I didn’t know about the Golden Rock prior to our trip to Myanmar. We had five days in Yangon but we only planned to go around the city. We don’t want to rush from place to place like we used to do. Instead, we want to get the feel of a place and enjoy everywhere we can visit. There was also Bagan and Mandalay but it was just so far that we thought of visiting them on a next trip.
Upon arrival to Yangon International Airport, we were approached by taxi drivers. This is something you have to be aware of because they will offer you a price which is double or triple than the usual one, like what happened to us.
Our driver told us the fare was 16,000 Kyats going to our hotel. We tried to bargain and lowered it to 15,000 Kyats. To our surprise, we learned that the fare was only 7,000 – 8,000 Kyats. Weee! What a good start! =)
Anyhow, it was also from him that we learned about the Golden Rock. He was showing us pictures of the place. It was really interesting. Then, he offered a price for a day trip which is $45/ person. Hmm! That’s expensive for me and it was my first time hearing the place so we told him that we will decide first and contact him if we want to go. He left his card and off he got our 15,000 Kyats.
I did some research about the Golden Rock and I found out that one can go by bus which would cost less than $45.
How to get to the Golden Rock?
It is advisable to start your journey early in the morning. If possible, get the first bus at 6:30. Unlike us, we don’t really like waking early so the plan of getting early changed to our arrival at the Aung Mingalar bus station around 7:00 AM. We bought our tickets for 7,000 Kyats/ person for an 8:30 AM trip.
One thing to consider is the distance from your hotel to the bus station. For us, it was a 45-minute ride. So, if you really want to have an early start, wake up at 4:30 – 5:00 AM. (Again, just impossible for us =)).
How is the bus ride?
The bus ride will take 3.5 hours to 4 hours.
I actually liked the bus. It was spacious with aircon, of course. In the bus, there were also five other tourists. I felt safe knowing that because as what I read, tourists usually rent a taxi or hire a private tour to reach the pagoda.
Another good thing was that the conductor could speak English. Not so good but enough to understand where we want to go.
Smell and Chewing of Betel Nut
Probably you will understand what I meant by smell once you go to Myanmar. It was not really that bad but it was definitely a strong new smell for me. If you’re sensitive to smell, you can bring a mask or anything to cover your nose during the ride.
Apart from that, the locals have this habit of chewing betel nut or in my country we call it “mama”.
You will also see small plastic bags in front of your seat which I knew would be for people who have motion sickness. Apparently, the locals use it for the betel nut after chewing.
To avoid seeing the purple saliva excess, just look outside of the window or in front of you.
The bus had a stopover in a small store for 20 minutes. It was almost 12 noon and we hadn’t eaten anything yet. Good thing we bought our own bread, snacks, and water. I just thought to be safe.
Arrival in Kinpun Village
The bus arrived in Kinpun Village. The tourists we were with stayed a few nights there. It was only us who will go back to Yangon on the same day. So we went straight ahead to the next ride to the mountain by a big truck.
It was not new to me because, in my country, we had that for our tribe called B’laans. I remember taking the same ride maybe two times when I was younger. But for those who were new, it could really be a roller coaster ride. Well, going up was really terrifying. I just held tight and prayed that we came back alive. (Sorry, just my exaggeration.) Other passengers were calm so maybe I was really exaggerating.
The fare was 2,000 Kyats/ person in the back seat and 3,000 Kyats/ person in the front seat. The ride was 20-30 minutes up to Mount Kyaiktiyo.
Entrance to Mount Kyaiktiyo
Heading to the Pagoda, you will see a center for tourists to pay. We paid 10,000 Kyats/ person for foreigners and it’s free for the locals.
Mount Kyaiktiyo (Golden Rock Pagoda)
Socks and shoes are not allowed. You have an option to leave them at the entrance or bring them with you inside. We opted for the second option because we thought that we might need them somewhere inside which we never did.
It was around 1:00 PM when we arrived and I was hungry. I bought some chocolates and wafers in a store to at least settle my hunger for a while.
Two hours will be enough to walk around the place. I don’t think there is really more to do in the place.
Going Back to Yangon
After taking photos and walking around, we decided to head back to Yangon. We want to go back early so it will not be too late when we arrive in Yangon.
So, we rode the terror truck. Going down was not as scary as going up.
Lucky for us, we then got a bus from Kinpun Village to Yangon. We arrived at the bus station in Yangon at 7:30 PM. We then rode a taxi heading to our hotel. I was so hungry that we head straight to the restaurant next to our hotel. I ate a lot that night after eating only bread and wafers during the day.
Is it worth it to visit the Golden Rock?
I don’t think that the place is popular enough and because it is complicated to go to, not a lot of tourists visit this place. The place was okay for me. What I loved the most was the adventure of the rides and the uncertainty of what to see and discover. It wasn’t easy but it was one memory that I will remember in all my travel stories.
I saw some construction for a cable car in the mountain. That will make visiting the Pagoda much easier in the future. But, I am glad I did the route we did. It felt raw, dangerous but overall, exciting. Just what I want for an adventure.
What is your most terrifying ride in your life?