Even a well travelled person should venture up to Golden Rock. The obligatory ride in the back of the government lorries was exhilarating, uncomfortable - yes, seated on a narrow bench, but the journey up the windy, mountain single track road was impressive. The conductor was collecting the fares whilst balanced on the outside ledge of the vehicle! There is a new cable car near the summit for a different approach.
On arrival at the sacred site, I had not anticipated having to walk through a village barefoot. Remember to put your shoes in your bag and keep them with you. Those who could not walk the distance paid to be carried on a litter! We bought food at the many stalls. There were lots of families at the summit, sitting peacefully picnicking, sleeping, chatting, just whiling away the day together. The rock is very imposing and obviously very sacred for the pilgrims. Only men may touch it and add more gold leaf to it. The surrounding scenery is very beautiful and dramatic. The Buddhist pilgrims are very respectful, reverend and seemed to enjoy their time at the temple immensely. The whole day was very memorable, I would certainly return. I would not stay at a hotel there as they seemed basic, overpriced and remote.
We took the relaxing train to Bago, explored the great sites there, hired a driver for the day, went to Golden Rock and then lots of places on the way back.