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Golden Rock day trip from Yangon

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Reviewed 2 September 2016

We stayed at Park Royal Hotel and did a day trip to Mount Kyaiktiyo (the Golden Rock) and on our way back, we also visited Bago. We left our hotel at 6.45am and got back in at 8.15pm.
Our guide, U Khin (pronounced as "Ooo Khin") is a great fellow who speaks very good English and the cost of our day trip was USD160 (for two of us)
You can contact U Khin at (+95) 9 44222 1160. Add his hp no and you can Wechat, Viber or FB message him.
I am just recommending him and do not have any business benefits from this.

Ok then, back to our trip to the Golden Rock. The trip took us 3hrs to reach. Once there, you will have be take a truck ride up the mount. It's an open air truck and seats 6/7 x rows of 6 seats. Per trip up cost 5000kyats and cost the same 5000kyats per trip down. The truck won't drive off till all the seats are filled ! One can't help but feel like you are all packed up like sardines ! heee
The drives up and down from the mount are an experience in itself ! Some will argue that there is huge lack in safety but others (like myself) feels that the rides are a mini roller-coaster ride ! ha ha ! Was fun and scenic but our views were blocked by the high truck head.

At the pagoda area, the views were rather stunning.... tho' for us, it was cut short as it started to rain and was very foggy ! Ruined our day and most of our photos are not great, sigh ! So unfortunate.
Standing close up at the Golden Rock, one can't help but feels anxious as it really seems that the rock is just seating precariously at the edge and will roll off any time ! However, after a few minutes, you will be quite awe struck. Too bad the weather was not in our favour, as our photos of this stunning structure was quite white washed.

Anyway, enjoy the few photos that are attached.

As always, just my sharing.....cheers !

Date of experience: July 2016
3  Thank nickngsg
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Reviewed 31 August 2016 via mobile

We stayed in Kin Pun to go this temple. But I would like to recommend to stay near this place because around the temple's atmosphere was great(I felt like a small village in Himalayan area in Nepal even though touristic vibe) and hotels in Kin Pun was very limited option when we visit. dirty and expensive and under construction. There are enough hotels, local restaurants with friendly people, fresh air with great panoramic view near the Golden rock. Good place for photographer as well if the weather is sunny. You can buy Burmese style of clothes(It was cheap) at some shops if you didn't wear properly before entering the temple. Highly recommend those who are searching some unique temple in Myanmar.

Date of experience: August 2016
1  Thank Maria Sung B
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Reviewed 29 August 2016 via mobile

Booked the trip through my hostel in Yangon the night before on a whim, took a few hours drive to get there, then we all crammed into a big truck (photo #3) and started up the hill.
( To be honest, I enjoyed the ride up and back the most of all! )

Anyway, be prepared to be respectful and take off your shoes, and walk quite a distance to the actual golden rock.

Once you get there, you can even touch the rock; that is if you're lucky enough to be born with male genitalia (see photo of girl standing by sign).
Since Burma is just starting to see the tourist influx, is still quite a novelty for them to see big white guys like myself, and it seemed everyone wanted a photo with me (I'm the tall guy with the shaved head). Kinda felt like a movie star. Overall good experience!

Date of experience: January 2016
Thank Nomad8450
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Reviewed 21 August 2016

Extraordinary. Spellbinding. Unique - thats what the Golden Rock is!

Death-defying, reckless, gut-wrenching - the stuff that defines the shuttle truck ride to the staging area for the ascent to Mount Kyaitiyo's Golden Rock Pagoda,

Our jaunt to Kinpun Village led us to the shuttle truck depot for the 45-minute bumpy ordeal to the road end at Yatetaung. We were swarmed by locals pestering us to buy disposable raincoats. We climbed the boarding steps to the narrow slat benches on a flatbed open-topped truck.

Jam packed 6 passengers in each row, all safely sandwiched - as we were to realise when the roller coaster ride began, for our safety. Yup... as the projectile ferrying us rocketed zig-zaggingly steeply uphill we were kept from being flung from our seats by the sheer compact seating that welded us together.

As it happened, the ride, both up and down, was rained upon. So ... the raincoats came in handy.... as they also did when passengers could not stomach the gut churning nightmare of a ride.

The truck moves only when completely filled with passengers. For those who wish, they can have entire bench to themselves if they top up their payment to cover 6 passenger's ride.

The long and winding uphill climb saw the truck making 2 stops - whereupon, donations were solicited. It also served as a checkpoint where supervisors ensure that the 6 per row requirement is complied with.

We reached the staging area where we began our ascent on foot. The authorities should regulate and display prominent signs on toilet availability along the route. Also, the fee to be charged.

At this area, there were toilets down a flight of steps - slippery and dangerous to manage ... especially since it was raining. A group of Japanese women were hastily heading for the loo. They paid 2000 Kyats as demanded. Not wanting to have to wait for an available cubicle, I followed suit. I later discovered that the rate should have been 200 Kyats!

As we trekked up the dirt road, flanked with food and craft vendors, there were porters offering their services. Some had sedans to ferry tired travellers. Others had elongated baskets strapped to their backs - to carry luggage or similar items.

When we reached the station where we had to proceed climbing on barefeet, we took lockers to store our footwear. The rain made climbing up and down the paved, steps hazardous, though the rain meant we were spared a hot climb.

All in, the climb chalked up an hour....and all just for a glimpse of a 24 feet high stupa mounted atop a lavishingly glided rock on the verge of a unimaginable topple.

The Golden Rock is an ethereal spectacle.... regarded as the 3rd most sacred shrine in Buddhist Burma. From the temple terrace, the men in our group went across the short footbridge over the chasm leading to the Boulder. Locals prayed at the Rock. Some were pasting propitious golden 'leaves' to add to the glitter.and glory - praying for divine goodies, no doubt.

In a land steeped in spirituality, it is incongruent to have gods and deities that deem one half of humanity, the women folk, less worthy and therefore not allowed to cross the chasm to be near the Golden Rock.

As we leave the mountaintop shrine, it is amazing that this boulder, while defying gravity, draws countless devotees, including the elderly and infirm, from all over Burma and the Buddhist world such that pilgrimages on foot - devoid of the truck ride - is not uncommon.

Letting it all sink in, clambering up the hell-hound truck for the more dangerous downhill ride, these words come to mind ,,,:" Upon this rock, I shall build my church,,'
It is perhaps not a bad time to be religious - as the truck's wheels shave inches off the ravine's edge ... carrying a load of mankind ... amidst the screams of youngsters and the silent prayers of the remaining others - praying that the driver is sober and the vehicle is dependable.

All told, bragging rights for visiting are to be had.

Once the proposed cable-car network is up, it might make it easier to be 'Nearer To God" ... and safer.

Besides the truck fare, there is a Foreigner Entrance Fee - if I recall correctly, it costs 10 USD. As shown on the back of US currency notes... "IN GOD WE TRUST" .... yeah... all others must pay cash.

Date of experience: June 2016
2  Thank Pat C
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Reviewed 7 August 2016 via mobile

1. Listen not to locals or so called local experts :
They say - a) take a public bus to the base station and walk up from there.
Only problem was that if there aren't enough passengers, your bus journey ends at the junction where a road climbs up to the base station.
Here you are at the mercy of motorcycle touts ; well maybe wannabe touts if you happen to have a local tough uncle with you.
Hang on while he haggles.
The bus journey was an experience on its own. The buses themselves are near relics - what we called bone shakers during my school days in Singapore circa '60s - but still very much alive and shakin & rollin along.
You board the one that's supposed to go first in line but it doesn't work that way. Best to wait till the last minute and rush for the first full or almost full bus to leave the terminal.
There will always be seats as the piece of wood beside your seat which you thought was a nice armrest actually opens up to act as a seat right in the center of the aisle.
So, on theses buses full means FULL.
Nice way actually to see rural and countryside Myanmar but bus stops anywhere passengers wish to disembark or embark; and there's even one 'compulsory' stop at a village roadside cafe famous it seems for their local noodle and for passengers to relieve themselves. You have to appreciate this as you are not on a guided sightseeing tour.

Fast forward to the junction and tough uncle has managed to come to a fees agreement with the bikers - so 5 bikes , 5 pillion riders. The ride up a gradient takes about 30 minutes and if it rains you have to take shelter at any one of the makeshift huts along the road.
Lesson 1. Maybe better to take a taxi straight to the base station.

Upon arrival at the base station, you are immediately surrounded by villagers who implore you to buy packets of a thin plastic raincoat.
Buy 1 and after paying for tickets you climb up an airplane-stairs onto your seat which is actually long wooden planks the width of the carrier which itself looks like an old army truck with the tops off.
Passengers are made to squeeze tightly together and straight off everyone dons their raincoats.
Lesson 2. You have to experience the boarding - no 2 ways about it.

The ride up - always winding; which explains why you are squeezed tightly together as otherwise you'd be thrown about, always at a fast speed as otherwise the truck would slide down the steep incline, always a tight knot in your stomach as you look down the side of the steep ravine inches away from the truck's tyres, always on and off screams of excitement from the younger passenger ( the older ones are saying silent prayers ).
Prayers are answered as the truck goes alongside 'airplane stairs' and you wobble down the steps.
Lesson3. - bring your own 'goof' bag as this 'airline' doesn't supply that.

Walking up the slightly steep gravel path, you might wish to stop for a drink at the many stalks/cafes that line one side of it with huge rocks on the other side. Ask to go to the toilet and you get a small Indiana Jones experience as you go down a small, cramped, slimy, dark set of steep steps; and you then do your biz staring out into a an unexpectedly view of the mountain top vegetation.

As you continue your walk up, there are lots of small stallholdings hawking all manners of local products including bear paws, tiger fangs, snake oil to name a few.
At the end of this bazaar is a police station where foreigners pay US$10 in exchange for a tourist tag to be worn around the neck.
You've arrived! Look up and there's the steps leading to the golden rock area proper - but first take off your footwear and stack them among others' at the shoe rack.
The steps open up to a wide paved open area with huge stone/cement carvings of "deities?" Smiling benignly at visitors.
There are bronze Buddhist gongs in various sizes and standing in this open area high atop the rest of humanity brings a feeling of elation of sorts.
The whole area is well protected from accidental falls by stout iron railings so much so it gives you confidence to be photographed close to the cliff edges.
The golden rock itself invokes thoughts of this place in Myanmar as it must have been ages ago.
To add to this scene in your mind, Groups of tribals with mortars/bricks atop their heads and on their backs make their way almost non stop to the pagoda area.
You could spend the night in one of the inns within the area and treat yourself to serenely spectacular scenes at dawn/sunrise ; and breath in the cool, clear and sweet mountain air.
Otherwise it highly advisable that you make your way down to the truck boarding station before the last bus departs - miss it and you have no choice but to wait till the next morning.
The ride down is more scary than exhilarating unlike the ride up, as the truck's lights sometimes shine into nothingness and you know that you're at the edge of road inches away from a ravine.
You arrive safely ( was there ever a doubt? ) at the base station, and if you don't already have a taxi waiting, good luck with your bargaining skills.
Having said that, the taxi drivers, motorbike riders are polite and quite reasonable in their pricing.
So don't worry as this place is Asian hospitality at its best.

Date of experience: September 2015
1  Thank maxisnice
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
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