Most visitors to Shwedagon Pagoda climbed up the Singuttara Hill by one of four stairways or zaungdans. Shwedagon Pagoda, like most other pagodas in Myanmar, has four stairways or zaungdans, one on each side of the pagoda (north, south, east and west). The stairway that is most used by the foreign visitors is the Southern Stairway, which ascends from the direction of the city center. The stairway starts immediately at the end of the Shwedagon Pagoda Road, which runs straight from downtown Yangon (Rangoon). Shwedagon Pagoda Road starts near Bogyoke Aung San Market, and runs north until it ends at the foot of the Shwedagon Pagoda. From here starts the Southern Stairway.
Many a time, foreigners (especially western foreign expats working in Myanmar) will notice that things they ask from Myanmar friends are met with affirmative answers but never materialized. For example, a westerner expat might invite his friend to a dinner party. The Myanmar friend is not free on that day. Normally, a westerner will simply …