Little can prepare tourists on a Myanmar holiday when they first glimpse the golden boulder and pagoda that sit on a cliff close to Kyaiktyio in the south east of Myanmar. The town is 160 km from the main city in Myanmar, Yangon though it is no longer the capital. From the town the trip to the Golden Rock is all uphill through Kinpun to a tiny village.
Myanmar tour packages offer rich variety and plenty of amazing sights, natural and manmade. There are stunning pagodas and temples throughout the country but nothing quite what visitors to this place will experience. This Golden Rock travel guidemust point out that although there are vehicles to take them up the hill out of Kinpun, not all of them go completely to the top. Active travellers may want to climb up anyway. Once on the summit there is a 360 degree view to enjoy but it must be remembered that it can be fairly crowded, especially between the months of November and March. During that time there is the Nine Thousand Lights Festival with food offerings at dawn and candles when the sun sets.
The Rock itself is 7.6 metres high and the gilded pagoda on top almost the same height.
This is purely a journey for daylight hours and all transport leaves in time to get back down the hill. The walk would be 3 hours. In particularly hot parts of the year the walk up and down is very exacting. The pilgrims’ path involves a climb of 1,000 metres though a fair amount of it is in the shade.
Devout Buddhists rank the Golden Rock very high on their list of religious sites to visit within the country. Legend has it that the precariously balancing rock is held in place by a lock of Buddha’s hair. Over centuries the rock has been decorated with gold leaf brought by pilgrims and monks. Tourists are allowed to place gold leaf on the pagoda as well but that applies only to men. As the sun sets it lights up quite spectacularly, partly helped by electric lighting as well it has to be said.
This Golden Rock travel guide has to point out that the place has become rather commercialised, more in keeping with a tourist trap than a religious site. It is nevertheless an important part of Myanmar travel packages, especially for those keen on photography. Sunrise is less impressive with the mountains taking most of the new sun rays.
Myanmar travel has become increasingly popular in recent years with the military-backed government seemingly more amenable to human rights and overseas visitors. It does mean that the tourist infrastructure is a little less developed than in most of the neighbouring countries. However good tour companies have put together itineraries for a holiday in Myanmar to include sights such as the Golden Rock.
This Golden Rock Travel Guide is just an introduction aimed to get you thinking about this amazing site.