Today, we went from Yangon to Mount Kyaiktiyo, also known as the Golden Rock, on a day trip. That rock is one of the most important shrines in Myanmar and we had agreed that we wanted to see it, no matter the cost.
Yesterday morning, we asked at our hotel reception and were offered to hire a taxi driver for the whole day for 120$. Taking the bus would have been cheaper but also much less convenient so we went for the taxi. If you’re planning on visiting yourself, be aware that what we paid is a high season price. You might be able to get a taxi for 80$ in low season.
Our taxi driver was a huge fan of music. He especially loved Asian cover versions of well known songs and he had a few favourites on CD that he kept playing over and over again. I don’t know which language it was, but I can now sing ‘The First Cut Is The Deepest’ and somewhere in Asia, people will understand me.
It took almost four hours and at least ten times that stupid song until we got to Kinpun. From here, we had to get out of the taxi and on a truck that climbed the remaining few kilometers.
The road was one of the steepest I’ve ever seen. A normal car wouldn’t stand a chance. I was surprised the truck made it up, and even more surprised that we made it back down without crashing.
The ride was uncomfortable but when we made it to the top and got the view you can see above, it was worth it!
We got some mango with chili sauce that made me feel like my mouth was on fire and sat in the shade, having a picnic while looking at the rock. Legend says that the only reason it has survived numerous earthquakes is because a hair of Buddha is resting in the stupa on top.
Men are allowed on a platform next to the rock where they can affix gold leaf squares on the stone. I was surprised by how few tourists there were and how many pilgrims were sitting in front of the rock, praying.
When we arrived at noon, we had to register and write down our names. That day, we were group number 9 and we barely saw any other tourists around the rock.
I can highly recommend Mount Kyaiktiyo. It is one of the most important pilgrimage sites in Myanmar and while it’s a long ride by taxi or by bus if you want to do it as a day trip, it’s one of the sights you shouldn’t miss.