The Golden Rock, Kyaiktiyo Pagoda, is a well known Buddhist pilgrimage site found in Mon State, Myanmar. It is situated at an elevation of 3,609 feet(1,100 metres) above the sea level. The Golden Rock could be got in by a distance of 140 kilometres(86 miles) from Mawlamyine, the capital of Mon State where as it is 210 kilometres for away from Yangon.

At the base of Mount Kyaiktiyo lies Kinpun village, the closet place to the Golden Rock. About 112 km distance hiking is done by many devotees for their reverence towards Lord Buddha. Many pilgrims and tourists love trekking on foot in order to visit some temples and pagodas located on other hills in the vicinity of Kyaiktiyo Pagoda. There are also two options for the visitors: taking a truck directly to the top of the mountain or taking it just to Yatetaung and then choosing to ride cable cars. There are altogether 44 cable cars and 955.38 metres long cable is held in 11 towers Each car has a capacity to hold 8 persons per track and it takes about 8 minutes to get to the square of the Golden Rock which is more comfortable for the visitors. Fantastic landscapes can be witnessed along the way.

Kyaiktiyo Pagoda is famous as the Golden Rock for its glittery boulder that is covered with gold leaves. The circumference of the Rock is 15 metres(50 feet) whilst its height is 7.6 metres(25 feet). A smaller pagoda which is 7.3 metres(24 feet) high lies above the Golden Rock. There is a rock table under the pagoda and boulder. A wonder of the Golden Rock is that the Rock lies independently on the rock table in inclined position. Their contact area is extremely small that it looks as if the boulder would roll down at any moment. Sightseers can get a closer view of the Rock and the Pagoda from a new terrace at a lower level. The peak pilgrimage season of the Golden Rock is from November to March.

From a short distance away from the terrace, a circle of gongs where four statues of angels and nats(spirits) is seen in the centre. You can find gift shops, restaurants and guest houses in Potemkin village. Many Buddhist devotees come from different regions across the country and international tourists have become visitors for decades. I was surprising to know that some disabled persons visit the pagoda by walking up the track on their crutches. Porters are available for less energetic old people to carry them on stretchers.

Kyaiktiyo Pagoda as well as the Golden Rock is marvellous not only in Myanmar but also in Southeast Asia. If you are seeking for natural beauty, dusk and dawn beauty and an enjoyable hiking experience, the trip to the Golden Rock will give you memorable moments.

Written By Rose Nyein Chan