The Golden Rock is one of the most sacred sites in Myanmar. The boulder balances on the edge of a cliff and according to the legend, it is kept in place by a single hair of Buddha. An endless stream of pilgrims come to admire the sight and add squares of gold leaf to its surface. This can only be done by men.
Coming from Yangon to Kin Pun our hotel arranged a busticket which brought us from the Aung Mingala Highway Bus Terminal to Kin Pun over 180 km in 4 hours for 8.000 Kyat p.p. The taxi to the Aung Mingala Highway Bus Terminal which is 20 km outside of Yangon, and nearby the Airport, costed us 8.000 Kyat as well. The taxi took us 45 minutes (this is with hardly no traffic jams and with starting point Shwedagon Pagoda). The bus was a surprisingly nice Airconbus with way to good working videoscreen and loudspeakers.
For some reason our bus left 10 minutes before departure time, so it is better to be here early!
In the beginning of the street where our hotel was, you’ll find a restaurant that serves good food for a good price with the same name: Sea Sar. We really liked the Sweet and Sour Chicken and the Tea Leaf Salad. Especially the last is a must eat when going to Myanmar! And don’t order to much food because it comes with a nice soup.
We don’t really recommend this place, but there aren’t a lot of guesthouses here and at least this one is sort of cheap. We stayed at Sea Sar Hotel and it was expensive for what you get. But is has all the basics like a bed, a cold shower and a fan so practically all you need for a (good) night rest. Next to that, the blankets are really dirty (special thanks to the person who invented liners) and you don't want to touch the floor with your bare feed so wear flip flops at all time. Maybe it’s even best to just keep them on at night. We paid the shaming price of 15.000 Kyat for 1 night for a double room including breakfast (read 3 pieces of toast 1 fried or scrambled egg and coffee/tea).
They do have a pretty good working Wifi at the reception when the power is working and they organize bustickets to everywhere as well.
The only reason why people go to Kin Pun, is to see the Golden Rock. The trip up there with the truck, and the short walk to the rock itself, are more special than the actual rock.
We woke up early and wanted to take the early truck up. We could have slept a bit longer because the truck doesn’t leave until it’s full and we were one of the first ones there. The truck isn’t full unless there are 6 people sitting on the wooden benches. And there are 7 lines of benches. The drive is pretty uncomfortable and costs 2.500 Kyat p.p. You can have a more comfortable ride for 500 Kyat more. You can sit in the front next to driver for that money. It takes about 45 minutes to get to the last stop and it is a rough ride.
From the truckstop to the actual rock, is an easy 10 minute walk up (we did it on Flip flops). When we arrived it was misty and this made it a bit mystical. Especially with the monks walking there, dressed in orange which gave a great contrast with the mist. But as soon as they came closer, the special effect disappeared. The little ones started asking for money which gives a bad taste in the mouth. Monks aren’t supposed to beg! And not only the little ones do it, the old ones are nothing different. We even thought you weren’t supposed to give the monks alms if you’re not a buddhist yourself, but over here they don’t care.
Entrance fee of the Golden Rock Pagoda is 6.000 Kyat and you have to take of your shoes/flip flops and wear something which covers your knees and shoulders. When we ended up at the rock, we knew we better could have skipped this. It is one of the three most sacred places in Myanmar but we think the story behind it is more special than the rock itself and it’s better to just know the story and don’t visit the actual rock. We did not spend more than 30 minutes, including walking up and down.
The way down with the truck is of course again 2.500 Kyat. But though on the knees. All in all we were back in Kin Pun at around 9 am. If, after reading this, you still want to go, keep in mind that the last truck going down leaves at 6 pm.