Soon Oo Pon Nya Shin Pagoda

It's one of the oldest--and from all appearances, richest--of the many pagodas in Sagaing. Sitting high on top of Nga-pha Hill, it was built in 1312.
Buddha Statue at Soon Oo Pon Nya Shin Pagoda, Sagaing, Myanmar
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It’s one of the oldest–and from all appearances, richest–of the many pagodas in Sagaing. Sitting high on top of Nga-pha Hill, one of dozens of hilltops in the Sagaing Hills, it was built in 1312 by Minister Pon Nya, after whom it’s named.

It’s not the most subtly decorated pagoda you’ll come across, thanks to a flood of cash coming in. A few things stand out in the main prayer hall. You can’t miss the giant statue of Gautama Buddha that dominates one end, tower higher than the walls around him. He looks unusually cheery. His gold robes and throne are surrounded by jade-colored tiles that line the walls and ceiling. And there are more donation boxes in this pagoda than I’ve seen in any other, each box designated to a particular purpose.

Outside, the sprawling patios aren’t any less opulent. Colorful tiles cover the floors from which gold-covered stupas rise up. And there are great views over the Ayeyarwaddy River and surrounding hilltops.

The hill on which the pagoda sits is shaped a little like a frog. Which is how it got its name. And it also explains the large frog-shaped donation box you’ll see inside.

Photos of Soon Oo Pon Nya Shin Pagoda

Gold Stupa at Soon Oo Pon Nya Shin Pagoda, Sagaing, Myanmar
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Buddha Statue at Soon Oo Pon Nya Shin Pagoda, Sagaing, Myanmar
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Soon Oo Pon Nya Shin Pagoda, Sagaing, Myanmar
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Buddha Statue at Soon Oo Pon Nya Shin Pagoda, Sagaing, Myanmar
The massive statue of The Buddha at the heart of the main shrine, which has been ornately decorated in recent years. Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Gold Stupa at Soon Oo Pon Nya Shin Pagoda, Sagaing, Myanmar
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
View from Soon Oo Pon Nya Shin Pagoda over the Ayeyarwaddy River, Sagaing, Myanmar
View from the patio of Soon Oo Pon Nya Shin Pagoda over the Ayeyarwaddy River, Sagaing, Myanmar. Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Soon Oo Pon Nya Shin Pagoda, Sagaing, Myanmar
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Soon Oo Pon Nya Shin Pagoda, Sagaing, Myanmar
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Gold Stupa at Soon Oo Pon Nya Shin Pagoda, Sagaing, Myanmar
The golden stupa at the center of the pagoda complex. Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Soon Oo Pon Nya Shin Pagoda, Sagaing, Myanmar
One of the leoglyphs (lion statues) next to the main gold stupa. Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Soon Oo Pon Nya Shin Pagoda, Sagaing, Myanmar
Several of the buildings have these intricate decorations on the roof. Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Gold Stupa at Soon Oo Pon Nya Shin Pagoda, Sagaing, Myanmar
Detail of the main gold stupa. Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Tiled Floor at Soon Oo Pon Nya Shin Pagoda, Sagaing, Myanmar
Some jade-colored floor tiles forming intricate patterns. Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Donation Boxes at Soon Oo Pon Nya Shin Pagoda, Sagaing, Myanmar
Donation boxes filled with cash. Each is designated for a particular purpose, so donors can choose the category for how they want their donation to be spent. [Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Soon Oo Pon Nya Shin Pagoda, Sagaing, Myanmar
Story murals that line the top of the walls all the way around the main chamber. Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
View from Soon Oo Pon Nya Shin Pagoda over the Ayeyarwaddy River, Sagaing, Myanmar
A view from the patio over the Ayeyarwaddy River and some of the many other pagodas that share the same hill. Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Soon Oo Pon Nya Shin Pagoda, Sagaing, Myanmar
Brightly colored tiles on the patio area. Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Soon Oo Pon Nya Shin Pagoda, Sagaing, Myanmar
A different angle of the patio, with more bright tiles and the Ayeyarwaddy in the background. Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
View from Soon Oo Pon Nya Shin Pagoda over the Ayeyarwaddy River, Sagaing, Myanmar
Looking out from the main patio over the Ayeyarwaddy River in the general direction of Mandalay. Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Buddha Statue at Soon Oo Pon Nya Shin Pagoda, Sagaing, Myanmar
The main shrine, with the massive statue of The Buddha. Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com

What to Know Before You Go

As with nearly all Burmese names that have been transliterated into English, you’ll come across multiple variations in spelling and rendering, including SoneOoPoneNyaShin and Sone Oo Pone Nya Shin.

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Travel Advice for Myanmar (Burma)

You can find the latest U.S. Department of State travel advisories and information for Myanmar (Burma) (such as entry visa requirements and vaccination requirements) here.

The British and Australian governments offer their own country-specific travel information. You can find the British Government's travel advice for Myanmar (Burma) here and the Australian Government's here.

Health & Vaccinations

The CDC makes country-specific recommendations for vaccinations and health for travelers. You can find their latest information for Myanmar (Burma) here.

Guidebooks for Myanmar (Burma)

If you're looking for a guidebook to make the most of your visit, these are some of the most popular ones currently for Myanmar (Burma). Some are available in both paper and e-book formats.

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