Mt Kyaiktiyo, the Golden Rock is one of the most well-known and sacred religious sites in Myanmar (the others include the Mahamuni Temple and the Shwedagon Pagoda). This monument is an enormous golden rock sitting at the summit of an 1100 m mountain and topped with a gilded pagoda. This site is regularly visited by pilgrims who travel from various regions of the country to add more gold leaf to the rock and worship.
The main reason to visit Mt Kyaiktiyo on the Myanmar tour packages is to see the spectacular that is the 7.6 m tall rock. Also, the view from the top of the mountain gives a perfect opportunity to admire the surrounding Mon State Mountains.
The peak season for travelling to the Golden Rock is November to March, which means the summit and local area will be very crowded throughout this time.
In order to reach the summit of the mountain and get to see the Golden Rock up close, it is necessary to take a ride in an open-top truck which is normally extremely crowded. The last 1.5 km or so of the climb can be completed by foot if preferred which is quite straightforward, but the steep incline means it is a strenuous walk.
Other routes to the top of the mountain include a 19 km forest trek from Kinpun which can take in the region of 5 hours to complete, but this type of trip gives the opportunity to see perfect views of the local region. Also, a lot of the trek is covered by a thick forest canopy that makes perfect shade from the bright daily sun. On the trail to the summit it is also possible to see plenty of scenic spots, food stalls and waterfalls, as well as a few rest houses.
For the tourist on the Myanmar travel guide interested in the more complete religious experience on arriving at the summit, there is the option to add gold leaf to the rock – although this only applies to men. Many travellers to the Golden Rock or Kyaikhtiyo find the experience to the truly unforgettable.
And a trip to the Golden Rock is at a sufficient distance from the more hectic cities that it's possible to relax and get a more unique travel experience and admire the surrounding pristine green forests and socio-economic landscapes on the climb to the top of Mt Kyaikhto.
Plus, there is the option to visit the ancient city of Bago while travelling to or from Gold Rock. By extending the stay in the region by a couple of days it is possible to explore some of the interesting villages and caves in the local area, such as Mawlamyaing and Hpa An, which is the Kyain State capital.
The preferred time to visit the Golden Rock pagoda on the Indochina tour packages is from October to May when the weather is the most pleasant. During the wet season (June to September) the pagoda is a less attractive visit because of the fierce monsoon weather.
Even though there is a chilly coat of rain and mist through the wet season, it is still possible to visit and explore the area. But, there are plenty of restaurants that will shut down at this time of the year.
The pilgrimage season lasts from November to March and has a great atmosphere with meditation through the night, lit candles, and chanting pilgrims.
How to get there
There are several opportunities to arriving in Golden Rock with the bus being the most common form of transport. It is possible to travel from Hpa An or Mawlamyine with a daily service stopping at Kyaik Hto which is one of the local towns. For travellers moving on from Kalaw or Inle Lake, there isn’t a direct bus route, so it will be necessary to travel via Yangon. Other options include the bus service from Bago which departs each day in the afternoon and has a journey time in the region of 2 hours. A direct bus service is also provided from Yandon which makes a fast and convenient option to reach Golden Rock.
Where to stay
There are relatively few guest houses or hotels to stay after climbing Mt Kyaiktiyo, with most tourists staying in Kinpun village, which is generally referred to as the base camp. This part of the city is quite lively and has plenty of high-quality eateries in the area.
But, when it comes to value for money on the Myanmar tour packages, the Kyaiktiyo and Kinpun hotels aren’t the most attractive when it comes to price. This area is limited in regards to budget accommodation, while the hotels on the mountain's summit can be very expensive for Myanmar. But, for the tourists that want to experience the stunning sunrises and sunsets, this is the place to be.
A great place to stay while travelling to see the Golden Rock is the Kyaik Hto Hotel which has plenty of features with air-con, satellite TV, private bathroom with shower facilities. It is well-located on the hilltop and completely surrounded by the local natural scenery. For the outdoor person, a trekking experience can be organized by a local expert. Plus, this hotel has an on-site restaurant that also functions as a bar.
The Eternity Resort
A stay at the Eternity Resort is certain to make the traveller feel right at home with its high-quality service and accommodation. It is located a short distance from the centre of the city and the airport which makes it a practical base for ease in reaching the local must-see destinations. The amenities and features at the hotel help to create a pleasant stay with Wi-Fi in private and public areas, luggage storage and a 24-hour front desk. This is a quite large resort with nearly 100 spacious rooms for guests.
Golden Sunrise Hotel
The Golden Sunrise Hotel is a popular choice on the Indochina tour packages for both the business and leisure traveller with its convenience, comfort and charm. It is rich in amenities and services with guest access to hire bikes, luggage storage, 24-hour front desk, and free Wi-Fi. Most of the rooms include a spacious garden view veranda, mini-bar, TV and air-con. Plus, the on-site restaurant has a great mixture of European and Burmese dishes on the menu.