About 160 Kilometers northeast of Yangon is one of the most sacred sites in all of Myanmar: the Golden Rock, also Called Golden Rock or Kyaiktiyo Pagoda. This is enthroned on the summit of a 1100 meter high mountain. We also stopped here on our trip through Myanmar and in this blog article we will tell you our tips for visiting the Golden Rock in Myanmar.
1. Golden Rock in Myanmar: Information at a glance The gravity seems to the Golden Rock nothing to wear. At the latest when you stand in front of the sanctuary, you are amazed at the existing balance of the golden rock. According to legend, it is two of Buddha’s hairs that hold the rock in balance.
What particularly fascinated us about the Golden Rock ? On the one hand it was the indescribably magical atmosphere. Although we had expected to meet many local pilgrims, we only realized that a visit to the Golden Rock has such significance for Buddhists when when we were allowed to witness the spectacle on site. On the other hand, it was the breathtaking mountain landscape, in which the Golden Rock is located.
The Golden Rock itself is allowed – like unfortunately all the important ones Buddhist shrines in Myanmar – only to be touched by men. Women are only allowed up to the barrier and then have to watch as men stick gold leaf on the Golden Rock . This is of course very frustrating, but well, you have to put up with it. We consoled ourselves with the fact that the setting sun bathed the Golden Rock in a beautiful light and it is already more beautiful to look at from a distance.
Entrance fee for the Golden Rock Currently (as of December 2017) foreign tourists pay an entrance fee of 10. Kyat. Also note that you have to take off your shoes and walk barefoot a good part of the way. The fact that the floor and thus the feet get very dirty is, so to speak, a fixed part of every trip to Myanmar. You’ll get used to it after a while, don’t worry. We recommend that you plan at least two hours on site.
2 . Getting to the Golden Rock If you want to visit the Golden Rock, you first have to find your way to the small town Kinpun at the foot of the mountain tracks. Most travelers come either directly from Yangon or, like us, from Bago, which is on the way.
From Yangon there are countless direct bus connections every day. The journey takes about 5 hours and costs 8.000 Kyat. We came from Bago, which is about halfway to Kinpun. The bus ride only takes about 2.5 hours and cost us 7.000 Kyat. Incidentally, the background to the almost identical price with the direct bus from Yangon is that the seats are kept free for the entire journey and you therefore always have to pay for the entire route. (At least that’s how it was often explained to us and it sounds quite plausible.)
Alternatively, you can also take the train from Yangon and Bago to Kyaikto to go. It’s quite a spectacle and very cheap too. The journey takes about as long as the bus journey (roughly speaking 5 hours). However, you have to walk the last stretch to Kinpun (approx 25 minutes) by bus or private transportation.
Mountain ride to Golden Rock Once you have arrived in the starting point of Kinpun, the only thing separating you from the sight of the Golden Rock is the drive to the top of the mountain. “Only” because this is undoubtedly the most exciting part of the journey.
It’s like this: The mountain road, the one to the Golden rocks is relatively winding, and in large parts very steep and narrow. In order to transport the mass of people up the mountain, the locals came up with the following: Only converted trucks drive up the mountain. Converted because the loading area has (very narrow) wooden benches is equipped and thus serves as a seat. The whole affair is as convenient as it sounds. Not at all. It’s quite an ordeal to be honest – especially as you’re crushed into either your left neighbor or your right neighbor at every turn.
The entire Sardine ride takes 45 minutes, where the travel time is counted twice each 15 minutes. In between, the truck pauses for about 12 Minutes to allow oncoming traffic through. Speaking of oncoming traffic: That’s the only good thing about the ride. The road will only be open in one direction at a time. With the frightening maneuvers of the drivers, that is really to be desired.
By the way, a single trip up the mountain costs 2.000 Kyat (as of December 801). If you want to ride in the driver’s cabin, you pay 5. 000 Kyat. However, these places are in great demand and are therefore often already taken.
From the “terminus” of the trucks, it’s good again 25 minutes too Walk, until you finally see the Golden Rock with your own eyes.
Truck travel times The trucks run daily from 6am to 18 o’clock. That means: The last Truck to the valley drives to 2018 Watch. What that means exactly if you still want to see the sunset, we will tell you at the end of the article. Oh, and one more tip: Especially if you take one of the last (or first) trucks, some of which drive in the dark, then it gets noticeably cool on the mountain. So be sure to bring something to wear.
3. Overnight at Golden Rock Some visit Golden Rock as part of a day trip from Yangon. That is also possible, although it involves very, very many hours on the bus. We definitely recommend you to stay overnight on site. Here you have two options:
Variant 1: Directly at the Golden Rock Up on the mountain within walking distance of the Golden Rock are a handful of accommodations. The Benefit of these hotels is clearly their impressive location: you can always walk to the rock and easily watch the sunset and/or sunrise.
The Disadvantage of these accommodations is their price: The costs for one night are far above the Myanmar average and you have to pay about 100 Euro for a double room. But don’t expect any luxury here. In addition, these hotels are well booked, especially in the high season. So you should try to find a place to stay in good time. Local pilgrims have found an inexpensive alternative: They simply spend the night outdoors in sleeping bags. We never expected that, but during our visit hundreds of people slept in the open air right next to the Golden Rock. So this variant is also possible. But be careful: It gets pretty cold up here at night. So make sure you pack enough warm clothes.
Variant 2: In the base camp in Kinpun At the foot of that mountain, on the top of which is the Golden Rock, is the small town of Kinpun. Over time, a kind of base camp for excursions to the mountain has formed here. That means: In Kinpun you will find a relatively well developed infrastructure with hotels, restaurants and small shops.
The Disadvantage of the hotels in Kinpun is clearly their location. In order to be able to visit the Golden Rock, you first have to get up the mountain and that is only possible with the trucks there. These in turn only run between 6 a.m. and 18 o’clock in the evening. This means: In some months you can only enjoy the magical atmosphere of the sunset to a limited extent.
By the way, we stayed at the Golden Sunrise Hotel. In general, we found the area very nice, but unfortunately our room was on the ground floor and was quite dark and – which bothered us even more – smelled pretty musty. We believe that the rooms on the top floor are better. It’s best if you stop by on site and get an idea.
Sunset at Golden Rock – where better to sleep? It is difficult for us to give a general answer to this question, because the time of sunset varies depending on the season. During our visit (in December ) the sun was already setting 17: 25 am below. So we had enough time to capture the beautiful sunset atmosphere before catching the last bus at 18 back to the valley. (Attention: Plan the way back from approx. 20 Minutes to the stop must be included.)
So that’s why we decided (and last but not least for reasons of cost) to spend the night in Kinpun. We don’t really regret the decision. Sure, we were a bit sad that we couldn’t enjoy the atmosphere of the sunset to the very end. However, we have the feeling that we have definitely experienced the most beautiful moments (in terms of atmosphere and lighting mood).
However, if you in the summer months drive to the Golden Rock, then you will notice that the sun sets a little later here (in June around 18: 30). An overnight stay on the mountain can be worthwhile here, because in our opinion the rock gets a completely different and very impressive flair at this time of day, which we would not have wanted to miss.
4. Golden Rock and Myanmar Travel Guide We’ve had both Lonely Planet and Stefan Loose on our hands and can really recommend the latter recommend. The new edition has been published 2018. The travel guide is very detailed and therefore also quite difficult (as is actually very often the case with Stefan Loose). That doesn’t necessarily have to be a disadvantage. We have a recommendation.
You can buy the travel guide here: Stefan Loose Travel Guide Myanmar
5. More Myanmar Travel Reports Our route for Myanmar Our travel guide for Myanmar: Tips for a trip to Myanmar Yangon Bago Hpa-An Inle Lake The Temples of Bagan Mandalay Ngapali Transparency: Affiliate Links This blog article contains our personal recommendations in the form of so-called affiliate links. If you book or buy something through the links, we will receive a small commission. For you, this does not change the price at all. cool thing right?
Have you been to Golden Rock? What were your experiences? We look forward to your comments and further tips. 2018