Golden Rock Pagoda: A Sacred Destination


Golden Rock Pagoda: A Sacred Destination

Location: Myanmar

Golden Rock pagoda is at Mount Kyaikitiyo, 6 hrs southeast of Yangon.

My Experience

I travelled through Myanmar with Romina, my future wife, a top contributor of all my posts in this Blog (read the summary of my experience in Southeast Asia). Once you arrive in this destination, the Golden Rock Pagoda suddenly and spectacularly comes into view from the steep path up the hill. It is a great boulder, which looks like it could fall down the hill any time. Its contact area with the cliff is extremely small and the gilded boulder is completed with a Stupa at the top.  Before going there we read its history, surrounding by myths and mysteries. Amazing Golden Rock Pagoda. 

Golden Rock Pagoda

Men praying and affixing gold leaf squares to the Golden Rock Pagoda

According to the legend, the rock stands right there thanks to one only hair of the Buddha. The main legend of the Golden Rock Pagoda begins with a hermit bringing a hair of the Buddha to his king as a gift. The hermit explained to the king that his gift had to be enshrined under a rock shaped like the hermit’s head, that’s why its name Kyaiktiyo means “Pagoda on a Hermit’s Head.”

The King, who inherited super natural powers from a zawgyi father and naga princess, found a rock at the bottom of the sea and miraculously brought it to the top of the mountain, he used a boat to transport the rock and this boat was afterwards turned into a stone. This stone is now known as Kyauthanban, the “Stone boat stupa”. Only men are allowed to reach the stupa along a short causeway and over a bridge to pray and affix gold leaf squares (read my special post about that) on the rock’s surface.

Golden Rock Pagoda

Against the gravity, so scaring!!! Golden Rock Pagoda

Our first question was, how possible is that the Golden Rock Pagoda stands right there without falling? No one knows, it has been sitting there so precariously for at least 2,000 years against rain, wind and earthquakes.

This was like a religious experience for us, we found the atmosphere surrounding Golden Rock absolutely magic and devote. Hundreds of people make this trip and especially local people visit the rock to pay their respects. We saw people lighting candles and camping on the platforms surrounding the Golden Rock Pagoda with baskets full of food. The atmosphere of serenity and faith was almost palpable. 

The Kyaiktiyo shrine complex consists of several viewing platforms, pagodas, Buddha shrines and nat spirit shrines. The views along the way is spectacular and many visitors stay there for the night to watch the sunset. We didn’t stop for sunset because we had to take a bus to Mawlamyine (Don’t miss Bilu Kyun Trip), for another magic adventure to Myanmar.

Golden Rock Pagoda

Wonderful Golden Rock Pagoda from far.

How to get there, best time and cost

The hub for Mt. Kyaiktiyo is the base camp of Kinpun, but to get there you first have to arrive at Kyaikto (5 hrs away from Yangon, 7$AUD). Several buses run from Kyaikto to Kinpun, the cost is 0,50 $AUD and it takes about 25 minutes. From Kinpun big trucks drive you uphill to the rock (they start running early morning, 3$AUD per person). The ride takes about 45 minutes and when you arrive to the top you have to pay an entrance fee of 8$AUD, just for foreigners. The ticket is valid for 2 days. The best time to go there is from November to March during the height of pilgrimage season.


  • Don’t get stuck with the thing that ruins your day, life is too short to be wasted in your crap. Smile and be positive because there are so many beautiful reasons to be happy, one of those is travelling.

Golden Rock Pagoda

Author of this post:  Davide
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my name is Davide and I’m Italian. I’d always loved to explore far away places and someday, planned to travel the world. But like always, it was a case of when and how. I did a lot, and now I am ready to write, to tell and to share the tips I’ve been learning, feelings and emotion of years of travelling.


  • Kathy (from

    I absolutely loved Myanmar. I didn’t get to the Golden Rock due to limited time and I heard it was quite touristy however now I am regretting it after reading your post.
    Thanks for sharing 🙂

    December 19, 2016 at 5:25 am
    • Davi85travel

      Well Kathy it wasn’t really touristy at the time of my visit, maybe it was not the best time to visit it! lucky man 😀 thank you for commenting here

      January 30, 2017 at 9:33 am
  • The Travel Ninjas

    We’re heading to Myanmar in a few months. We’ll have to check out Golden Rock. It’s beautiful and its mystery is so appealing.

    December 19, 2016 at 1:05 am
    • Davi85travel

      Yes you are right! Mystery and a lots of religion! You will enjoy travelling around Myanmar!! 😀 thanks

      January 30, 2017 at 9:30 am
  • Taylor Fuller

    i loved visiting myanmar and I didn’t even know this existed!! it’s so beautiful and hopefully I can visit one day.

    December 18, 2016 at 6:23 pm
    • Davi85travel

      Wonderful country with amazing culture and tradition to discover!! You should get in one day! thank you for commenting here

      January 30, 2017 at 9:28 am
  • Katie

    Wow I have never heard of the Golden Rock but it looks amazing! I need to visit!!

    December 18, 2016 at 6:06 pm
    • Davi85travel

      Put it on you bucket list for the next destination in Myanmar!! You will enjoy it 😀 thank you for this comment

      January 30, 2017 at 9:27 am
  • Jen Morrow

    The rock standing because of Hair of the Buddha, I wonder of that is where Hair of The Dog phrase originated from? It is wild that people cover it in gold leaf.

    December 18, 2016 at 2:09 pm
    • Davi85travel

      I don’t think it’s wild, it’s just tradition and culture! they feel good doing that!! Different country, different culture! thanks for you comment and keep following us around the world

      January 30, 2017 at 9:26 am

    What a cool tourist destination! Very unique and with a good story too! Thanks for sharing.

    December 18, 2016 at 2:47 am
    • Davi85travel

      Thanks Adam, well this a great destination because you could know more about their tradition and culture! 😀

      January 30, 2017 at 9:23 am
  • Jean

    I was sad that I didn’t get to see this when I was in Myanmar. Though as a woman I don’t think I would have been allowed across the bridge

    December 18, 2016 at 1:32 am
    • Davi85travel

      You can cross the bridge but you can’t go close to the stone!! thanks for your comment

      January 30, 2017 at 9:21 am

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