Day 4 – August 23, 2015
I reserved my seat in the bus to Kinpun at 7,000 kyats. I waited for the pick up at the bus stop in front of Emperor Hotel along with other foreigners. I was told to board the bus by the barker along with two Taiwanese ladies and Japanese guy. They all became my instant tour company that day; we all headed to the Golden Rock.
Climbing up the Kyaikhthiyo with the Golden Rock atop the mountain, on a personal note, was a complete and utter waste of time, for day onlookers especially. Unless the tourist stays at any hotel in either Kyaikhthiyo or Kyaikhto towns, he/she has to endure a total of 8 hours travelling to and from the Golden Rock, that is 3 hours Bago to Kinpun bus ride, 1 hour Kyaikhthiyo town to Golden Rock truck ride, plus another hour on your way back down the mountain and 3-hour bus ride back to Bago city.
In my case, I only spent a very quick 15-minute tour at the Golden Rock and hasten to take the truck ride back down the mountain to catch my 2pm bus trip back to Bago. That was because I arrived at Kinpun at 10am. With my new friends with me, we looked for the truck. At the designated terminal, we were introducing each other brief backgrounds of ourselves. Julie and Liu from Taiwan are on their last leg of Myanmar tour and the 24-yo Japanese medical student is fresh from Bagan and would continue on tour to Thailand and Malaysia. Once we all seated at the back of the truck, another half empty truck fell in line. Then we were redirected to climb the truck that just arrived. There was chaos, because the four of us who seated among the first ones in the prior truck was now boarding last and the truck was already filled and crowded. I and the Japanese squeezed ourselves in a bench right next to the merchandise, grocery items, market goods that filed the first few pews.
It felt like a full test of my patience, especially when the truck we rode had made turns yet to several points along the way up the mountain. It made more stops at some designated points which really dragged my time and irritated me. This actually worsened my impression of the tour to Golden Rock. It really obliged you to check in the nearest hotel, some of them I noticed at the foot of the mountain in order to maximize the time to be on top with the Golden Rock.
Nevertheless, I was up there, exchanging photos with newfound friends, despite the foggy environment. It was very short but fine. And I found myself heading back to Bago with an American seatmate whom we did not exchange names. We were seatmates up to Bagan. The ride we share was 9-hour long plus the 3-hour from Kyaikhto.