Do you need to visit the Golden Rock ?
For us, it is a yes (but only if you stay sleeping at the top of the mountain). It is a religous place with a lot of local people, very popular among the Burmese, the atmosphere is quite unique but to really enjoy it you have to stay the night.
If you do a one day trip from Yangon, you will the golden rock at 12 noon, under full sun and without any people, really not the best time and way to visit this unique place.
Our advice :
Sleep at the top of the Mountain, either at one of the hotels, at the monastery (most of the time full), or directly on the floor on the pagoda as the Burmse do, take your time, visit Bago on the way back.
The best is to come during a festival, especially the light festival but in that case, book a long time in advance.
Where to sleep - accomodation ?
The best place to stay is at the top of the Mountain. You will be able to fully appreciate the atmosphere, the sunset and sunrise.
There is 2 hotels at the top :
The Mountain top hotel(our favorite)
The Kyaihtiyo hôtel.
You can also stay at Kimmbun village, it will be very cheap compare to the hotels at the top, but you will need at least 2 hours to reach the pagoda, it will be very difficult for the sunset and especially the sunrise. You will also miss the evening atmosphere.
You can stay at the Golden Rock located at the bus station, 45 minutes walk from the top. It is a good quite hotel but you need to walk 45 minutes for the pagoda, not a big deal but obviously less confortable than staying at the top.
The pagoda is at 1 300m of elevation, it could cold or even very cold in winter (starting November to February). We recommend you take warm or very warm close for your stay at night, keep in a bag warm socks, you can put them if you are planning to have your diner in the village, back of the Golden Rock pagoda (which we recommand, more local than the hotels) .
Category : good one or 2 stars hotel.
It has been our favourite hotel at the top of the Mountain since many years. The hotel is quiet, very quiet, deluxe room quite good (far better than the other hotel) and the hotel building do not spoil the place....
Prices are a little lower than the Kyaikhtyio hotel, but quality is far above. Not hesitation if you want to sleep at the Golden rock.
Category : 2 star
This is the second hotel at the top of the Golden Rock Moutain (historically it is the first one). It was (is?) a former hotel from the government with the best view for the sunset and on the surroundings forest. The old wodden building still exist and the management use it for the restaurant and some rooms. New bungalows have been build recently, they spoil the place, rooms are better than in the old building, but they are far to be sound proof and still very expensive. At the end, we recommend this hotel only if the Mountain top is full.