The Golden Rock is one of the most sacred places to visit in Myanmar. It is rested at its summit, which seems to defy gravity by delicately balancing on the edge of a 1,100 meter high Kyaiktiyo mountain. Most of the Buddhist pilgrims from around the world come here to worship and add gold leaf to the Rock. For Filipino, these are their version of Sampaguita flowers. They offer gold leaf for their sacred Buddhist image.
The rock standing 7.6 meters tall and the gilded pagoda which sits on top of it is 7.3 meters in height. It is said to cover a hair of Buddha. Another reason in seeing the Golden Rock is the panoramic 360º view of the surrounding Mon State mountains.
Most of the blogs I researched is imprecise on how to see the Golden Rock for a day. Traveling in Myanmar is rapidly changing every year and lack of details posted in internet made me worried.
I planned to visit the Rock when I was in Yangon for 2 1/2 days. It will be a 5 hours ride from the city to Kinpun base camp and 1 more hour in riding a truck to see the Golden Rock. I really prayed that I will never end up staying in Kyaiktiyo for a night or else I will ruin my plans for the next day. Mind that there were blogs that I read that travelers stayed for a night in Kinpun. 😦
How did I get there? My hostel arranged a bus ride from Yangon to Kinpun, the nearest town to reach the Golden Rock. I woke up early as my bus will leave Yangon by 8AM. It will be an hour to reach the bus station from my hostel. I arrived at Aung Mingalar Bus Station by 6:20 AM. I was thinking that I was way too early for my bus schedule. But when I stepped down from my cab , the bus company staff immediately gets my ticket. He gave me another ticket with my seat number. He told me that the bus will leave by 6:30 AM. Shocked by that time, I was happy that I will not wait longer and I can reach Kinpun as early as I think.
Be careful in getting a bus from Yangon, you might think that the nearest place to reach the Rock is at the Kyaiktiyo town. From this, it will be 2 hours to reach Kinpun. Be sure to book the right bus.
I arrived in Kinpun at around 10:30 AM. I immediately asked the bus operator on what time the buses return to the city. He said that the schedules are 12 and 2 PM only. Since I am desperate to have a day only in Kinpun, I reserved a bus for 2 PM and paid 8,000 kyat. I asked the operator if I can just pay once I arrived at the base camp. But then, he insisted that I cannot make a reservation without the payment. I just paid for it then leave.
I skipped lunch and planned to catch the truck going up to the Rock. It was an hour of roller coaster ride!!! The road is very steep and curvy!
It was a surprising feeling to ride that truck! Most of the passengers are locals. After the bumpy ride, I walked for 10 minutes to reach the tourism office and pay the entrance fee.
At last, I made it! It was about 11:30 AM and I aimed to return to the truck station before 1 PM.
The Golden Rock was amazingly massive!! It was kinda mysterious how this big rock can hang on the edge of a cliff!
It will be better to see the Rock up-close but ladies are prohibited. Locals said that the rock is about an inch like floating from the cliff. It would be exhilarating to see it closer!
I walked down to see the Rock closer but as I get nearer fog is covering the whole area. Rain starts to pour. Good thing I bought a raincoat. I am now a big Barney looking at the Rock. 🙂
I would love to stay longer to see a clearer view of the Rock and how it looks like from the top but I need to catch my bus by 2 PM. After a quick bite to keep me full, I walked down to the truck station.
I reached the truck station by 12:30 PM. While waiting for on the bus, I met an Argentinean couple who also visited the Golden Rock. I am happy to have some company while waiting.
It was about 1 PM when I got nervous on why we are not leaving yet. There are almost 10 passengers by that time. The other foreigners were also bored in waiting. We don’t have any clue if the bus driver is waiting for better weather or he just wanted to fill every seat in the truck. I was frustrated. I don’t want to repeatedly ask the driver or the other locals why we aren’t leaving. They might feel aggravated and I don’t know what will happen.
It was 1:30 PM and I lose hope, wishing that there will be another bus that will return in Yangon. If not I will try to ask a refund for what I paid for. Basically, it was not my fault to be late.
By 2 PM, there was a movement in the truck. Locals started to hop in. The men eating from the restaurant hopped in as well. After they seated, the truck started to run engine!
WTF. So we are just waiting for these men???
I was angry but that time, I don’t know if I can return in Yangon. We reached the base camp before 3 PM. I tried to look for the bus station office but it seems that it was the last schedule of bus going back to the city. I was like..WTF.
But my angels moved, Lord guided me. 🙂
The Argentinean couple I met rented a car and they hitched me in. The rain poured hard and I was very lucky to be inside that car.
It was a 2 hour ride from Kinpun to Bago where Denise and Leandro stayed. I booked another bus from Bago to Yangon. Another 2 hours in the road!
It was raining as well when I arrived in Yangon. I hired a cab and returned at my hostel by 9 PM.
It was really possible to see the Golden Rock in a day. It just takes patience and a little bit of luck or should I say blessing. I am very happy to meet new friends and adored that I saw one of Myanmar’s sacred place.
It can be just a rock but the journey to see it was unexpectedly a test of faith for me.
Awesomely, that day was crazy!!!!
To have an idea of my expenses for that day, please see details below: