Sule Pagoda – Serenity Amidst the Traffic in Yangon?
Sule Pagoda or Sule Paya centrally locates in the middle of the traffic in Yangon. It’s in a roundabout surrounded by all kinds of local transport. Standing and looking from outside, I wonder how devout Buddhists would be able to attain peace amidst traffic noises. Would Buddha hear their prayers – whatever they’re asking for?
There’s only one way to find out. So I went inside.
This is the first Buddhist Temple in Myanmar that I’ve been to. It’s only 7 minutes walk from where I stayed. So, it’s practical to start my self-guided sightseeing tour here.
Amazingly though, the traffic noise I expected to be loud was not really that loud. Or maybe, I have a hearing problem that I didn’t really hear that much noise. 🙂 I was there at 5:10 in the afternoon which is peak hours for traffic.
Sule Pagoda is an octagonal Pagoda with a 46-meter stupa which is believed to be older than the one in Shwedagon.
Legend has it that this pagoda was built when Buddha was still alive.
It was also here that a spirit (nat) revealed that the present-day site of the Shwedagon Pagoda should be on a hill. Interestingly, worshipping nats/spirits have been part of the culture – even before Buddhism arrived in Burma/Myanmar.
Aside from its historical value, the pagoda also contains a hair relic of the Buddha himself.
In contemporary Myanmar history, Sule Pagoda is part of the country’s political revolutions. People gathered here during the Saffron Revolution in 2007 and the uprisings in 1988.
Since you are already here at Sule, why not explore the city’s old quarter?
Across the street, you will find the City Hall painted in white. The structure is the first one in the country that combines British and local architectural designs.
In front of the City Hall, you’ll find the Independence Monument, where the locals hang out in the late afternoon ’till evening.
A few steps from here, a Baptist Church is on your left.
If you circle the pagoda, you will pass by this mosque – the only one I saw in Myanmar.
Walk a little bit further, and you’ll see a bridge. Cross it and admire Sule pagoda from here, especially after sunset.
Go around the neighborhood and you will find cultural heritage buildings that are left to decay. Or maybe, there’s just no budget to renovate them.
Hungry to stroll around the area? Walk to Chinatown and find your kind of food.
And if you have a habit of waking up early, you’ll find these kid monks doing their morning rituals/routines.
Cheap Hotel in Yangon
I stayed in two places: a hotel and a hostel. Hotel G Yangon has views of the city you’ll love if you book the right room! It’s close to Sule Pagoda, a downtown market, and a train station. Backpacker Bed and Breakfast is your budget-friendly hostel near Sule Pagoda in the old district. Their rooftop is a good place to chill in the afternoon and eat breakfast.