Woke up in our gorgeous triple room and jumped into the amazing rain fall shower… It may have been the most expensive hotel we’ve stayed in during our time in Myanmar but it certainly is worth it! The breakfast, however, was not and we were both slightly hungry after our measly portions of fried rice and fried egg!! Anyway, food not being the reason we were in this little town, we headed over to the Golden Rock bus station and boarded an empty truck (as the one in front was full). We waited for nearly 30 minutes for our truck to fill up (they don’t leave until they are full or if you pay extra to ‘fill’ the empty seats). A rather bumpy, vomit inducing ride up the mountain, taking a detour through a hotel complex as the roadworks had blocked the road. The drive itself was actually quite nice. You could tell that the bus company uses the money from the fares to maintain and re-tarmac the road – clearly in high season, this road is a conveyer belt of trucks full of devotees. The journey itself took over an hour with several stops en route to allow for speeches asking for donations and to allow descending trucks to pass the ascending ones. Arriving at the top of the road, there was the obligatory line of shops selling tourist tat and offerings for the temples. As the Golden Rock is located above the cloud forest, during the raining season, there was a permanent wet mist that surrounded us as we walked towards the sacred rock. As women, we weren’t allowed to touch the rock or even approach near it however, being near it was enough to fully appreciate its magnitude. The monument – a major pilgrimage site for Myanmar Buddhists – is an enormous and precariously balanced bolder coated in gold and topped with a stupa. The marble floor and stairs were dangerously slippery as we made our way, slowly, around the Golden Rock. We took some photos, posed with some locals (at their request) and watched the fruit seller children use the marble floor as a slip and slide with the rain. Caught the truck back down the mountain side, sat next to a couple who decided to take up way more room than they needed, forcing the little boy to sit on his fathers lap (each bench must have 6 people!!). Took us forever to get back down the mountain, especially when we got stuck in the mud in the aforementioned roadworks. Grabbed our bags from the hotel, dropping them off at the bus ticket shop before getting some lunch. Jumped in a tuktuk (thankfully not a motorbike taxi in sight after yesterday!) and headed back down to the main road to catch our bus to Yangon. The journey was pretty non eventful as the bus played ‘Despicable Me 2’ but had Burmese music blaring over the top so we entertained ourselves with ‘Friends’. Had bought some candied sweets at the bus stop but ended up giving them to the old lady opposite us as they were disgusting (she was delighted!!!). Back at the Yangon highway bus station, we navigated the roads like pros, getting into a city bus and making our way into town. Dropped our bag off at the hotel before heading back to the restaurant we found on the first night for dinner.
Sunday 5th June 2016