The next day we woke up early, eager to get to our destination the Golden Rock pagoda. The Golden Rock Pagoda is one of the most important sites in Buddhism. The is a pagoda that built on top of a giant rock which balances on a tiny contact point over a mountain face that is over 3000 ft above sea level.
On the way to the monastary our tour guide showed us a couple of sights. The first was a memorial dedicated to the Commonwealth POW soliders who died building death railway. This story was immortalised in the story Bridge on the River Kwai. The last was a small village where they were doing some poetry with traditional methods.
The drive took us 4 hours on roads which took us across rivers, through rice fields and railway tracks. It was some truly picturesque scenery, it just kept getting better and better especially when we got near the hill side. We had driver by car all the way from Yangon but once we reached the base camp we to a truck which could go up some of the steep mountain roads. After a rather windy drive up the mountain which my mother compared to a roller coaster we had reached the top of the mountain. After the adventurous truck ride we walked to our hotel and freshened up a little prior to our visit to the pagoda. Whilst walking to the pagoda we walked past some street vendors selling a myriad of items. The fragrance of the deep fried samosas caught my attention. Typically my mother wouldn’t agree to me purchasing such food as it usually causes “stomach issues” but she agreed but only after we visited the pagoda. The pagoda site was incredibly crowded as it was filled with devotees who were camping overnight. such that they could give their offerings for the morning prayer and to get a glimpse of the picturesque sunset.
We spent some time around that area and soon went to a cafe to have some Burmese tea and Samosas. Surprisingly the samosas didn’t cause any of the aforementioned “stomach issues” they tasted really good, the tea helped to wash down any after taste. The tea reminded me a lot of the traditional ‘teh’ we get back in Singapore. The main difference was that the Burmese tea was a tad more bitter, considering there wasn’t any sugar in the tea.
After the tea and samosas we stayed in the main area to wait for the sunset it was beautiful the site. We would not only see the gold of the pagoda glistening in the sunlight but the river we crossed earlier along with the low laying clouds. I was in complete shock and awe of the place. The magic of the beauty which I fell in love with ten years ago had came back and it was amazing.
After the sunset we went back to the hotel to have dinner where our guide had managed to order us some noodle soup and I had ordered a customary Myanmar Beer. The noodle soup had help to keep us warm from the cold mountain air and after the dinner we got an early night to wake up early for the sunrise.