This pagoda is similar to what you will or have experienced at Shwedagon pagoda in Yangon. A beautiful bell shape and covered in gold. The base houses many beautifully decorated pavilions. I don't remember exactly when, but an earthquake significantly damaged the pagoda a while back and the upper portion that once housed the original umbrella collapsed to the ground where is still lies today, now a part of the pagoda grounds. When we were there it rained for a while and we saw some local Burmese children playing around on the grounds splashing in the water and sliding around on the slick ground. It was great seeing the innocence of children and the true heart that beats in Myanmar that day. Spend some time, explore the grounds, and leave a small offering of kyats. The country is really best traveled with a tour guide, as so little is published on all of these sites, getting a locals rendition of the sites really helps to put things in perspective. For all of you socially conscious people who are attempting to travel the country while giving as little to the ruling military government as possible, you are able to get independent tour companies and excellent guides that will not just give you the government line.
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