The entry fee for non-Myanmar citizens at the Shwedagon Pagoda will be raised from K8,000 (US$5.90) to K10,000 (US$7.30) starting Dec. 1.
The price hike was initially announced by the pagoda’s board of trustees in May and was meant to come into effect on June 1, 2017. The board said the new fee would be more in line with the fees at similar sites in neighboring countries, like the temple of Emerald Buddha in Bangkok and Angkor Wat in Cambodia.
However, the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Culture ordered that the hike be postponed for six months after tour operators complained that they had not been consulted in advance and, therefore, had not set their package rates with the new fee in mind.
Signs will be posted at the entrance to the pagoda to inform tourists and guides about the new fee.
From 1995 to 2013, the entry fee for foreigners at the Shwedagon Pagoda was US$5. In October 2013, it was raised to US$8 in order to raise money for better services at the pagoda, such as information pamphlets in English and Mandarin and social media marketing.
In April 2014, the fee was changed from US$8 to K8,000 in order to eliminate the problem of tourists paying with torn or wrinkled dollar notes, which local banks infamously refuse to accept.
According to official figures, the pagoda’s board of trustees collected around US$4 million in entrance fees in 2016 from an estimated 610,000 foreign visitors.
This year, the pagoda had welcomed 445,000 foreign visitors by September, the largest portions of whom were from Thailand and China.