Golden Rock & Mawlamyine
Golden Rock is a pilgrimage. For many devout Myanmar Buddhists this is a journey they may only make once or twice in their lifetime. Getting to the base of the mountain is not too hard with regular busses from Yangon, Hpa-an and Mawlamyine.
Once you have arrived at the base of the mountain you have two options.
Not as hard or as long as the other guidebooks make out. Up takes about two hours depending your fitness and the heat of the day. Makes you feel like you are earning your status as a pilgrim, it also grants you a valuable “behind the scenes” insight to how the place works as the path winds through small villages during the assent.
2) Local Taxi
The trick here is that Myanmar public transport never leaves until it is beyond full. We suggest arriving early and getting into the fullest van or truck you can find, as it is likely to be the next to depart. Such roadtrips always result in new friendships being made, so smile to everyone and enjoy the journey.
Once you are at the top you can quietly walk onto the viewing platforms and take it all in. There is certainly a lot of reverence shown to this gravity defying gold gilded rock. The vista’s from across the valley below stretch for miles and offer the perfect backdrop to the majestic golden rock and its observers. Its nice to just sit back and take the whole thing in.
Mawlamyine, (Mawlamyaing, Moulmein)
Doesn’t matter how you spell it, this place is a big city with a little city feel. Mawlamyine use to be the third largest city in the country until the government had a rush of blood to the head and built Nay Pyi Daw out of nothing a few years back.
Do not let the muddy river put you off. Just like Shrek it can be a bit off-putting to begin with but you will soon find this large green friendly island to be actually quite adorable. Very lush bush and paddy fields cover the largest island directly outside the city. The numerous villages on the island prepare handcrafts and traditional goods.
Downtown Hotel Zone
The hotel zone of Mawlamyine is situated along the river front. there are a number of historical buildings to see, notably St Mathews and the holy Family Cathedral, Mawlamyine is a real melting pot of cultures and Hindu shrines can be found, Mosques as well as a beautiful line of large golden stupa’s running along the ridge line offering a great vantage point for the sunset. The fish market becomes a live in the evening and is a great spot to
Worlds Largest Reclining Buddha, Mudon
Massive just doesn’t quite cut it. Win Sein Reclining Buddha is of gargantuan proportions spreads himself out over 200 meters of hillside on the foothills of Mon State.
Where to Stay
The traditional spot for backpackers very simple rooms start at USD 7, has a large foyer which is good for meeting other travelers.
Very professional modern hotel, well kept and helpful staff. The hotel have even created a super useful FREE map of the town. Rooms start at USD 30.
Where to Eat
Grandmother and Grandfather Dinner
Profits go to the older members of the community. Having personally done considerable work with older people in Dawei city I can testify that in this country with no pension and average wages under USD 3 per day the elderly without family to support them do life hard. This is a fabulous initiative so please lend your support.