Disembark the ship and start your half day city orientation with a visit to the Sule Pagoda, said to be over 2500 years old and to enshrine one of Buddha’s hairs. After photo stops at City Hall and surrounding colonial buildings, continue on to one of the religious wonders of the world, Shwedagon Pagoda. This remarkable stupa features a golden paya which extends almost 98 meters into the air.
While at Shwedagon students are encouraged to pour water over their birthdates’ corresponding symbol: In Myanmar apart from the twelve Zodiac signs which correspond to the ones used in the West, every day of the week is symbolized by an animal. The signs are the Galon or Giant Bird for Sunday, Tiger for Monday, Lion for Tuesday, Mouse for Thursday, Hamster for Friday and ‘Naga’, or Dragon, for Saturday. There is an additional symbol for Wednesday afternoon, which is an elephant without tusks, while Wednesday morning features a tusked elephant. There are shrines with the animals symbolizing each day of the week around the base of the Shwedagon pagoda. The group itself will be divided into smaller groups according to the guest’s day of birth. All guests will be provided bowls with water. Each guest will have the possibility to donate flowers to the shrine of their birth sign. It is believed that pouring water over the Buddha in the shrine will provide good luck (one bowl of water per year of age).
Following our visit to the temple, we will enjoy a group dinner at a local restaurant to taste Myanmar Cuisine, experience first-hand the local market atmosphere in Yangon, and take an evening stroll through Chinatown.