A visit to the Golden Rock, Burma
Our visit to the Golden Rock was a fun packed 2 day adventure. We opted to stay the night in Kinpun and see the rock first thing in the morning. A lot of guidebooks say that you can visit the Golden Rock as a day trip from Yangon. Whilst this is possible we do not recommend it as it would mean an early start, a very late finish and you would have to rush your visit.
We decided to take (or is that brave) the train to the Golden Rock. We brought our tickets a day before from Yangon train station. If you are buying advanced tickets you have to walk around to the back of the train station, cross the bridge and then walk in towards your left. The tickets cost around $20 each and the journey took 5 hours.
The journey itself was an adventure. Our carriage was Upper Class which sounds a lot better than it actually is but is still a million times better than ordinary class. As we sat watching the beautiful Burmese countryside glide pass we hit the first of a thousand bumps on the track. How did we know this? Because we were literally off our seats in the air! So began the train / horse ride to Kyaikto. It was actually very funny. It was like being on a ride at the fair.
We stayed in a wonderful place in Kinpun called The Golden Sunrise Hotel. Our bungalow was huge with a lovely verandah overlooking the lush garden. Although after seeing the hotels up in the mountains next to The Golden Rock itself we would recommend staying in them instead. They are more expensive and you will probably get a smaller room but the views and location are fantastic.
Kinpun itself was an interesting little town with ultra friendly locals (where isn’t in Burma!), a scattering of restaurants that cater for Burmese & travellers alike and a 20 screen multiplex cinema. Just kidding on the cinema I was checking if you are still awake!
To get up to the rock itself you have to take a truck up the mountain (THIS is not a joke, see the photos below) with another 40 people. The truck stop is at the bottom of the hill just off the main road in Kinpun. There are two types of truck that take you up. The one that stops you around a third of the way and the one that takes you to the top. Obviously we chose the latter! We took the first truck in the morning which left at 06:30. Normally waking up at 05:30 would be a big no-no but we were always waking up early in Burma so it was not that hard. Plus it gave us ample time up at the rock. Sharing the back of an open truck with another 40 people that was hurling up the side of a mountain only ever happens when you travel. We even got to try some local delicacies as some kind Burmese girls gave us some of their food because of our inquisitive faces! The cost of the ride is 1500 kyat.
We spent about 3 hours up at the Rock which included a pit stop for breakfast. The legend of The Golden Rock states that the boulder on Mount Kyaiktiyo maintains it’s precarious balance due to a single Buddha hair placed in the stupa. So it’s another revered site for Buddhist Burmese. When we were up there people were praying and making offerings around the rock. Men were buying gold leaf and attaching it to the rock (women are not allowed which we found ridiculous), and there were maroon robed monks everywhere. We would suggest to come in the morning as the tiles that you walk on are still cool. As it is a Buddhist site you have to walk bare foot and I am quite sure in the afternoon the floor will be scorching. Whilst up at the site don’t forget to look around you as some of the views are breathtaking. Most people get so side tracked with taking photos of the Rock that they totally miss the beautiful vista!
Though not our favourite place in Burma we really had a fun 2 days visiting The Golden Rock. If you have an open itinerary when you are in Burma then we recommend paying it a visit if you are pushed for time then it’s better to spend your time in Yangon, Bagan and Inle Lake.
Have a great weekend!
Have you been to the Golden Rock? Do you agree on what we said? Do you know of any other huge boulders that are worshipped? Please leave us comments, feedback, rants the lot.
Peace & Love,