From Hpa An you can take a direct bus to the town of Kyaikto, which is at the bottom of Mount Kyaikto where the Golden Rock is situated. In Hpa An there is one bus station near the clock tower where a bus is leaving every hour to Kyaikto starting from 6.00 am to 6.00 pm. You can just walk to the bus stop from your hotel (if you are nearby) and buy the tickets directly at the counter. The bus costs 5000 Kyats per person
The bus ride takes 6 hours and includes one food stop on the way. We took the 9.00 am bus, which departed eventually from Hpa An at 9.30 am, so don’t be worried if your bus is a bit late 🙂 The bus was filled with mostly locals and of cours the Buddhist prayer music was playing in full volume for the first hour or so.
Once you arrive in the town of Kyaikto, you will need to get to Kinpun / Kimpun, which is a small touristic town right where the ascend to Kyaikto mountain and the Golden Rock starts. For that you have several choices, either you take a private taxi, a motor bike taxi, or the local bus (actually a truck). We chose for the local truck as it was the cheapest option. It cost 500 Kyats per person and was quite an experience as many of the local villagers also make their way up this way. It takes a bit longer as you have to wait for the truck to fill up. From the moment that you leave, it is approximately 45 minutes to get to Kinpun.
In Kinpun we looked for a hotel, which was easy to find as we were approached by people from different hotels of which we already read the reviews of before. The hotels in Kinpun are actually horrible and rather pricy. We paid 20,000 Kyat for a night in a room with private bathroom. It was probably the worst hotel we ever stayed in. At least the people from the hotel were helpful and spoke good English and served breakfast.
Once you leave your stuff at the hotel in Kinpun, the real fun starts! You can go to the local bus / truck station where you can take a truck up the windy road of Mount Kyaikto for 2000 Kyats per person for a return ticket. The trucks have 6 rows of benches with almost no leg room, and each row has to fit 6 people. The truck only leaves when it is fully stuffed with people and everyone on board is very uncomfortable… Sitting on the high truck on this little bench feels like a rollercoaster ride up the mountain. We were with a group of excited teenagers that made the ride even more exhilarating as they helped animate what everyone was feeling in every curve. On the way they will stop by a cable cart where you can choose to get out and take the cable cart for the rest of the way. That is of course not for free, and probably less fun than the truck.
Once at the top of Mount Kyaikto, it is a 15 minutes walk to the Golden Rock. The checkpoint where you have to pay a foreigners entrance fee of 10000 Kyats is on the way. If you don’t have cash, there is an ATM but it is past the checkpoint, so ask the guards nicely if you can go take out money and come back.
Enjoy the view of the Golden Rock! 😀
Check out our video of the trip to the Golden Rock!