Another wonder of Buddhist monuments, Kyaiktiyo or the Golden Rock Pagoda, which precariously hangs over a cliff edge 1,100 metres above sea level, defying all laws of gravity, is not to be missed by any visitor to Myanmar.
Located 180km south of Yangon in the town of same name, Kyaiktiyo is regarded as one of sacred sites that any devout Myanmar must visit once in their lifetime. The rock itself is 5.5 metres high and is topped by a small pagoda or zedi. It is covered in gold leaf and, like any other Buddhist monument in Myanmar, contains a hair relic of Buddha Gautama.
Kyaiktiyo – Golden Rock Pagoda Highlights
Any geologist will explain the Kyaiktiyo phenomenon as a volcanic accident, but to the local people this is a work of the force that is larger than life, a miracle of Buddha himself that keeps the rock up. Legend relates the story of a yogi who, after having been given a hair strand of the Buddha, was looking for a stupa to contain it. As he lived in the wild, this proved almost impossible. The task was taken over by Indra, the supreme Hindu god, who found a suitable rock under the ocean and deposited it on Paung Laung hill.
Kyaiktiyo Pagoda is located in a town of the same name, 180km east of Yangon. A 4-5 hour car journey will take you to the Kinpun base camp where visitors ride in a small open top truck along the windy road a further eight kilometres (it takes about 30 minutes). From here, either hike up another two kilometres (about 45 minutes), or ride a sedan chair, which should cost about US$ 25 one way.
As this is quite a long journey, this is probably not a day-trip outing. Spend a night in one of the agreeable hotels up in the hills so you can soak up the atmosphere while watching worshippers come and go. The view at the top is spectacular, especially at sunrise or sunset.
Opening Hours: All year round, best time to visit is in the dry season from October to April
Location: Kyaikto in Mon State, 180km east of Yangon, via Bago