The excursion to this incredible balancing golden boulder stupa is a must-do, especially when the sun is shining. The small stupa, just 7.3m (24ft) high, sits atop the Golden Rock, a massive, gold-leafed boulder delicately balanced on the edge of a cliff at the top of Mt Kyaiktiyo. When the boulder is bathed in the purple, sometimes misty, light of dawn and dusk, it looks stunning.
This is one of the most sacred Buddhist sites in all Myanmar and a major draw for pilgrims. Its image adorns many a local car windscreen or family hearth, and every good Burmese Buddhist dreams of the day he finally set eyes on this holiest of shrines.
Not surprisingly, the atmosphere surrounding Kyaiktiyo during the height of the pilgrimage season (from November to March) is charged with magic and devotion: pilgrims chant, light candles and meditate all through the night; men (only) are permitted to walk along a short causeway and over a bridge spanning a chasm to the boulder to affix gold leaf squares on the rock’s surface.