking 9 hours, it only took 6, plus air-conditioning. I spent one night in Yangon, which was enough time for me to see the remaining sights I wanted to check out before flying towards the north. So after checking into my hostel, I went to the riverfront and visiting Botataung Paya.

This is a famous temple built by the Mon people around the same time the Shwedagon Paya was built. One interesting thing about this temple is that unlike the other stupas I have seen, this one is hollow.

Let me show you the pictures of the interior of the stupa first. It was visually stunning. Everything inside was gold, and it was air-conditioned as well, courtesy of the King of Thailand. Inside, there is a small secure cabinet, which is believed to be hosting a sacred hair of the Gautama Buddha. Of course, plenty of locals flock here, and it can get relatively crowded, as everyone wants to snatch a picture of Buddha's hair.

I visited this place during the late afternoon: I wanted to see the stupa in the diminishing sunlight, as it was a rather different experience. As you can see, the aura of the place is different compared to when I visited the Shwedagon Paya in mid-morning. I love how the color of the golden stupa changes slightly as the darkness slowly sets in.

The pictures above show you the worshipers: as usual, they find the Buddha corresponding to their birthday, and they give a bath to the Buddha. Plenty of other people are also sitting and praying in front of the stupa. I personally thought that this place was more solemn than Shwedagon Paya, as the fact that Shwedagon Paya is famous makes it such that there are more tourists there than worshipers.

I also found these statues with snakes. I thought they were rather curious.

The last thing I saw here in Botataung Paya as well as in Yangon was this golden Buddha, housed in the not-so-good-looking building shown above. The building looks like it needs a renovation, but the Buddha inside is simply splendid, and definitely eye-catching. Several people were sitting down and kneeling and praying in front of it.

It is time to move on, and so this was the last thing I checked out in Yangon before I headed north. I spent one last night eating street food, as Yangon had a good sampling of it, and the next day, I went to the airport and flew to Bagan, where my next entry is going to be about.


  1. Stunning indeed! I had no idea some were hollow.

    Oh, you have to tell me more about local street food!

    1. Zhu,

      Yes, most stupas are not hollow, but this one was quite an exception!