Kyaiktiyo (Golden Rock)
Located southeast of Yangon, Kyaiktiyo or ‘Golden Rock’ Pagoda is one of the most famous and treasured landmarks of Myanmar: an enormous gold leaf covered rock which is poised precariously at the edge of a steep cliff at the top of Mount Kyaiktiyo. Legend has it that a hair of the Buddha is enshrined in the pagoda that sits on top of the rock.
The rock can be approached by a 6 mile hike uphill, for the fit and able, or more usually by an interesting 45 minute drive up a steep road which is followed by a short walk, if you are staying at the Mountain Top Hotel, or a 45 minute walk to your ultimate destination if staying at the Golden Rock Hotel which is situated a little way below the summit (sedan chairs are available to rent for those who can’t face walking the final section).
The Golden Rock draws pilgrims from all over the country, many of whom sleep out in the open, close to the rock itself, in order to absorb some of the spiritual magic of this sacred place. The rock is particularly atmospheric in the evening, and early morning, when the light is good and the golden rock casts a shimming light over a devoted flock.