After the monsoon season of every fifth year, new gold leaf is reapplied to the main stupa at the Shwedagon Pagoda Complex. The forthcoming renovation will commence between September 2018 to March 2019, meaning the entire main stupa will be covered in bamboo scaffolding. Local volunteers help to apply the newly hammered gold leaf, climbing up the towering 99-metre pagoda. Visitors will still be able to visit the pagoda complex and its many smaller shrines and other places of worship. This is a unique opportunity to witness a great event organized by the Pagoda Trustee, as this great work only occurs once every five years. While views of the main pagoda will be limited during this period, it is a fascinating time to visit and see this tradition first hand.
The same procedure will also take place at the Golden Rock (Kyaik Htiyo Pagoda) and the Botathaung Pagoda. Golden Rock (Kyaik Htiyo) Pagoda will start scaffolding at the end of October 2018 until March 2019 and the Botathaung Pagoda in Yangon will start scaffolding from November until February 2019 for the new layer of gold gilding.