Popa National Park: A Detailed Guide To Explore The Famous Gem Of Myanmar

Located on the slopes of Mount Popa – an extinct volcano – this national park is 50 square miles of wilderness. The word Popa is derived from Puppa which means flower in Sanskrit. Mount Popa is famous for the beautiful Popa Tungkalat Shrine which is situated on the top of this mountain. To reach the top of this temple, one has to climb 777 steps to the summit without shoes or socks. This temple is decorated with golden stupas. This place is very popular for its religious and mystical interests. With many activities and sights to see for your entertainment.

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 monkeys, barking deer, wild boar and many birds find shelter in these rare dense forests. Popa is recognized as the abode of many ‘nuts’ (ancestor spirits) who live in different parts of the mountain. Evidence of this belief is present everywhere through nat-temples, legends, ceremonial offerings, and pilgrimages to this mountain. Mount Popa has been tagged as a national park paving the way for eco-tourism. This place is not so popular but it is a very beautiful and ecologically diverse place hidden from the world. This place is also home to many monkeys as they are now a part of this wonderful place.

Best time to visit Popa National Park

The dry season from November to May is the best season to visit this place. Rain can spoil your holidays as many places cannot be visited due to heavy rains. From June to October rain can be continuous from morning to afternoon which sometimes adds life to this mountain.

Things to do in Popa National Park

1. Mount Popa Peak: Trek to the Top

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To get a spectacular view at the top of this mountain one needs to trek for 45 minutes which is possible and gives you a spectacular view and a peaceful spot. If the weather is clear enough you can also visit the temples of Bagan. The dense vegetation on the sides of this volcano is a paradise for botanists and bird lovers. Along the way you can see the golden stupas that express the spiritual significance of Mount Popa.

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2. Popa Tungkalat Shrine: Feel Blessed

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This 20-minute walk traverses impressive rocky cliffs with a stunningly picturesque complex of monasteries, temples and stupas. With stunning views, this temple has great religious importance for the local people and is one of the main attractions at this peak. Beware of monkeys who steal many things from tourists – especially their glasses. If you are lucky, you may spot slow-moving monks called Yetis who wear long hats and occasionally visit this place. This temple is also known as Taungkalat Monastery. The monastery offers a spectacular view of Mount Popa.

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How to reach Popa Mountain National Park

1. Garden

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People living in the Bagan area visit this place as a part of a day trip. It is 50 km from Bagan city and it may take an hour or more to reach this destination due to vehicles and road conditions. The cheapest way is by bus or pickup truck. Local transport is also an option although some people deny this and mislead you.

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2. go away

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It is a transport hub. Popa can be reached via Mrouk and Payay.

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3. Yangon

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A good number of buses run to Kyaukpadaung, a junction between Bagan and several other towns. Although there are many more options available, make sure you confirm all the details before choosing a vehicle as sometimes ticket sellers and buses are from different companies, and may give incorrect information.

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Where to stay in Popa Mountain National Park?

Popa Mountain Resort is a popular place to eat but some drivers may also suggest Yangon restraint. After visiting the temple one can easily take a cab and visit this resort for relaxation. It has an amazing atmosphere that is nice and relaxing and they serve lunch and drinks with a great view of the temple you just visited. The only downside to 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, you can choose to eat from some of the local food stalls available in the village at the foot of the mountain or in the pilgrimage village at the base of the shrine.

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Too charmed? While the sunset at various beautiful places like Piyathada Paya is also something that one must include in their list, make sure you include Popa in your itinerary to make your next international trip worth all your time and money. Do it!

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