Situated on the slopes of Mount Popa – an extinct volcano, this national park is a 50-square-mile swathe of forest. Popa is derived from the word puppa which means flower in Sanskrit. Mount Popa is famous for the beautiful Popa Taungkalat Shrine which is located at the peak of this mountain. One must climb 777 steps to the summit without shoes or socks to reach the top of this shrine. This shrine is topped with gold stupas. This place is very popular for its religious and mystical interests. With many activities for your entertainment and sights worth seeing.
About Popa Mountain National Park
This place is a hidden gem in the plains of mount Popa near the Bagan plains of Myanmar. Dusky leaf monkey, barking deer, wild pigs and numerous birds find shelter in these rare Than-Dahat forests. Popa is recognized as an abode for many ‘Nats’ (spirits of ancestors) who live in various parts of the mountain. The evidence of this belief is everywhere on this mountain through the Nat-shrines, legends, ceremonial offerings and pilgrims. Mount Popa is tagged as a national park which gives way for eco-tourism. This place is not so popular but is very beautiful and ecologically diverse place hidden from the world. This place is also a place to many monkeys as they are now a part of this amazing place.
Best Time To Visit Popa National Park
The dry season which is from November to May is the best season to visit this place. Rains may spoil your vacation as one cannot visit many places due to heavy rains. The rains may steadily increase in mornings to afternoon from June to October which sometimes adds life to this mountain.
Things To Do In Popa National Park
1. Mt. Popa Peak: Trek To The Top
To get a spectacular view at the peak of this mountain one must take a 45 mins hike which is doable and awards you with a magnificent view and a peaceful site. You can also spot the temples of Bagan if the weather is clear enough. Dense vegetation on the flanks of this volcano is a paradise for botanists and bird watchers. Along the way one can notice the golden stupas which express the spiritual importance of Mt Popa.
2. The Popa Taungkalat Shrine: Feel Blessed
This 20 mins hike is impressive rocky crag with stunning picturesque complex of monasteries, shrine and stupas. Blessing one with an astounding view this shrine has a great religious value for the local people and is one main attraction on this peak. Beware of monkeys which steal many things from tourists- especially their glasses. If you are fortunate, you may end up spotting the slow-walking hermit monks called yeti who wear tall hats and visit this place occasionally. This shrine is also known as Taungkalat monastery. One has a great view of Mt Popa from the monastery.
How To Reach Popa Mountain National Park
People living in Bagan area visit this place as a part of a daytrip. Its 50km away from Bagan city and it might take an hour or more to reach this destination due to the vehicles and road conditions. The cheapest way is through a bus or pickup truck. Local vehicles are also an option though some people deny this fact and misguide you.
Suggested Read: 10 Hidden Myanmar Beaches That You Must Visit At Least Once!
This is a transport hub. One can reach Popa through Mrauk and Pyay.
A good number of buses travel to Kyaukpadaung, which is a junction between Bagan and many other cities. While there are many more options available, make sure you confirm all the details before choosing a vehicle as sometimes the ticket seller and busses are from different companies, and may give wrong information.
Where To Stay At In Popa Mountain National Park?
Popa mountain resort is a popular place to eat but some drivers may even suggest the Yangon restraint to you. After visiting the shrine one can easily take a cab and travel to this resort for a break. It has a wonderful environment which is nice and relaxing and they offer lunch and drinks with a spectacular view of the shrine which you just visited. The only downside of this place is that it is very expensive for a local restaurant in a non-popular area. If you want to avoid spending so much on food, then you can choose to eat from some local food stalls available in the village at the base of the mountain or the pilgrim village nesting at the foot of the shrine.
Further Read: Myanmar Temples: 10 Divine Sanctums In Mystic Landscapes
Mesmerized much? While sunsets at various beautiful places like Pyathada Paya is also something one must add in their to-do list, make sure you include Popa in your itinerary to make your next international trip worth all your time and money!
People Also Read:
Looking To Book A Holiday Package?
Book memorable holidays on TravelTriangle with 650+ verified travel agents for 65+ domestic and international destinations.