I arrive in Kyaikhtiyo (Kyaikto) around 11 PM and it’s totally dark. I have booked the closest Hotel to the train station for a chance to get there walking, but it still was a 15 min walk. All the surrounding don’t have much light and there isn’t much going on, so I took a ride from a Burmese guy on a motorbike.
This is the best Hotel I have stayed in, so far. There are no hostels nearby so I have a full bedroom for myself. On the next day, I knew I will have to figure out on my own how to get to the Golden Rock. This is the only reason I am visiting Kyaikhtiyo and it’s pretty much the only thing around to see.
I ask for help on how to get there by bus at the Hotel reception as I’m not able to get a bus on my own in Myanmar. There are no signs, no letters that I understand, anything. I have no idea where can I get a bus. Meanwhile, I also need to buy a bus ticket to Yangon and it’s in that same place that I figure out how to get to Kyaikhtiyo Golden Rock.
At the hotel, they told me that I could get a bus really close to this place, but that didn’t happen… I guess I was fooled by the motorbike rider that was supposed to take me to the bus station, but in the middle of the way, he starts saying that the bus is leaving just in 1 hour and shows me a completely empty place where I should get this bus. I’m starting to get pissed at him as he had a different theory when we left. Turns out that I did all the way until there in his a motorbike. It was an expensive ride and I really got mad at him as I’m sure he has lied to me for the money. Anyway, this place isn’t the last stop.
To get to Kyaikhtiyo Golden Rock you need to ride a truck or walk for hours to get to the top. There is a huge crowd in this place waiting for the next truck to arrive. I have no idea which truck I can take, there is no other tourist I could ask for help, so I need to show an image of the Golden Rock to several people to reach the verdict that all those trucks are going to the same place. Getting a truck is fast because they are always coming with a few minuted distance.
I have read some bad reviews about this ride and its safety, but I loved it. It was one of my favorite rides. The truck has an open back full of wooden boards that create our sits. There are around 50 people in the back of that truck with a very tight space for yourself. This truck ride is climbing a very steep way until the top of the mountain. The ride has a really nice view and it truly looks like a roller coaster ride. Everyone is screaming as the truck accelerates in the hills and curves of this rough way to the top.
We stop in a place where you can get a cable car until the top. I don’t know about this but I don’t see many people leaving, so I decide to stay in the truck. The ride still takes around 15 minutes and while it lasts I can’t take the smile off my face. This is so much fun. I advise everyone to do it and visit Kyaikhtiyo, Golden Rock. Once at the top you need to pay a fee to enter. There is a security line that doesn’t allow you to go in shorts or even leggings. I was with leggings and besides having a long shirt they didn’t allow me in. I was seeing other women with tight pants going in so I got pissed at the security woman and start arguing with her: why that woman can go inside and I can’t? She is not giving up her ideas so I turn back thinking that I will have to buy some elephant pants, that I promised I wouldn’t buy, so I could finally go inside and the see Golden Rock.
I decided to sit on the stair and thinking that this day will turn out to be much more expensive than I was expecting. I spent seated on the staircase 5 minutes checking my phone and updating friends when this security woman touched my shoulder and tells me I can go inside. All the sudden I’m very happy and I hit my way until Kyaikhtiyo Golden Rock.
This is one of the most important places for Buddhists in Myanmar. The rock is sacred and it’s actually impressive how it is standing there in the tip-top of that mountain. Only men can touch the holy Rock and place gold leaf as an offer.
-According to legends, the Golden Rock in Kyaikhtiyo is precariously perched on a strand of the Buddha’s hair. The balancing rock seems to defy gravity it’s true. Another legend states that a Buddhist priest impressed the celestial king with his asceticism and the celestial king used his supernatural powers to carry the rock to its current place, specifically choosing the rock as the resemblance to the monks head.-
I have lunch somewhere around. The place has a lot of offer and even Hotels there. There are no cars in that place so you will see Burmese people with huge baskets carrying some people’s goods.
The way down isn’t as fun as the way up, but it still a ride with a great view of the mountains. When I get to the bottom again I have no idea how I will get back to town. I’m starting to get anxious, but I know that I will figure out something. I’m walking very attentive to check if there is some Burmese bus around. I’m walking for 3 minutes and I see nothing… I decide to ask for help from a local restaurant, but of course, they don’t speak English. As I approach, the lady starts to laugh and looking very shy and starts calling for a younger girl around. They are so cute! They are laughing a lot as they don’t understand anything of what I am saying. I show them on the phone what I want and they point me to the right bus. This bus ride was more than 10 times cheaper than my way to the Golden Rock with this motorbike guy.
All the people on the bus are very admired that I am in there. I can see in their faces. I’m always with GPS on to see where should I leave. I still walk for 10-15 min to the Hotel but it’s ok. Then I go to the place where I should take my bus ride to Yangoon and this time it is a normal bus. Next to me is sitting a very nice guy and we talk for a while. He is acting like some kind of guide as he explains to me what we are seeing from the window. There are cockroaches climbing up the window but they aren’t so big so I’m ok with it.
The last bus stop is still very far from the Yangon city center, and I find no other way to get there but a car ride. As I leave the bus I’m immediately approached by several guys trying to sell the way to the city, so finding the solution wasn’t hard, but it was expensive. It was a shared car and the craziest car ride!! This guy is driving like nuts overtaking other cars from side to side with a speed that was frightening me. I just wanted that ride to end!
Finally, I get to the Hostel and get my chance to rest. This day was very long and full of different emotions.