Around 570,960 foreigners visited Shwedagon Pagoda this October, reports Eleven. Although we can’t confirm whether this is the highest monthly record to date, it’s safe to say it’s probably one of the highest yet.
Of course, with more tourists comes more money. In October, the pagoda raised over K4 billion (approximately US$3.1 million) in entrance fees from foreigners (which are priced at $8 per person), and over $100,000 in donation money from foreigners.
Thai nationals make up the largest proportion of the landmark’s foreign visitors. In fact, about a fifth of the foreigners who visited in October were Thai. Chinese, Koreans and Japanese visitors are also among the pagoda’s biggest fans, according to official records.
Shwedagon has always been a popular site among both locals and tourists. However, the ongoing international surge in interest and tourism in Myanmar has undoubtedly helped boost the pagoda’s traffic and funds.
In April, Shwedagon received 320,683 foreign visitors; in May, it was 350,069; in June, 290,421; in July, 360,995; in August, 370,669; and in September, 370,842. Apart from a dip in June — damn you, rainy season — it’s clear that these numbers are steadily increasing from month to month.
To put this in context, Shwedagon received 152,368 foreign visitors for the whole of 2010. At the time, that was the record high. Look how far we’ve come.