Considered the most religious destination for locals, the Golden Rock is a popular place.
When you arrive, the bus will often drop you off in the town called Kyaiktiyo about 30 minutes away from the ‘base camp’. I was dropped off right on the side of the highway! From there, you can choose if you want to stay in Kyaiktiyo or continue the trip to Kinpun, aka “base-camp” of the Golden Rock.
I’d recommend continuing your journey and find accommodations in Kinpun. There’s way more happening in Kinpun, whereas Kyaiktiyo is more residential. I found Kinpun an interesting and bustling place. It was completely touristy, but not for international foreigners. Locals from all around Myanmar were coming to visit this religious site.
I didn’t actually go up the mountain to see the Golden Rock. Aside from the costs ($5 for round-trip transportation, $6 entrance fee), and the fact that as a woman, I wasn’t even allowed to go right up to the rock, I didn’t think it was worth the journey.
Fellow travellers suggests buying tickets off people who visited the day before. Tickets are valid for two consecutive days, so you might score a discount.