Take a Break and Explore the Legendary Mount Popa
It’s been quite a while since you last got your adrenaline rush from reaching the peak of a mountain. If you’re feeling blue and despondence is washing over you, it’s time to give yourself a much-deserved getaway and go to Mount Popa.
Located in the Pegu Range in Bagan, Myanmar, Mount Popa is a volcano that rises 1,518 meters (4,981 ft) above sea level. It is a solitary peak that has gained popularity because of its stunningly beauteous golden stupas and the Popa Taungkalat Monastery, which houses the 37 Mahagiri Nats, the spirit entities on the mountain. The name of the tourist destination is said to have originated from the Sanskrit word “puppa,” which means “flower”.
A lot of Burmese pilgrims flock to Mount Popa annually especially for the festival season during the Nayon full moon that usually falls on May/June and on the full moon of Nadaw in November/December. Mount Popa is a designated national park and nature reserve.
How to Get Here
If it’s your first time to go to the place, you need not to worry about getting lost because the locals are friendly and willing to help you reach your destination. Since most visitors visit the mountain on a daytrip from Bagan, it is advisable that you do the same if you want some company.
Mount Popa is just around 50 km away from the specific town but because of the road and the conditions of the vehicles going there, your trip will take approximately 30 minutes. You can ride a bus or a pick-up truck if you are on a shoestring budget but there’s a caveat—both of these options can give you a bit uncomfortable trip. The bus is slightly speedier than the pick-up because the latter stops frequently to load and/or unload stuff. You will pay about 3,000K and the journey will take around an hour and 30 minutes.
Now, if you have the luxury to splurge, there’s a better and more comfortable means to get to Mount Popa. You just have to hire a taxi at a rate of 30,000K from Bagan to the mountain. The perks of riding in a taxi are allowing yourself some stopovers and a short visit to some villages along the path.
Tips about Visiting Mount Popa
When traveling to this popular tourist spot, locals advise not to wear green, red or black clothes as well as not to bring meat, particularly pork because these things could offend the Nats, spirit dwellers of the mountain. You must also take off your shoes and socks before climbing the 777 steps to the mountain top. Locals also advise tourists to keep guard of their possessions because the monkeys flock along the way, awaiting treats from people passing by.
In climbing Mount Popa, you can satisfy your adrenaline fix and your craving for Burmese culture and legacy. Make sure to bring your family or friends with you to share the wonderful experience waiting on top of the sole peak.