Kyaiktiyo (Kyaik-htiyo) Pagoda (Golden Rock)

Kyaikto town, around 4 hours drive on partly bumpy roads from Yangon itself is a little and sleepy town. From the base camp near Kyaikto, you will have to take a truck with wooden benches on the loading area up the steep and beautiful mountains. From the upper camp, it is still a 1-hour walk to the Golden Rock at around 1100 meters above sea level. Bring a sweater for cold evenings. The way up is tiring if one is not used to walking up. As an alternative, one can ask porters to carry them up on a sedan chair on poles. Don’t worry if you feel uncomfortable being carried, in Myanmar it is quite common that older or wealthy people let the porters earn something. There is accommodation close to the Golden Rock, a night stay is recommendable as the atmosphere is best in the early morning or later afternoon. Those desperate for some sweating can go hiking from the base camp up the Golden Rock, taking at least 4 hours uphill.

KYAIKTIYO PAGODA WITH GOLDEN ROCK

The highlight is a small stupa on a large boulder which seems falling down any moment.

Legend has it that the boulder keeps it’s balance due to a Buddha hair. Kyaiktiyo is a “must” pilgrimage for any Myanmar Buddhist, probably second to Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon only. The beauty is to observe the pilgrims praying, lighting candles and putting thin gold leaves on the boulder, which however is only permitted for males. There are plenty of buildings around for religious purposes but also to cater for the many pilgrims.