I arrived in Bago at lunchtime and found a hotel nearby to stay. I learnt from the owner that there were two pegodas to go and see and a reclining Buddha. I was told that you couldn’t walk to them all as you needed a motorbike but i could see the spire of one of the pagodas so i took a stroll. After a while all the temples look the same in a particular country and all the pagodas too, this was no different. Don’t get me wrong, it was still an impressive sight but just a smaller version of the one i had seen in Yangon and when they want to charge foreigners $10 to get in i didn’t see the point. I think this is what use to happen in Thailand years ago, foreigners were always charged more than locals but after a while they changed things or certainly made the prices very similar. I think the same is happening here in Myanmar, tourists are appearing and they are making ths most of it, it will probably change as years go by. Anyway not another $10 from me so i strolled back to the hotel.
This was the pagoda from outside –
I’d seen enough reclining Buddhas in Thailand so didn’t want to see another and finding the other pagoda didn’t tickle my fancy in the heat of the afternoon. Later on i went out for something to eat and had a few beers. The locals were friendly as ever and as i don’t think many tourists stopped there i was a bit of an oddity. Most people when they hear you come from England just quote football teams at you and have a simple chat so no harm done.
Back on the train in the morning i headed for Kyaiktiyo to go and see the Golden Rock Kinpun.
Even goats on the track wouldn’t stop the train coming in, you can imagine what chaos it would cause back at home !!
Upper class again for the three hour journey this time for $1.3 , the buffet trolley soon arrived –
Scenes from the train trip –
Old style levers still in use –
We arrived at the train station and had to swap to a local bus for the last few miles –
The truck was full up so i sat on the roof with a few others –
I arrived at the town of Kinpun which is at the base of where Golden Rock is. It was a very busy place bustling with lots of people with a stream of coaches and buses arriving and departing. The majority of people were Burmese as Golden Rock is one of the most sacred sites, it is said that every Burmese person will visit here at least once in their life. I was told by another traveller to leave as early as possible in the morning as it got very busy very quickly. He was told that the trucks start going up the hill at 6 a.m. but he saw them leaving earlier, because of this i was at the truck stop and sitting in the back of an open top truck at 5.15 a.m. The trucks did indeed go earlier but only drove around the corner and stopped until sunrise at 6 a.m., so i had to sit in an open topped truck in the cold and mist until they opened the road !!
People climbing into the trucks at the truck stop –
The drive to the top was quite exhilerating in itself as they didn’t hang about, time is money as they say.
Well here it is – Golden Rock Kinpun !!
‘According to legend, the Golden Rock itself is precariously perched on a strand of the Buddhas hair. A glimpse of the “gravity defying” Golden Rock is believed to be enough of an inspiration for any person to turn to Buddhism.’ – not for me it wasn’t.
It was a good place to hang out and watch the locals with their families enjoy themselves.
This is not the job you want at altitude !! –
As it had started to get busy i returned to the truck stop for the exciting drive back down.
When i arrived back down in the town i managed to get in before breakfast closed at my hotel and then had a couple of hours to kill. I was booked on a coach to take me back to Yangon, from there i was going to get an overnight coach to Kalaw further north.
Unfortunately the first coach was made for Asians as you had to be 5ft or under to fit your legs behind the seat in front. Bad news for me, i had to sit with my legs spread wide open with my knees hard up against the hard plastic seat in front. I was hoping that the people in front would not realise that they could recline their seats but 10 minutes into the journey the worst happened. Oh well, it was only another 4 hours of torture to go.
I survived the journey and arrived at the coach station out of town. I now had 3 hours to kill before my VIP coach to Kalaw. Fortunately there were restaurants and bars to go to so the time passed quickly. I found my coach company amongst the 200 odd or so companies and checked in. The VIP coaches are great, big wide seats that recline, two seats one side of the coach and a single seat the other. Drinks,snacks,wet wipes and blankets are all provided for the 17 dollar cost for a 10 hour overnight coach trip.