Mount Kyaiktiyo and its Golden Rock are one of the most sacred sites in Myanmar because the stupa on top of it supposedly covers a hair of Buddha. The Rock delicately balancing on the site of the mountain and the many colorful pilgrims, as well as the journey up the mountain make this a very special trip.
Do: It’s a short walk from the truck stop and the ticket building to the Golden Rock itself. On the way people are selling fruits and snacks and you can enjoy the view into the green hills. It is also interesting to watch all the people carrying goods, praying or buying gold leaves to paste onto the rock (only men are allowed to actually come near and touch it). To see this big rock covered in gold sitting just at the edge of the cliff is indeed stunning. An interesting angle to look at it is from below when you walk down the steps and look up to it. After admiring the rock you can spend some time exploring the little village with its bustling crowds of vendors, tourists and monks walking along the shacks and tea houses.
Getting there: Buses departing from Yangon take about 5 hours plus about 45 minutes from downtown Yangon to the bus terminal. A private taxi takes about three hours to Kinpun village. We left very early at 5 o’clock with a private driver so that we could see the Golden Rock in one day. Also, it gets extremely hot during the day so it’s best to arrive as early as possible. The drive alone is very beautiful, we saw the sunrise above the early morning countryside with little villages still covered in morning mist and monks on their way to collect offerings for breakfast. Kinpun village is the base camp where you have to transfer to one of many pickup trucks that take you up the mountain. This adventurous ride takes about 30 minutes during which you sit side by side on simple planks with 40 other people. This drive can be a lot of fun when you like winding and thrilling roads. Half way up the truck stops at the newly built and Myanmars first cable car. You can either take the gondola up the mountain or drive the rest of the way up with the truck.