Yangon Attractions – Shwedagon Pagoda

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Arguably a sight that all visitors to Yangon will visit, you can’t miss it if you are travelling from the city Center to say Inlay lake. In fact one would mostly see the pagoda coming from the airport.

It’s a  sight to behold in the night, but magical during golden hour when the sky turns from purplish to blue.

For photographers, it’s a good idea to get there early say an hour or so before sunset. The place will be packed and its good to have time to spare to take it all in. It’s an expansive place, on one hand there is much to photograph, on the other, its repetitive as the Pagoda is circular. It also takes a while to get your angles right as you mostly need a wide angle to get it all in whilst minimising any distortion you may have.

On the day I visited, the place was rather empty. I noticed that there were large groups arriving once I was leaving which was after the sunset and I did not have the equipment to capture anything meaningful. It’s good to know that the place welcomes photographers (although I would be mindful and respectful of taking pictures of those actually there for prayer). I was hoping for a higher proportion of locals vs tourists but it didn’t happen on the day and the places was quite muted. Not sure which days are busiest but I was there on a Friday evening.

In terms of equipment, I went light and wide. This was in contrast to quite a few people I saw whom had 70-200 & 24-70 zooms, as soon as I saw those (and there were many) I felt “out-kitted”. In hindsight, a good portrait focal length would have gone a long way – so now you know.

If you are planning to go and have time to be flexible, choose a cloudless evening to visit on as the glow from the pagoda whilst the sunsets against a clear evening provides the opportunity for some stunning images.

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